CFL America Radio is where North American football is celebrated through game replays, old radio shows, and documentaries in the public domain on the history, remembrances, culture, lore, and legends of pro football in Canada, America and around the world. Additionally, every few weeks journalist Scott Adamson and armchair historian Greg James, from their 55 yard line cheap seats, sit down with authors and historians who, through their works, have given all of us a close-up look and perspective at the gridiron game we have grown up with and enjoy no matter where on the map we may call home.
On the cusp of the long awaited 2021 CFL season, Scott and Greg sit down for a lengthy conversation with Canadian football legend, two time Grey Cup champion, author, hall of famer and all around great guy, Matt Dunigan. We talk about his long and storied career, his first years in Edmonton, his time in Toronto, and the challenges facing the league. Additionally, he regaled us with his story of the fajita incident with Bruce McNall.
In the 1960s, as Georgia Tech leaves the conference and the Civil Rights Movement becomes embedded in the history and image of the region, Bear Bryant, hired in 1958, becomes the face of Alabama - and SEC football.
Multiple SEC schools claim national titles from the 1930s through the '50s, including LSU with star running back Billy Cannon in 1958, prior to Cannon's epic game-winning punt return against powerhouse Ole Miss a year later.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, America's South is looking to put the past behind it, and finds one path in a growing cultural passion of the North - football. In December 1932, the Southeastern Conference is officially formed.
"We need to exemplify the history and tradition…making sure we're leaving this a better place, for the next generation." - Mike McCarthy. Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
"Thank goodness I got to live out my dream…because I don't know if I would've done very well at anything else." - Brett Favre. Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
On what is our tenth interview show (remember, the first 55 Yard Line show was just Scott & Greg, so that doesn't count) on the Sports History Network and CFL America Radio, from Vancouver, Jim Mullin, the president of Football Canada, host of Gridiron Nation on TSN, and member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame selection committee, joins us to talk not only about the upcoming season, but also Canadian football, CFL and British Columbia Lions history. As to what we learned, among the many things is that the CFL does not own the Grey Cup!
"It's one of the greatest turnarounds in league history." - Bob Harlan. Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
"They had one good season in 1989, and that turned out to be a fluke!" - Cliff Christl. Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
"The glory years had ended and Green Bay was still Green Bay." - Larry McCarren. Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." - Vince Lombardi. Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
"I can say to you sincerely…the best way for you to guarantee the current and future success of the Green Bay Packers is to build a new stadium." - George Halas, Chicago Bears Founder. Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
For those of us over a certain age, who have loved professional football, be it in Canada or America, we have come to it through two primary means- books and film. For those of who truly love books we have gained a deeper understanding of the game through the words and literary artistry of writers like Chris Willis, who is the resident historian at NFL Films, where he oversees all aspects of research for the company and their producers. In 2002 he was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the HBO documentary- The Game of Their Lives: Pro Football in the 1950's." He is a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) since 1993 and writes for the Pro Football Journal.
In addition to his work with NFL Films, he has authored many fine books. His first, Old Leather: An Oral History of Early Pro Football in Ohio, 1920-1935, was published in 2005 by Scarecrow Press. Old Leather was given the 2005 Nelson Ross Award by the Professional Football Researchers Association for recent Achievement in Football Research and Historiography. His second book, The Columbus Panhandles : A Complete History of Pro Football's Toughest Team, 1900-1922, was published in 2007 by Scarecrow Press. His third book was released in September of 2010, The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr is a biography of the former NFL president from 1921-1939. His fourth book, Dutch Clark: The Life of an NFL Legend and the Birth of the Detroit Lions, is about the man who played seven seasons in the NFL and was the first big star for the Lions.
His fifth book, A Nearly Perfect Season: The Inside Story of the 1984 San Francisco 49ers, and contains over 30 interviews from that team that went 18-1 and won Super Bowl XIX and is considered one of the NFL's greatest teams. In 2017, he wrote Walter Lingo, Jim Thorpe and the Oorang Indians, another story about the early days of the NFL, and in 2019 he completed his full-scale biography, Red Grange- the Galloping Ghost, which was published in conjunction with the NFL's 100th season. Currently Chris is working on a biography of Bronko Nagurski, former Chicago Bears Hall of Fame fullback, which is scheduled to be published in August of 2022.
In this episode, Chris joins the show to talk about his career as an author and as part of the team of creative geniuses at NFL Films. He tells us about his approach to his writing and research, how many of his books came to be, and he also shares with us personal stories of the man your hosts and guest continue to idolize and be inspired by- Steve Sabol.
"You have to give credit to Lambeau, to the people running the ball club…and of course, the fans!" - Charley Brock. Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
"I was intrigued that a little town like Green Bay could play in the National Football League and hold their own." - Clark Hinkle
Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
"The Packers' improbable, unprecedented success is living proof that truth is stranger than fiction." - David Maraniss Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers tells the remarkable story of the Packers, from the team's humble beginnings to its centennial season.
As the 2021 CFL season approaches, Dave Naylor of Canada's TSN takes time with us to talk about where the league is headed using history as a guide. In particular we talk in-depth about the American expansion of the 1990s when the CFL first sought to expand its reach south.
Narrated by Jack Fleming. They were the first, those Pittsburgh Steelers, to win three straight Super Bowls with a victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII. Relive the glory that was the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978 many times over.
Narrated by Jack Fleming. They were perhaps the finest collection of football players ever to grace an NFL gridiron. In the 1970’s the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the fabled “Steel Curtain” defense, a powerful running attack and an electric passing game, rolled to four Super Bowl Championships. The best of the lot had to be the 1975 team that capped off a celebrated season with a thrilling Super Bowl victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
In this episode, Don Charabin from the Third Down Gamble podcast, and Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post join us and reminisce about growing up in the prairie towns of the province of Saskatchewan where one team symbolizes what makes the Canadian Football League so special. We recall the heroes of the game whom they idolized in the 60s and 70s, and talk about the era when the wheat grew tall and the Chinook wind blew cold, in a community where only two TV channels were on the air, and as a young football fan you got your sports news and box scores from the newspaper.
Narrated by Tom Hedrick. The responsibility of a lifetime was upon their shoulders and they came through. The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs proved that parity in the world of the NFL had arrived with a stunning upsets of the highly touted Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
Narrated by Ted Moore. Play-by-play highlights of one of the greatest and certainly most legendary teams in NFL history. The Green Bay Packers of Vince Lombardi capture three straight in NFL championships including the memorable "Ice Bowl" game with the Dallas Cowboys in 1967.
Narrated by Verne Lundquist. The 1977 Dallas Cowboys end the six year run of AFC supremacy with an NFC championship and a Super Bowl victory of the Denver Broncos. They were America's Team in their finest moment.
Narrated by Bob Trumpy. When you hear the name Paul Brown, you automatically think of a legend. Paul took the Cleveland Browns to success and he set out to do the same thing when he started the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968. After back to back four and twelve years, followed by a record of six and ten in 1980, die hard Bengal fans were wondering if this team would never win.
