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Utah Blaze
Utah Blaze Logo
The current logo for the Utah Blaze football team

Founded:

2006

Arena:

EnergySolutions Arena

Location:

Salt Lake City, Utah

Team Colors:

Black, Orange, White

Owner(s):

Logan Hunter, Kim Brown, Ron James, Isaac Jacobson, Justin Hyde, Tyler Norton, Cody Hyde

Current Head Coach:

None

Division Titles:

0

Championships:

0

Dancers:

Blaze Dancers

Mascot:

Torch

The Utah Blaze are an inactive franchise primarily recognized by the Arena Football Team. The original Utah franchise lasted from 2006 to 2008 in the AFL, when their organization announced that they would be leaving the AFL to move to the American Indoor Football Association under the name Utah Valley Thunder. After only one year, Utah decided to return to the AFL under their original name. They did not participate in the 2014 Arena Football season.

Original Franchise and Departure (2006-2008)Edit

The Utah Blaze entered the AFL in 2006 and were coached by former NFL quarterback and Arizona Rattlers head coach Danny White. Their first game came against the San Jose SaberCats, whom they defeated 48-35. After an impressive debut, the Blaze would lose their next three games. This could be due in part to the uncertainty at the quarterback position, in which three different quarterbacks started for the Blaze at some point in the season. The Blaze would go 2-1 the following three weeks, bringing their record to 3-4. The Blaze's season took a turn for the worse when they suffered a four game losing streak. Then it started to look up as they won three games straight after that, putting their record at 6-8. Utah would go on to lose against the Chicago Rush the following week, needing a win to make the playoffs, despite having a losing record. In the final week of the regular season, Utah pulled off a 55-54 victory against the Kansas City Command, projecting them into the playoffs in their first season in the AFL with an overall record of 7-9 for the 2006 season. Utah would go on to face coach White's former Rattlers team in the playoffs, where the Blaze were crushed 34-57.

Going into the 2007 season, the Blaze were complacent with Joe Germaine as their starting quarterback, hoping that would create some stability for the team and keep them consistent. The Blaze opened the season with a two game winning streak. Their first loss came at the hands of the Nashville Kats in week three. After their first loss, the Blaze went 3-1 in the next four weeks, bringing their record up to 5-2. Unfortunately, consistency did play a key in the Blaze's season, because beginning in week eight, they would go on to lose five games in a row. At 5-7, things weren't looking good for the Blaze's season. Fortunately for the Blaze, they came back for one last playoff push, going 3-1 in the final four weeks of the season, finishing the 2007 regular season with a record of 8-8 and were heading back to the playoffs for a second straight season. The Blaze would face the divisional rival Los Angeles Avengers in the first round of the playoffs, where they suffered the same fate against the Rattlers last season, losing the game 42-64.

With their third season in full view, the Utah Blaze were expected to perform better and more consistently than in previous seasons under head coach Danny White. To begin the 2008 season, the Blaze would face the divisional rival Arizona Rattlers, losing in a close bout, finishing 62-63. The Blaze would go on to lose the next three games by a combined 14 points in that time-span. The losing didn't end there, as Utah would continue to lose until week ten with a 67-50 win over the Kansas City Command, putting their record at 1-9. Despite their record, the Blaze still had a minimal chance to make the playoffs, and this seemed to play a prt in the second half of the season, as the Blaze would finish the season 5-1. The Blaze finished the regular season with a record of 6-10, amazingly making the playoffs for the third straight season without a winning season. Although, as if fate intended it, the Blaze would go on to lose in the first round of the playoffs against the Colorado Crush.

Prior to the 2009 season, the Utah Blaze announced that they would be withdrawing from the AFL to join the AIFA under new title Utah Valley Thunder. The team then fired head coach Danny White.

Returning to the AFL (2010-Present)Edit

After one year with the AIFA, the Utah Valley Thunder announced that they would be returning to the AFL under the former Utah Blaze name and franchise. The team hired Ernesto Purnsley as head coach of the Blaze, but were unable to acquire Joe Germaine back at starting quarterback. In their first season back in the AFL, Utah would start with a three game losing streak, losing by a combined 66 points in that time span. The Blaze would get their first win over the since-merged Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings. The next week, the Blaze would lose in an overtime game against the Milwaukee Mustangs, with the final score being 55-56. This loss would spark a massive slump faced by the Blaze for the remainder of the season. The Blaze would lose the next nine games, allowing opponents to score an average of an astounding 71 points per game. During this time, after a loss to the Arizona Rattlers, the Blaze fired head coach Ernesto Purnsley and hired Ron James to replace him. Purnsley recorded a 1-6 record with the Blaze. Under head coach Ron James, the Blaze didn't fare much better. After the nine game losing streak, the Blaze picked up their second win of the season against the Dallas Vigilantes. The Blaze would lose the final game of the season, putting their record for the 2010 season at 2-14.

