Winnipeg Blue Bombers
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
|2013 Winnipeg Blue Bombers season|
|Based in||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|Home field||Osborne Stadium (1935–1952)
Canad Inns Stadium (1953–2012)
Investors Group Field (2013–present)
|League||Canadian Football League|
|Colours||Blue and gold
|Nickname(s)||Bombers, Blue and Gold, Big Blue, True Blue,|
|Head coach||Tim Burke|
|General manager||Joe Mack|
|Grey Cup wins||1935, 1939, 1941, 1958
1959, 1961, 1962, 1984
|Mascot(s)||Buzz and Boomer|
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a Canadian football team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are currently members of the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL), although due to their being in the approximate middle of Canada they have flipped back and forth between the West Division when needed to balance out the number of teams per division. They will play their first home games at Investors Group Field beginning in June 2013.
The Blue Bombers were founded in 1930. Since that time they have won the league's Grey Cup championship ten times, most recently in 1990. With 10 wins they have the third highest win total in the Grey Cup among active and defunct CFL teams. Though they are currently the team with the longest Grey Cup drought, no other franchise has as many Grey Cup appearances as the Blue Bombers current 24. The Blue Bombers were also the first team not located in Central Canada to win a championship. The Blue Bombers have won 19 Western Division Championships and seven Eastern Division Championships.
- Founded: 1930
- Helmet design: Gold background, with a white "W".
- Uniform colours: Blue, gold and white.
- Stadium: Osborne Stadium (1935–1952), Canad Inns Stadium (1953–2012, known as Winnipeg Stadium prior to 2000), Investors Group Field (2013–present)
- Local radio: CJOB 68
- First place regular season finishes: 23 — 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1947, 1950, 1952, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1972, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2011
- Eastern Division championships: 7 — 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2007, 2011
- Western Division championships: 19 — 1933, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1984
- Grey Cup finals appearances: 24 — 1935 (won), 1937 (lost), 1938 (lost) 1939 (won), 1941 (won), 1945 (lost), 1946 (lost), 1947 (lost), 1950 (lost), 1953 (lost), 1957 (lost), 1958 (won), 1959 (won), 1961 (won), 1962 (won), 1965 (lost), 1984 (won), 1988 (won), 1990 (won), 1992 (lost), 1993 (lost), 2001 (lost), 2007 (lost), 2011 (lost)
- Division history: Western Football Conference (1961–1979), West Division (1980–1986), East Division (1987–1995), North Division (1995), West Division (1996), East Division (1997–2001), West Division (2002–2005), East Division (2006–present)
- Main rivals: Saskatchewan Roughriders (see Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowl), Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a team they have played on numerous occasions for the Grey Cup, and the Toronto Argonauts
- 2011 regular season record: 10 wins, 8 losses, 0 ties
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club is one of only three remaining "community owned" teams in the CFL (owned by local shareholders), Edmonton and Saskatchewan are the other two. This was once the most common type of ownership in the CFL.
Board of directors
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Inc. are one of the three community owned football clubs in the CFL and, they are governed by a ten-member Board of Directors. As of 2011, the ten member board consists of Bill Watchorn, Chairperson; Gene Dunn, Past Chair; David Asper; Brock Bulbuck; Bob Cameron; Trevor Kennerd; Eugene Kostyra; Debbie Metcalfe; Chrys Pappas; and Phil Sheegl. The club's president and CEO is Garth Buchko, he is not currently a member of the 10 member Board of Directors.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club's total ticket revenue increased by $239,925 in 2008 from 2007. There was a 15 per cent increase in sponsorship revenue in 2008, from $3,667,523 to $4,090,343. The team’s total operating revenue increased by 8.3% in 2008, a total of $1,078,443. The total expenses of the football club increased to $13.4 million in 2008 compared to $13.3 million in 2007. The football club’s net surplus at the end of year was $5,088,578 compared to $4,327,483 in 2007.
The Winnipeg Football Club reported a net loss of $1.2 million in 2009: league revenues dropped by $150,000 year-over-year, almost $1 million ($981,950) in severance charges in 2009 fiscal year, the gate receipts only decreased $66,436 while sponsorship fell $205,232, the deficit was covered by the team's surplus, which was reduced to $3.88 million.