Everyone knew the Bengals had talent, lots of talent. Something had to be done about the direction in which the team was taking. When Forest Gregg was hired the first thing he had to straighten out was the attitude of the team. Forest had to convince the players that they could win. It didn't take long. The Cincinnati Bengals made it to Super Bowl XVI just one year after the former Green Bay Great came to the Queen City.
From six and ten to the Super Bowl was proof enough that the Bengals Franchise was alive and well. The 1981 season could be termed a "Cinderella" one but that's such an overused term in this instance. Starting wtih the come from behind wins at the beginning of the year to the "November to Remember" to the great playoff wins over Buffalo, then San Diego in the coldest game ever played. This year, 1981, was the year in which the Bengals would savor.. A taste of success. This is the story of the 1981 Cincinnati Bengals, the American Football Conference Champions.
After two decades of being pro football's doormats the Denver Broncos of the "Orange Crush" fame capture their first championship and earn a chance to play in the Super Bowl. Featuring the exciting play-by-play action, highlights, and interviews of the Denver Broncos' 1977 Championship Season! In 1977, it all came together. The Broncos were the sensation of the NFL, winning twelve of fourteen games. In the playoffs they kept right on going. They won the AFC Championship by knocking off the teams that had won the last three Super Bowls... Pittsburgh and Oakland.
The Broncos won the team play. And they made Bronco-mania a national phenomenon. The country turned orange.
The Broncos were a team of contrasts... There was a head coach "Red" Miller. For seventeen pro seasons, he had been a successful assistant coach. Then in his first chance as head coach, playing "one game at a time", he took his charges to the Super Bowl. ... There was a quarterback Craig Morton. His addition to the Broncos' roster provided the on-the-field offensive leadership that had been missing. ... There were the remaining members of the offensive unit... a group of multi-talented and dedicated athletes who had the big play ready when it was needed. ... Finally, there was the Orange Crus Defense. Already respected as one of the best in the NFL, they continued to wreak havoc on opposing offenses in 1977.
Yes, the 1977 Denver Broncos were a special kind of team. They gave all they had and, as a result, took themselves and their fans to the Super Bowl.
Narrated by Curt Gowdy. All the play-by-play highlights and interviews of the first fourteen Super Bowls. Recapture all the excitement as a single day event in January of each year became the most celebrated sports day on the sporting calendar.
Narrated by Bill Mercer. It seemed they were forever the bridesmaid. They were continually coming up short in the championship games. That was until 1972 and now you can relive the magic of a group that became known as “America's Team”. In Super Bowl VI, the Cowboys crushed the Dolphins 24-3, in which they rushed for a record 252 yards and their defense limited the Dolphins to a low of 185 yards while not permitting a touchdown for the first time in Super Bowl history.
Dallas converted Chuck Howley's recovery of Larry Csonka's first fumble of the season into a 3-0 advantage and led at half time 10-3. After Dallas received the second-half kickoff, Duane Thomas led a 71-yard march in eight plays for a 17-3 margin. Howley intercepted Bob Griese's pass at the 50 and returned it to the Miami 9 early in the fourth period, and three plays later Roger Staubach passed 7 yards to Mike Ditka for the final touchdown. Thomas rushed for 95 yards and Walt Garrison gained 74. Staubach, voted the game's most valuable player, completed 12 of 19 passes for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Narrated by Chuck Thompson, Bill O'Donnell and Jim Karvellis. In 1968 the Colts put together one of the finest teams in the game's history. With a precision offense and violent defense the Colts stampeded to 13 victories and 1 defeat on the way to the NFL championship and a stunning loss to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III.
Narrated by Merle Harmon. A look back at the team who changed the face of professional football --- the 1968 New York Jets. With a brash young quarterback at the helm the Jets topple the mighty Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Recapture the excitement of a season never to be duplicated.
Narrated by Rick Weaver. Relive the molding of one of the greatest football teams ever assembled, graduating from an expansion team to one of the NFL's best, as the 1971 Miami Dolphins storm through the AFC and a date in Super Bowl VI.
The CFL has no luxury of a warm weather site, if you don't count BC Place. As a result, the CFL has been impacted by weather on numerous occasions, the most famous being the interruption of the 1962 Grey Cup that was suspended due to fog in the 4th quarter and continued the next day. Prior to floodlights being installed in most stadiums, games in the late fall were sometimes suspended for darkness, to either be replayed or continued on a future date. Otherwise, CFL games have been played in every imaginable condition in ice, snow, mud and gale force winds.
Narrated by Rick Weave, this audio documentary from the 1970s features a no-name defense, a quarterback who came off the bench, two running backs who rushed for 1000 yards each, all of which equated to a perfect 17-0 season. They made believers out of everybody. Relive the exciting story and highlights of that incredible season.
25 years before their first Super Bowl championship, the 1976 New England Patriots came within an official’s call of what might have become postponed glory. Now you can relive that infamous 11-3 season as the New England Patriots, in America’s bicentennial year, give all they had in their quest to be called the NFL’s best.
For our seventh episode on the Sports History Network, CFL fan and Grey Cup attendee Upton Bell, joins us. Upton is the former director of personnel of the Baltimore Colts, general manager of the New England Patriots, and owner of the New York Stars and Charlotte Hornets of the World Football League. After football, Upton transitioned into sports broadcasting in the New England area where he was the host of "Calling All Sports", "Sports Nightly", "Sports Line", and "Sports Beat." Upton was also the color commentator for the Boston Breakers, Boston Celtics, Boston College and Ivy League football, as well as an interviewer for the Patriots pregame show. He also served as co-host of the first nationally televised NFL draft on PBS in 1977. In the 1980s Upton transitioned to talk radio in Boston where he interviewed three presidents and countless other national figures. Upton is the son of former NFL Commissioner Bert Bell, and, in 2017, he, along with Ron Borges, authored "Present at the Creation: My Life in the NFL and the Rise of America's Game."
When you think of the old Baltimore Colts, the first flashback that comes to mind are the black and white films with Johnny Unitas leading the team in the 1950’s. Then another thought stirs up images of Bert Jones, Lydell Mitchell and the mid 1970’s version with Head Coach Ted Marchibroda. You follow-up that thought with the green and yellow Mayflower trucks moving the team to Indianapolis in the middle of the night in 1984. Yet sandwiched between the first and second of these events is the most forgotten champion in modern football history- the 1970 Baltimore Colts.
Six-man football is played at more than 250 high schools in Texas and for many, it’s not just a game – it’s the lifeblood of tiny communities where the largest employer is often the lone high school. Featured here is a documentary that spent a full season exploring the games, towns and people of the unique sport for an in-depth, multiplatform presentation. The story follows several compelling stories – on and off the field – at five public schools playing in the smallest division in west and central Texas.
