Philadelphia Soul vs. Defending Champion San Jose SaberCats
ESPN’s coverage of the 2008 Russell Athletic Arena Football League season will culminate Sunday, July 27, with ArenaBowl XXII between the Philadelphia Soul and defending ArenaBowl Champion San Jose SaberCats from the New Orleans Arena at 3 p.m. ET on ABC and ABC HD. ESPN’s AFL commentator team will include Bob Wischusen and analyst Ray Bentley in the booth with Marcellus Wiley and New Orleans native Stan Verrett reporting from the sidelines.
In addition to coverage on ABC in the U.S., the ArenaBowl XXII telecast will be available to more than 98 million households in 186 countries through ESPN International and its syndication clients.
Coaches and players from both teams, along with a game official, will wear live microphones during the game and will participate in conversations with ESPN commentators. On-field action will be captured by some 14 cameras, including a robotic camera mounted from the scoreboard which will provide unique angles. Additionally, instant replay will be used for the first time in ArenaBowl history.
ESPN Classic Programming – ESPN Classic will air three consecutive ArenaBowl games from past seasons, beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 27:
7:30 – 9:30 a.m. – 2000 ArenaBowl, Nashville Kats vs. Orlando Predators
9:30 – 11:30 a.m. – 2004 ArenaBowl, San Jose SaberCats vs. Arizona Rattlers
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – 2005 ArenaBowl, Colorado Crush vs. Georgia Force
Also, ArenaBowl XXII will re-air on ESPN Classic the following afternoon, Monday, July 28, at noon.
Quarterback of the Year and ArenaBowl XX Offensive Player of the Game, Matt D’Orazio, leads the Philadelphia Soul of the National Conference against the American Conference defending ArenaBowl champion San Jose SaberCats and two-time ArenaBowl MVP quarterback Mark Grieb. Philadelphia is playing in its first ArenaBowl, while San Jose is aiming for its second straight title and fourth in seven seasons. The SaberCats have never lost in the ArenaBowl, beating the Columbus Destroyers last year (55-33) and the Arizona Rattlers in both ArenaBowl XVI (52-14) and ArenaBowl XVIII (69-62).
ESPN Commentators Predictions for ArenaBowl XXII:
Bentley: Philadelphia (77-66) … “I’ve liked Philadelphia since the beginning of the year when they made shrewd off-season moves in picking up Matt D’Orazio, Chris Jackson and Anthony Dunn. San Jose is playing well, but the Soul will be too much for them in the end.”
Wischusen: Philadelphia (54-51) … “San Jose may have the best secondary in the league, but Matt D’Orazio is the quarterback perhaps most suited to take on that group. His accuracy has been unmatched this year, and the added size of the Philadelphia wide receivers may neutralize some of the San Jose defensive backs’ ball skills. This game has the potential to be very close, but I think the Soul will win it.”
Wiley: Philadelphia (62-54) …” Philadelphia will win this game because San Jose has been a slow starting team lacking that killer instinct to put a team away, despite its post-season success. San Jose allows other teams to hang around too long and gain confidence. Philadelphia, given these same opportunities, will take advantage of them.”
Verrett: San Jose (55-48) … “I think San Jose’s experience could be the difference in this game and their defense has been great, making sacks and forcing turnovers. The Soul has a potent offense, but the SaberCats have been clicking on that side of the ball as well. I think a couple of defensive stops will be the difference and the SaberCats will make it two straight ArenaBowl titles.”
Additional ArenaBowl XXII Coverage on ESPN Platforms:
ESPN.com’s coverage of ArenaBowl XXII will capture the excitement behind the game and the scene in New Orleans with news updates, extensive pre- and post-game analysis, chats, video clips and features available at http://sports.espn.go.com/extra/afl/index. Other highlights:
Page 2’s Mary Buckheit will contribute video clips, including behind the scenes footage of ArenaBowl XXII in New Orleans, from the players’ visits to local hospitals to media day and the sights and sounds around The Big Easy;
Player perspectives from Colorado Crush defensive back Rashad Floyd and Chicago Rush wide receiver Damian Harrell. Floyd will talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the Soul and SaberCats’ offenses, while Harrell will breakdown the two defenses;
Daily stories, including profiles of Philadelphia’s Matt D’Orazio and Chris Jackson and San Jose’s Mark Grieb and the entire SaberCats organization, which could be the blueprint every team should follow;
Scouts Inc.’s Gary Horton will provide X’s and O’s breakdown of the game;
Online chats with players throughout the week.
The ArenaBowl telecast will be available to more than 98 million households in 186 countries through ESPN International and its syndication clients, including ESPN Latin America, ESPN Latin-Brazil, ESPN Latin-Caribbean, ESPN Africa, ESPN Israel, ESPN Pacific Rim, ESPN Middle East, ESPN Asia, ESPN Hong Kong, ESPN Malaysia, ESPN Philippines, ESPN China, NASN-Middle East, NASN-Europe, and syndication to Eurosport2.