The 2010 season showed net earnings of $409,000 for the year. Total game revenue (including season ticket sales and game day ticket sales) approached $5.3 million for the year which is an increase of $186,000 or 3.6% over 2009 figures. Increases in CFL revenue, Winnipeg Football Club revenue (sponsorships, concessions, merchandise sales and interest income) and stadium management revenues also contributed to the positive financial outcome in 2010. The club also achieved cost savings of $219,000 in 2010. Despite the continuing challenge to operate and maintain an aging stadium, net stadium occupancy costs were able to be reduced year over year by $185 thousand.
All of these positive factors contributed to net earnings from operations in 2010 of $698,000 as compared to a loss from operations of $109,000 in 2009, an increase of over $800,000. Stadium development costs relating to the continued effort to get the new stadium project underway, which were successful, were $288,000 (2009 – $110,000). This bottom line profit helped to increase the Winnipeg Football Club's surplus to over $4.1 million at December 31, 2010, up from $2.9 million at the end of 2009. Net assets also increased to $4.3 million by December 31, 2010, up from $3.9 million a year earlier.
The Blue Bombers set attendance records in 2011, most noticeably the club posted six consecutive sell-outs at Canad Inns Stadium in the regular season in addition to selling out the Eastern Division Championship game. The average regular season home attendance for the Blue Bombers in 2011 was 29,532, which set a franchise record, eclipsing the mark of 28,739 set in 1985. The Blue Bombers sold a record 21,155 season tickets in 2011, and surpassed the 260,000-attendance mark for the first time in their history. The Blue Bombers were presented the inaugural Best Marketing & Ticket Campaign Award at the 2012 CFL Congress for the great marketing campaign that resulted in the football club's great fan support for the 2011 CFL football season.
Big Blue Flight Crew
The Big Blue Flight Crew is a Volunteer program, sponsored by Tim Hortons. The Flight Crew has evolved from its humble beginnings into an extremely organized group of eager individuals that provide essential services to the Blue Bomber Organization. Members of the Flight Crew assist with game days, concert, amateur football games and office administration work throughout the year. Game day positions include, but are not limited to; ticket scanning, guest services, parking attendants, VIP hosting, on-field promotions, shuttle service, and pre-game activities. Each position is essential to the game day experience and every volunteer brings a variety of skills that are an integral part of ensuring that game days run smooth from start to finish.
Buzz and Boomer have been the official mascots of the Winnipeg Blue Bomber since the spring of 1984. The dynamic duo never fails to entertain fans with their slapstick comedy routines and outrageous stunts during Blue Bomber home games. The pair has also been know to take flight to cheer on the team for road games. Buzz and Boomer make appearances throughout Manitoba on behalf of the football club.
Throughout their 50-plus year history the Winnipeg Blue Bomber Cheerleaders have been known by many names. The Bomberettes and The Blue Brigade have made way, since 1996, to the Labatt Blue Lightning Dance Team. The Labatt Blue Lightning Dance Team is widely known for its talent, intelligence, athleticism, style and is one of the most recognized and appreciated dance teams in the CFL. This elite level performance team’s dance repertoire includes a variety of dance styles and is fortunate to work with a professional choreographer throughout the season. The 2011 squad consisted of 26 young women ranging in age between 18 and 35. All team members must complete a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer work and they must make appearances at various community events throughout the province regularly. In addition, all members must pass a written test on the game of football, the CFL and the Winnipeg Football club. The head coach of the 2011 team was Stacey Stone, and her assistant coaches were Melinda Johnson and Mickaela McAuliffe.
The first football team in Winnipeg was formed in 1879 and was called the Winnipeg Rugby Football Club. In 1888 the Winnipeg Football Club, St. John's College and the Royal School of Infantry formed the Manitoba Rugby League. In October 1890, Regina North-West Mounted Police played two games of rugby football in Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Football Club won the first game while the Regina NWMP defeated the Royal School of Mounted Infantry in the second game. In 1892 the Manitoba Rugby Football Union was formed on Monday, February 22, and played Fall and Spring Schedules. Teams included the Winnipeg Victorias, Winnipeg Rowing Club, and the St. John's. In 1896 MRFU adopted the CRU rules.
In 1911 Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta Unions formed the Western Canada Rugby Football Union on Saturday, October 21. Winnipeg realtor Hugo Ross donated the championship trophy bearing his name. He subsequently drowned in the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912. In 1913 the Hamilton Tigers played four exhibition matches in Western Canada defeating Winnipeg 26–1, Regina 26–4, Moose Jaw 25–1 and Calgary 19–2. This is the first documented East-West series of games. In 1928 the Tri-City Rugby Football Union was formed on Saturday, August 25, and consisted of Moose Jaw, Regina and Winnipeg. The Union disbanded the following year because of travel expenses. Saskatchewan and Winnipeg re-formed their unions.