Despite what the NFL says, the league actually began play in 1898 when the Arizona Cardinals began play as the “Morgan Athletic Club” located on the south side of Chicago; which was a neighborhood gym where boxing was the utmost activity. A local painting contractor named Chris O’Brien started the team from members of the club. Back then, teams would form and play other neighborhoods or nearby towns/cities and called it professional football because they charged a gate and divided up the proceeds after all the expenses were covered. That meant there might be several teams in a large city such as Chicago alone and sometimes would play only a handful of games and then disband when interest waned or players simply quit. Scheduling games against local and regional teams cut down on travel expenses. Most teams were comprised of factory workers, policemen, shop owners, dock workers, mechanics, coal miners, former college athletes and men from all walks of life. Since that time, Chicago has been instrumental in the growth and rise in popularity of professional football, and in many ways, because of the Cardinals (who would leave the city in 1959), it is where the NFL truly began.
More than any other sports figure, Vince Lombardi transformed football into a metaphor of the American experience. The son of an Italian immigrant butcher, Lombardi toiled for twenty frustrating years as a high school coach and then as an assistant at Fordham, West Point, and the New York Giants before his big break came at age forty-six with the chance to coach a struggling team in snowbound Wisconsin. His leadership of the Green Bay Packers to five world championships in nine seasons is the most storied period in NFL history. Lombardi became a living legend, a symbol to many of leadership, discipline, perseverance, and teamwork, and to others of an obsession with winning.
Don Shula’s football life almost ended before it began. Wanting to play football as a sophomore in high school against his mother’s wishes, Shula forged his parents’ signature. Then, after earning a scholarship from John Carroll University, he almost gave up the game for the Priesthood. However, after he decided to continue playing and with a career game vs. Syracuse while legendry head coach was Paul Brown in attendance, Shula was drafted into the NFL. The Ohio native soon discovered the foundation was laid for his true calling – coaching. During his tenure with the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins, NFL’s most consistent winner accumulated 328 regular-season wins, 19 playoff victories which includes two Super Bowls, and became synonymous with perfection.
September 11th, reflecting on how the NFL reacted to the crisis of September 11, 2001, and the deep and lasting impact of the day's events. This one-hour show tells the story of how the events of September 11, 2001 impacted the entire NFL and specifically the New York Giants, New York Jets and Washington Redskins, from the decision to cancel the games the following week to personal stories of those directly impacted by the day's events.
This documentary tells the story of the moment when a film producer christened the Dallas Cowboys "America's Team," setting a decades-long debate over whether or not the franchise deserves that lofty designation. It details America's obsession with the Cowboys and the team's rise to mythic levels. With the disappearance of Western icons such as John Wayne, America was looking for new heroes and found them in the team with the blue star on their helmets. The one-hour show features interviews with former Cowboys players such as Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Drew Pearson, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and NFL Films producer Bob Ryan – the man behind the historic nickname – each reflecting on the cultural significance of the Cowboys in America and how the team represents the entire nation.
Prior to the 1967 NFL season, the state of Louisiana did not have a football team. That the city of New Orleans was granted a team was due, in large part, to local sports entrepreneur Dave Dixon, who had petitioned for a permanent team to be assigned to the city with 5 years of exhibition games — which regularly sold out the 80,000 seat Tulane stadium. At the time the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL) were in the process of merging, pending congressional approval. What originated as the brainchild of Dixon was brought to life in a backroom deal between Congressman Hale Boggs, Senator Russell Long, and NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, which effectively finalized the merger between the AFL and the NFL — and thus the New Orleans Saints were born. Since then, the legacy was losing and near loss, as a hurricane in 2005 almost destroy city, but not its soul. However, in 2006 the losing ended with one blocked punt and since then the soul of city, in the eyes of many, was reborn into a city of winners and finally, in 2009, champions.
In the first of what we hope is many Sports History Network and Canadian Football Podcast Network crossover events, "Super Fan" Mike Smith-Knutsen, the unofficial Edmonton Elks historian and co-host of The Turf District podcast, joins Scott and Greg to talk the history of the legendary franchise from its early days to its 21st Century rebranding. We talk about legends and barrier breaking players like Normie Kwong and Warren Moon, the history of Commonwealth Stadium, the new name of the team, and much more! And though the old team name is retired, we could not but help at the end to share with you one of the catchiest football marches ever heard in North America.
Not only are the Packers the only fan-owned team in any of North America’s major pro sports leagues, but Green Bay—population 104,057—is also the smallest city with a big-time franchise. The Packers are, in other words, unlikely candidates to be pro football's preeminent team. And yet nobody in the NFL has won more championships. The story of Titletown, USA, is the greatest story in sports. This documentary chronicles the what the team team means to its town and town, and a fan base. No other team in pro sports is so bound to the place that gave birth to it. Here is the continuing legacy of the Packers and of Green Bay—from the days of the French fur traders who settled on the shores of La Baie in the seventeenth century, to the team’s pursuit of its fourteenth NFL championship in its second century.
Once you get to know the nine teams of the CFL, you quickly realize that not only does the league have a lot of moxie, but they have some great personalities and characters. For instance, there is Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca, fierce competitors on and even off the field. Who can forget that time the geriatric hall of famers exchanged punches at a charity event, the incident of which was fortunately caught on camera. For every CFL fan there is a personality they either love or hate, like Henry Burris, Leo Cahill and the all time winningest coach Wally Buono.
The riveting story of the unprecedented merger between the well-established National Football League and the upstart American Football League, giving birth to the modern-day NFL. The merger also created the uniquely American spectacle called the Super Bowl, which transformed sports and culture in America.
Howard Cosell was one of the most recognizable and controversial figures in American sports history. His colorful bombast, fearless reporting, and courageous stance on civil rights captured the attention of listeners everywhere. No mere jock turned "pretty-boy" broadcaster, the Brooklyn-born Cosell began as a lawyer before becoming a radio commentator. In "telling it like it is," he covered nearly every major sports story for three decades, from the travails of Muhammad Ali to the tragedy at Munich. Featuring a sprawling cast of athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Sonny Liston, Don Meredith, and Joe Namath, Howard Cosell also re-created the behind-the-scenes story of that American institution, Monday Night Football. Cosell's endless complexities are brilliantly explored in this haunting work that reveals as much about the explosive commercialization of sports as it does about a much-neglected media giant who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 1953, the city of Baltimore was awarded a new National Football League franchise. The team was nicknamed the Colts, the second pro football club to bear that name in a seven-year period. Earlier in 1947, a Baltimore Colts team was founded in the All-America Football Conference. Three years later, as part of the peace agreement between the AAFC and NFL, the Colts became an NFL member. But this venture failed and the franchise was disbanded after the 1950 season. However, Baltimore was presented with a second chance for an NFL team three seasons later when the Dallas Texans franchise was cancelled by the league. NFL Commissioner Bert Bell challenged the city to sell 15,000 season tickets within six weeks. The successful sale took just over four weeks and, on January 23, 1953, Carroll Rosenbloom became the principal owner of the new Baltimore Colts.
