The 2017 Arena Football League season will be the 30th of play. We’ve seen a lot of great seasons conclude with some great games being played, but 2017 may be the icing on the cake.
All five teams have something that makes them a contender for the ArenaBowl this year. The Philadelphia Soul are the Philadelphia Soul. They still have all of their offensive weapons that they’ve had over the past few years. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, wide receivers Darius Reynolds and Shaun Kauleinamoku make this offense successful and will all be back.
The Philadelphia defense was also a big key to their success. In fact, it was defneee that helped them win ArenaBowl XXIX over the Arizona Rattlers in 2016. The defense forced five Arizona turnovers, including two that helped Philly jump out to a 21-0 lead.
The Cleveland Gladiators were a very good team in 2016. Quarterback Arvell Nelson was able to make plays with his arms and his legs. He also has help with wide receivers Quentin Sims and Collin Taylor being two of the best in the league. Had it not been for Arizona, Cleveland would have been in the ArenaBowl.
They could’ve even won the ArenaBowl over the Soul. They bested Philadelphia in two of the three times they met during the 2016 season.
The Tampa Bay Storm will be looking to rebound from a 1-16 season in 2016. It was clearly their worst season in franchise history. Now they are under head coach Ron James. With few different quarterbacks that can help this team succeed, they should have a good season, as well, and should be competitive.
Even the newest team is a force to be reckoned with. The unnamed Baltimore-based team is under head coach Omarr Smith. While there’s no players on the team just yet, he is a big part of it.
Smith has won seven ArenaBowl titles as a coach and a player. He’s also shown he can make a great team. He took over a four-win Los Angeles KISS team in 2015 and led them to a 7-9 record.
While that may not be impressive to some, that’s a big turnaround. They finished second in the National Conference and hosted a playoff game.
The one team no one is real sure of is the Washington Valor. No one has seen what Dean Cokinos can do as a coach. If the Valor can show they are a good team, the league will have a league full of talent.
Every team will be an ArenaBowl contender until the time comes to see which two teams will play in ArenaBowl XXX.