June 7, 2004 - National Football League Europa (NFLE)
THE NFL Europe League聮s twelfth season will come to an explosive and thrilling conclusion when the Berlin Thunder (9-1) and Frankfurt Galaxy (7-3) meet in World Bowl XII in Gelesenkirchen, Germany, on Saturday evening.
While the pre-game entertainment will be provided by more than 300 pirates battling on the field at Arena AufSchalke in Die Nacht der letzen Schlacht (The Night of the Last Fight), it is the Thunder and Galaxy who will provide the fireworks when the action gets underway.
World Bowl XII will see the two highest-scoring teams in NFL Europe go head to head for glory and both clubs have a chance to make history in the title game.
Berlin can tie for the most wins in World Bowl history (three, by Frankfurt in 1995, 1999 and 2003), if they can defeat the Galaxy in their third World Bowl appearance in the past four seasons. Frankfurt will play in a record sixth World Bowl and will be looking to emerge victorious for a fourth time.
Viewers in more than 150 countries will follow the World Bowl action on television, with the game reaching an estimated audience of 200 million. In the US, FOX will air World Bowl live for the ninth straight year.
WORLD BOWL XII
SATURDAY JUNE 12
Berlin Thunder vs Frankfurt Galaxy
Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen, 6:00 p.m.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK 聳 WEEK 10
OFFENSIVE 路 ERIC McCOO 路 RB, Berlin
122 yards rushing, 1TD; 6 receptions for
61 yards, vs Frankfurt
DEFENSIVE 路 BRENDEN GIVAN 路 LB, Berlin
4 tackles, 98-yard fumble return (NFLEL record),
SPECIAL TEAMS 路 DEREK SCHOREJS 路K, Cologne
50 and 34-yard FGs at Scotland
NATIONAL 路 KENTARO NAMIKI 路 QB, Cologne
Completed 5 of 6 passes for 38 yards, at Scotland
NEWS AND NOTES NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl - Page 2
Rookie coaches looking forward to World Bowl XII showdown
WHILE their teams have had berths in World Bowl XII booked since Week 8, it is only now 聳 with the regular season complete 聳 that rookie head coaches RICK LANTZ and MIKE JONES are turning their attention to this weekend聮s title showdown in Gelsenkirchen.
Thunder head coach Lantz guided his team to a World Bowl berth in Week 7 聳 making Berlin the earliest qualifiers under NFL Europe聮s current format. And in Week 10 he saw his team match the league聮s all-time best record when a 41-0 victory against the Galaxy gave them a 9-1 mark for the season.
聭I just wish I could have put some of those points in to the bank for World Bowl because it is going to be a different game. We have beaten them twice 聳 now we need to go on and make it three weeks out of four. I think that we will be focused.
聯We are very excited to be playing for all the marbles against the Galaxy and we badly want to beat them. I am glad my players are in a position to win a championship because they deserve it. I have been very proud of the way this team has played.聰
The Galaxy clinched their own spot in World Bowl in Week 8, prompting Jones to say: 聯The goal of all six teams heading into the season is to reach the championship game. Unfortunately, that doesn聮t happen for four teams, so we are excited to be facing Berlin in World Bowl. We are focusing on doing what we have been aiming to do since we came out of training camp 聳 winning the World Bowl.聰
The meeting between Lantz and Jones in World Bowls marks the fist time since 1995 that rookie head coaches have faced off in the championship game. The last rookie coaches to go head to head for the World Bowl trophy were Amsterdam聮s AL LUGINBILL and Frankfurt聮s ERNIE STAUTNER.
Third time unlucky again?
BERLIN and Frankfurt know that the Thunder聮s regular season sweep of the Galaxy is far from being a guarantee of World Bowl success. Just the opposite.
The last three times a team has played in World Bowl against opponents whom they have beaten twice in the regular season, the tables have been turned. The Thunder were victorious in 2002 and 2001, having been swept by the Rhein Fire and Barcelona Dragons in those respective years, while the Galaxy upset the Dragons in 1999 after losing twice in the regular season 聳 including a Week 10 contest.
The 1996 Scottish Claymores, who beat Frankfurt in World Bowl, are the only team in NFLEL history to post three wins over the same team in one season.
NFL Europe聮s top quarterbacks go head to head in World Bowl
THE top two quarterbacks in the 2004 NFL Europe League season 聳 and arguably two of the best ever to grace European shores 聳 will go head to head for all the marbles in World Bowl XII.
Berlin聮s ROHAN DAVEY (New England Patriots) and Frankfurt聮s J.T. O聮SULLIVAN (New Orleans Saints) ended the regular season as the top-ranked passers in the league.
Davey compiled a passer rating of 105.9, while O聮Sullivan ranked second with a mark of 91.9.
Of the previous 11 World Bowls, only three have featured matchups between the league聮s highest rated QBs. Here are the previous matchups:
Season QB Matchup
2001 Jonathan Quinn (Ber) vs Jarious Jackson (Bar)
2000 Kevin Daft (Sco) vs Danny Wuerffel (Rhe)
1991 Stan Gelbaugh (Lon) vs Scott Erney (Bar)
In those clashes, the top-ranked passers (Quinn, Daft and Gelbaugh) went 2-1 in World Bowl, with Daft being the only loser in 2000.
The league聮s highest-rated quarterback has gone on to win World Bowl on five occasions. Here are those winners:
Season Highest Rated QB/World Bowl Winner
2001 Jonathan Quinn (Berlin) 95.3 rating
1997 Jon Kitna (Barcelona) 82.6 rating
1995 Paul Justin (Frankfurt) 91.6 rating
1992 David Archer (Sacramento) 107.0 rating
1991 Stan Gelbaugh (London) 92.8 rating
Following their outstanding performances in NFL Europe this spring, Davey and O聮Sullivan have received rave reviews from their team mates and coaches.