In 1954, Weeb Ewbank was named the Colts' head coach and he began a steady building program that put his team over .500 for the first time in 1957. The Colts didn't have another losing season for the next 14 years. Powered by a sensational young quarterback, Johnny Unitas, and a strong supporting cast that included such future Pro Football Hall of Famers as Artie Donovan, Gino Marchetti, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore and Jim Parker, the Colts won NFL championships in both 1958 and 1959 and again in 1968. The 1958 NFL title clash against the New York Giants, played before the largest television audience ever up to that time, did much to increase fan enthusiasm for pro football. With Unitas craftily engineering long drives that led to the tying field goal and winning touchdown, the Colts won 23-17 in overtime.
Both the Colts and Ewbank were involved in a second game 10 years later that would share ranking as a pivotal game in creating far-reaching fan enthusiasm. The game was Super Bowl III and the Ewbank-led New York Jets stunned the heavily-favored Colts 16-7. Under Don Shula, who replaced Ewbank in 1963, the Colts won NFL Western conference championships in 1964 and 1968. Shula moved to Miami in 1970 but the Colts, who had moved to the new American Football Conference at the time of the merger, won the first AFC Eastern division title and Super Bowl V. Robert Irsay, who acquired the Los Angeles Rams franchise in 1972, engineered an historic trade of teams with Carroll Rosenbloom that year. Twelve years later on March 28, 1984, Irsay moved the Colts to Indianapolis, where they now play in Lucas Oil Stadium.
There have been quite a few CFL players to make their way to the NFL. Stars like Cameron Wake, Brandon Browner, and Joe Horn, in fact, all got their big breaks at the CFL (for the B.C. Lions, Calgary Stampeders, and Memphis Mad Dogs, respectively). There have also been a handful of NFL players who have taken their talents to Canada. One such player is Johnny Manziel, who, unfortunately, seems to have blown his shot at football redemption in the CFL. The players in this list, however, are unlike Manziel, have been the tops in both leagues.
After a disappointing 1977 season, the '78 Steelers dominated the opposition, winning 14 game in the NFL's first 16 game regular season. Pittsburgh then dismantled the defending AFC champion Broncos in the first round of the playoffs before crushing divisional rival Houston in the AFC title game, 34-5. In Super Bowl XIII, Bradshaw, the 1978 NFL MVP, set a then Super Bowl record with 318 yards and four touchdowns in Pittsburgh's 35-31 victory over the Cowboys in a matchup that determined who would be forever known as the "Team of the 70's."
CFL America Radio has been recognized as one of the Top 15 Canadian Football League Podcasts by Feedspot @ www.feedspot.com
Originally nicknamed by the media during the highlight film in 1978, the Dallas Cowboys, also known as America’s Team, stuck as The Voice of God opened with the nickname, and it continues to represent the team today. During the opening game of the 1979 season, the announcer for CBS called the Dallas Cowboys by their new nickname, and from that point on, it became part of the team as fans, announcers, and even team members, used the nickname. Coach Tom Landry wasn’t thrilled by the new nickname for his team and felt strongly that the name would push their opponents to play harder. However, as strongly as he felt against the name, he really had no choice. The nickname for the Dallas Cowboys did not come without controversy, and even today, teams across the league battle it out to determine who America’s Team really is.
CFL America Radio has been recognized as one of the Top 15 Canadian Football League Podcasts by Feedspot @ www.feedspot.com
Fritz Pollard grew up in Rogers Park, Illinois, a largely white suburb of Chicago. The seventh of eight children, young Fritz experienced racism first hand and learned from his family how to pick his battles and subdue his emotions in order to achieve his goals in a predominantly white world. A three-sport athlete at Lane Tech High, Pollard had notions of attending Dartmouth to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Leslie. But fate intervened. During a stopover in Providence in January 1913, Fritz had his first view of the Van Wickle gates sparkling in the sun; his career at Brown had begun.
During the 1915 and 1916 Brown football seasons, Pollard achieved legendary status, compiling “firsts” as frequently as he gained first downs. The first black to play in the Rose Bowl (1916), Fritz was also named to Walter Camp’s All America Team, and was the first African American in Camp’s backfield. Nicknamed “the human torpedo,” Pollard had almost single-handedly defeated Yale and Harvard (Brown’s first win over the Crimson) in 1916. The Bruins were the first college team to defeat both Ivy powerhouses in the same season. For his exploits at Brown, Pollard was elected to the National College Football Hall of Fame in 1954 — the first African American ever chosen.
As a professional player, Pollard continued to garner “firsts” in spite of the overt racism of the period. He was among the first African-Americans in the APFL and NFL leagues and, along with Jim Thorpe, was the major gate attraction. A Black man playing football in a predominantly white environment was a novelty in the 1920s. Fritz Pollard was the first African American to play on a championship team (1920), as well as the first Black quarterback (1923) and coach (1919).
Pollard’s efforts on behalf of African American athletes were Herculean. He organized Black teams such as the Chicago Black Hawks and the Brown Bombers in order to promote integrated competition in professional football.
A true renaissance man, Pollard broke barriers of every sort — in business and the entertainment industry, as well as in sports. At various times, he ran a newspaper, an investment advisory firm, and a coal company. His outgoing, engaging personality smoothed many a pathway in the business and professional worlds, and even led to some dabbling in politics.
Unless you’re a member of the 2009 Montreal Alouettes or a die hard fan, the mistake made in the Grey Cup game that year is what will be remembered by most who think about it. The city of Cleveland watched its pro sports teams suffer for 52 long, miserable years before its championship drought ended in 2016. Pins in the tragic roadmap of that journey include The Drive and The Fumble for the Browns; The Shot and The Decision for the Cavaliers and The Catch and a couple of curses for the baseball team. They’re the kinds of things that can haunt teams and cities, that worm their way into the psyche of fans and sometimes even the teams themselves. A similar moment was created for Riders fans on Nov. 29, 2009. We’ll probably always think of The 13th Man when we look back to that game but when you look at it from the Alouettes’ perspective, that’s somewhat unfair. As then-Als head coach Marc Trestman explains there were 100 other moments in that classic of a game that helped shape the outcome and it wasn’t just the one that lives forever in highlight packs.
A poignant documentary that chronicles the 1985 season of the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL, and of team owner John Bassett and his final battle with cancer. Had John Bassett been healthy one cannot but help but wonder how he would have countered Donald Trump's tremendous negative influence as he sought to move the league to the autumn and put the final nails in the coffin of a league that many say could have been successful had smart men like Bassett had more influence and been the guiding force.
In 1974 and most of 1975, the World Football League positioned itself as a rival of the National Football League. Though it didn't succeed in placing franchises throughout the world as they initially hoped (Honolulu being the most distant franchise from the Continental U.S.), the players and hardcore fans loved the game and the league. Through interviews with the executives, players and fans this documentary chronicles the short-lived professional league that is mostly forgotten by casual football fans.