On May 14, 1930 at the annual meeting of the MRFU, two new franchises were awarded. The YMHA were granted a new team while the Winnipeg Rugby Club took over the operations of the Winnipeg Tammany Tigers in return for covering all outstanding debts. The Winnipeg Rugby Club played as the Winnipegs and adopted green and white jerseys. The YMHA couldn't field a senior team. The Winnipegs played their first game against St. John's Rugby Club on September 13, 1930, where St. John's won by a score of 7–3.
In 1933, the Winnipeg St.John's suspended operations for one year while they got their finances in order. Attempts were made to get another men's club or sports organization to take over the St.John's team for the 1933 season but none of the groups wanted to be custodian of the team for one year. In August 1933, the St.John's players were dispersed between the two remaining teams in the MRFU. The Army team known as the Garrison took the one player who qualified to play with them. The remaining players ended up in the camp of the Winnipegs. With an over abundance of players, the Winnipegs decided to field two teams in 1933. The best players played for the 'A' team which kept the Winnipegs name. They wore blue and white jerseys. The remaining players joined the 'B' team which wore green jerseys and went by the name Shamrocks.
In 1934, the Winnipegs wore new uniforms which were blue and gold. The Winnipeg St.John's failed to re-organize leaving the City of Winnipeg with one football team.
During World War Two the team was instrumental in creating two new squads, the Winnipeg Bombers and the Winnipeg RCAF Flyers, in 1943. These teams merged to form the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers, which lost the 30th Grey Cup and the 31st Grey Cup. While not an official part of the club franchise, the Blue Bombers ensured that Winnipeg would be represented at the Grey Cup during the difficult war years.
Record 24 Grey Cup appearances
League annals show 10 Grey Cups championships, and 24 Grey Cup appearances, the most in the CFL.
1935 Grey Cup Champions
Western teams had been to the Grey Cup game ten times since 1909, but they had always gone home empty handed. It was clear in those days that the East was much more powerful, outscoring their opponents 236–29 in these games. On December 7, 1935, the Bombers got their first shot at winning the Grey Cup. The game was being held in Hamilton, with the home-town Tigers being their opponent. It was a rainy day at Hamilton Amateur Athletic Association Grounds, with 6,405 fans in attendance.
Winnipeg was up 5–0 before many fans had even reached their seats. Hamilton player Jack Craig let the opening kickoff bounce to the turf while a Winnipeg player promptly recovered the ball at the Hamilton 15-yard line. Winnipeg scored quickly on a Bob Fritz pass to Bud Marquardt to get the early lead. After scoring another touchdown off of a Greg Kabat catch in the endzone, Winnipeg went into halftime up 12–4. Their lead was soon cut to three points in the second half after Hamilton scored a touchdown of their own, helped by a blocked kick that placed the ball on the Winnipeg 15-yard line.
Then, after a Hamilton rouge, Winnipeg's RB/KR Fritz Hanson caught the kickoff, and after a few moves and a few missed tackles, was on his way to a touchdown, making the score 18–10. Hamilton would force a safety to bring themselves within six points, but failed to crack the endzone, getting as far as the Winnipeg four-yard line. The final score was Winnipeg 18, Hamilton 12. With that, Winnipeg had become the first team from Western Canada to win a Grey Cup.
For its first six years, the team did not have an official name and was usually called "the Winnipegs" by fans and the press. In 1936, during a game against the University of North Dakota, Winnipeg Tribune sports writer Vince Leah remarked "these are the Blue Bombers of Western football." This phrase was referring to then heavyweight champion Joe Louis, known as the Brown Bomber. From that day forward the team has been known as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In that same year, the Blue Bombers, Calgary Bronks and Regina Roughriders formed the Western Interprovincial Football Union as the highest level of play in Western Canada.
Early days of glory
In 1936 the Western Interprovincial Football Union (WIFU) was formed with Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Calgary Bronks and Regina Roughriders. In 1940 the only two-game total point series in Grey Cup history was played. Ottawa defeated Toronto Balmy Beach 8–2 and 12–5. The series was arranged by the Canadian Rugby Union when it refused to allow Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Western winners, to compete in the final because the West had played its season under rules which varied from rules in the East. Instead, the Blue Bombers were invited to play the Columbus Bullies of the American Football League of 1940; although Columbus won the three-game series, 2 games to 1, the one game Winnipeg won gives them a distinction of being one of only two current CFL teams to have defeated a top-level professional American football team (the other being the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who defeated the modern-day Buffalo Bills in a 1961 game).
