Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Jonathan Quinn and the Berlin Thunder went through their final preparations for World Bowl IX today, and also welcomed some special visitors to practice.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw visited Thunder camp as they prepared for their match up tomorrow against the Barcelona Dragons at 12:00 noon (ET). The game is being televised live locally on FOX.
For Quinn, the NFL Europe League has provided him an opportunity to showcase his talents in live game conditions. Now, he's hoping to return to Jacksonville as a World Bowl winner.
"This entire experience has been so positive for me," Quinn said. "I've really benefited from getting so many snaps in game conditions. Everyone here has something to prove, so you know how hungry the guys are."
Quinn was named to the all-NFL Europe League team yesterday and his statistics abroad tell a story. He led the league with a 95.3 passer rating and 24 touchdown passes. His 2,257 yards passing were also tops.
Berlin head coach Peter Vaas has been impressed with the development of his starting quarterback.
"Jonathan is the best quarterback in the league right now, and he might be the best we've ever had in NFL Europe," Vaas said. "There's no question he will go back to the Jaguars a better quarterback than when he came here."
The championship game will feature the league's two top offenses. Berlin led the league in scoring with 270 points while Barcelona's unit was the top-ranked in NFL Europe, averaging 327 yards per game.
Quinn and the Thunder came up short twice in the regular season against Barcelona, falling 21-14 in Week 1 and 55-35 in Week 6. Quinn is hoping to reverse the fortunes in the most important meeting yet.
"We have struggled against them twice, but you have to give them credit too," Quinn said. "I'm hoping we can limit our mistakes and make a few big plays to get us an early lead. Capping the season with a championship is the way we want to go out, so hopefully we can make it happen."