For Frankfurt Galaxy Coach Dick Curl, there's no question as to whom his team must shut down if it's going to win Sunday's World Bowl.
It's Lawrence Phillips, whose troubled career has been resurrected in one season with the Barcelona Dragons. His performance has earned him raves and NFL Europe's offensive player of the year.
"He sure is the key -- he's a great player," Curl said. "He might be the best player that's ever played in this league -- and I've been here from the start."
Even with every defense geared to stop him, Phillips has shown he may not have lost much since his days carrying for the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams. He smashed the developmental league's rushing records, becoming the first player to rush for 1,000 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns in 10 games.
Phillips said trimming his weight from the 240 pounds he had bulked up to in the NFL to 210 has added to his explosiveness.
"I'm definitely a better player than I was in St. Louis and Miami," Phillips said.
The pass-oriented Galaxy doesn't have anyone with the notoriety of the 24-year-old Phillips, whose NFL career was derailed by run-ins with the law. But its two quarterbacks have been slapped with the most colorful nickname.
The two-headed monster.
That's the name given Jake Delhomme, allocated to the league by the NFL's New Orleans Saints, and Pat Barnes, from the Oakland Raiders. Delhomme and Barnes, in alternating quarters, have riddled secondaries for 2,879 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Phillips has been nursing an ankle injury for the past three weeks but expects to play in Sunday's game.
Dragons Coach Jack Bicknell said he never has understood why Phillips was considered a problem in the NFL.
"He's been terrific -- I don't know one bad thing about this kid," Bicknell said. "I've just seen a totally focused player."