Play in Wells Fargo Center
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Light Blue, Gray, White, Black|
Martin E. Judge
|General manager||Phil Bogle|
|Head coach||Clint Dolezel|
League championships (2)
Conference championships (4)
Division championships (4)
|Playoff appearances (8)|
|2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016|
The Philadelphia Soul are a professional arena football team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are members of the American Conference (AC) in the Arena Football League (AFL). The Soul have made four ArenaBowl appearances, winning their first appearance (2008 against the San Jose SaberCats) and losing their next two appearances (2012 and 2013 both to the Arizona Rattlers). The Soul won their fourth appearance, against the Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XXIX, winning 56-42.
The club was established in 2004 when a group, led by Jon Bon Jovi, secured the rights to an AFL franchise in Philadelphia. The AFL folded before the proposed 2009 season was to begin, but was purchased and revived in 2010. After two seasons of inactivity in 2009 and 2010, the Soul returned in 2011 headed by Ron Jaworski.
Jon Bon Jovi era (2004–2008)
The team was owned by co-majority owners Jon Bon Jovi and Craig Spencer along with minority owners Richie Sambora, Ron "Jaws" Jaworski (former QB of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles) and Leo Carlin, Jr. The Soul began play in February 2004, and played its home games at the Wells Fargo Center (then known as the Wachovia Center), home of the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL and the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. When there was a scheduling conflict with the NBA or NHL, games were played at the now-demolished Wachovia Spectrum—the former home of the Flyers, 76ers, Philadelphia Phantoms AHL hockey team and the Philadelphia KiXX MISL soccer franchise. The Soul played in the Eastern Division of the National Conference of the AFL. The name "Soul" referred to the Philadelphia soul music genre, a play on Bon Jovi's career as a musician (Bon Jovi's style of pop rock, however, bore no resemblance to the genre of music known as Philadelphia soul). The official mascot of the Soul was the Blues Brother-like "Soul Man".
Critics say that the Soul erred that off-season when they made Tony Graziani the highest-paid player in Arena League history. The move left them with little money under the salary cap to improve their defense, and as a result, they were not in competition for the playoffs. The elimination came even after NBC scheduled 14 games of the Soul to be shown on national or regional television.
In 2006, the Soul began 2–0. They went 2–0 against division rival Dallas Desperados (who finished a league best 13–3), and finished the season at 9–7 and earned their first playoff berth through the wild card. In their wild card playoff game, the Soul defeated the Austin Wranglers in Austin, 52–35. The score was 21–21 at halftime, but the #5 seed Soul outscored the #4 Wranglers 21–7 in the third quarter and ran away with the game. The Soul lost their Divisional Round Playoff game 31–27 to the Orlando Predators in the infamous "round of golf", so-called because viewers missed much of the 1st quarter of that game and another AFL game being broadcast simultaneously due to a PGA Golf tournament that was televised on NBC.
The Soul started 4–0 in 2007 before losing to the Georgia Force, 57–49. Afterwards, they lost on a Monday night contest to their division rival, the Dallas Desperados, 51–41. In the game, Tony Graziani left the game early with a separated left shoulder from a sack by OL/DL Rickie Simpkins. He would miss the next four weeks, all losses, dropping the team to 4–6. Graziani returned in week 12 against the New Orleans VooDoo and led the team to its highest scoring output in its short franchise history, winning 78–34. In a Week 16 "win-and-in" matchup with the Columbus Destroyers, Graziani led the Soul down the field and threw a touchdown pass to Charles Pauley with seven seconds left, giving the Soul a 56–53 win and their second trip to the playoffs in their four-year history. In the playoffs, they defeated the Orlando Predators 41–26, then traveled to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Force in the Divisional Round, but lost 65–39.
In 2008, the Soul signed WR Chris Jackson in the off-season. He was united with a former teammate in Tony Graziani. In the offseason the Soul were picked by many as the favorite to win the championship. However, after another good start, once again Graziani was injured. He was replaced by Matt D'Orazio. Unlike previous years, in 2008 the Soul backup was able to keep the team going. He played well enough that when Graziani was healthy once more, the coaching staff decided to allow D'Orazio to keep the starting job. The Soul finished the 2008 season with a 13–3 record and earned a first-round bye. In the divisional round the Soul defeated the New York Dragons. In the conference finals the Soul were able to defeat the Cleveland Gladiators to earn their first berth to the ArenaBowl. They then won their first ArenaBowl on Sunday, July 27, 2008 in a 59–56 win over the San Jose SaberCats in ArenaBowl XXII.
The team suspended operations along with the rest of the Arena Football League in 2009. Bon Jovi would then form another ownership group with members of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment five years later seeking to purchase the National Football League's Buffalo Bills; the Bon Jovi consortium was outbid by Terry and Kim Pegula.