On a football Sunday morning on what should have been the start of the CFL preseason for Scott and Greg, the pair sit down with Jack Gilden to discuss his book, "Collision of Wills", about the relationship of Johnny Unitas and Don Shula and the times they lived in. They discuss Jack's interviews with the Unitas family, Don Shula, Joe Namath and Earl Morrall, as well as the history of Baltimore football from the Colts, through the Stallions and Ravens, and the legacy the player and coach have had on football history.
CFL America Radio has been recognized as one of the Top 15 Canadian Football League Podcasts by Feedspot @ www.feedspot.com
The 14-minute piece takes an in-depth look at the unique and friendly feud that has fueled football fans in Ottawa for generations. It’s a territorial rite of passage between those located in the South Side Stands and those in the North Side Stands at the grounds of Lansdowne Park. The piece weaves through the history and myth that surrounds the now epic chants that echo off each grandstand as both football and fandom has transitioned from Frank Clair Stadium to TD Place, culminating with the ultimate unifying cheer of an Ottawa Redblacks win earlier this year. Numerous interviews with fans from both sides of the divide provide insight on what has become a football tradition in Canada's capital. The documentary explores the roots of the rivalry and examines how the split remains, despite a new team and a new stadium. The entire story builds towards the Redblacks’ inaugural game at TD Place – a tightly-contested 18-17 victory over the Toronto Argonauts.
In many ways, the Bears embody and even define the NFL. Chicago is the second-oldest franchise in existence today. They are also one of the NFL's most decorated and storied franchises, having more retired numbers and Hall of Famers than any other team. From "The Monsters of the Midway" to "Sweetness" to "The Super Bowl Shuffle" to points beyond, this iconic franchise represents football in America. The following is an overview of the team's first 75 years, from their beginnings as a company-sponsored football club in 1920 to the modern day.
Scott and Greg sit down with professional football historian and co-host of The World of Football podcast, Randy Snow and talk about the National Football League, Canadian Football League and Arena Football League moments he has shared with his children, and showing us how football has the power to bring families together with memories to last a lifetime. They also discuss Randy's love and long suffering fandom of the Detroit Lions and some of the best books about the team, as well as his love and admiration for the Canadian brand of professional football.
CFL America Radio has been recognized as one of the Top 15 Canadian Football League Podcasts by Feedspot @ www.feedspot.com
For those players who remain, the scars still run deep when it comes to the infamous “Ice Bowl,” played December 31, 1967, between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. There are players even today who suffer the ravages of frostbite and lung damage from a game many of the players never thought should have been played. As one player said, “It was just too damn cold. Who plays football in that weather?” But play they did in the minus 45 degree wind-chill (that dropped to 65 below by the end of the game) because the NFL championship, and a spot in the second Super Bowl, was on the line.
What resulted was a game that has become part legend, part myth. There are a thousand stories from players and fans alike about a game that, more than 50 years later, remains embedded in NFL lore because of its sheer drama. Everyone remembers the remarkable way the Packers won, capping off a decade-long dynasty. The Cowboys, meanwhile, used the game as a building block that would propel them into NFL domination for 20 years. But what few remember is that this was. In every way imaginable, a game of survival, pitting man against the worst nature could deliver. This is a story about a football game, the men who played it, the people who watched it, those who were inspired by it and it’s a story, even a half century later, that remains unforgettable.
The story of the rise and fall of the United States Football League, focusing on two owners: John Bassett, who wanted the league to compete in the spring; and Donald Trump, who wanted to take on the NFL and play in the fall.
This documentary tells the story of the overnight relocation of the Baltimore Colts to the city of Indianapolis. It explores the reactions of the fans, the various actions and interviews with the teams owner and finally how the band kept the spirit of a professional football team alive until the arrival of the Baltimore Ravens in 1996.
On Saturday, December 24, 1977, The Oakland Raiders and the then-Baltimore Colts collided in what would go down in history as one of the most exciting and memorable games in professional football. In an AFC Divisional Playoff game at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the Raiders and the Colts slugged it out for nearly four hours. The contest would be decided in double-overtime, and would be forever remembered for one critical play – “The Ghost to the Post.”
Wearing borrowed uniforms, practicing on obscure college campuses, and led by a former Marine Corps W.W. II fighter ace as commissioner, the American Football League (AFL) debuted in the Fall of 1960 to challenge the monopoly of the well-established National Football League. Within ten years it had won two Super Bowls and had forced a merger with its rival, splitting the NFL into the National and American Football Conferences. This colorful history of the AFL and its unforgettable cast of characters, from Billy Cannon to Joe Namath to its "Foolish Club" of team owners recounts the startling success of an upstart league that prevailed against long odds.
A bold challenge, a fearless experiment and ultimately, a spectacular failure. In 2001, sports entertainment titans Dick Ebersol and Vince McMahon launched the XFL. It was hardly the first time a league had tried to compete with the NFL, but the brash audacity of the bid, combined with the personalities and charisma of Ebersol and McMahon and the marketing behemoths of their respective companies - NBC and WWE - captured headlines and a sense of undeniable anticipation about what was to come. Bringing together a cast of characters ranging from the boardrooms of General Electric to the practice fields of Las Vegas, "This Was the XFL" is the tale of - yes - all that went wrong, but also, how the XFL ended up influencing the way professional team sports are broadcast today. And at the center of it all - a decades long friendship between one of the most significant television executives in media history and the one-of-a-kind WWE impresario. This documentary explores how Ebersol and McMahon brought the XFL to life, and why they had to let it go.
Paul Woods is a journalist, Canadian football historian and author of Bouncing Back: From National Joke to Grey Cup Champs, which chronicled the Toronto Argonauts winning the championship in 1983 after 31 years of futility and misery. In this episode, Paul discusses with Scott and Greg the history of the Argonauts, including the John Candy years, as well their recent issues both on and off the field. His next book, about the 1991 Argonauts, will be published in Summer 2021.
When it comes to great teams in Raiders history, many teams come to mind. Between the 70's and 80's, the Oakland Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports. However no team epitomized the Oakland Raiders quite like the team of 1976. No team was as crazy off the field, especially with their owner's approval. No team struck quite as much fear into opposing teams on the field. Al Davis and John Madden had a great philosophy for running their team: You can be who you are off the field as long as you win on Sunday. This meant many practices with hangovers, late nights before games, and whatever antics the players brought with them. It also meant a lot of wins.
Leading the team at quarterback was Ken "the Snake" Stabler, known for his 4th quarter comebacks and off the field antics. Though not in the typical sense of the word, Stabler was a true leader who had the respect of his teammates and opponents alike. Stabler was blessed with a great set of targets to throw to. Hall of Famer, Fred Biletnikoff, was the prototype hard-nosed possession receiver, while tight end Dave Casper, also a Hall of Famer, was always a big clutch play waiting to happen. However, most teams feared the speedy deep ball artist, Cliff Branch, even more than Casper and Biletnikoff.
