“For a millennia the Tattoo and the Bagpipe has called Scotland’s heroes to defend her land, and her honour. Now a new challenge presents itself as a Germanic horde invades the Scottish midlands. The Frankfurt Galaxy and the Scottish Claymores clash in World Bowl 96 as a season’s worth of emotion and sweat will rise to a crescendo and determine who will the conquer the World”.

So said the typically understated and under-informed announcer for Fox Sports as he introduced the 1996 World Bowl between a Scottish Claymores team featuring Gavin Hastings and a team from the galaxy of Frankfurt. See video below.

The Scottish Claymores were Scotland’s only professional American football team and competed in the NFL Europe League between 1995 and 2004. They prevailed in World Bowl 96 as the Claymores beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 32-27, thereby, presumably, conquering the World.

Having later moved to Hampden, the Claymores were disbanded in October 2004 after 10 seasons of play. Former Claymores currently playing in the NFL include New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes who played 10 games for the team in 2002. Tynes was born in Greenock and in 2008 became the first Scot to win the Superbowl.

Another legacy of the Claymores time in Scotland is that the dry ice, fireworks and face-painting seen in the video below, that might have seemed odd to Scottish sporting events in 1996, are now commonplace at Scottish international football and rugby games. Cheerleaders in anoraks however, remain a thing of the past.

World Bowl ’96
Sunday 23 June 1996
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

In a game that broke numerous records, the Scottish Claymores proved themselves as the best in the World League in 1996.

Inside the final minute the Galaxy had one last drive to score the winning touchdown before time ran out. Quick passes to the sidelines moved Frankfurt past midfield.

With Frankfurt facing a 4th and short, players, coaches held their breath while the 39,000 fans roared in the stands to prevent the play-calling from reaching all the offensive players on the field.

The ball was snapped, the hand-off to the German national Ingo Seibert was FUMBLED! Steve Pelleur recovered and gained enough for the first down. The crowd went silent.

Suddenly, a flag was thrown. An obscure rule called the “fourth down fumble” states that if the ball is fumbled on fourth down, only the player who fumbled can advance the ball. As Steve Pelleur recovered the fumble the play was blown dead and Scotland took over on downs.

Jim Ballard took a knee to run out the clock and Scotland were World Bowl Champions 1996.

The roar that went up when Head Coach Jim Criner lifted the World Bowl trophy was unreal but the most striking memory for many fans was of Scott Couper, Gavin Hastings, and Ben Torriero holding the trophy high for the fans in the East Stand.