Ron Jaworski era (2011–present)
On February 17, 2010, the Arena Football League extended an offer to the Soul to make a return to arena football. That offer was accepted, as the Soul returned in 2011 playing all their home games at the then-recently renamed Wells Fargo Center. Jaworski and Spencer returned from the prior ownership group, and Pete Ciarrocchi (owner of local sports bar Chickie's and Pete's) and Cosmo DeNicola (who was the owner of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers from the now-defunct af2 league) joined the new Soul's ownership. Notably absent is Jon Bon Jovi, who cited his group's tour as a reason for declining ownership, but still maintains his support for the Soul and their new ownership. The team hired future Arena Football Hall of Famer, Mike Hohensee, to lead the revived team. Despite high expectations, the Soul stumbled out of the gate and never recovered, finishing just 6–12, last place in the East.
In 2012, the Soul began the season with new head coach Doug Plank. They finished the regular season with the league's best record at 15–3. They would advance to ArenaBowl XXV, but lost to the Arizona Rattlers 72–54. Less than a week later, Plank announced his resignation.
In 2013, the Soul hired offensive coordinator, Clint Dolezel, to succeed Plank. Dolezel's familiarity with many of the Soul players made it easy for the team to maintain success through the 2013 season. The Soul finished the regular season 12-6, winning the Eastern Division for a second season in a row. Dolezel would lead the Soul back to ArenaBowl XXVI, but the team once again fell to the Rattlers 48-39.
In September 2014, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston bought a share of the team; Jaworski remained the majority owner. In August 2015, additional pieces of the team were sold to Colston's Saints teammate, Philadelphia native Jahri Evans, and to former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil.
- On Sunday, February 13, 2005, in a week-three home game against the Nashville Kats, quarterback Tony Graziani threw for six touchdowns, one of which came on a third-quarter play from their own five-yard line. Graziani got the snap, tripped over his own fullback's foot, and threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to OS Steve Smith off his own knee. The Soul won the game. It appeared on The Best Damn Sports Show Period's Top 50 Spectacular Plays.
- On Saturday, April 24, 2004, the Soul were trailing to the New York Dragons by a point with 1.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Soul had the ball at their own two-yard line. Ken Hinsley kicked a field goal from the back of the endzone which just barely made it over the crossbar as the buzzer went off, winning the game for the Soul, 60–58.
- Since its inception, the Philadelphia Soul has been deeply involved in the community. In 2006, The Philadelphia Soul Foundation was formed to further the organization's commitment to the Philadelphia area. Former President Bill Clinton joined Soul majority owner Jon Bon Jovi on stage to announce a project that would rehab 15 townhouses in North Philadelphia. Scheduled to open in November 2007, the homes will also be eco-friendly, not only saving money for its new tenants, but improving the environment as well.
- On Saturday, July 12, 2008, the Philadelphia Soul defeated the Cleveland Gladiators 70–35 in the AFL National Conference Title game, earning their first ArenaBowl berth in Arena Bowl XXII.
- On Sunday, July 27, 2008, the Philadelphia Soul defeated the San Jose SaberCats in Arena Bowl XXII, 59–56, capturing their first Arena Bowl championship.
- On August 26, 2016, the Soul defeated the Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XXIX, 56-42, to win their second championship in franchise history after two previous unsuccessful attempts against the Rattlers. Their final regular-season home game and two playoff games were moved to the PPL Center in nearby Allentown, Pennsylvania, as the Wells Fargo Center hosted the Democratic National Convention weeks earlier.
The Soul and Pittsburgh Power were both located in Pennsylvania and the Power began play in 2011. From that season this was a major rivalry for both teams as both were part of the same division. As members of the East Division, the Soul and Power met twice a year, with each team hosting one home game. The series was tied 4-4 by the end of the 2014 season. The Power franchise folded in the 2014-15 off season due to poor attendance numbers, and many of the Power's key franchise players signed with the Soul when Pittsburgh folded.
The Dallas Desperados were one of the Soul's biggest rivals. This rivalry originally spurred from the rivalry of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, but made its way indoors with the Soul and Desperados battling for Eastern Division titles. The Soul lost the first game in this rivalry 51-47 on February 15, 2004. The all-time series ended tied at 5-5 at the demise of the Desperados franchise.
Not as big as the rivalries between the Power and Desperados, the Cleveland Gladiators are still in the East Division with the Soul. The rivalry started in 2008 when the Gladiators moved from Las Vegas to Cleveland, moving them into the same conference and division as the Soul. In their first ever meeting the Gladiators defeated the Soul 63-35. The Gladiators lead the all-time series 7-4.
The rivalry between the Soul and the Jacksonville Sharks truly began in 2012, the Sharks' defending Arena Bowl championship season and just their second year in the league. Philadelphia hosted the defending champions in the American Conference championship, which the Soul ran away with 89-34 to advance to the Arena Bowl. The following season, the Sharks would finish with the highest record in the conference and would host the Soul in the conference championship, which the Soul would win again, this time 75-59. In the 2015 off season, Soul legends Derrick Ross, Tiger Jones and Jason Holman left the Soul and signed with Jacksonville, and when the Sharks returned to Philadelphia for their third conference championship match up in four seasons, Jacksonville finally overcame the Soul 61-56 to advance to the Arena Bowl. The all-time series is tied at 6-6.