The year 1946 saw the debut of air travel in both American and Canadian football, an innovation that resulted in both games being able to expand their geographic reaches. Its first usage in the Canadian game was when the Toronto Argonauts flew to Winnipeg for an exhibition game.
From 1936 to 1949, the Bombers won the right to compete for the Grey Cup 9 times (1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1945). Of these appearances, Winnipeg won only twice, in 1939 over the Ottawa Rough Riders and again in their 1941 rematch.
The Jack Jacobs era: 1950–1952
In 1950 the first professional playoff game was played at night under lights – Winnipeg at Edmonton. Jack Jacobs, known as Indian Jack, was a Creek quarterback from Oklahoma. He came to the Bombers in 1950 after a successful career in the United States. He led the Bombers to two Grey Cup appearances, losing both. His exciting style of play and extreme talent increased ticket sales and overall awareness and popularity of the club. The revenue the Bombers were getting from their new found popularity was enough to convince them to move from the small outdated Osborne Stadium to the new Winnipeg Stadium (now known as Canad Inns Stadium). Jacobs was so well liked that the fans even referred to the new stadium as "The House that Jack Built". Jacobs retired in 1954 to become a talent scout for the team.
In 1951, Jack Jacobs became the first pro football quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season with 3,248. That year he was also the first pro football quarterback to throw for at least 30 touchdowns, with 33. The next year he bested that mark with 34.
Glory years and Bud Grant saga: 1953–1966
Bud Grant joined the team in 1953 after a two-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, as one of numerous NFL players lured to Canada during the first part of the decade for then better salaries. After a four-year career as a receiver, then at the time called an offensive end, he accepted the position of head coach of the Bombers in 1957. Grant went on to coach the team for the next ten years before becoming the head coach of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.
In 1956, the Canadian Football Council was formed Sunday, January 22, at Winnipeg and national negotiation lists were introduced. In 1956, Blue Bombers fans named Labatt's Pilsener Lager, which had a blue label, Labatt Blue, in honour of their team.
During Grant's tenure as head coach, the Bombers welcomed the likes of Ken Ploen, Leo Lewis, Ernie Pitts and Ed Kotowich to the team. The Bombers competed in six Grey Cup games during Grant's tenure, winning four (1958, 1959, 1961, and 1962).
The CFC was renamed the Canadian Football League on Sunday, January 19, 1958, at the Royal Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg. G. Sydney Halter, Q.C. of Winnipeg was appointed Commissioner. The CFL opened on Thursday, August 14, as the Blue Bombers defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 29–21 at Winnipeg before 18,206 spectators.
In 1961, the Bombers won 21–14 over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the first Grey Cup game to go into overtime. The Bombers and Ticats met again in the 1962 Grey Cup, with the game being postponed with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter due to zero visibility in the famous "Fog Bowl". The game resumed the next morning with the Bombers winning 28–27. During the second half of the 1960s, the Bombers domination gave away to lean years, with four seasons of double digits in the loss column.
The team bounced back in the early 1970s from four seasons of double digits in the loss column with the likes of quarterback Don Jonas, running-back Mack Herron, and wide receivers Jim Thorpe and Bob LaRose. The team finished first in the Western Conference in 1972, the first time it had done so since 1962. However, the Bombers came up short in the Western Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In the game, the Bombers squandered a thirteen point, third quarter lead en route to a heartbreaking 27–24 loss, with Saskatchewan kicker Jack Abendschan converting a short field goal attempt on the last play of the game to send the 'Riders to the Grey Cup against Hamilton. The 1972 season also marks the last time the team has finished first in the West. The team struggled for a few more seasons under coaches Jim Spavital and Bud Riley before Ray Jauch was brought in as head coach before the 1978 season. Under Jauch, the Bombers became one of the stronger teams in the West, but usually behind Jauch's former team, the powerhouse Edmonton Eskimos coached by Hugh Campbell.
The 1980s and the 1990s: the Cal Murphy era
In 1981, wide receiver Eugene Goodlow became the first CFL player to reach the century mark in receptions in a season. Goodlow caught 100 passes for 1,494 yards and 14 touchdowns. That season the Bombers became one of the first teams to have three receivers with at least 1,000 yards in a season. Goodlow with 1,494; Joe Poplawski with 1,271; and Rick House with 1,102.