The offense was also fueled by a great offensive line. Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, and Dave Dalby made up arguably the best left side of any offensive line in the history of the game. This line made life easy for running backs like Clarence Davis and Mark Van Eeghen. The defense struck fear into all opposing offenses. Jack "the Assassin" Tatum and George Atkinson made the hardest hitting safety duo in the game's history, while Hall of Famer Willie Brown and Skip Thomas, a.k.a. Dr. Death, made one of the best cornerback duos ever. As if that secondary wasn't enough, Hall of Famer Ted "the Mad Stork" Hendricks and Phil Villapiano made a linebacking corp no team looked forward to facing. It was also the Raiders first year with the late John Matuszak at defensive end, a giant who was a crazy on the field as he was off of it.
The Raiders dominated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. Oakland's offense put up 32 points, led by the stellar performance of Super Bowl MVP, Fred Biletnikoff. Meanwhile, the Vikings offense was shut out in the first half and managed 14 points in the second half. The Raiders defense showed up in full force as rookie receiver Sammie White found out when Jack Tatum and Skip Thomas knocked his helmet off with a vicious hit. The Oakland Raiders of 1976 were the most feared team of all. They had seven Hall of Famers (if you include John Madden) and quite a few more players who should be in there. They were and still are the true epitome of the Silver and Black.
Who better to talk about and teach about the legends and history of Notre Dame football than God himself? In this documentary are reflections on the careers of famous head coaches Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy, and its Heisman Trophy winning players. It also examines Notre Dame's rivalries with USC and Army and some of Notre Dame's greatest games.
What do Teddy Roosevelt, Knute Rockne, George Carlin, the Atomic Bomb, the Hail Mary Prayer, Marcia Brady’s broken nose and “American Pie” all have in common? The Forward Pass.
As ubiquitous as it is now, throwing the football was once unimaginable. For the first four decades of football’s existence, the forward pass was illegal. However, with rising safety concerns surrounding the game of football, President Roosevelt intervened. It was his demand that rules makers open up the game by legalizing the forward pass that saved football from abolition and created the sport we love.
This one-hour documentary examines the implementation of the forward pass into the game of football and the profound affect it has had on the game and its players, as well as on how football is viewed in society. It also tells the story of one of North America’s greatest inventions and how it transformed football from a lackluster rugby-style game of running and kicking into the uniquely North American spectacle it has become.
The Edmonton Eskimos finished their season with a record of 14-4 (their best performance since 1989 in which they went 16-2). The Calgary Stampeders, the defending Grey Cup champions, finished with the same record as the Eskimos after the regular season. However, Edmonton clinched first place in the division (and a playoff bye) by virtue of defeating Calgary in two of three regular season contests. The two teams then met again in the Western Final after Calgary defeated the BC Lions 35–9 in the Western Semi-Final. The Eskimos earned the right to represent the West in the Grey Cup game by virtue of a 45–31 victory against the Stampeders at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The 2015 Western Final game was the first time in CFL history where both teams came in with a 14-4 record in the regular season. Quarterback Mike Reilly was the offensive catalyst for the Eskimos as he passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more in the win. Edmonton reached its first championship game since winning the 93rd Grey Cup ten years earlier, making the 103rd Grey Cup the first of the modern era to be played by two teams that had not been any of the preceding nine championship games.
The flamboyant James "King" Corcoran had a long and successful career as a minor league pro quarterback, achieving a near-legendary status due to his performance on the field and eccentric behavior off of it. He spent the better part of his first six seasons in the Atlantic Coast Football League. With Wilmington in 1966, he led the ACFL in pass attempts (247) and with Waterbury in 1967 topped the circuit in attempts (309), completions (141), yards (2065), and TD passes (19). Corcoran was cut by the AFL’s Denver Broncos during both the 1966 and ’67 preseasons and was signed to the New York Jets’ taxi squad.
He started the 1968 season with Bridgeport, which acted as a minor league team for the Jets, and after he was sold to another AFL club, the Boston Patriots, continued in the ACFL with Lowell, Boston’s minor league affiliate. Corcoran again led the league in pass attempts (333), completions (166), yards (2158), and TD passes (20). He also played in two games for the Patriots, throwing seven passes, two of which were intercepted. In 1969, after failing to catch on with the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL, Corcoran joined the Pottstown Firebirds for two seasons and led them to an 11-1 record in ’70, a year in which he topped the ACFL in pass attempts (297), completions (164), completion percentage (55.2), yards (2129), and TD passes (24), although an injury caused him to miss the league championship game, which the Firebirds won. He was named to the ACFL All-Star team.
After another failed trial with the Eagles in 1971, Corcoran returned to the ACFL and the Norfolk Neptunes, leading the league in completion percentage (52.6) and TD passes (17) as the club won the championship. He joined the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL for 1972 but quit rather than be a third-string quarterback and moved on to Chambersburg of the Seaboard Football League, but was injured midway through the season. He spent the ’73 season with Flint of the Midwest Football League. Corcoran joined the Bell of the new WFL for 1974, reuniting with Head Coach Ron Waller, who had been an assistant with Pottstown and head coach at Norfolk, as well as a number of other players who had been teammates with both of those clubs.
Minor league football is – and always has been – so far off the radar in this country that it’s impossible to speak of there being any iconic teams. The sport offers nothing like the Hershey Bears hockey team or Rochester Red Wings baseball club that have entertained locals for upwards of a century. To the extent that minor and semi-pro football at least has a cult favorite team – the sport’s answer to the Durham Bulls – it’s likely the short-lived Pottstown Firebirds of the defunct Atlantic Coast Football League.
The Firebirds were a colorful and talented bunch. They played at the local high school football stadium in Pottstown, 40 miles north of Philadelphia. The team was backed by a local underwear manufacturer named Ed Gruber and took their name and team color from a loose affiliation with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. Though the club lasted only three seasons, they won two minor league titles.
The team’s 15 minutes of fame came thanks to Steve Sabol’s NFL Films. The young company documented the Firebirds’ final championship season in 1970. More than a year after the team’s demise, the documentary Pro Football Pottstown PA aired prior to the national broadcast of Super Bowl VI in January 1972. The following year, the author Jay Acton published The Forgettables, a book that chronicled the Firebirds behind the scenes during that same 1970 season. (Acton later became a serial minor league baseball investor himself).
Founded in 1968, the Pottstown Firebirds (also known as the Pennsylvania Firebirds in their final season) came into existence at a time when minor league football was enjoying some measure of popularity in North America, particularly in the Midwest and Atlantic states. Members of the Atlantic Coast Football League, the Firebirds were owned by underwear magnate Ed Gruber.
The team became a farm club of the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL) and played its home games at Pottstown High School’s Grigg Memorial stadium. The roster, like that of a minor league team in any sport, was a mixture of players at the end of their careers, a few who still hoped to move up, and those who just wanted to play the game and had no real prospect of playing in the National or American Football Leagues.