Logo and uniforms
The Soul logo is a music note with a white football inside. Their original home jersey was a dark grey, and the road jersey was white. After experimenting with white and silver helmets during the 2004 Preseason, they adopted a dark grey helmet. In 2008, they introduced a blue alternate jersey PHL on the chest and grey pants. The blue jersey was worn throughout the entire 2008 playoffs, including ArenaBowl XXII. However, the blue jerseys did not return when the Soul returned in 2011. On March 13, 2012 the Soul unveiled a modified version of their blue jerseys to become their new home jerseys and matching white road jerseys, as well as a powder blue helmet for their road uniforms. For 2016, they reverted to grey home jerseys.
Philadelphia Soul roster
| Offensive linemen
| Injured reserve
Refused to report
Other league exempt
Rookies in italics
Arena Football League Hall of Famers
|Philadelphia Soul Hall of Famers|
|No.||Name||Year Inducted||Position(s)||Years w/ Soul|
|--||Clint Dolezel||2012||Head Coach||2013–present|
|--||Mike Hohensee||2012||Head Coach||2011|
The following Soul players have been named to All-Arena Teams:
- QB Matt D'Orazio (1), Dan Raudabaugh (2)
- FB Derrick Ross (3), Tommy Taggart (1), Jeramie Richardson (1)
- WR Chris Jackson (1), Donovan Morgan (1), Tiger Jones (2), Marco Thomas (1)
- OL/DL Ernest Allen (1)
- OL Phil Bogle (2), Mike Mabry (1), Martin Bibla (1), Brennen Carvalho (1), Christian Johnson (1), Wayne Tribue (1), Shannon Breen (1), Adam Smith (2), Neal Tivis (1)
- DL Bryan Save (1), Gabe Nyenhuis (1), Bryan Robinson (3), Ted Jennings (2), Jake Metz (1)
- LB Joe Goosby (1)
- DB Eddie Moten (2), Kent Richardson (1), Rayshaun Kizer (2), James Romain (1), Tracy Belton (1), Dwayne Hollis (1)
- DS Eddie Moten (1)
- K Carlos Martinez (1), Tommy Frevert (2)
The following Soul players have been named to All-Ironman Teams:
The following Soul players have been named to All-Rookie Teams:
Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2016 Arena Football League season.
|Clint Dolezel||2013–present||60||28||0||.682||6||3||Coach of the Year (2015, 2016)|
|Philadelphia Soul staff|
| Front Office
- "SoulMan". www.philadelphiasoul.com. Philadelphia Soul. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Feb. 17, 2010 Teleconference
- news about arena league from nfl.com
- "Philadelphia Soul return to AFL". June 15, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Sean Leahy (June 15, 2010). "Ex-champion Philadelphia Soul returning to Arena Football League". www.usatoday.com. USA Today. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- John George (August 31, 2010). "Philadelphia Soul hire new coach". www.philadelphia.bizjournals.com. American City Business Journals. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- "Plank Resigns as Philadelphia Soul Head Coach". www.philadelphiasoul.com. Philadelphia Soul. August 16, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
- Anthony Caruso III (August 17, 2012). "Soul in talks to hire Clint Dolezel as its new head coach". www.thecapitalsportsreport.com. The Capital Sports Report. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- "Soul win fourth straight, clinch East Division". csnphilly.com. Comcast Sportsnet Philly L.P. June 29, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Joe Williams (August 17, 2013). "ArenaBowl XXVI: Rattlers win 2nd Arena Football League title in row". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Barkowitz, Ed (October 1, 2014). "Saints WR Marques Colston buys share in Philadelphia Soul". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
- "Dick Vermeil, Jahri Evans buy ownership stakes in Soul". Associated Press at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. August 20, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-21.
- http://www.arenafootball.com/mediaPlayer/video.dbml?DB_MENU_ID=&SPSID=38064&SPID=3172&DB_OEM_ID=3500&CLIP_ID=31065&CLIP_FILE_ID=35080&CONTENT_TYPE=ONDEMAND "Graziani to Smith" Check
|url=value (help). www.arenafootball.com. Arena Football League.
- Aaron Rieber (March 12, 2011). "Pittsburgh Power lose innaugural game to Philly in overtime". www.kidsportsmagazine.com. Pittsburgh Sports Report, Inc. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "Indoors, Old Rivalry With a New Twist". www.nytimes.com. The New York Times Company. April 27, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- Jeff Schudel (August 7, 2013). "Rivalry renewed for Gladiators, Soul". www.morningjournal.com. The Morning Journal. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "Belton Awarded Riddell Defensive Player of the Year". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. August 25, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Michael Trigg". www.arenafan.com. ArenaFan. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
- "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: James Fuller". www.arenafan.com. ArenaFan. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
- "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Bret Munsey". www.arenafan.com. ArenaFan. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
- "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Mike Hohensee". www.arenafan.com. ArenaFan. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Doug Plank". www.arenafan.com. ArenaFan. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Clint Dolezel". www.arenafan.com. ArenaFan. Retrieved August 28, 2015.