2015 San Jose SaberCats season

The 2015 San Jose SaberCats season was the team's 19th in San Jose, California. The team was coached by Darren Arbet and played their home games at the SAP Center at San Jose. They finished first in the Pacific Division with a 17–1 regular season record and went on to defeat the Jacksonville Sharks 68–47 in ArenaBowl XXVIII.

2015 San Jose SaberCats season
OwnerJohn Fry
William Randy Fry
David Fry
Kathryn J. Kolder
Darren Arbet
Head coachDarren Arbet
General managerDarren Arbet
Home fieldSAP Center at San Jose
Results
Record17–1
Division place1st NC Pacific
Playoff finishWon Conference Semifinal (Thunder) 55–28
Won NC Championship (Rattlers) 70–67
Won ArenaBowl XXVIII (Jacksonville) 68–47

Season summaryEdit

The SaberCats, following a tough loss to the Arizona Rattlers in the 2014 National Conference Championship Game, made a number of key moves in the 2014–15 offseason. The most notable of these moves saw the SaberCats sign quarterback Erik Meyer, the 2013 AFL MVP, to replace outgoing quarterback Russ Michna. The team revamped its secondary with the signings of superstar cornerback Virgil Gray and promising young defensive back Eric Crocker; the team also traded with the Portland Thunder for defensive lineman Donte Paige-Moss, who ultimately filled in for outgoing free agent Joe Sykes. These players joined a strong defensive core of David Hyland, Ken Fontenette, Francis Maka, Luis Vasquez, and 2014 Defensive Player of the Year Jason Stewart.

In addition to signing Meyer, the SaberCats made a handful of key additions on offense. They greatly bolstered their receiving corps by signing 2014 All-Arena receiver Darius Reynolds and 2013 Receiver of the Year Adron Tennell (both of which were to fill the void left by the loss of Dominique Curry); these signings added to a group that included superstar wideout Reggie Gray and veteran Ben Nelson. The SaberCats also traded for experienced center Jeff Maddux and signed 2014 All-Arena offensive lineman Colin Madison; these players joined star linemen George Bussey and Rich Ranglin. The team also retained All-Arena fullback Odie Armstrong and 2014 Kicker of the Year Nich Pertuit.

The SaberCats began their season in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they cruised to a 59–41 victory. The SaberCats then won each of their next ten games, mostly in lopsided fashion; over that span, only one team (the Tampa Bay Storm) lost by single digits. The SaberCats played fantastic defense despite the Week 3 loss of Virgil Gray to injury; he was replaced by Hall of Fame cornerback (and SaberCats legend) Clevan Thomas. On June 7, following a Portland Thunder loss, the 11–0 SaberCats clinched their second consecutive (and tenth overall) division championship. This ensured that they would reach the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.

The SaberCats' remarkable run ended one week later against the Los Angeles Kiss, who were 1–9 at the time. After forcing overtime on the final play of the fourth quarter, the SaberCats turned the ball over on downs; a subsequent Los Angeles score sealed a 48–42 loss. The SaberCats regrouped, winning their final six regular season games; their 17–1 record tied the 2014 Cleveland Gladiators for the best regular season finish in AFL history. The SaberCats triumphed despite losing George Bussey and Adron Tennell to injury; they replaced the players with center Antonio Narcisse and All-Arena wideout Maurice Purify, respectively. Numerous players received awards at the end of the season; most notable was Reggie Gray's selection as Wide Receiver of the Year. Gray finished the campaign with a franchise-record 44 receiving touchdowns.

In the first round of the playoffs, the SaberCats faced the Portland Thunder (who they crushed in a 55–28 rout). They then defeated their rivals, the three-time defending champion Arizona Rattlers, by the score of 70–67 in the Conference Championship game; the game was ultimately decided by a controversial call made with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter. The SaberCats proceeded to ArenaBowl XXVIII, where they faced off against the American Conference Champion Jacksonville Sharks; after a back-and-forth first half, the heavily favored SaberCats pulled away with 34 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters (including two defensive touchdowns by David Hyland). The SaberCats won the game by the score of 68–47; in doing so, they became the only team in AFL history to win 20 games in a season.[1] They joined the 2002 SaberCats as the only one-loss teams in league history.

The 2015 San Jose SaberCats posted, in many regards, the most dominant regular season in AFL history. They boasted the league's #1 offense and #1 defense; their point differential of +399 was the largest in league history. Similarly, the SaberCats averaged 22.17 more points per game than their opponents; this is the largest Margin of Victory (MOV) in AFL history. According to Arenafan.com, after accounting for league averages, the 2015 SaberCats' defense was the most dominant of all time.

StandingsEdit

2015 National Conference standings
Team Overall Points Records
W L T PCT PF PA DIV CON Home Away
Pacific Division
(1) San Jose SaberCats 17 1 0 .944 1061 662 6–0 13–1 8–1 9–0
(3) Spokane Shock 7 11 0 .389 847 971 2–4 6–8 4–5 3–6
(4) Portland Thunder 5 13 0 .278 819 908 1–5 4–10 5–4 0–9
West Division
(2) Arizona Rattlers 14 4 0 .778 1003 825 5–1 10–4 8–1 6–3
Las Vegas Outlaws 5 12 1 .306 740 909 3–3 5–9 3–5–1 2–7
Los Angeles Kiss 4 14 0 .222 724 915 1–5 4–10 3–6 1–8

ScheduleEdit

Regular seasonEdit

The 2015 regular season schedule was released on December 19, 2014.[2]