In 1983, Cal Murphy was hired to be the new head coach of the Blue Bombers. Almost immediately, Murphy set the tone for his career with the Bombers by trading popular QB Dieter Brock to Hamilton in exchange for lesser-known QB Tom Clements. Trading Brock turned out to be a wise decision, with Clements leading the Bombers to a crushing victory in the 1984 Grey Cup, coincidently over the Brock-led Tiger-Cats. This was Winnipeg's first Grey Cup in 22 years. Murphy was named coach of the year in both 1983 and 1984.
In 1986, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Montreal Alouettes played the first pre-season game in the Canada Games Stadium at Saint John, New Brunswick. Winnipeg won 36–10.
In 1987, the Montreal Alouettes folded on June 24; the schedule was revised and the Divisions realigned with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers moving to the Eastern Division. In 1987 Murphy stepped down as head coach to become the team general manager, with assistant coach Mike Riley (son of former Winnipeg coach Bud Riley) taking over head coaching duties. Riley's teams won the Grey Cup in both 1988 and 1990, garnering Riley the coach of the year award both seasons.
After Riley left, Darryl Rogers and Urban Bowman each helmed the team for a season until 1993, when Murphy took over head coaching duties again. Murphy went on to lead the team to a total of five Grey Cup appearances, winning, as a coach in 1984, and as a GM, in 1988 and 1990. He left the club after the 1996 season, having spent 14 years with the team. Later, he would coach the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1999.
In 1991, at the conclusion of the regular season schedule 58,862,660 people had attended CFL games since the League's first game was played on Thursday, August 14, 1958, at Winnipeg. Winnipeg played host to the Grey Cup Game for the first time on Sunday, November 24. Toronto defeated Calgary 36–21 before a crowd of 51,985 fans. The Game was the most-watched Canadian TV show with an audience of 3,531,000 viewers.
Reinebold years: 1997–1998
In November 1996, Cal Murphy left the Blue Bomber organization, after 14 years. This was partly due to a 68–7 playoff thumping by the Edmonton Eskimos, and partly because the team had not had a winning record the previous two years, winning only seven games in 1995, and nine in 1996.
Jeff Reinebold was hired to replace Murphy as the teams coach, and despite a huge amount of hype, and championship promises going into the 1997 season, proved to be one of the least successful head coaches in team history. The Bombers won four games in 1997 and failed to qualify for the playoffs, ending the second longest consecutive playoff appearances streak at 17 seasons. Reinebold's Bombers would win only three games the following season.
The few notable highlights from that era include:
- Milt Stegall becoming an all-star in 1997, his first full year with the team, and scoring what seemed like at least one long TD in every game.
- A 43–12 drubbing of the eventual Western Division champion Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 1997 Labour Day Classic.
- A dramatic win over the Roughriders at home in 1998, with forgotten backup QB Troy Kopp leading the second-half more-than-20-point comeback. This was the "Guaranteed Win day" that the club had been promoting all week, as well as the first win of the season, in week 11.
The Milt Stegall era: 1995–2009
Milt Stegall joined the Bombers in 1995 after a 3-year career returning kicks and seeing spot duty at receiver with the Cincinnati Bengals. He played in the Bombers' final six games of the 1995 season, racking up 469 receiving yards. In 1997 Stegall set a new league record that still stands today for average gain per reception with 26.5 yards on 61 catches for 1616 yards, including 14 touchdowns. Following a brief return to the NFL, that saw him on the verge of making the Green Bay Packers if not for a serious knee injury at the end of training camp, Stegall remained the team's primary receiver.
In 1999, the Bombers acquired Khari Jones from the BC Lions. Together, Stegall and Jones brought the Bombers back to prominence, with Jones being the CFL most outstanding player in 2001, and Stegall getting the honour in 2002. During the 2006 Grey Cup festival, Khari Jones and Milt Stegall were voted and honored as the best QB/WR combo in CFL history. Charles Roberts joined them in 2001, a year which the Bombers went to the Grey Cup, which they eventually lost to the Calgary Stampeders. The team was a powerhouse during this period, being one of the best teams in the league from 2001 until 2003.
Midway through the 2004 season Jones was traded to the Calgary Stampeders, with backup QB Kevin Glenn taking over the starting duties. Glenn led the team to two mediocre seasons after the trade.