Thunder running back ERIC McCOO paid tribute to Davey by saying: 聯He is a leader 聳 that聮s the bottom line. He is a phenomenal player. I had seen him play in college but to be on the same field as him is amazing.
聯He just makes plays happen because he is capable of doing so much physically. And mentally, he is capable of going out and running the offense on the field and having a quarterback like that is always an advantage.聰
Galaxy head coach MIKE JONES says: 聯J.T. is a good general. He does a good job of leading our offense and gets us up and down the field making plays with his arm and his feet. I couldn聮t ask for a better guy to lead my team than J.T. O聮Sullivan. He has done a great job for us this season.聰
NEWS AND NOTES NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl - Page 3
Thunder and Galaxy lead the way in season of big plays
FANS who love to see big plays and long touchdown runs and passes could be in their element at World Bowl XII as the Berlin Thunder and Frankfurt Galaxy have shown a penchant for providing explosive highlight-reel material this season.
In a regular season when there were 52 plays covering 40 yards or more (most since NFL Europe became a six-team league in 1995) the Thunder and Galaxy topped the list of teams producing such big plays.
The Thunder led NFL Europe with 14 plays covering 40 yards or more, while the Galaxy produced with 10 such plays.
Here are the 14 big plays produced by the Berlin Thunder this season:
Brenden Givan, 98-yard fumble return (vs Fra)
Rohan Davey to J枚rg Heckenbach, 52-yd TD pass (at Ams)
Rohan Davey to Richard Alston, 51-yd pass (vs Rhe)
Richard Alston, 49-yd kickoff return (vs Col)
Richard Alston to Chas Gessner, 47-yd TD pass (at Ams)
Rohan Davey to Richard Alston, 47-yd TD pass (vs Ams)
Rohan Davey to Richard Alston, 47-yd pass (at Fra)
Eric McCoo, 46-yd TD run (at Col)
Rohan Davey to Richard Alston, 45-yd TD pass (vs Col)
Rohan Davey to Aaron Boone, 45-yd pass (at Rhe)
LaShaun Ward, 45-yd kickoff return (vs Col)
Rohan Davey to Chass Gessner, 44-yd TD pass (at Col)
Rohan Davey to J枚rg Heckenbach, 43-yd TD pass (at Ams)
Rohan Davey to Richard Alston, 40-yd TD pass (vs Col)
And here are the 10 big plays from the Frankfurt Galaxy this season:
J.T. O聮Sullivan to Skip Hicks, 72-yd TD pass (at Ams)
J.T. O聮Sullivan to Drew Haddad, 64-yd pass (vs Sco)
Skip Hicks, 59-yd run (vs Sco)
Drew Haddad, 58-yd punt return (at Rhe)
Skip Hicks, 56-yd TD run (vs Ams)
Corey McIntyre, 55-yd run (vs Col)
J.T. O聮Sullivan to Drew Haddad, 54-yd TD pass (vs Rhe)
J.T. O聮Sullivan to Drew Haddad, 48-yd pass (at Sco)
Dustin Cohen, 45-yd interception return (at Rhe)
Jason Willis, 44-yard kickoff return (vs Ber)
Galaxy head coach MIKE JONES is all too aware of Berlin聮s explosive offense and warned: 聯We have emphasized to our defenders the Thunder聮s ability to throw the deep ball and we have to be prepared for that. Berlin did a good job against us of throwing the deep ball when we met in Week 8. We just have to play it better.聰
Thunder linebacker BRENDEN GIVAN posted an NFLEL-record 98-yard fumble return against Frankfurt last week, taking the ball from 1-yard line to 1-yard line.
Defense wins championships? Not in the NFL Europe League
THE old adage that defenses win championships may be true to some extent in the NFL, but the same cannot usually be said for the NFL Europe League.
In the previous 11 World Bowls, only one team has ever won the championship game while boasting the number one-ranked defense in the league (Frankfurt Galaxy 2003).
That figure will not increase in 2004 as Frankfurt and Berlin go into World Bowl with the NFL Europe League聮s fourth and fifth-ranked defenses respectively. Berlin conceded 195 points in 2004, second-highest in NFLEL, but still made it to World Bowl with a record-equalling 9-1 record.
In World Bowl history, only the 1995 Amsterdam Admirals, 2000 Scottish Claymores and 2003 Galaxy have qualified for World Bowl with the league聮s top-ranked defensive unit.
Having a top-ranked offense, on the other hand, can result in a World Bowl victory. Berlin head into this game with NFL Europe聮s top-ranked offense and are the seventh club to go into the championship game rated number one offensively. The previous six clubs with the number one offense have gone 5-1 in World Bowls.
Here is how the top-ranked defensive team has fared in the NFLEL/World League, and the defensive ranking of the eventual World Bowl champion.
Year No 1 Defense World Bowl winner
1991 Frankfurt London
(7-3, missed playoffs) (number 2 ranked defense)
1992 San Antonio Sacramento
(7-3, missed playoffs) (number 2 ranked defense)
1995 Amsterdam Frankfurt
(9-1, lost in WB) (number 3 ranked defense)
1996 London Scotland
(4-6 missed WB) (number 4 ranked defense)
1997 Frankfurt Barcelona
(4-6, missed WB) (number 6 ranked defense)
1998 Amsterdam Rhein
(7-3, missed WB) (number 4 ranked defense)
1999 Rhein Frankfurt
(6-4, missed WB) (number 6 ranked defense)
2000 Scotland Rhein
(6-4, lost in WB) (number 6 ranked defense)
2001 Frankfurt Berlin
(3-7, missed WB) (number 6 ranked defense)
2002 Frankfurt Berlin
(6-4, missed WB) (number 3 ranked defense)
2003 Frankfurt Frankfurt
(6-4, reached WB) (number 1 ranked defense)
(4-6, missed WB)
NEWS AND NOTES NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl - Page 4
26 NFL teams represented in NFLEL championship game
PLAYERS from a total of 26 NFL teams will compete for World Bowl glory in Germany this weekend.
