Philadelphia Soul

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Posted by bender 04/15/2009 @ 16:13

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Philadelphia Soul

Philadelphia Soul

The Philadelphia Soul are a professional arena football team in the Arena Football League. They began play in 2004 as a expansion team. The team plays in the Eastern Division of the National Conference. They won their first ArenaBowl in 2008, defeating the San Jose SaberCats 59-56 in ArenaBowl XXII.

The team is owned by co-majority owners Jon Bon Jovi and Craig Spencer along with minority owners Ron "Jaws" Jaworski (former QB of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles) and Leo Carlin, Jr. The Soul began play in February of 2004, and plays its home games at the Wachovia Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association. When there is a scheduling conflict with the NBA or NHL, games are played at the Wachovia Spectrum—the former home of the Flyers and 76ers and the current home of the Philadelphia Phantoms AHL hockey team and the Philadelphia KiXX MISL soccer franchise. The Soul play in the Eastern Division of the National Conference of the AFL. The name "Soul" refers to the Philadelphia soul music genre, as the team is owned in part by musician Jon Bon Jovi. The official mascot of the Soul is the Blues Brother-like "Soul Man".

In 2005, the Soul began the season by beating the Austin Wranglers 66-35. However, after five games, the Soul had two wins and three losses, which led to the firing of head coach Michael Trigg.

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 broadcasted simultaniously 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 Arena Bowl. They then won their first ArenaBowl on Sunday, July 27, 2008 in a 59-56 win over the San Jose SaberCats in ArenaBowl XXII.

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Philadelphia soul

For the American arena football team, see Philadelphia Soul.

Philadelphia (or Philly) soul, sometimes called the Philadelphia Sound or Sweet Philly, is a style of soul music characterized by funk influences and lush instrumental arrangements, often featuring sweeping strings and piercing horns. The subtle sound of a glockenspiel can often be heard in the background of philly soul songs. The genre laid the groundwork for Disco and what are now considered Quiet Storm and smooth jazz by fusing the R & B rhythm sections of the 1960s with the Pop Vocal tradition, and featuring a slightly more pronounced Jazz influence in its melodic structures and arrangements.

Due to the emphasis on sound and arrangement and the relative anonymity of many of the "style's" players, Philadelphia soul is often considered a producers' genre.

Philadelphia soul or the sound of Philadelphia songwriters and producers included Thom Bell, Linda Creed, Norman Harris, Dexter Wansel and the production teams of Gene McFadden and John Whitehead, and Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (the latter pair of Philadelphia International Records) worked with a stable of studio musicians to develop the unique Philadelphia sound used as backing for many different singing acts. Many of these musicians would record as the instrumental group MFSB, which had a hit with the seminal Philadelphia soul song "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" in 1974. A notable extension of the Philadelphia sound were bassist Ronald Baker, guitarist Norman Harris and drummer/Trammps baritone Earl Young, (B-H-Y) who also recorded as the Trammps and would produce records themselves. These three were the base rhythm section for MFSB and branched off into a sub-label of Philadelphia International, called Golden Fleece, distributed by CBS Records (now Sony BMG), after which Harris created the Gold Mind label, in conjunction with SalSoul. Gold Mind's roster included First Choice, Loleatta Holloway, and Love Committee (all of whom would feature Baker/Harris/Young productions of their material. Their hit by Double Exposure, Ten Percent, (1976) was the first commercial 12-inch single. The Salsoul Orchestra was composed of key players from MFSB. Salsoul Orchestra (as its name implies) leaned toward R&B-Latin-fused musical flavor. The group was conducted by one-time Mike Douglas television show bandleader/vibraphonist, Vincent Montana Jr., another founding MFSB member.

Philadelphia soul was popular throughout the 1970s and it set the stage for the studio constructions of disco and urban contemporary music that emerged later in the decade.

This style of music has had a very heavy influence on later Philadelphia acts, most notably Boyz II Men, Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild.