With the offensive core of Stegall and Roberts still intact, Glenn led the Bombers back to respectability in 2006. The season included many highlights but none as exciting at what is simply known as "The Play". On July 20, 2006, trailing the Edmonton Eskimos on the road 22–19, and facing third and long on their own 10 yardline with 4 seconds left in the game, Milt Stegall caught a 100 yard TD pass from Kevin Glenn as time expired to win the game 25–22. It is considered by many as the greatest play in CFL history. Aided by the "miracle" catch, the Bombers ended up making their first playoff appearance in two years. Despite losing in the first round, optimism going into the 2007 was higher than ever.
The 2007 CFL season was in some ways the year of Milt Stegall: he broke the career CFL touchdown record and fell just short of overtaking the career receiving yards record held by Allen Pitts. The 2007 season would likely be Stegall's last, as he was 37 years old and had been contemplating retirement for the previous two seasons. The Bombers lead the East Ddivision with 10 all-star selection in 2007. The Bomber selections on offense include quarterback Kevin Glenn, running back Charles Roberts, receivers Derick Armstrong, Terrence Edwards and Milt Stegall and offensive linemen Alexandre Gauthier and Dan Goodspeed. On defence, the Bomber all-stars included defensive tackle Doug Brown, defensive end Tom Canada and linebacker Barrin Simpson.
The 2007 Grey Cup game was played between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the first time the two prairie teams met for the championship. Winnipeg was defeated by the Saskatchewan Roughriders 23–19 in the Rogers Centre in Toronto. During the East division final win over the Toronto Argonauts, quarterback Kevin Glenn broke his arm and Winnipeg was left with an inexperienced rookie to take his place for the championship game. Back-up quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie — in his first CFL start — did not fare well and threw one touchdown pass, fumbled once and threw 3 interceptions to Saskatchewan cornerback James Johnson. Johnson was later declared the game MVP. One of the picks, was shown in the instant replay to have hit the ground before it was caught. Despite his rookie mistakes, Dinwiddie showed promise going into the 2008 season. He was released prior to the 2009 season.
It was announced on January 31, 2008, that Milt Stegall would be returning for one more year for the 2008 season. He signed a one-year contract for $200,000 on the basis of the fact his wife wanted to have their next child in Winnipeg, and the fact that they were in line to be a contender for the Grey Cup. He took a $50,000 pay cut, and started the season 159 yards away from breaking Allen Pitts all time receiving yards record. Other returning players who were free agents going into the 2008 season, including star DE Tom Canada, OL's Dan Goodspeed and Matt Sheridan, signed for less money from the Bombers than other teams were prepared to pay them, in hopes of a Grey Cup run in 2008. Tom Canada in particular, reportedly turned down a much higher contract offer from the Montreal Alouettes, to come back to Winnipeg.
The Bombers made a surprise trade when they sent all star running back Charles Roberts to B.C. for Joe Smith on September 2, 2008. Then on September 8, 2008, they traded all star DE Tom Canada to Hamilton for Zeke Moreno. But on September 9, 2008, the trade was cancelled because Canada was injured and could not play for at least 10 weeks. So since they could not trade Canada they sent over Corey Mace and a First round pick for Moreno.
Following the 2008 season in which the Bombers were defeated in the division semifinals, Doug Berry (the head coach) was fired. Mike Kelly was chosen to replace him. At the end of the Cal Murphy era Mike Kelly was the offensive coordinator and was passed over for the top job in favour of Jeff Reinebold. With Milt Stegall's early season knee surgery and drop in production it was once again speculated that Milt Stegall would retire.
The departure of Brendan Taman on January 13, 2009, was another sign that this era was coming to an end and a new one was beginning. On February 18, 2009, Milt Stegall did retire from the CFL which formally ended the Milt Stegall era.
A new era
The return of Mike Kelly opened a new Cal Murphy era, and the board hoped to bring back Murphy's success. However, Kelly was fired by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Board of Directors on December 17, 2009, after one year of employment.
Paul LaPolice was introduced as the 28th head coach in Blue Bombers history on February 5, 2010. The new coach emphasized the idea of "team" and playing for the uniform. He also made it a point to talk about fixing problems rather than making excuses.
The new paradigm was tested in the 2010 season in which the team finished 4–14 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year. Nine of those games were lost by 4 points or less, while ten were lost by a touchdown or less. The nine games lost is a record in the CFL after the 1993 Ottawa Rough Riders had seven such losses during their season and when the BC Lions also had seven of these losses in 1996. To further the difficulties of the 2010 season, the Bombers started four different quarterbacks that year, due to injuries to Buck Pierce and Steven Jyles.