In a season when more than 240 NFL players were allocated to the NFL Europe League, 57 members of the two active rosters are from NFL teams. That is up on last year聮s figure of 47 NFL players in World Bowl XI.
The Kansas City Chiefs lead the way with eight players set to star in the big game, including quarterbacks on both rosters in MARC DUNN (Berlin Thunder) and KIRK FARMER (Frankfurt Galaxy).
The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are next with six players participating in World Bowl XII, including the Thunder QB-WR combination of ROHAN DAVEY and CHAS GESSNER.
The Cleveland Browns rank third with four players in the championship game, including three starters on the Galaxy defense in DE COREY JACKSON, LB MASON UNCK and safety RICKY SHARPE.
Sharpe said: 聯We were excited when we found out we were all on the same team because the Browns allocated 12 guys this season.
聯To have three Browns all starting on the same defense in the World Bowl is a good feeling. It聮s good to be on the same field at the same time and get experience with each other.聰
Record year for close games
THE 2004 regular season will go down in the record books as having the most close contests in NFL Europe League history.
Of the 30 games played during the regular season, 23 were decided by one score or less (8 points). That total surpasses the 20 games decided by one score or less in 1996, which was the previous high in a 30-game regular season (since 1995).
Here is a look at the number of games decided by one score or less in each season since 1995:
Players from around the globe to compete in World Bowl XII
IN addition to the United States, a further eight countries can boast players competing for a World Bowl ring on Saturday night, proving the NFL Europe League really is a league of nations.
Other countries with players in the championship game are Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Sweden and Switzerland.
The involvement of international players in World Bowl caps another outstanding season for home-grown talent from Europe, Japan and Mexico.
On the offensive side of the football, Scottish Claymores English WR SCOTT McCREADY was one of a host of key contributors as he led NFL Europe with 59 receptions for 472 yards and 1 touchdown.
McCready 聳 who won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots in 2001 聳 became the first national player in league history to top one of the major statistical categories outside of kicking.
Cologne聮s Japanese quarterback KENTARO NAMIKI became the first national to complete a pass in the NFLEL when he hit on 5 of 6 passes for 38 yards and led a scoring drive in Scotland.
Defensively, Rhein Fire German safety RICHARD YANCY and Amsterdam聮s Japanese linebacker RIKIYA ISHIDA proved valuable members of their respective teams. Yancy recorded 28 tackles and 1 interception, while Ishida registered 32 tackles and a sack.
NFLE Director of Game Development TONY ALLEN says: 聯The talent level of national players continues to get better every year and we certainly feel the program is on the right track.聰
World Bowl week media schedule
Monday June 7: Teams arrive in D眉sseldorf and Gelsenkirchen.
Tuesday June 8: World Bowl Week Kickoff Press Conference, Arena AufSchalke (Salon Libuda), 12 noon. Head coaches, quarterbacks, NFL Senior Vice-President of Football Operations John Beake, Fire GM Alex Leibkind.
Tuesday June 8: City reception for competing teams at Zeche Oberschuir, Gelsenkirchen, 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday June 9: World Bowl Media Day, Arena AufSchalke, 11:00 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Including announcement of All-NFLEL team, MVP and Coach of the Year awards. Interview sessions: Berlin, 11:00 to 11:30; Frankfurt 11:45 to 12:15.
Thursday June 10 - Friday June 11: Credentials available for collection at Lindner Congress Hotel (PR Office: Salon M眉nchen), Emanuel-Leutze Strasse 17, D-40547 D眉sseldorf, between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Saturday June 12: Press will-call window opens at Arena AufSchalke at 2:00 p.m.
NEWS AND NOTES NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl 聳 Page 5
Kleinmann to make record sixth appearance in World Bowl
GERMAN kicker RALF KLEINMANN will appear in a league record sixth World Bowl for the Frankfurt Galaxy on Saturday after making it to the final for the second year in a row since coming out of retirement in 2003.
Kleinmann played in World Bowls in 1995 vs. Amsterdam, 1996 vs. Scotland, 1998 vs. Rhein, 1999 vs. Barcelona and 2003 vs. Rhein.
Kleinmann, who became the third-leading scorer in NFLEL history this season by taking his career points tally to 325, is aiming to win a World Bowl ring for a record fourth time.
He says: 聯The World Bowl ring is what you strive for all season. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. I聮m lucky to have won three of them and I would love to add a fourth.聰
Kleinmann holds World Bowl records for points scored (24), and most conversions (15).
Competing teams have enjoyed success at Arena AufSchalke
BOTH World Bowl teams have already enjoyed a winning feeling at Gelsenkirchen聮s Arena AufSchalke this season and will be hoping for a repeat performance on Saturday night.
The Berlin Thunder came from behind to record a 14-10 victory over the Rhein Fire in Week 4, with QB ROHAN DAVEY throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to FB ED IEREMIA-STANSBURY and RB ERIC McCOO scoring on a 3-yard run.
In Week 9, the Frankfurt Galaxy recorded a 20-14 overtime win over the Fire with QB KIRK FARMER throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to WR DERRICK LEWIS from 32 yards out with 1:03 remaining in the sudden death period.
Both clubs have a 1-1 record at Arena AufSchalke as Berlin and Frankfurt lost to the Rhein Fire on the road in 2003.
Berlin and Frankfurt will feel comfortable with this year聮s World Bowl venue as both clubs have won league championships at the home of the Rhein Fire.
