In 2008 the Philadelphia Soul won the Arena Football League championship. The league folded in the off-season following their title win but has now returned. On Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Soul played their home opener (their first home game in over 1,000 days) against the Tampa Bay Storm.
Aside from being the reigning champions of the league, the Soul were best known in Philadelphia for owner Jon Bon Jovi who has since moved on from his ownership role. Former Philadelphia Eagles QB Ron Jaworski is the Soul team president.
The Soul got the ball to open the game and scored a TD on their opening drive (a rush by QB Ryan Vena). The Storm quickly answered with a passing TD of their own. On the next possession, Vena threw a 37 yard strike to WR Donovan Morgan. Again the Storm answered with their second TD from QB Grant Gregory to WR Hank Edwards, but K Kyle Chilton couldn’t convert the extra point, making it 14-13 Soul.
Each team scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter (another rushing TD by Vena to go along with a kick-return TD from Tanner Varner for the Soul and two more passing TD’s for Gregory for the Storm). Chilton had his extra point blocked on the Storm’s second TD of the quarter and the score was 28-26 at half time.
The third quarter belonged solely to Philadelphia as Vena threw two more TD passes to put the Soul up 41-26.
Then came the heartbreaking fourth quarter. Tampa Bay came storming back, scoring three straight TD’s (and one two point conversion) to take the lead 48-41 with just under two minutes to play. The Soul rebounded and scored to tie the game with 46 seconds remaining, but on the final play of the game Kyle Chilton connected on a game winning field-goal and the Storm rolled out of Philly with a 51-48 lead.
The Soul, now 1-4, will travel to San Jose next Saturday and Iowa the following weekend before returning home on May 6th to host Jacksonville.
Eagles coach Andy Reid and Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis were among the attendees at Friday night’s game.
You can view our complete photo-gallery from the game by: