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.
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.
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.
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.