The Thunder won World Bowl X at the Rheinstadion in D眉sseldorf in June, 2002, when they defeated the hometown Rhein Fire 26-20.
The Galaxy were also World Bowl winners at the Rheinstadion in World Bowl 聮99 when they defeated the Barcelona Dragons 38-24 in a game featuring current NFL star quarterback JAKE DELHOMME, who went from a World Bowl winner in Frankfurt to a Super Bowl performer with Carolina in the space of five years.
Galaxy hoping World Bowl experience leads to victory
HOW much will previous World Bowl experience count when the Berlin Thunder meets the Frankfurt Galaxy on June 12?
The Galaxy hope it will count for a lot as they have nine players on their roster with World Bowl experience, while just three members of the Thunder squad have taken part in an NFLEL championship game.
Frankfurt聮s nine players have made 13 World Bowl appearances and all of them were present in Glasgow, Scotland, last season when the Galaxy lifted the famous glass trophy after defeating the Rhein Fire. Tackle PATRICK VENZKE has been on the losing team for the last two World Bowls after spending two season with the Fire.
Berlin聮s three players are all nationals and they have compiled five World Bowl appearances between them.
The Galaxy will also feel they have an edge in the coaching department because even though MIKE JONES is a rookie head coach, he has participated in four World Bowls (1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003) as a member of the Rhein Fire coaching staff.
Jones says: 聯Having been there before I understand all the formalities and events that surround the game during World Bowl week.
聯I am not concerned about this being my first time as a head coach. It definitely helps having been there before with the Rhein Fire.聰
Galaxy players with World Bowl experience
DT Daniel Benetka Frankfurt 2003
LB Dustin Cohen Frankfurt 2003
K Ralf Kleinmann Frankfurt 1995-96, 98-99, 03
WR Hugo Lira Frankfurt 2003
FB Corey McIntyre Frankfurt 2003
T David Pruce Frankfurt 2003
DT John Schlecht Frankfurt 2003
WR Marc Soumah Frankfurt 2003
T Patrick Venzke Rhein 2002-03
Thunder players with World Bowl experience
DT Dennis Engelbrecht Frankfurt 2003
WR J枚rg Heckenbach Frank 1998, Berlin 2001-02
RB Patrice Kancel Berlin 2002
Before Thunder fans begin worrying too much about their team聮s lack of World Bowl experience, they should bear this note in mind 聳 going into last year聮s World Bowl, Frankfurt had two players with World Bowl experience compared to Rhein聮s 12. The winners that day? The less-experienced Galaxy squad by a convincing 35-16 scoreline.
NEWS AND NOTES NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl - Page 6
Pirate spectacular will provide explosive kickoff to World Bowl
WORLD Bowl XII will be about much more than the battle for the NFL Europe League championship. One of the most eagerly-awaited events in the European sporting calendar will once again feature spectacle, pageantry and an explosion of colour.
The even has been themed as 聭Pirates Paradise聮 and an afternoon of special events has been planned in and around the Arena AufSchalke to mark the climax of the NFLEL聮s twelfth season.
The program kicks off at 2:00 p.m. 聳 a full four hours before kickoff 聳 when the World Bowl party begins in front of the stadium. An 80-meter long pirate ship will provide the centerpiece of the entertainment.
At 5:30 p.m. the pirates will cruise inside the Arena and the field will become the backdrop for hundreds of actors to stage the thrilling pre-game story of 聭Die Nacht der letzen Schlacht聮 (The Night of the Last Fight). Ancient seaman Burk S. Miller will recount the tale of K盲pt聮n Kick setting free a group of cheerleaders who have been held captive by pirates.
The Neue Philharmonie Westfalen orchestra will play a theme from the pirate opera 聭The Flying Dutchmen聮 while 150 cheerleaders will perform 聭What shall we do with the drunken sailor?聮
That will signal the beginning of a wild pirate battle featuring 300 actors, eight cannons and a pirate ship. Fighters will descend from the roof of the stadium and 30 NFL cheerleaders from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will enter the arena.
The climax of the pirate pre-game show will be the successful British pop duo Right Said Fred, who will perform their hit 聭You聮re my Mate.聮
As the smoke clears, a team of six 聭base jumpers聮, representing each of the NFLEL clubs, will parachute from the stadium roof in a spectacular world record attempt.
Galaxy sign four players
THE injury-hit Frankfurt Galaxy have signed four new players at the start of the World Bowl week to cover for absentees in the championship game. S CHARLES DRAKE (Rhein), DT THOMAS PITTMAN (Amsterdam), DE BUCK RASMUSSEN (Amsterdam) and Swedish LB JENS PETTERSSON (Scotland) have been reassigned to Frankfurt. The already-weakened Galaxy saw safety CHRIS BROWN suffer a sprained ankle in their Week 10 against Berlin.
LB BEN MAHDAVI (Amsterdam) has been reassigned to the Berlin Thunder.
NFLEL head coaches give their verdicts on the title decider
WHILE fans and members of the world聮s media will spend much of this week debating who they think will win the big game in Gelsenkirchen, NFL Europe League head coaches also have an opinion on how World Bowl XII will play out on Saturday.
Amsterdam Admirals head coach BART ANDRUS feels the outcome of World Bowl XII will hinge on the performances of NFL Europe聮s top-rated passers 聳 Berlin聮s ROHAN DAVEY and Frankfurt聮s J.T. O聮SULLIVAN.
He says: 聯I think the game will come down to the play of the quarterbacks. That聮s probably where you would look first. That聮s what every Super Bowl comes down to.