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2004 Philadelphia Soul season

The 2004 Philadelphia Soul season was the inaugural season of the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena Football League. It was a disappointing season for the Soul, finishing with a record of 5-11. They won their first game on February 21st vs. the Columbus Destroyers 56-34.

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Arena Football League

The AFL logo from 1987–2002.

The Arena Football League (AFL) was founded in 1987 as an American football indoor league by Jim Foster. The Tampa Bay Storm hold the record for most ArenaBowl championships with five (5) and the current ArenaBowl champions are the Philadelphia Soul. The Storm are the last of the original four Arena Football League teams to still exist. The league's longest tenured commissioner is C. David Baker who held the position for 12 years, from 1996 - 2008.

The AFL's attendance increased dramatically between 2007 and 2008, rising to an average of 12,415 people per game in 2007, and 12,957 per game in 2008, but the increases were accompanied by greatly increased expenses and debt, leading to the cancellation of the 2009 season. Though the 2009 season was cancelled, the AFL continues to maintain a minor league called af2 and plans for the 2010 season to resume play with Pittsburgh as an expansion team.

Eventual Arena Football League founder Jim Foster, a former National Football League and United States Football League executive, originally had a contract in 1983 to play an exhibition on the NBC television network. He abandoned the plan, though, when the USFL was formed and did not return to the new sport until 1986. He set up a "playtest" in Rockford, Illinois at the (Rockford MetroCentre). He set up two teams, the "Miami Vise" and the "Chicago Politicians," made up of semi-pro and former college football players to play against each other to see how his idea would work. The Vise defeated the Politicians 30-18.

The AFL was founded in 1987 as an American football indoor league. The league's inaugural season featured four teams: the Chicago Bruisers, Denver Dynamite, Pittsburgh Gladiators, and Washington Commandos. The teams played a six-game season, culminating in ArenaBowl I, where Denver defeated Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh.

In 1990, Foster was awarded a patent for arena football and the equipment unique to it. This meant that other indoor football leagues must play under significantly different rules; the patent, however, expired on September 30, 2007, opening the door to other indoor football leagues using such rules under Foster's old patent.

From its inception, the AFL operated in a state of semi-obscurity; many Americans had heard the term "arena football" but knew little to nothing about the league itself.

From the 1987 season until the late 1990s, the most exposure the league would receive was on ESPN, which would air tape-delayed games, often well after midnight. The league would receive its first taste of wide exposure in 1998, when Arena Bowl XII was televised nationally as part of ABC's Wide World of Sports.

One of the league's early success stories was the Detroit Drive. A primary team for some of the AFL's most highly regarded players, including George LaFrance, Gary and Alvin Rettig, as well as being a second career chance for quarterback Art Schlichter, the Drive regularly played before sold out crowds at Joe Louis Arena, and went to the ArenaBowl every year of their existence (1988-1993). However, the AFL's first dynasty came to an end when their owner, Mike Ilitch (who also owned Little Caesar's Pizza and the Detroit Red Wings) bought the Detroit Tigers, and sold the team.

Although the Drive left the league, the AFL still has a number of teams today which it considers "dynasties", including the Tampa Bay Storm (the only team that has existed in some form for all twenty seasons), their arch-rival the Orlando Predators, the San Jose SaberCats of the present decade, and their rivals the Arizona Rattlers.

In 1993, the league staged its first, and only to date, All-Star Game in Des Moines, Iowa, the future home of the Iowa Barnstormers, as a fundraiser for flood victims in the area. The National Conference defeated the American Conference 64-40 in front of a crowd of 7,189.

