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When the NFL and college football are away, arena football comes out to play.

The Arizona Rattlers, who won the 2012 AFL championship, want fans to join in on the fun.

"The fans make up a big part of what we do," coach Kevin Guy told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf as part of "Newsmakers Week". "I look at them as just as much a part of the organization as the players, coaches and anybody else."

Guy credits the 'Snake Pit' for rallying behind the team late in the season and throughout their playoff push.

"Watching us on that run towards the end of the season last year was huge," Guy said. "It's a great home field advantage where we're at."

The Rattlers hadn't had a winning season since 2004, so when Guy arrived in 2008 his goal was to get the franchise back on track.

"When I took this job, I took it because of the history," Guy said. "I felt like if they won in the past, they could win again."

And win they did -- posting a 16-2 record -- and cruising to a conference championship and a berth in the ArenaBowl.

But a last second loss to Jacksonville ruined the ending of what was shaping up to be a storybook season.

The Rattlers and Guy started fresh in 2012, and at the beginning of the season, the head coach felt optimistic about the future.

"You just get that feeling in your locker room," Guy said. "With the additions of Maurice Purify ... and picking up Cliff Dukes in a trade, (who) I think [is] the best pass rusher in the league, made a big difference just in our team chemistry. Once we got those guys on board, I really had no doubt that if we stayed healthy we were going to win the thing."

The Rattlers begin defense of their league championship March 23 at US Airways Center against the Philadelphia Soul.

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