聯And then it聮s about who can run the ball and I think Frankfurt probably has the edge there. It is going to be an interesting game. I聮m not sure what shape Frankfurt is in defensively because they have had some injuries. However, I don聮t think Berlin聮s defense is on the same level as Frankfurt聮s defense when they are healthy.聰
Scottish Claymores head coach JACK BICKNELL expects a game worthy of a championship showdown when he says: 聯They are two very talented teams and it will be a really good World Bowl. They are clearly the best two teams in the league. I guess a lot of it will depend on whose in the best shape injury-wise when they get to the game.聰
World Bowl quickie quotes
Berlin QB ROHAN DAVEY: 聯I expect Frankfurt to come out in World Bowl with a lot of emotion and on fire. We have beaten them twice and that has got to embarrass them as competitors. It should be a tough, hard hitting game for the championship.聰
Frankfurt head coach MIKE JONES: 聯We didn聮t get this far on just luck and hope. We have played some good football. Make no mistake about it, we are going to fight next week to overcome what happened in Berlin.聰
Berlin TE MIKE PINKARD: 聯We have to stay focused and stay ready. It was a great win in Week 10 but none of that matters if we don聮t win next week.聰
NEWS AND NOTES NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl - Page 7
World Bowl XII caps season of achievement in NFL Europe
WHEN World Bowl XII kicks off in Germany on Saturday evening, it will mark the final chapter of another historic NFLEL season. Here are some of the highlights from the 2004 campaign:
路 Scottish Claymores kicker ROB HART became the all-time points scorer in NFLEL history, surpassing former Barcelona Dragon JESUS ANGOY. By season聮s end, Hart had taken his tally to 361 points.
路 Berlin Thunder RB ERIC MCCOO snatched the NFLEL rushing title from Frankfurt Galaxy RB SKIP HICKS on the last drive of their Week 10 contest, finishing on 669 yards to Hicks聮s 661.
路 The Rhein Fire tied their own league record set in 2002 when they returned 3 kickoffs for touchdowns. WR SHOCKMAIN DAVIS tied the NFLEL single season record by taking 2 of those returns to the end zone, joining COREY ALSTON (Rhein 2002).
路 Amsterdam Admirals QB CLINT STOERNER ended his second season in NFL Europe ranked second in career completions with 318 and second in career passing yardage with 3,654 yards.
路 Scottish Claymores WR SCOTT McCREADY became the first national player to lead one of NFL Europe聮s major statistical categories outside of kicking when he led the league with 59 receptions for 472 yards.
Thunder all white on the night
THE Berlin Thunder will be wearing their white jerseys in World Bowl XII on Saturday night 聳 which could be a good omen. Their two previous World Bowl victories came when they were wearing white jerseys (vs. Barcelona in 2001 and Rhein in 2002).
The Galaxy are 1-1 in World Bowls while wearing purple jerseys, losing to Rhein in 1998 and then defeating the Fire last year in Scotland.
Five of the last six World Bowls have been won by teams wearing white jerseys, with Frankfurt bringing the trend to an end last year (Rhein 1998, Frankfurt 1999, Rhein 2000, Berlin 2001, Berlin 2002). Teams wearing coloured jerseys are 4-7 in World Bowls.
Offensive stars on show
THE achievement of ERIC McCOO in being named Offensive Player of the Week means that the two World Bowl teams shared nine of those ten awards during the season. While McCoo picked up the ward in Weeks 8 and 10, Berlin quarterback ROHAN DAVEY was named on three occasions and backup quarterback DAVID RIVERS once. Galaxy running back SKIP HICKS won the award twice, with injured teammate LEONARD HENRY picking up the Week 1 honors.
NFLEL websites get makeover ahead of World Bowl showdown
OFFICIAL NFL Europe League internet sites 聳 NFLEurope.com and WorldBowl.com 聳 have been given exciting new looks on the eve of World Bowl.
In the days leading up to World Bowl XII, fans can find out all they need to know about the competing teams and players as exclusive content includes:
路 All the latest news from Germany
路 Exclusive diaries from Berlin聮s Eric McCoo and Frankfurt聮s Corey Jackson
路 Daily 聭Inside the Huddle聮 interviews with potential stars of World Bowl XII such as Skip Hicks and Chas Gessner
路 Game previews and analysis from FOX Sports broadcaster Brian Baldinger
On gameday, fans can follow the action with live play-by-play coverage, updates following each quarter and a comprehensive game recap and statistics, as well as reaction from the winning and losing locker rooms.
Fans visiting WorldBowl.com can have their say in the game聮s MVP. Votes cast online will account for 50 percent of the ballot, with the rest coming from media members attending the game.
Galaxy star Unck paying tribute to All-American hero Tillman
FRANKFURT GALAXY linebacker MASON UNCK (Cleveland Browns) will continue his tribute to former Arizona Cardinals defensive back PAT TILLMAN during World Bowl XII.
Tillman聮s death while serving in the US Army in Afghanistan in April sent shockwaves through the NFL and the tragedy was also felt in the NFL Europe League.
In honor of Tillman, Unck changed his number from 53, which he wore for the first four weeks of the season, to 40, which Tillman wore throughout his NFL career.
Unck, who met Tillman during a college recruiting trip, says: 聯Pat was my host down at Arizona State. He was always around the campus and always around the locker room talking to us and helping us out in little ways.