After a troubling season, the Utah Blaze acquired former Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz quarterback Tommy Grady and decided to stick with head coach Ron James. With explosive receivers already in place, the Blaze hoped that the fresh hands at quarterback would vitally improve their team effort. The team opened up the 2011 season with a thrashing victory over the Tampa Bay Storm, winning 72-36. The win would only be the start of a frustrating lack of consistency going through week ten, when the Blaze went 4-5 during that stretch, putting them at 5-4 midway through the season. The Blaze began to burn out as they would lose three straight games by a combined 77 points. The Blaze would finish the season going 4-2 in the final weeks of the regular season, giving them an overall record of 9-9 for the 2011 regular season. They did not make the playoffs.

With a drastically improved record, the Utah Blaze prepared for the 2012 season with minimal changes to the team. The Blaze began the 2012 season with a loss to the San Antonio Talons. The loss meant little to the Blaze's production as they would go 6-1 through week eight. Despite an explosive offense, the Blaze suffered a three game losing streak midway through the season, losing to all other members of their division. The Blaze came roaring back, however, as they ripped through a six game winning streak to improve their record to 12-5, securing a playoff spot. With the final game all but meaningless, the Blaze lost the final game of the regular season to the Philadelphia Soul, putting their overall record for the 2012 regular season at 12-6. During this time, quarterback Tommy Grady had set a single-season record for most passing touchdowns in a single season with 142. This performance would later give him the title of League MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. With a hot streak going, the Utah Blaze's offense fizzled out in the playoffs by barely winning over the divisional rival San Antoino Talons in a 34-35 win. Their offense returned in the National Conference Game, but it would prove meaningless as the Arizona Rattlers defeated the Utah Blaze to advance to Arena Bowl XXV.

After winning their first playoff game in team history, the Utah Blaze set out to follow-up a record-breaking offensive season.

Roster (As of 4/9/13)Edit

Quarterbacks:Edit

  • Jason Boltus
  • Tommy Grady
  • Nick Stephens***

Fullbacks:Edit

  • Ben Stallings+

Wide Receivers:Edit

  • Jovonne Augustus**
  • Braylon Bell**
  • LaMark Brown***
  • Paul Cox, Jr*
  • Mike Preston***
  • LJ Castile
  • Chase Deadder
  • Aaron LeSue+
  • Brandon Thompkins
  • Mario Urrutia

Offensive Linemen:Edit

  • Jermarcus Hardrick
  • Clay Harrell+**
  • Tony Narcisse
  • Khreem Smith+***
  • Bryce Tennison
  • Shannon Tevaga+
  • Neal Tivis

Linebackers:Edit

  • Antwan Marsh
  • Joe Mortensen
  • Ben Stallings+

Defensive Linemen:Edit

  • Mike Alston
  • Luke Black
  • Clay Harrell+**
  • Keenan Mace
  • Caesar Rayford
  • Khreem Smith+***
  • Shannon Tevaga+

Defensive Backs:Edit

  • Marcus Brown
  • Josh Ferguson**
  • David Hyland
  • Maurice Leggett
  • Al Phillips
  • Dion Turner***

Kickers:Edit

  • Adrian Trevino

Overall StatisticsEdit

Overall Record: 46-62

Home Record: 25-28

Away Record: 21-34

Overtime Record: 0-2

Playoff Record: 1-4

Total Seasons Played in the AFL: 7

Most Points Scored in a Game: 84 (5/04/12)

Least Points Scored in a Game: 20 (7/16/10)

Best Single-Season Record: 12-6 (2012)

Worst Single-Season Record: 2-14 (2010)

Longest Winning Streak: 6

Longest Losing Streak: 10

Longest Home Winning Streak: 5

Longest Road Winning Streak: 3

Symbol DefinitionsEdit

+ - Player holds multiple positions.

* - Player has been suspended from the AFL.

** - Player is currently injured.

*** - Player is exempt from their team.

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