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The Chicago Rush was an arena football team based in Rosemont, Illinoismarker. They were members of the Central Division of the American Conference in the former Arena Football League (AFL). The team was founded in 2001, and was co-owned by Mike Ditka, the a Hall of Famemarker player and coach. The Rush qualified for the playoffs every season of their eight year existence, and won ArenaBowl XX in 2006.

History

The team made its AFL debut in 2001. Although their administrative offices are based in Des Plaines, Illinoismarker, northwest of Chicagomarker and near O'Hare International Airportmarker, the team plays its home games in neighboring Rosemont, Illinoismarker at Allstate Arenamarker (formerly known as the Rosemont Horizon), the same venue previously used by the Chicago Bruisers, one of the four original Arena Football League teams. The Rush compete in the Central Division of the American Conference. Former Chicago Bears coach and player Mike Ditka is a co-owner of the team.

The Rush have made the playoffs every year in the franchise's short history, and so far, they have made one ArenaBowl appearance. In their inaugural year (2001), the Rush won their very first playoff game, beating the Orlando Predators 41-26, but lost to the eventual ArenaBowl XV champion Grand Rapids Rampage 53-21. In 2002, the Rush won the Central division and received a bye in the playoffs. They defeated the Dallas Desperados 60-47, but fell in the semifinals to the Arizona Rattlers 46-35. In 2003, the Rush had a .500 regular season, yet got into the playoffs. They fell in Round 1 to the New York Dragons 48-45. In 2004, the Rush won the Central division with an 11-5 record. They won their first round game 59-49 over the Orlando Predators, but they fell in the semifinals to the eventual ArenaBowl XVIII champion San Jose SaberCats 49-35. In 2005, they went to the AFL playoffs as the #3 seed in the American Conference. They won the conference semifinal over the Los Angeles Avengers 52-45, but ended up losing the American Conference Championship Game to the eventual ArenaBowl XIX Champion Colorado Crush in overtime, with a final score of 49-43. That game became known as the "Confetti Game", due to an arena employee firing a confetti cannon prematurely, when the game was extended due to a defensive penalty on the final play. After a ten minute delay to clean the confetti, the Rush were able to tie the game on the untimed down, forcing the overtime period.

In 2006, despite their first losing record of 7-9, the Rush got into the playoffs, receiving the #5 seed in the American Conference. In the playoffs, the Rush managed to pull off key upsets. In the Wild Card Round, the Rush defeated the fourth-seeded Nashville Kats 55-47. In the Divisional Round, Chicago managed to pull off a huge upset by taking down the defending champion Colorado Crush, 63-46. In the Conference Championship they upset the second-seeded San Jose SaberCats 59-56, giving the Rush their very first ArenaBowl appearance in franchise history.

In ArenaBowl XX, the Rush defeated the Orlando Predators, 69-61, to give Chicago their first Arena Bowl title. Quarterback Matt D'Orazio was Offensive Player of the Game, wide receiver/defensive back Dennison Robinson took Defensive Player of the Game honors, and fullback/linebacker Bob McMillen was named the Ironman of the Game. With the win, the Rush became the first team with a losing regular-season record to win a championship in any sport since the 1937-38 Chicago Blackhawks.

In 2007 they won the American Conference Central Division with a record of 12-4. They defeated the L.A. Avengers on June 9, 2007 in the divisional finals. They then played the San Jose SaberCats for the conference final, yet they came up short losing 61-49.

On May 19, 2008, the Rush wore a black jersey in a game against the Los Angeles Avengers. The Rush won 72-28. The game was televised on ESPN2.

League closing and future

In 2008, the AFL officially canceled their 2009 season in order to develop new financial strategies. The league was over 14 million dollars in debt, and was forced to halve their salary cap. On August 5, 2009, the league officially announced that it was going to indefinitely suspended all operations. With the fall of the AFL, the Rush’s future remains uncertain. Some of the team’s 2008 players, such as quarterback Russ Michna, have decided to continue their careers in the Continental Indoor Football League with the Chicago Slaughter.

Miscellaneous

  • The Rush's official mascot is a construction worker named Grabowski, a reference to Chicago's blue collar background, which was coined by Mike Ditka in January 1986.
  • Dancin' Steve was the original unofficial mascot for the Chicago Rush Arena Football team. He made his first appearance at the premier game March 30, 2001. His official website is http://www.dancinsteve.com
  • Before ultimately choosing the nickname Rush, the team was going to be called the Chicago Paytons, to honor the late Bears' great, Walter Payton, who, along with Ditka, was to be part owner of the team.
  • The Rush currently share the Allstate Arenamarker with the DePaul Blue Demons men's basketball team and the Chicago Wolves hockey team. In addition to pro sports, the Arena is often used for Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, rodeo, Icecapades,concerts and professional wrestling.
  • The Rush are the first Arena Football team to be featured in a "This Is SportsCenter" ad on ESPN. In the ad SportsCenter anchor John Anderson mediates a therapeutic sit-down discussion in which Rush receiver Damian Harrell tells quarterback Sherdrick Bonner that he feels like he never gets the ball. When Bonner interrupts to tell him that he's not always open, Anderson chides him saying "Who has the ball right now?" "Damian has the ball."


