Ranking the Bay Area’s Pro Sports Teams Part I
Phil Glover #31 and Brian Johnson #27 of the San Jose SaberCats celebrate on the field with the Foster ArenaBowl Trophy after the SaberCats 55-33 victory against the Columbus Destroyers to win ArenaBowl XXI at New Orleans Arena on July 29, 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Credit: Doug Benc
#8. San Jose SaberCats
Holding up the caboose on our list is the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. The new AFL is not so young anymore, and the San Jose SaberCats have become a powerhouse in its short lifespan. The SaberCats were an expansion team in 1995, and since then they have made the playoffs in every year except for five (1996, 1999, 2009, 2010, and 2011). Along with becoming playoff regulars, the ‘Cats have added 10 division championships, two conference championships, and three AFL championships to their resume.
The Arena Football League is a strange but entertaining league, and it has had the pleasure of having players like current Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. One of the most successful SaberCat players was quarterback Mark Grieb, who won the AFL Offensive Player of the Year award and lead the ‘Cats to their first championship by beating the Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XVI. The UC Davis graduate Grieb holds the AFL record in completion percentage for one year (73%), career passer rating (121.93), and is ranked as the 18th best player in AFL history.
Today, the ‘Cats are lead by former Eastern Washington quarterback Erik Meyer, who won the AFL Offensive Player of the Year award in 2013. Meyer had a short stint with the Seattle Seahawks in 2007 and another in 2008 with the Oakland Raiders. Meyer and wide receiver Brandon Collins aim to become the best QB-WR combination in the AFL.