While the aforementioned teams have enjoyed success, many teams in the history of the league have enjoyed little to no success. There are also a number of franchises which existed in the form of a number of unrelated teams under numerous management groups until they folded (an example is the New York CityHawks whose owners transferred the team from New York to Hartford to become the New England Sea Wolves after two seasons, then after another two seasons were sold and became the Toronto Phantoms, who lasted another two seasons until folding). There are a number of reasons why these teams failed, including lack of financial support from owners, lack of media exposure, to the city's plain disinterest in the team. Today, this isn't seen as much of a problem, as team owners typically own other sports franchises as well, receive adequate media coverage from their home cities, and most teams have a sizeable fan base.

The year 2000 brought a heightened interest in the AFL. Then-St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, who was MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV, was first noticed because he played quarterback for the AFL's Iowa Barnstormers. While many sports commentators and fans continued to ridicule the league, Warner's story gave the league positive exposure, and it brought the league a new television deal with TNN, who, unlike ESPN, would televise regular season games live. While it was not financially lucrative, it helped set the stage for what the league would become in the new millennium. Also, the year also brought a spin-off league, the af2, intended to be a developmental league, comparable to the National Football League's NFL Europe. There was a lot of expansion in the 2000s. Expansion teams include the Austin Wranglers, Carolina Cobras, Los Angeles Avengers, Chicago Rush, Detroit Fury, Dallas Desperados, Colorado Crush, New Orleans VooDoo, Philadelphia Soul, Nashville Kats, Kansas City Brigade, and Utah Blaze. The Wranglers, Cobras, Fury, Kats, and VooDoo no longer compete in the AFL, however.

There were also several rule changes. In 2003, the season expanded to 16 games. In 2005, players were no longer allowed to run out of bounds. The only way for a player to go out of bounds is if a player is tackled into the side boards. 2005 also marked the first year the ArenaBowl was played at a neutral site. In 2007, free substitution was allowed. And in 2008, the Jack Linebacker was allowed to go sideboard to sideboard.

The league was expected to cancel its 2009 season, partly because of the economic downturn in 2008. It was announced later that the AFLPA (AFL Player's Association, which consists of all AFL players) agreed to take pay cuts in hopes there would be a 2009 season.

On December 15, 2008, the League's Board of Directors announced that the 2009 season would in fact be canceled, "subject to agreement and cooperation with the Arena Football League Players Association while the League works on developing a long-term plan to improve its economic model." The AFL does plan to resume operations in 2010, and has indicated that the minor league af2 should go ahead with its 2009 schedule. It was announced in an article in Yahoo! Sports at a sports marketing conference that the players and owners have agreed to resume in 2010, with the addition of two new teams and the possible return of the VooDoo to New Orleans as part of a new umbrella ownership under a single entity.

Average attendance for AFL games were around 10,000-11,000 per game in the 1990s, though during the recession connected to the dot-com bubble and the September 11, 2001 attacks average attendance dropped below 10,000 for several years. For the past four seasons, average attendance has been above 12,000, with 12,392 in 2007. Eleven of the seventeen teams in operation in 2007 had average attendance figures over 13,000. In 2008, the overall attendance average increased to 12,957, with 8 teams exceeding 13,000 per game.

Beginning with the 2003 season, the AFL made a deal with NBC to televise league games, which was renewed for another two years in 2005. In conjunction with this, the league moved the beginning of the season from May to February (the week after the NFL's Super Bowl) and scheduled most of its games on Sunday instead of Friday or Saturday as it had in the past. In 2006, because of the XX Winter Olympic Games, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Daytona 500, NBC scaled back from weekly coverage to scattered coverage during the regular season, but committed to a full playoff schedule ending with the 20th ArenaBowl. NBC and the Arena Football League officially severed ties on June 30, 2006, having failed to reach a new broadcast deal. Las Vegas owner Jim Ferraro stated during a radio interview that the reason why a deal failed is because ESPN refused to show highlights or even mention a product being broadcast on NBC.

For the 2006 season only, the AFL added a national cable deal with OLN (now Versus) for eleven regular-season games and one playoff game.