On the field, the Firebirds were led by quarterback Jim “King” Corcoran who had played college football at Maryland before landing on the roster of the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 1966. His only NFL action came with the Boston Patriots during the 1968 season in which he appeared in two games. An adequate signal caller, his off-field antics and larger-than-life personality (he used to congratulate himself out loud after throwing a touchdown pass, dressed flamboyantly, and was a bit of a womanizer), likely kept him from returning to the NFL.
And the people watched in wonder, how they'd laugh and how they'd cheer! And there used to be a ballpark right here. Now the children try to find it, and they can't believe their eyes. 'Cause the old team just isn't playing, and the new team hardly tries. And the sky has got so cloudy when it used to be so clear, and the summer went so quickly this year. Yes, there used to be a ballpark right here...
And there used to be a ballpark where the field was warm and green. And the people played their crazy game with a joy I'd never seen. And the air was such a wonder from the hot-dogs and the beer. Yes, there used to be a ballpark right here. And there used to be rock candy, and a great big 4th of July with the fireworks exploding all across the summer sky...
After the Jets' victory in Super Bowl III, a contentious debate over realignment erupts; Joe Namath considers retirement; the Chiefs score another victory for the AFL in Super Bowl IV; the dawn of Monday Night Football boosts the popularity of the NFL after the final merger.
The AFL's credibility suffers after the Raiders are soundly beaten in Super Bowl II. The following year, the Jets' Joe Namath delivers an unforgettable upset in Super Bowl III after guaranteeing a win over the Baltimore Colts.
The AFL begins to lure top college prospects away from the NFL; the Jets are revived by the arrival of Joe Namath; and the ongoing battles over signing top players lead to a merger between the leagues, leading ultimately to the birth of the Super Bowl.
The history of the American Football League is recalled. The series opener looks at the birth of the league after founder Lamar Hunt's attempt to buy an NFL franchise was rejected. Included: comments from players and owners; footage of early games played in mostly empty stadiums; and the landmark 1962 title game, which went into double overtime.
A graduate of Wittenburg College, Ron Lancaster started his career with the Ottawa Rough Riders. The eastern Riders were blessed with another outstanding QB in Canadian Russ Jackson and the two split the pivot duties for three years with Lancaster also seeing some action as a defensive back during that period. In his rookie season in 1960, Lancaster threw 201 passes and had three interceptions as a defensive back. Lancaster was traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and became their starting QB for the next sixteen years. Teamed with fullback George Reed, Lancaster made the green Riders a force to be reckoned with year in and year out. Lancaster's greatest accomplishment might be the 1966 Grey Cup when he led the Riders to their first ever Grey Cup victory. At the time of his retirement, he was the leading passer in CFL history for total yards thrown. Lancaster was a seven time West All-Star (1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1975 and 1976), a four time All-Canadian (1970, 1973, 1975 and 1976), and was named the Outstanding Player in the CFL in 1970. After his retirement as a player, Lancaster has remained active in the CFL as a coach and GM. He was best known for being a smart quarterback with great vision on the field. No lead was ever safe from Lancaster as long as there was time on the clock. The "Little General" died from cancer on September 17, 2008.
Although Warren Moon was overlooked time and again throughout his career, his perseverance led to an unusually long and extremely successful stint as a quarterback in the NFL. In addition to having to fight against the perception that he didn't have what it takes to lead an NFL team, he also had to fight against prejudice in a league that had few black quarterbacks. After being passed over by the NFL, Moon went to Canada and led his Edmonton Eskimos to five Grey Cups before being the subject of a bidding war among NFL teams. He would play professional football for 23 years and become the first quarterback to pass for over 60,000 yards in his career. Moon was the first 40-year-old to throw five touchdowns in a game and pass for 400 yards. He is also the only player in both the American and Canadian football halls of fame.
Known for the famous "Hail Mary" pass against University of Miami while at Boston College, Doug Flutie went on to play first in the United States Football League before heading to the NFL to play with the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots. He then left the NFL for the Canadian Football League for eight years, where he was a marquee attraction, being named the league's Most Outstanding Player an unprecedented six times and winning three Grey Cup Championships. Flutie went on to sign with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills in 1998 where he was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl, carried the Bills to the Playoffs and was honored as "NFL Comeback Player of the Year." At the age of 38, he signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers to become their starting quarterback. After four seasons with the Chargers, Flutie had the opportunity to finish his career with his hometown team, the New England Patriots where he played one season (with his last play being a score of a drop kick) before retiring in 2006.
"I have loved football as an almost mythic game since I was in the fourth grade. To me, the game wasn't even grounded in reality. The uniform turned you into a warrior. Being on a team, the mythology of physical combat, the struggle against the elements, the narrative of the game." ~ Steve Sabol
Without Steve Sabol, for many of us, we would not love pro football as passionately as we do...
Scott and Greg are back in their 55 yard line cheap seats this month talking all things blue and gold with Winnipeg Blue Bomber historian Roy Rosmus ("@heartobluegold" on Twitter), author of five books that span from the team's inception to their 2019 Grey Cup championship- "The Beginning- Through the Golden Years," "Dieter Brock Through the Championship Years," "The Jonas Era," "Quiet Hero: The Ken Ploen Story," and the upcoming "Good Years, Lean Years, The Cup Returns".
The year, 1974. The date, Dec. 21. The occasion, AFC Divisional Round playoff— with the winner advancing to the AFC Championship Game with the legendary Bill King calling the game on radio.
The Miami Dolphins had made a habit of being here, playing in the AFC Championship Game the prior three seasons in succession. It was just expected that they’d be there under Don Shula.
The Raiders, meanwhile, had plenty of success in that same time span under the legendary John Madden. But defeating the greatest team of the early ‘70s was quite a task.
Though the Raiders were hosting the game in Oakland, defeating the mighty Dolphins would still count as an upset. As such, team officials, and others in Oakland, had gotten the word out to fans who were attending the game to make it a “blackout”.
Not only did the fans show up and give AC/DC inspiration for a future song (no idea if that’s true or not), but they were loud. Some Raiders staffers and players said it was the loudest they had ever heard it in the stadium.
And that was during the pregame ceremonies.
Once the kickoff occurred, they were silenced for a bit. Nat Moore returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, forcing the fans to sit down and be quiet.
The Dolphins had done what every road team since the dawn of competition has aimed to do: take the crowd out of the game.
And it seemed that it was working awfully well for much of the first half. Though the Dolphins’ three-headed monster at running back was mostly unsuccessful, Shula’s defense stymied the Raiders’ deep passing attack, by getting pressure on Kenny Stabler and playing physical with Fred Biletnikoff and Cliff Branch on the outside.
Led by veteran quarterback Damon Allen and a two-headed backfield monster of Sean Millington and Robert Drummond, the Cinderella story of 2000 was completed with a two-point victory by B.C. over heavily-favored Montreal. Allen rushed for two touchdowns, while Drummond’s 44-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter forced Anthony Calvillo and the Alouettes to play comeback. And they almost did. After Calvillo hit Ben Cahoon for a 59-yard major in the final minute, his two-point convert attempt sailed incomplete and the Lions escaped for their fourth title in club history.
