Never before in World Bowl history has there been more pre-game talk about one player. Yet while Barcelona Dragons running back Lawrence Phillips attracted all the media headlines, it was Galaxy wide receiver Andy McCullough who stole the show.
With Phillips limping out of the action with a second quarter hamstring injury, the path was cleared for McCullough to write his own chapter in World Bowl history. And the wideout allocated by the Arizona Cardinals certainly made the most of the opportunity presented to him.
McCullough caught 6 passes for 151 yards and scored on touchdown receptions of 11, 32 and 7 yards. He won the game's MVP award and praise from Galaxy head coach Dick Curl.
"Andy McCullough and Mario Bailey are the two best receivers in the league," Curl said. "McCullough got so much better as the year went on and I think Mario helped him quite a bit.
"McCullough has a great work ethic and he has a tremendous future."
The victory vindicated Curl's decision to use two quarterbacks throughout the regular season and World Bowl as his 'Double-headed quarterback monster' of Pat Barnes and Jake Delhomme produced a top-class display.
Barnes completed 12 of 16 passes for 204 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Delhomme went 9 of 14 for 126 yards and 1 touchdown.
"Our two quarterbacks have been great all year," Curl said. "They are good players and have done pretty well for us. The credit goes to Pat and Jake.
"I promised them in training camp that I was going to play both of them and I don't know if they believed me or not at first. I made up my mind that was the way I was going to do it. I stuck with it and they both performed - they are two of the better quarterbacks in the league.
"I felt we could win with both those guys and our other players have a great deal of respect for them. I don't know if you can go with two quarterbacks all the time but they are special guys that made it work."
Although Frankfurt's quarterbacks were in fine form, it was the Dragons who made the more positive start, opening the scoring on Jesus Angoy's 38-yard field goal. Frankfurt replied with Ralf Kleinmann's 25-yard field goal that was set up by McCullough's 45-yard catch.
Phillips began to find his form late in the first quarter, ripping off a pair of 9-yard runs to move the Dragons into scoring range. The Offensive Player of the Year then completed the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, giving the Dragons a 10-3 lead.
The Galaxy countered with Shawn Scales' 63-yard kickoff return that set up Barnes' 11-yard touchdown pass over the middle to McCullough to tie the scores.
Phillips limped out of the World Bowl on Barcelona's next drive having gained 40 yards in just over a quarter of action. Despite the bitter blow, Dragons coach Jack Bicknell refused to accept the loss of Phillips cost his shot at a World Bowl.
"When you are in a game you can't worry about something like that," he insisted. "I was fortunate to have Lawrence Phillips for 10 games. I didn't think the fact he was out meant we couldn't win. If we could have stopped them we could have won the game - Lawrence didn't play defense."
Barcelona were forced to punt on their next drive and the Galaxy came right back to take the lead. Barnes hit tight end Ron Leshinski for a 41-yard gain and then threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to McCullough that gave Frankfurt a 17-10 lead.
There was no further scoring in the first half but the Dragons came out strong after the break behind the passing of Minnesota Vikings-allocated quarterback Todd Bouman. He tied the scores at 17-17 when he lofted a 5-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Brian Finneran in the end zone.
McCullough then showed his worth as a kick returner when he ran back the kickoff to the Dragons 40-yard line. Delhomme completed a couple of short passes to move Frankfurt downfield and Rene Ingoglia scored on a 3-yard touchdown run.
After another Barcelona punt, the Galaxy embarked on a 13-play drive that took 7:35 off the clock and resulted in Delhomme's 8-yard touchdown pass to Bailey early in the final quarter.
Trailing 31-17, the Dragons scored on Mario Grier's 2-yard run but McCullough brought the scoring to an emphatic end with a miracle 7-yard touchdown catch from Barnes.
McCullough juggled a difficult pass from Barnes and the ball went in and out of his hands three times before he finally snared it at the fourth attempt as he fell to the ground with his feet in bounds. It was a catch to rival Yo Murphy's in World Bowl '96 and will be talked about for years.
The final gun signalled the start of Frankfurt celebrations and was the cue for Barnes and Delhomme to talk about how they enjoyed sharing the quarterback job this season.
"I think you have to have a special relationship between the two quarterbacks in order to make it work," said Delhomme. "I don't think two quarterbacks have ever won a championship. Pat and I proved it can be done and we did it tonight."
Barnes added: "I'm really proud of this team. Everybody accepted the two quarterbacks situation and Jake and I have been great friends since training camp in Orlando. We'll be rooting for each other in the NFL."