聯He is a really good example of what I聮d like to be as an American and as a football player. So I am honoring him by carrying on his number this season and in World Bowl on Saturday night.聰
TEAM BY TEAM CAPSULES NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl - Page 8
BERLIN THUNDER (9-1)Head Coach: Rick Lantz (9-1 in NFLEL)Colours: Black, green and gold
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Don Eck (1st season)
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Jim Tomsula (1st season)
ALL-TIME FRANCHISE RECORD: 31-29
MEDIA CONTACT: Maik Matischak
LAST GAME: Won 41-0 at Scotland (6/6/04)
OFFENSE: 28.9 pts/game; 337.3 yds/game (rank 1); 109.7 rush yds/game (rank 2); 227.6 pass yds/game (rank 1)
Passing: Rohan Davey, 1,676 yards
Rushing: Eric McCoo, 669 yards
Receiving: Chas Gessner 38 rec, 566 yards
DEFENSE: 19.5 pts/game; 311.1 yds/game (rank 5); 82.1 rush yds/game (rank 1); 229 pass yds/game (rank 6)
Sacks: Corey Smith, 7.5
Interceptions: Keith Davis, James Thornton, 4
路 THIS WEEK: vs. FRANKFURT GALAXY 路
Berlin head coach RICK LANTZ says after his team聮s 41-0 win against Frankfurt last week: 聯We will practice in exactly the same way 聳 our quest is not finished. This is a team that has a goal. We want to win a championship. We will practice extremely well this week. It is tough to beat a team twice in a season, and it is supposed to be almost impossible to beat them three times. Difficult we can do easily, impossible takes us a little bit longer.聰聟 QB ROHAN DAVEY (New England Patriots) finished with a 105.9 passer rating this season, just missing out on the single season record of 107.3 set by Scotland聮s Kevin Daft in 2000 (see table)聟 QB DAVID RIVERS was named NFLEL Offensive Player of the Week in his last action of the season, the Week 9 win at Scotland, and will be the number two passer in World Bowl ahead of MARC DUNN (Kansas City Chiefs), who last week completed 7 of 10 passes for 112 yards and 2 TDs聟 Coach Lantz says: 聯We will play two quarterbacks 聳 and right now it is David Rivers聮 turn in the rotation to play next week. We do it for a couple of reasons. We don聮t want Rohan to get hurt, and because they are all good enough to be playing.聰聟 RB ERIC McCOO snatched the NFLEL rushing title when he gained 12 yards on his final carry of last week聮s game. He finished with 668 yards after gaining 122 yards and 1 TD on 25 carries last week. He also caught 6 passes for 61 yards last week to win Offensive Player of the Week honors. He led the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,037 (669 rushing, 368 receiving on 38 catches). Was named Offensive Player of the Week after both games against Frankfurt this season, having gained 106 rushing yards and 81 receiving yards and 1 TD on 5 catches against them in Week 8. Two-game totals against Frankfurt are: 48 rushing attempts for 228 yards, 1 TD; 11 receptions for 142 yards, 1 TD聟. WR CHAS GESSNER (New England Patriots) and WR RICHARD ALSTON (Cleveland Browns) finished the season tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns (see tables).聟 WR LASHAUN WARD (Kansas City Chiefs) caught 11 passes for 104 yards and 2 TDs this season but none against Frankfurt聟 TE MIKE PINKARD (Kansas City Chiefs) caught 2 passes for 14 yards against Galaxy last week and had 4 catches for 17 against them in Week 8聟. FB ED IEREMIA-STANSBURY (Houston Texans) had 3 catches for 37 yards in two games against the
Galaxy this year聟 WR AARON BOONE (Chicago Bears) caught 6 passes for 78 yards and 2 TDs last week聟 TE BRYAN FLETCHER (Indianapolis Colts) had 5 of his 10 catches this season against the Galaxy聟. DE COREY SMITH (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) led Berlin with 7.5 sacks this season 聟 LB BRENDEN GIVAN (Miami Dolphins) led the Thunder with 70 tackles this season. Had a league-record 98-yard fumble return last week, taking the ball from 1-yard line to 10-yard line. Also added 4 tackles to win Defensive Player of the Week honors聟 LB JASON KAZAR ranks third on the team with 51 tackles this season聟 CB JAMES THORNTON tied the team league with his fourth interception of the season last week聟 S KEITH DAVIS (Dallas Cowboys) jointly leads Berlin with 4 interceptions and ranked second with 65 tackles after posting 4 last week聟 Danish K HEINZ QUAST led all kickers with 55 points in his rookie NFLEL season, Made 5/5 FGs and a 32-yard FG last week... K JONATHAN RUFFIN (Dallas Cowboys) made 4/6 FGs this season after connecting from 39 yards
QB ROHAN DAVEY (New England Patriots), GAME-BY-GAME
Att Comp Yds TD Int
Wk 1: vs Scot 14 8 106 0 0
Wk 2: at Ams 18 12 164 2 0
Wk 3: vs Col 27 19 279 4 1
Wk 4: at Rhe 26 17 198 1 2
Wk 5: vs Ams 17 10 149 4 0
Wk 6: at Col 24 10 132 1 0
Wk 7: vs Rhe 27 16 242 2 0
Wk 8: at Frank 25 16 225 4 2
Wk 9: at Scot 9 3 24 0 0
