Ohio Glory brought pro football to The Shoe
World League of American Football Virtual Football Cards featuring Ohio GLory players Babe Laufenberg (top), Amir Rasul (middle) and Greg Frey (bottom).
Cards created by Bill Jones and Willie O’Burke.
The Ohio Glory jerseys featured a jersey patch for Amerifloria ’92, an international l horticultural exhibition held in Columbus.
Outside of a series of NFL exhibition games between and the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, which were dubbed the Woody Hayes Bowl, professional football did not have a home in Ohio Stadium until 1992.
The Ohio Glory, playing in the second year of the World League of American Football (WLAF), became the first professional football team to call The Shoe home.
The Glory came into existence when the Raleigh–Durham Skyhawks folded after going winless during the 10 game 1991 season. Unfortunately, Ohio only managed to slightly improve on that record with just one win.
The World League, played a spring schedule and was supported by the NFL. The league featured innovations such as helmet radios for quarterback to receive play calls from the sideline, video cameras mounted inside helmets, and the two point conversion.
The league suspended operations following the 1992 season due to financial problems and the inability to obtain further funding from NFL owners. Three years later, the league resurfaced exclusively in Europe and would eventually become known as NFL Europe.
With head coach Larry Little, an offensive guard who was a member of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins, at the helm the Glory’s only win came at Ohio Stadium against one of its international foes. The team defeated the Frankfurt Galaxy 20-17 in week seven.
At the beginning of the season, Ohio’s offense was led by the team’s top draft pick and former NFL quarterback Babe Laufenberg, The former Indiana Hoosier played in the NFL for the Washington Redskins, the New Orleans Saints, the San Diego Chargers, the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite all this experience, his biggest claim to fame was being Troy Aikman’s backup with the Cowboys. During his seven years in the league, he passed for five touchdowns, seven interceptions, including four in a game, and 1,057 yards.
His backups were Pat O’Hara and former Ohio State quarterback Greg Frey.
O’Hara was the team’s leading passer, however he found more success as a cast member of numerous football movies including Any Given Sunday and The Waterboy, according to the World League of American Football fan site. He was also a crew member on The Longest Yard (2005) and We Are Marshall.
Two members of the Glory went on to earn roster spots in the NFL. Punter Tom Rouen played for five teams through the 2005 season.
Linebacker George Koonce immediately become a starter with the Green Bay Packers, which he held for eight seasons.
A gallery of Ohio Glory memorabilia is also available through the World League of American Football fan site.