The final chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
During the 97th Grey Cup, the Saskatchewan Roughriders received a last-minute “13th man” penalty, spoiling their championship hopes. In the wake of defeat, fans stood by their team proving that they are, and will forever be, the team’s “13th man”.
The ninth chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
Following the 1965 All-Star Game in Vancouver, a plane carrying five players crashed, killing everyone on board. The tragedy sent shockwaves through the league that can still be felt to this day as the descendants of one of the athletes retrace the footsteps of the fateful flight.
The eighth chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
It had been almost 29 years to the day since the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hoisted the Grey Cup, this was not lost on Bombers fans who had endured three decades of heartbreak, but there was something different about the 2019 Blue Bombers. Every time they've faced adversity, they had been able to keep moving forward and with a never-say-die attitude ended their championship drought. Here is their journey to Calgary.
A 14-year CFL standout, Matt Dunigan is one of the CFL's most accomplished and celebrated players. In 2006, Dunigan received the CFL's highest honor with his induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and was also named one of the TSN Top 50 CFL Players of the modern era. Dunigan played with six CFL teams throughout his professional career: Edmonton Eskimos (1983-1987), B.C. Lions (1988), Toronto Argonauts (1989-1991), Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1992-1994), Birmingham Barracudas (1995), and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1996).
Known as "The Golden Arm," Johnny Unitas is considered to be one of the best and toughest quarter backs to ever play. As a member of the Baltimore Colts, he played in what is arguably the greatest game in American pro football history. In 1958, he led his team to a championship in the first overtime and first nationally-televised American championship game.
During his 19-year CFL career, Anthony Calvillo never talked a lot about his past. It was known the Canadian Football League’s all-time passing leader grew up in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles and that he chose football over a life of street gang crime, but over the years he gave few details of just how difficult it was. Director Shelley Saywell’s documentary “The Kid From La Puente” shows both the horrifying and uplifting aspects of the star quarterback’s upbringing that he had kept mostly to himself. It features a boy growing up in La Puente, a crime-ridden, mostly Hispanic community east of Los Angeles, with a violent, alcoholic father and an older brother David who was drawn into a street gang and later jailed for attempted murder.
The seventh chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
The Photograph focuses on a picture of the 1942 Toronto Royal Canadian Air Force Hurricanes, a team that inspired a nation en route to winning the first ever non-civilian Grey Cup game. On Dec. 5, 1942, the Hurricanes beat the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers 8-5 in front of a sellout crowd on a frozen field at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, boosting the country’s morale during the Second World War while thousands of Canadian soldiers listened overseas on radio.
The sixth chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
Through the turbulent decade of the 1960s, which was defined in American by assassinations, the Space Race, the Vietnam War, and the struggle for civil rights and equality, a rebel league took on an established major American sports entity, and not only survived, but thrived, ultimately forcing a merger prior to the 1970 season that helped create the modern-day behemoth American football has become.
In 1970, professional football in America picked up where it left off in the 1960s, when the game truly started to make the leap as America's No. 1 pastime. This era of pro football saw Dallas, after years of heartbreaking championship defeats, finally break through as champions. The decade also bore witness to the Miami's perfect season, the rise of Oakland's autumn wind and the birth of the Iron City's dynasty. It can be argued that this period in pro football had more dominant teams at one time than at any other period in the game's 100-year history in America. This era also included several compelling rivalries between teams that were perennially in the mix of the championship chase. These rivalries helped either start or end some of the greatest dynasties in American pro football history. In the process, the rivalries further increased the game's popularity, as it was the undisputed king of the hill as far as professional sports was concerned as the '70s drew to a close.
To quote the dean of football myth making, "I have loved football as an almost mythic game since I was in the fourth grade. To me, the game wasn't even grounded in reality. The uniform turned you into a warrior. Being on a team, the mythology of physical combat, the struggle against the elements, the narrative of the game." That is what the championship chase is all about.
In their first Grey Cup appearance in 20 years, the 1971 Toronto Argonauts committed a last-second fumble, spoiling their run. Now, the stars of the team reunite to relive the game and the wild days in Toronto.
The fifth chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
Western Swagger shares the genesis of an East vs. West rivalry both on and off the football field that reached a fever pitch in November 1981. As the Edmonton Eskimos embarked on an unprecedented Grey-Cup winning streak, former Eskimo and Alberta Premier, Peter Lougheed, was in a battle off the field with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau over a National Energy Program – the implementation of which could send Alberta’s economy into a tailspin – and collaborating with his fellow Premiers during a Constitutional crisis that had the country on the brink of chaos.
The fourth chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
The third chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
The second chapter in a ten part documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
Doug Flutie was a superhero on the field with the football in his hands, all of which earned him legendary status in Canada in America. He was small, mighty and had the characteristics of a proper role model. Flutie led the Argos to back-to-back Grey Cups in 1996 and 1997 and earned the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player both years. His final professional play, in a career that spanned three leagues, was a drop kick that went right through the uprights and was good!
Professional football in America is a special game, a unique game ... It is a rare game. The men who play it make it so. All of them are fearless. All of them are strong, quick. And all of them are part of a story that began long ago. A story written by men who found, in the sport, a demanding measure for their own courage and ability.
The opening chapter in a ten chapter documentary series detailing the history of football and the Canadian Football League through the early 21st Century. The series is also available for viewing at www.cfl-films.ca
In 1965, Ed Sabol discovered John Facenda in a bar where when he overheard him describe some football footage playing on the screen. Facenda was then a popular local television news anchor. Impressed, Ed Sabol approached him with an offer to narrate NFL Films footage and so began an inextricable vocal-film partnership. Sabol himself described Facenda as a stentorian baritone. Facenda and Jack Whitaker, a CBS Sports television legend, worked together on Philly TV in the 1950s and 60s. Facenda’s sepulchral Voice of God articulated in somber narrative, battle ridden NFL marathons. His recordings were orchestrated symphonically, against the musical soundtrack of composer Sam Spence. How many NFL fans love to attempt an imitation of Facenda’s “On the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field?” Every letter is articulated diligently and enunciated perfectly. Sadly, he passed away in 1983, with his final voice-over work being the highlight film covering Super Bowl XVIII.
In their pilot episode, co-host Greg James discusses with fellow co-host Scott Adamson his book on professional football history in Birmingham, Alabama entitled "The Home Team: My Bromance with off Brand Football." They discuss Birmingham's teams of the WFL, USFL, WLAF, CFL, XFL and AAF, as well as the future of Canadian football.
To paraphrase John Facenda, professional football in Canada is a special game, a unique game ... It is a rare game. The men who play it make it so. All of them are fearless. All of them are strong, quick. And all of them are part of a story that began long ago. A story written by men who found, in the sport, a demanding measure for their own courage and ability.... This podcast is dedicated to the celebration of them, for this is our game.