On December 19, 2006, ESPN announced the purchase of a minority stake in the AFL. This deal includes television rights for the ESPN family of networks. ESPN will televise a minimum of 17 regular season games, most on Monday Nights, and 9 playoff games, including ArenaBowl XXI on ABC. The deal resulted in added exposure on ESPN's SportsCenter.

The AFL also has a regional-cable deal with FSN, where FSN regional affiliates in AFL markets carry local team games.

The practice of playing one or two preseason exhibition games by each team before the start of the regular season was discontinued when the NBC contract was initiated, and the regular season was extended from 14 games, the length that it had been since 1996, to 16.

The first video game based on the AFL was Arena Football for the C-64 released in 1988. On May 18, 2000, Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed was released by Midway Games for the PlayStation game console. On February 7, 2006 EA Sports released Arena Football for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. EA Sports released another AFL video game, titled Arena Football: Road to Glory, on February 21, 2007, for the PlayStation 2.

In 2001, Jeff Foley published War on the Floor: An Average Guy Plays in the Arena Football League and Lives to Write About It. The book details a journalist's two preseasons (1999 and 2000) as an offensive specialist/writer with the now-defunct Albany Firebirds. The 5-foot-6 (170 cm), self-described "unathletic writer" played in three preseason games and had one catch for -2 yards.

The Arena Football League has expanded and contracted many times throughout its history. Every year in the AFL there has been at least one team who did not play the previous season with the same name. The league last expanded in 2006, when it went to 19 teams. The league conducted an expansion draft in September 2005 in order to stock the Utah Blaze. Because of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans VooDoo announced that they would suspend operations for 2006. Players under contract to the VooDoo were transferred to the expansion Kansas City Brigade franchise. The 2007 season saw the return of Arena Football to New Orleans, only to fold for a second time after the 2008 season. The Cleveland Gladiators relocated from Las Vegas in 2008.

From the league's inception through ArenaBowl XVIII, the championship game was played at the home highest-seeded remaining team. The AFL then switched to a neutral-site championship, with ArenaBowls XIX and XX in Las Vegas. New Orleans Arena, home of the New Orleans VooDoo, served as the site of ArenaBowl XXI on July 29, 2007. This was the first professional sports championship to be staged in the city since Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. The San Jose SaberCats earned their third championship in six years by defeating the Columbus Destroyers 55-33. Arena Bowl XXI in New Orleans was deemed a success, and the city was chosen to host Arena Bowl XXII, in which the Philadelphia Soul defeated the defending champs San Jose Sabercats.

During a conference call prior to ArenaBowl XX, Commissioner Baker stated publicly the names of several cities that are under consideration for future league expansion. More recently, Baker has reiterated these expansion plans and also stated that the league is considering expansion into international markets based on twenty-one exhibition games. The expansion rights to two other markets have been sold to potential ownership groups, both of which are National Football League team owners in those respective markets. Teams have not yet been placed in those cities.

Most recently the AFL have released a press release stating that they have partnered with German marketing group 2Plus to investigate the possibility of hosting AFL teams in Germany. In mid - August 2008 an AFL delegation including Jerry Kurz visited Germany to speak with 2Plus in person and to visit various possible host cities. During that week a delegation from Amsterdam traveled to Germany to speak to the AFL about Amsterdam hosting a team.

The AFL had their sights set on three possible German host cities.

Düsseldorf or Hamburg was expected to host an exhibition game in 2009. Other cities in Europe have also showed interest in housing an AFL team.

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2007 Philadelphia Soul season

The 2007 Philadelphia Soul season was the fourth season for the franchise. They look to make the playoffs again after finishing 2006 with an 9-7 record. After posting an 8-8 record in the regular season, they hosted their first-ever home playoff game on June 29 against the Orlando Predators, whom they defeated to help clinch the home game the previous week. They subsequently defeated the Predators 41-26.

Bret Munsey started his second season as head coach of the Soul.

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Source : Wikipedia