The Rhein Fire's Jim Arellanes had thrown just one pass this season in a game situation - and that one wobbled incomplete.
But Arellanes stepped in for the injured Mike Quinn, and threw for three scores as his Duesseldorf team routed the Frankfurt Galaxy 34-10 to win the World Bowl."I just tried to stay relaxed out there," Arellanes said. "If anything I had trouble with the snaps. I never played in the rain before, and the ball kept slipping through my fingers."
Arellanes hooked up with Dialleo Burks from 15 and 27 yards, and Marcus Robinson from 74 yards. Arellanes was 12-for-18 for 263 yards in front of 47,546 at Waldstadium - the largest crowd of the season for NFL Europe.
The play of Arellanes gave Fire coach Galen Hall, the former Florida Gators coach, his first World Bowl title in three tries.
"I'm not surprised at the way he played. He's thrown very well in practice," Hall said. "He's got a good NFL future ahead of him."
The win also denied the Galaxy, the 1995 league champion, the chance for a second title.
Arellanes, a former Fresno State player, filled in at the last moment for Mike Quinn, NFL Europe's top-rated quarterback, who was nursing a strained ankle.
With the German fans blowing horns and throwing confetti, Arellanes threw a 40-yard pass to Robinson on the first play from scrimmage.
"That gave me some confidence right away," Arellanes said. "But I also knew we had sixty minutes ahead of us."
Galaxy quarterback Chris Dittoe didn't fare as well as Arellanes in a windy game on the muddy turf. Dittoe, filling in for injured starter Damon Huard, threw two interceptions, including one with 6:25 left to kill the Galaxy's last hopes of a comeback.
"We didn't make the big plays," Dittoe said. "It was tough out there, but you have to give their defense some credit."
Dittoe was pressured all day by Fire tackle Ed Philion. The second interception, by cornerback Robert Davies, came with 6:58 remaining and the Galaxy behind 24-10.