Wk 10: vs Frank 19 15 157 1 1
TOTAL 206 126 1,676 19* 6
* Leads NFLEL
WR CHAS GESSNER (New England Patriots), GAME-BY-GAME
Rec Yds TD
Wk 1: vs Scot 4 37 1
Wk 2: at Ams 4 77 2
Wk 3: vs Col 2 42 0
Wk 4: at Rhe 2 25 0
Wk 5: vs Ams 2 30 0
Wk 6: at Col 5 98 1
Wk 7: vs Rhe 8 113 1
Wk 8: at Frank 5 59 1
Wk 9: at Scot 5 65 0
Wk 10: vs Frank 1 20 0
TOTAL 38 566 6*
* Jointly leads NFLEL
WR RICHARD ALSTON (Cleveland Browns), GAME-BY-GAME
Rec Yds TD
Wk 1: vs Scot 0 0 0
Wk 2: at Ams 1 3 0
Wk 3: vs Col 5 123 2
Wk 4: at Rhe 2 26 0
Wk 5: vs Ams 6 84 2
Wk 6: at Col 2 21 0
Wk 7: vs Rhe 5 87 0
Wk 8: at Frank 4 93 1
Wk 9: at Scot 1 12 0
Wk 10: at Frank 2 32 1
TOTAL 28 481 6*
* Jointly leads NFLEL
TEAM BY TEAM CAPSULES NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl 聳 Page 9
FRANKFURT GALAXY (7-3)Head Coach: Mike Jones (7-3) in NFLELColours: Purple, orange, red and white
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Dwain Painter (4th season)
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Ed O聮Neil (1st season)
ALL-TIME FRANCHISE RECORD: 65-55
MEDIA CONTACT: Joachim Haas
LAST GAME: Lost 0-41 at Berlin (6/6/04)
OFFENSE: 21.2 pts/game; 314 yds/game (rank 4); 132.1 rush yds/game (rank 1); 181.9 pass yds/game (rank 5)
Passing: J.T. O聮Sullivan, 1,527 yards
Rushing: Skip Hicks, 661 yards
Receiving: Drew Haddad, 28 rec, 455 yards
DEFENSE: 19.2 pts/game; 310.5 yds/game (rank 4); 106.6 rush yds/game (rank 4); 203.9 pass yds/game (rank 4)
Sacks: Corey Jackson, 9.5
Interceptions: Mason Unck, 3
路 THIS WEEK: vs BERLIN THUNDER 路
After finishing 7-3 season with a 41-0 loss to World Bowl opponents head coach MIKE JONES says: 聯They have beaten us twice in a row now, so without question we have some questions to answer. They are a solid team and there is no doubt that it is going to be tough playing them for the third time having been beaten twice. Our guys have got a lot of work in front of them.聰聟. QB J.T. O聮SULLIVAN (New Orleans Saints) has missed the last two games following the death of his father in the US, but has returned to Germany for World Bowl. He finished the season ranked second in the league with a passer rating of 91.9聟. QB KIRK FARMER (Kansas City Chiefs) started the last two games, completing 9 of 18 passes for 121 yards with 1 interception last week against Berlin 聟 RB SKIP HICKS (Cincinnati Bengals) led the NFLEL in touchdowns (see table) and finished second in the league in rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage. Failed to score a TD for the first time this season last week聟 RB JEFF CHANEY rushed for 23 yards on 8 carries last week and added 2 catches for 12 yards聟 WR DREW HADDAD (Indianapolis Colts) is Frankfurt聮s leading receiver but has not caught a pass in the last two games (see table). Finished second in the league on punt returns with an 11.0 average聟 WR DERRICK LEWIS (New Orleans Saints) caught 2 passes for 21 yards last week to finish third on the team with 26 catches for 407 yards and 3 TDs聟 WR JASON WILLIS (Seattle Seahawks) caught a team-high 4 passes for 76 yards last week and finished second on the team with 26 catches for 332 yards聟 WR JERMAINE LEWIS (Houston Texans) did not catch a pass last week. Has 7 receptions for 129 yards and 2 TDs on the season聟 TE CHAD HAYES caught 1 pass for 12 yards last week but saw his three-game streak of scoring touchdowns brought to an end. Scored on a 15-yard reception in Week 8 game against Berlin Thunder聟 DE COREY JACKSON (Cleveland Browns) had 1 tackle last week to finish with 26 for the season. His 9.5 sacks saw him finish second in the league behind Cologne Centurions Felipe Claybrooks (11.0)聟. German DT DANIEL BENETKA had 3 tackles last week for a total of 17 on the season聟 DT AUBRAYO FRANKLIN
(Baltimore Ravens) posted his fourth sack of the season last week... LB MASON UNCK (Cleveland Browns) led the Galaxy with 65 tackles after posting 10 last week. Recorded 17 tackles in two games against Berlin 聟 LB DUSTIN COHEN had 9 tackles and his second interception of the year last week. Ranked second on the team with 59 tackles聟. CB LYNARIS ELPHEAGE (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) made 5 tackles last week and had 17 passes defended on the season聟 CB AHMAD BROOKS (New Orleans Saints) ranked joint third on the team with 53 tackles after adding 3 last week聟. S CHRIS BROWN (Jacksonville Jaguars), the team聮s third ranked tackler with 53 stops, is expected to miss World Bowl after spraining his ankle last week聟 K RALF KLEINMANN has 325 career points for third place on the all-time scoring list. Ranks second in NFLEL in converted field goals (59) behind Scotland聮s Rob Hart. Is bidding to become the first player in NFLEL history to win fourth World Bowl ring having won in 1995, 1999 and 2003. Playing in his record sixth World Bowl (also 1995, 1998).