The 2011 season featured an almost completely unchanged team (save for a few losses to the NFL and a few gains from the draft). The Blue Bombers reversed their standings from last place in the east in 2010 to finishing in 1st place in the East division with a 10–8 record. The team success hinged around one of the league's leading defence that adopted the name Swaggerville, which led them to their first division title in 10 years. The 2011 season saw the passing of Bombers Defensive line coach Richard Harris. Harris' impact on people was evident with the tributes from current and former players. After finishing first-place in the CFL East Division, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were rewarded with eight players (Receiver Terrence Edwards and offensive linemen Brendon LaBatte and Glenn January,were recognized on offense, while defensive linemen Doug Brown and Odell Willis along with defensive backs Jovon Johnson, Jonathan Hefney and Ian Logan took home the honors on defense) being named to the CFL’s 2011 East Division All-Star Team, the most by any other team in their division. Five Blue Bombers were named to the Canadian Football League 2011 CFL All-Star team: Offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte, defensive end Odell Willis, defensive backs Jonathan Hefney and Jovon Johnson as well as safety Ian Logan were selected to the All-Star team by fans, members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) and CFL head coaches. The team advanced to the 99th Grey Cup after defeating Hamilton in the Eastern Final. However, they lost to the favored BC Lions by a score of 34–23.
Coming off of an Eastern Divisional championship along with an appearance in the Grey Cup in 2011, expectations were high for the Bombers in 2012. However, the team started the season with a 2–6 record which led to Paul LaPolice's dismissal as head coach, leading way for defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke to take over as head coach on an interim basis. Despite a late season run where they managed to win four of their last seven, the Bombers finished 3rd place in the East Division with a 6–12 record and missed the playoffs.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Staff
Special Teams Coaches
- Fred Ritter (1924–1929)
- Jack Millidge (1930)
- Pete Barnes (1931)
- Carl Cronin (1932–1933)
- Greg Kabat (1934)
- Bob Fritz (1935–1937)
- Reg Threlfall (1938–1944)
- Bert Warwick (1945)
- Jack West (1946–1948)
- Frank Larson (1949–1950)
- George Trafton (1951–1953)
- Allie Sherman (1954–1956)
- Bud Grant (1957–1966)
- Joe Zaleski (1967–1969)
- Jim Spavital (1970–1973)
- Bud Riley (1974–1977)
- Ray Jauch (1978–1982)
- Cal Murphy (1983–1986)
- Mike Riley (1987–1990)
- Darryl Rogers (1991)
- Urban Bowman (1992)
- Cal Murphy (1993–1996)
- Jeff Reinebold (1997–1998)
- Dave Ritchie (1999–2004)
- Jim Daley (2004–2005)
- Doug Berry (2006–2008)
- Mike Kelly (2009)
- Paul LaPolice (2010–2012)
- Tim Burke (2012–present)
CJOB is the official radio broadcaster of the Blue Bombers and holds those rights through the 2018 season. Canadian Football Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Irving has been the voice of the Blue Bombers since 1974, and calls every game from pre-season through to the playoffs. The Bob Irving Media Centre at Investors Group Field is named in his honour.
All Blue Bomber games are televised nationally and streamed online by TSN, which holds exclusive television and internet broadcasting rights to the CFL. Select games are also available via simulcast in the United States.
During the Blue Bombers' early years the team played at a number of smaller venues before finding a permanent home at Osborne Stadium, located near the Manitoba Legislative Buildings, in 1935. The fast passing-dominated play of Bombers quarterback Jack Jacobs dramatically increased attendance at Blue Bombers games and precipitated the need for a new, larger stadium. The team moved into the new Winnipeg Stadium at Polo Park in 1953, which would be their home for the next 59 years. Later known as Canad Inns Stadium, the facility underwent several expansions and renovations over the years; however, the increasing costs of maintaining the aging facility would ultimately lead to its closure in 2012. The Blue Bombers played their final game at Canad Inns Stadium on November 3, 2012.
Blue Bombers Game at Canad Inns Stadium with temporary seating set up in the endzone for the 2006 Grey Cup
Players of note
Canadian Football Hall of Famers
- Bennett, Paul – Inducted as a Player in 2002.
- Bonk, John – Inducted as a Player in 2008.
- Brock, Ralph "Dieter" – Inducted as a Player in 1995.
- Browne, Less – Inducted as a Player in 2002.
- Casey, Tom "Citation" – Inducted as a Player in 1964.
- Chipman, Arthur – Inducted as a Builder in 1969.
- Clements, Tom – Inducted as a Player in 1994.
