PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Soul are headed back to the ArenaBowl.
They earned that berth in the title game with a 69-54 win over Baltimore in the semifinals on Saturday. They will look for a second-straight AFL championship on August 26th when they host the Tampa Bay Storm in ArenaBowl XXX.
There are several reasons why the Soul have won 14 of 15 games (including the playoff victory) this season heading into the ArenaBowl. One of them is defensive end Sean Daniels.
“It feels great,” Daniels told KYW Newsradio after Saturday night’s win. “The best feeling is knowing that I did my job for the guys in that locker room. That’s what I do out there, I go out there and put my best performance for them. We all hold each other accountable, we all fight for one another and it shows and we’re going back to the championship because we all love one another.”
The 25-year-old Daniels went to Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, New Jersey and played his college football at Temple. And while he is now once again playing football in Philadelphia, he had to travel quite the road to get back here after college.
“I actually was working at Clementon Park in Jersey,” he says, “and one of our (Soul assistant) coaches now, Bernie (Nowotarski), he found me. He saw me, he said, ‘You’re like a big guy, do you play football?’ I said, yes, he and I talked, exchanged information and he signed me to the (now defunct) Harrisburg Stampede. That team fell through, so I got on Facebook, started messaging coaches from the Arena League and I got linked up with the Iowa Barnstormers. Played half a season with them, did outstanding, and I went to Canada, the CFL, and I did a training camp, the last week with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, got released and moved out to Green Bay with my older brother Mike Daniels who is (a defensive lineman) with the Packers and I just trained for a whole year with him. Then I came back to Philly, I called my old teammate (current Soul offensive lineman) Wayne Tribue and I said, ‘What can you do to get me with the Soul?’ Came in, did a two-a-day workout, they loved me and the rest [is history].”
Daniels was second in the AFL in sacks this season (behind teammate Beau Bell) with 9.5. He talks about the difference in rushing the passer in arena football as opposed to the outdoor game.
“Everything is a lot tighter, a lot quicker,” he says. “Outdoor, you essentially, want to get up field, you want to race that man to that four-yard spot. But indoor, it’s just being quick off the line. They call us defensive ends, but realistically, we’re rushing like defensive tackles from a three technique, essentially from how tight we’ve got to be. So it’s an adjustment.”
Daniels is looking forward to getting back on the field at the ArenaBowl.
“Very excited,” he says. “Can’t wait.”
The Soul and the Storm will meet at 7:00pm on August 26th at the Center.