2013 ArenaBowl: Soul's chances of winning title rests on arm of Dan Raudabaugh
I personally believe that Philadelphia Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh is an elite signal caller in the Arena Football League.
His resume easily supports that.
He was one yard shy of throwing for at least 4,700 yards three seasons in a row in 2013. He’s thrown 311 career touchdowns and at least 90 in each of the last three seasons.
He’s completed at least 64 percent of his passes each of the last three seasons. More importantly, he has taken his team to the playoffs each of the last three seasons and to two consecutive ArenaBowls. He has a postseason record of 4-2.
But Raudabaugh’s resume is missing one very important accolade — an ArenaBowl championship.
That’s the only thing keeping Raudabaugh from going from a very good quarterback in the AFL to a great one.
His counterpart in Saturday’s ArenaBowl, Arizona’s Nick Davila, is already there.
Raudabaugh doesn’t have the individual accolades Davila has, but his numbers are essentially on par with Davila’s.
The one major difference is postseason success, more specifically, ArenaBowl success.
Davila will be playing in his third consecutive ArenaBowl Saturday — something that doesn’t happen often even in the AFL.
He’s 1-1 in his previous outings, but his one win was a stellar performance last year against Raudabaugh and the Soul.
Davila completed 23 of 30 pass attempts for 266 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. If it weren’t for seven of those touchdowns going to Maurice Purify, Davila would have earned MVP honors.
Even in his ArenaBowl loss in 2011, Davila threw for 338 yards, eight touchdowns, one interception and helped his team score 70 points.
Raudabaugh in his lone appearance in the championship game was less than stellar. He completed 26 of 42 passes for 285 yards and threw seven touchdowns, but also threw three early interceptions that was essentially the difference in the game.
You can argue that his performance wasn’t all on him. Arizona was a team on a mission and would have caused havoc for any quarterback that night, even ones the caliber of Raudabaugh.
But it certainly doesn’t look good on the legacy.
The Soul will need Raudabaugh to be much better this time around. Most would say fullback Derrick Ross or wide receiver Tiger Jones is the keys to a Soul victory.
But in the game of football, especially Arena Football, the quarterback is always the key. The Soul’s season shows this to be very true.
Raudabaugh threw 14 interceptions during the regular season, which was down from 18 in 2012. When he did not throw an interception, which occurred 11 times in 2013, the Soul were 10-1.
When he threw at least one, the Soul were 2-5.
In the postseason, Raudabaugh has thrown three, but the Soul managed to pull out both games.
Other than the three interceptions, Raudabaugh has answered the call during these playoffs.
In two playoff games, he’s completed 68 percent of his passes, thrown for 545 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The real litmus test for Raudabaugh comes Saturday, however, against Arizona — a team he’s never beaten, a team the Soul have never beaten.
“I would love to bring another title back to this town of Philadelphia,” Raudabaugh said Tuesday after practice. “Our fans are the best in the league.”
A win Saturday will cement Raudabaugh’s legacy as one of the league’s all-time greats in my eyes.
A loss and the questions that surround Raudabaugh will remain.