Will the Third Time Be a Charm for the Storm?

Marcelo Metzelar, Contributing Writer

The Arizona Rattlers and Sioux Falls Storm face each other for the third time this season, on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 9:00pm EDT. This time, it is for the whole enchilada! United Bowl XI completes the Indoor Football bowls historic eleventh season – only a handful of professional football leagues can claim such longevity. The two participants are no strangers to championship games. The Sioux Falls Storm are gunning for their 7th United Bowl Trophy. The Arizona Rattlers want to claim their second United Bowl Trophy, but 7th Championship overall, having won 5 Arena Bowl Championships prior to joining the IFL in 2017. With so much winning history for both teams, Saturday’s game should be billed as a clash of the titans! 

Match Up: Rattler’s Offense vs Storm’s Defense

Arizona’s offense has been on fire all year, scoring a league leading 879 points for the regular season and 62.8 points per game – that is over a point per minute! Heading into the playoffs, the Rattlers did not slow down scoring 62 points in their lone playoff game. Arizona also leads the league in total yards and rushing yards. Sioux Falls’ defense allows 42.1 points per game which is good for fourth in the league. The Storm defense is also fourth in total yards allowed.  Advantage: Arizona.

Match Up: Storm’s Offense vs Rattler’s Defense

Sioux Falls has scored 738 points for the regular season and 52.7 points per game. Meanwhile, the Rattler’s defense ranked second in the league, allowing 219.4 yards per game. In the playoffs, Sioux Falls is slightly below their average, scoring 50 points vs Tucson in their first playoff game and 52 vs Iowa in the conference championship.  Also, the turnover ratio heavily favors the Rattlers. 

Advantage: Arizona.

Match Up: Special Teams

There is hidden yardage in the kicking game. Return yards give better field position providing better opportunities for the offense. The Rattlers 20.1 average return yards leads the league, while Sioux Falls is short by about six yards. Sioux Falls does boast a 64.3% field goal percentage. Arizona’s field goal percentage is only 45.5%. However, field goals in indoor football represent an inability to score touchdowns. Sioux Falls’ 28 attempts are about two and a half times Arizona’s 11 attempts.

Advantage: Arizona. 

Intangibles:

Sioux Falls leads the league in fewest penalty yards with 565. That sort of discipline goes a long way in building champions. The Rattlers are at the bottom of the list with 1022 penalty yards. Nearly double Sioux Falls’ yards and the length of 10 indoor football fields! It’s obvious that Arizona has overcome these penalties throughout the year; that is evidenced by their unblemished 15-0 record. This is also an Arizona home game where they have an average attendance of over 13,500 crazed fans dressed in copper, black, and teal. 

Advantage: Arizona


Arizona (Rk)

Sioux Falls (Rk)
15-0 (14-0) (1st)Record (reg season)13-3 (11-3) (3rd)

Offense
3864 (1)Total Yards3481 (5th) 
2206 (4)Passing Yards2158 (5)
1658 (1)Rushing Yards1333 (4)
879 (1)Points Scored738 (4) 

Defense
219.4 (2)Total Yards/Game228.2 (4)
134.5 (1)Passing Yards/Game158.4 (7)
84.9 (6)Rushing Yards/Game69.9 (3)
34.4 (1)Points Allowed/Game42.1 (4)

Special Teams
20.1 (1) Average KO Return Yards14.8 (8)
45.5 (3)FG%64.3 (1)

Misc
1022 (10)Penalty Yards565 (1)
53% (2)3rd Down Conv56% (1)
27:57 (10)Time of Possession30:00 (7)

While historically, both teams are champions, the data tells me that this is Arizona’s year. In their third year in the league, they are on pace to win their second United Bowl Trophy. And while numbers and stats are great, they don’t win games – players do. Football is an unpredictable sport. Regardless of who you cheer for, this is going to be one heck of a game!

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