Week Day Date Kickoff Opponent Results Location Attendance Report
Score Record
1 Monday March 30 7:30 p.m. PDT at Las Vegas Outlaws W 59–41 1–0 Thomas & Mack Center 6,569 [3]
2 Saturday April 4 7:30 p.m. PDT Los Angeles KISS W 54–28 2–0 SAP Center at San Jose 10,175 [4]
3 Friday April 10 4:30 p.m. PDT at Tampa Bay Storm W 36–27 3–0 Amalie Arena 8,588 [5]
4 Friday April 17 5:00 p.m. PDT at Jacksonville Sharks W 68–48 4–0 Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena 7,596 [6]
5 Saturday April 25 7:30 p.m. PDT Portland Thunder W 64–45 5–0 SAP Center at San Jose 7,125 [7]
6 Saturday May 2 6:00 p.m. PDT at Arizona Rattlers W 56–34 6–0 Talking Stick Resort Arena 8,249 [8]
7 Saturday May 9 7:30 p.m. PDT Las Vegas Outlaws W 61–28 7–0 SAP Center at San Jose 8,600
8 Saturday May 16 7:00 p.m. PDT at Spokane Shock W 83–28 8–0 Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena 7,519 [9]
9 Saturday May 23 7:30 p.m. PDT Cleveland Gladiators W 70–58 9–0 SAP Center at San Jose 7,474 [10]
10 Saturday May 30 3:00 p.m. PDT at Portland Thunder W 61–42 10–0 Moda Center 8,815 [11]
11 Friday June 5 7:30 p.m. PDT Spokane Shock W 55–26 11–0 SAP Center at San Jose 7,662 [12]
12 Saturday June 13 7:30 p.m. PDT Los Angeles KISS L 42–48 (OT) 11–1 SAP Center at San Jose 9,132 [13]
13 Sunday June 21 2:00 p.m. PDT at Las Vegas Outlaws W 63–21 12–1 Thomas & Mack Center 2,166 [14]
14 Friday June 26 7:00 p.m. PDT at Spokane Shock W 62–27 13–1 Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena 7,618 [15]
15 Bye
16 Friday July 10 7:30 p.m. PDT New Orleans VooDoo W 56–35 14–1 SAP Center at San Jose 9,321 [16]
17 Saturday July 18 7:30 p.m. PDT Portland Thunder W 55–49 (OT) 15–1 SAP Center at San Jose 9,211 [17]
18 Bye
19 Friday July 31 7:30 p.m. PDT Arizona Rattlers W 56–29 16–1 SAP Center at San Jose 10,633 [18]
20 Saturday August 8 7:00 p.m. PDT at Los Angeles KISS W 60–38 17–1 Honda Center 9,854 [19]

PlayoffsEdit

Round Day Date Kickoff Opponent Results Location Attendance Report
NC Semifinals Friday August 14 7:30 p.m. PDT Portland Thunder W 55–28 SAP Center at San Jose 10,060 [20]
NC Championship Saturday August 22 5:00 p.m. PDT Arizona Rattlers W 70–67 Stockton Arena
ArenaBowl XXVIII Saturday August 29 7:00 p.m. EDT Jacksonville Sharks W 68–47 Stockton Arena 9,115

RosterEdit

2015 San Jose SaberCats roster
Quarterbacks

Fullbacks

Wide receivers

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Kickers

Injured reserve

Refuse to report

  • Currently vacant

League suspension

Other league exempt

Inactive reserve

Recallable reassignment

  • Currently vacant

Rookies in italics
Roster updated August 21, 2015
24 Active, 23 Inactive

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Markowitz, Adam (August 29, 2015). "ArenaBowl XXVIII Records and Factoids". arenafan.com. Archived from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "2015 AFL Schedule" (PDF). ww.grfx.cstv.com. Arena Football League. Retrieved December 22, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "SaberCats Corral Outlaws 59-41 in Season Opener". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. March 31, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Aseltine, Griffin (April 5, 2015). "SaberCats Receiving Corps Plays a Key Role in 2-0 Start". ArenaFan. Arenafan.com. Retrieved April 19, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "SaberCats Defeat Storm 36-27". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. April 10, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "SaberCats fend off the Sharks with a 68–48 victory". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. April 17, 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "San Jose SaberCats defeat Portland Thunder 64-45". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. April 26, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "San Jose SaberCats defeat Arizona Rattlers, 56-34". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. May 3, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "San Jose SaberCats defeat Spokane Shock, 83-28". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "San Jose SaberCats comeback, defeat Cleveland Gladiators, 70-58". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. May 24, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "San Jose SaberCats hold off Portland Thunder, 61-42". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. May 30, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "San Jose SaberCats remain unbeaten with 55-26 win over Spokane Shock". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. June 6, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "San Jose SaberCats Fall in Overtime, 48-42 to LA KISS". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. June 14, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "San Jose SaberCats Ride Big Second Half to Beat Las Vegas Outlaws, 63-31". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. June 21, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "San Jose SaberCats score 42 straight, defeat Spokane Shock, 62-27". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. June 27, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "San Jose SaberCats cruise past New Orleans VooDoo, 56-35". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. July 11, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "San Jose SaberCats Hold On in OT, 55-49 Over Portland Thunder". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. July 19, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "San Jose SaberCats roar back to defeat Arizona Rattlers, 56-29". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. August 1, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "San Jose SaberCats hold off LA KISS for 60-38 victory to end regular season". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. August 9, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ "San Jose SaberCats advance with a 55-28 win over the Portland Thunder". San Jose SaberCats. Arenafan.com. August 15, 2015. Retrieved August 15, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)