QB J.T. O聮SULLIVAN (New Orelans Saints ), GAME-BY-GAME
Att Comp Yds TD Int
Wk 1: vs Amst 16 10 148 1 0
Wk 2: at Col 18 11 85 0 0
Wk 3: vs Rhein 27 18 225 2 0
Wk 4: at Amst 34 20 276 2 1
Wk 5: vs Col 31 17 193 1 0
Wk 6: at Scot 25 14 192 1 1
Wk 7: vs Scot 20 13 182 1 0
Wk 8: vs Ber 25 17 226 2 3
Wk 9: at Rhe Did Not Play
Wk 10: at Ber Did Not Play
TOTAL 196 120 1,527 10 5
RB SKIP HICKS (Cincinnati Bengals), GAME-BY-GAME
Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
Wk 1: vs Amst 20 86 1 1 7 0
Wk 2: at Col 8 25 1 0 0 0
Wk 3: vs Rhein 17 40 2 4 29 1
Wk 4: at Amst 23 74 0 7 138 1
Wk 5: vs Col 14 46 1 2 1 0
Wk 6: at Scot 23 64 0 3 9 0
Wk 7: vs Scot 16 123 2 2 10 0
Wk 8: vs Ber 20 65 2 1 2 0
Wk 9: at Rhe 25 88 1 1 16 0
Wk 10: at Ber 17 50 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 183* 661 10* 21 212 2
* Leads NFLEL
WR DREW HADDAD , GAME-BY-GAME
Rec Yds TD
Wk 1: vs Amst 4 37 0
Wk 2: at Col 1 14 1
Wk 3: vs Rhein 5 93 1
Wk 4: at Amst 4 41 0
Wk 5: vs Col 2 12 0
Wk 6: at Scot 5 100 0
Wk 7: vs Scot 3 101 0
Wk 8: vs Ber 4 57 0
Wk 9: at Rhe 0 0 0
Wk 10: at Ber 0 0 0
TOTAL 28 455 2
WORLD BOWL XII MATCHUP NFL Europe 2004, World Bowl 聳 Page 10
BERLIN THUNDER (9-1)
FRANKFURT GALAXY (7-3)
Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen, Saturday June 12, 6pm
Overall: Tied 6-6
At Berlin: Berlin leads 4-2
At Frankfurt: Frankfurt leads 4-2
Streak: Berlin 3
Thunder emerged as 31-27 winners in Week 8 in a game hailed as one of the best in recent NFLEL history. QB ROHAN DAVEY (New England Patriots) threw 4 touchdown passes for Berlin, while RB ERIC McCOO (Philadelphia Eagles) chipped in with 187 total yards (106 rushing, 81 receiving) and a touchdown. Berlin聮s defense produced a game-winning stand on fourth-and-one at their own 10-yard line with 37 seconds remaining聟 Berlin achieved the biggest win in franchise history as they shut out the Galaxy 41-0 in Week 8. McCoo rushed for 122 yards and 1 TD, while QB MARC DUNN (Kansas City Chiefs) threw a pair of TD passes and WR AARON BOONE (Chicago Bears) had 2 TD receptions.
Germany: LIVE/Premiere Sport 2, (Saturday June 12, 6:00 p.m. CET)
UK: LIVE/Sky Sports Xtra (Saturday June 12, 5:00 p.m. BST)
US: LIVE/FOX (12 noon ET)
FOX NFL SUNDAY duo of play-by-play announcer CURT MENEFEE and former NFL offensive lineman BRIAN BALDINGER call the action from Gelsenkirchen for FOX.
World Bowl XII will reach an estimated worldwide television audience of 200 million in more than 150.
US: LIVE/Sporting News Radio
Play-by-play announcer KEVIN SLATEN is joined in the booth by former NFL offensive lineman and NFLEL veteran broadcaster DAVE LAPHAM.
RICK LANTZ brings more than 40 years of coaching experience to the Berlin Thunder, where he has guided the club to a berth in World Bowl as a rookie NFLEL head coach. Served as linebackers coach of the Barcelona Dragons in 2003. Formerly served as ihead coach at Navy and as defensive coordinator at major schools such as Virginia, Miami, Georgia Tech and Louisville聟. MIKE JONES, 44, will become the youngest head coach to lead his team out at World Bowl. Led Galaxy to a 7-3 record as a rookie head coach. Went to four World Bowls as a member of the Rhein Fire coaching staff in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003, winning rings in 1998 and 2000. Played wide receiver in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints from 1983-89.
WORLD BOWL HISTORY
The Galaxy have reached World Bowl for a record sixth time and have won more World Bowls than any other team in NFLEL history (3), lifting the trophy in 1995, 1999 and 2003聟 With victory this weekend in Gelsenkirchen, the Galaxy can become only the second team in NFL Europe League history to win back-to-back championships 聳 the other being the Berlin Thunder in the 2001 and 2002 seasons聟 Frankfurt聮s first
World Bowl appearance came in 1995 when they recorded a 26-22 victory against the Amsterdam Admirals in the Netherlands聟 One year later the Galaxy lost World Bowl 聮96 in Edinburgh, Scotland, as the hometown Scottish Claymores emerged as 32-27 winners聟 One year after losing 34-10 to the Rhein Fire on home soil in World Bowl 聮98, the Galaxy won a second NFLEL title by beating the Barcelona Dragons 38-24 in D眉sseldorf聮s Rheinstadion 聳 home of the Rhein Fire聟 Frankfurt聮s third World Bowl success came in Glasgow, Scotland, last June with a 35-16 defeat of the Rhein Fire聟 Berlin has reached World Bowl for the third time in the past four seasons and will look to add a record-tying third championship victory聟 The Thunder聮s first World Bowl appearance came in the Netherlands when they recorded a 24-17 victory over the favored Barcelona Dragons聟 A year later, Berlin came back from an 0-3 start to reach World Bowl X, where they defeated the hometown Fire 26-20 in front of more than 53,000 fans in the Rheinstadion.
Berlin Thunder go into the game having tied the best regular season mark in NFLEL history with a 9-1 record (also London Monarchs 1991, Amsterdam Admirals 1995)聟. Frankfurt Galaxy has tied franchise best 7-3 record (also 1992, 1998)聟. Berlin looking to become only second team in NFLEL history to beat another three times in the same season (Scotland over Frankfurt in 1996)聟 Berlin go into World Bowl as regular season champions for the first time in franchise history聟 Berlin聮s 289 points for the season is the third-highest total in NFLEL history聟. Berlin has top rated offense in NFLEL, but only fifth in overall defense and fifth in points allowed聟. Both teams have been impressive in the turnover ratio department. Berlin leads NFL Europe with a +12 ratio and Frankfurt ranks second with a +10 ratio (22 takeaways to 12 giveaways). They are the only two teams in the league with a positive turnover ratio聟