Season-by-season

Coaches

Head coach Tenure Regular season

record (W-L)
Post season

record (W-L)
Most recent coaching staff Notes
Mike Hohensee 2001 - 2008 80-56 9-7 DC / Line Coach: Walt Housman (2001 - 2008)

WR Coach / ST Coordinator: Ryan Leonard (2005 - 2008)

FB / LB Coach: Bob McMillen (2008)

Asst. HC / DB Coach: Brian Schwartze (2003 - 2008)
ArenaBowl XX winning head coach.


Awards and Records

This section contains all records, awards, and honors acquired by Rush players in individual seasons. Career records weren't included as not all players spent career with Rush
  • Chicago Rush
    • 2004
      • Commissioner's Award
    • 2007
      • Commissioner's Award
  • DeJuan Alfonzo
    • 2006
      • All-Ironman Team WR/LB
    • 2007
      • Assists Season Leaders, 49
      • Fumble Returns Season Leaders, 5
      • Interception Yards Season Leaders, 147
      • Interception TDs Season Leaders, 3
      • First Team All-Arena JLB
      • All-Ironman Team WR/LB
  • James Baron
    • 2002
      • First Team All-Arena OL/DL
  • Antonio Chatman
    • 2002
      • All-Rookie Team OS
    • 2003
      • Kick Returns Season Leaders, 84
      • Kick Return Yards Season Leaders, 2062
      • Kick Return TDs Season Leaders, 7
      • Second Team All-Arena OS
  • Matt D'Orazio
    • 2006
      • Completion Percentage Season Leaders (min. 150 Attempts), 70.3%
      • ArenaBowl XX Offensive Player of the Game
    • 2007
      • QB Rating Season Leaders (min. 150 Attempts), 126.24
      • Completion Percentage Season Leaders (min. 150 Attempts), 69.1%
  • Dan Frantz
    • 2007
      • Extra Points (1 pt) Season Leaders, 104
  • Keith Gispert
    • 2003
      • All-Rookie Team K
    • 2005
      • FG Percentage Season Leaders (min. 15 Attempts), 61.1%
  • Jamie McGourty
    • 2002
      • TD/Rush Pct. Season Leaders (min. 25 rushes), 34.5
  • Bob McMillen
    • 2004
      • Rushes Season Leaders, 79
      • Rushing Yards Season Leaders, 285
      • Rushing TDs Season Leaders, 22
      • All-Ironman Team FB/LB
    • 2006
      • ArenaBowl XX Ironman of the Game
  • Etu Molden
    • 2004
      • All-Rookie Team WR/LB
    • 2005
      • All-Ironman Team WR/LB
  • John Moyer
    • 2002
      • Second Team All-Arena OL/DL
    • 2003
      • Sacks Season Leaders, 9.0
      • First Team All-Arena OL/DL
      • All-Ironman Team OL/DL
    • 2004
      • Sacks Season Leaders, 9.0
      • Blocked Kicks Season Leaders, 3
      • First Team All-Arena OL/DL
      • All-Ironman Team OL/DL
      • Lineman of the Year
    • 2005
      • Blocked Kicks Season Leaders, 3
      • Second Team All-Arena OL/DL
  • Raymond Philyaw
    • 2004
      • TD/Rush Pct. Season Leaders (min. 25 rushes), 32.4
  • Dameon Porter
    • 2001
      • Yards/Reception Season Leaders (min. 40 receptions), 16.3
      • Interceptions Season Leaders, 12
      • First Team All-Arena WR/DB
      • All-Ironman Team WR/DB
      • Breakout Player of the Year
      • Ironman of the Year
    • 2002
      • Interceptions Season Leaders, 10
      • First Team All-Arena WR/DB
      • All-Ironman Team WR/DB
  • Dennison Robinson
    • 2006
      • ArenaBowl XX Defensive Player of the Game
    • 2007
      • Tackles Season Leaders, 95
  • Bobby Sippio
    • 2007
      • Receiving Yards Season Leaders, 1742
      • Receiving TDs Season Leaders, 53 TDs
      • TD/Reception Pct. Season Leaders (min. 40 receptions), 42.4
      • First Team All-Arena WR
  • Khreem Smith
    • 2006
      • Forced Fumbles Season Leaders, 5
      • Second Team All-Arena OL/DL
      • All-Rookie Team OL/DL
  • Jeremy Unertl
    • 2007
      • Second Team All-Arena DB


Notes

  1. http://www.chicagorush.com/grabowski/bio.asp
  2. http://www.bearshistory.com/seasons/1985chicagobears.aspx
  3. http://www.dancinsteve.com


References



External links




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