Utah Blaze

Years of Existence: 2006-2008, 2010-
Venue: Delta Center (Salt Lake City, UT)
2006 - Playoff appearance
2007 - Playoff appearance
2008 - Playoff appearance
2010 -
2011 -
2012 - Semifinal appearance
2013 -
Lifetime Record: 52-71
Home: 29-31
Away: 23-40
Playoffs: 1-4
Average Attendance: 10,338

The Utah Blaze is loosely tied to the Utah Warriors of the NIFL, making the Blaze the first team to make such a leap. And a successful one it was, as the team drew crowds of no less than 14,000. The Blaze came up on the short end of the second highest scoring game in league history: an 84-81 loss at New York. The Utah defense would again give up 84 to Chicago in an 84-48 loss. Despite a 3-8 start to the season, the Blaze recovered and finished at 7-9. Thanks to playing in a weaker than usual Western Division, the Blaze qualiffied for the playoffs, losing on the road at Arizona. The Blaze won four of their first five to being the 2007 campaign behind quarterback Joe Germaine. However, the team did only won three games in the second half of the regular season. In the final game, Los Angeles turned the ball over four times to give Utah a 47-37 victory. The same game would take place just eight days later. This time it was a playoff game and this time, Los Angeles' defense stopped Utah seven consecutive times to gain an easy 64-42 victory. In 2008, the Blaze lost their first nine games in a row. The first four losses came by a combined 15 points. However, behind Joe Germaine, who threw 97 touchdown passes, the Blaze won four of their final six games, including a 71-36 drubbing of Colorado. By virtue of a very weak American Conference, the Blaze not only made the playoffs at 6-10, but hosted 6-10 Colorado. This time, however, the Blaze offense failed to click and Colorado won 49-44. The Utah Valley Thunder of the AIFA moved to the AFL in 2010 and took on the Blaze name. The team was led by Brett Elliot for 13 games. Elliot threw for 59 scores and 17 interceptions before breaking his thumb. Aaron Boone was the star receiver, catching 46 touchdowns. No player ran for more than three scores. The Blaze were blasted, 68-34 at home against Spokane in week one, which set the tone for a 2-14 season. Only two losses came by single digits, including a 56-55 overtime loss at Milwaukee. The Blaze gave up 1,038 points on the year, surpassing the previous AFL record of 1,004. The team scored a league low 742 points, for an average loss of 65-46. The Blaze went 9-9 in 2011 behind the arm of Tom Grady for most of the season. Grady threw for 4,365 yards, 107 touchdowns and just 11 picks. The team almost produced four 1,000 yard receivers, but Aaron LeSue fell 88 yards short. Alvan Robinson scored 31 times, while LeSue scored 27 and Aaron Boone tacked on 26 more. Five of the team's nine losses came by 20 points or more. The team allowed 385 second quarter points on the season. Four wins came in the final ten seconds of games. Tommy Grady led the team into the 2012 season and would shatter all arena and indoor football records. He threw for 5,870 yards, 142 touchdowns and 21 picks. Aaron LeSue amassed 1,810 yards and scored 56 times. Tysson Poots racked up 1,167 yards and 30 touchdowns. Alvan Robinson was the third 1,000 yard receiver. The team held opponents to a 38% third down conversion rate. Utah also did not convert a field goal on the entire season, only attempting two. The Blaze won six of its first eight games before going on a three game losing streak and the ending the year winning six of seven. The team secured a road playoff berth in San Antonio. A very low scoring affair was won by Utah, 35-34. The Blaze advanced to the National Conference title game and would lose a to Arizona, 75-69. Utah trailed in the game 26-14 and was about to kick back to Arizona. However, with two onside kick recoveries and Arizona turnovers, Utah went on a 28-7 run. However, a pick to start the second half would help Arizona come back from a nine point deficit. Grady passed for 767 yards and 15 touchdowns in the two postseason games. The Blaze returned for the 2013 campaign, quarterbacked by Tommy Grady and Jason Boltus. Grady threw for 3,412 yards, 64 touchdowns and 25 picks. Boltus threw for 1,425 yards, 31 scores and seven picks. Mario Urrutia caught 135 balls for 1,601 yards and 36 scores. The team posted a 7-11 regular season record, losing four games by eight points or less, including back to back one point losses to San Jose and San Antonio.