- Cronin, Carl – Inducted as a Player in 1967.
- Currie, Andrew – Inducted as a Builder in 1974.
- Dunigan, Matt – Inducted as a Player in 2006.
- Frank, Bill – Inducted as a Player in 2001.
- Grant, Harry Peter "Bud" – Inducted as a Builder in 1983.
- Grant, Tommy – Inducted as a Player in 1995.
- Halter, G. Sydney – Inducted as a Builder in 1966.
- Hannibal, Frank – Inducted as a Builder in 1963.
- Hanson, Fritz – Inducted as a Player in 1963.
- Helton, John – Inducted as a Player in 1985.
- Huffman, Dick – Inducted as a Player in 1987.
- Hughes, W.P. Billy – Inducted as a Builder in 1974.
- Jacobs, Jack – Inducted as a Player in 1963.
- James, Eddie – Inducted as a Player in 1963.
- James, Gerry – Inducted as a Player in 1981.
- Kabat, Greg – Inducted as a Player in 1996.
- Lear, Les – Inducted as a Player in 1974.
- Lewis, Leo "Lincoln Locomotive" – Inducted as a Player in 1973.
- Lunsford, Earl – Inducted as a Player in 1983.
- McCance, Chester "Ches" – Inducted as a Player in 1976.
- Murphy, Cal – Inducted as a Builder in 2004.
- Murphy, James – Inducted as a Player in 2000.
- Ploen, Ken – Inducted as a Player in 1975.
- Poplawski, Joe – Inducted as a Player in 1998.
- Rebholz, Russ "The Wisconsin Wraith" – Inducted as a Player in 1963.
- Rigney, Frank Joseph – Inducted as a Player in 1984.
- Ryan, Joseph B. – Inducted as a Builder in 1968.
- Slocomb, Karl – Inducted as a Builder in 1989.
- Stevenson, Art – Inducted as a Player in 1969.
- Tinsley, Robert Porter "Buddy" – Inducted as a Player in 1982.
- Walby, Chris – Inducted as a Player in 2003.
- Warwick, Bert – Inducted as a Builder in 1964.
All-Time 75th Anniversary Team
- Battle, Greg
- Brock, Ralph "Dieter"
- Clements, Tom
- Gray, Herb
- Cameron, Bob
- Casey, Tom
- Hanson, Fritz
- House, Rick
- Jacobs, Jack
- James, Gerry
- Murphy, James
- Ploen, Ken
- Rigney, Frank
- Roberts, Charles
- Kennerd, Trevor
- Lewis, Leo
- Poplawski, Joe
- Reaves, Willard
- Stegall, Milt
- Walby, Chris
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers all-time records and statistics
- List of fan-owned sports teams
- Canadian Football Hall of Fame
- Canadian football
- Comparison of Canadian and American football
- List of Canadian Football League seasons
- Bombers to play entire 2012 season at Canad Inns
- "Asper makes $65M bid for Blue Bombers". CBC News. January 15, 2007.
- No-nonsense boss, New Bombers chairman sets code of conduct by Paul Friesen http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Columnists/Friesen/2010/04/06/13492186.html
- Garth Buchko named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers http://www.bluebombers.com/article/garth-buchko-named-president-and-chief-executive-officer-of-the-winnipeg-blue-bombers
- "2008 Annual Report Released | Winnipeg Blue Bombers". Bluebombers.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- 2009 Bombers Suffer (Final) Loss, Published on April 7, 2010, http://cfldb.ca/single-points/2010/04/2009-bombers-suffer-final-loss/
- Bottom-line bungling in Winnipeg Salary cap violation in 2009 proves costly for Bombers, By PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Football/CFL/Winnipeg/2010/04/06/13492006.html
- Bombers Release Annual Report http://www.bluebombers.com/uploads/assets/WPG/2009_Annual_Report.pdf
- 2010 Annual Report http://www.bluebombers.com/uploads/assets/WPG/2010AnnualReport.pdf
- Another sell-out for Bombers; Temporary seats now available 2011-10-19 http://www.bluebombers.com/article/another-sell-out-for-bombers-temporary-seats-now-available
- Eastern Final Sold-Out; Temporary Seats Now Available 2011-11-17 http://www.bluebombers.com/article/eastern-final-sold-out-temporary-seats-now-available
- "Blue Bombers will surpass single season club attendance record Friday | Winnipeg Blue Bombers". Bluebombers.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "2011 Schedule | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League". CFL.ca. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Winnipeg Football Club Earns CFL Best Marketing and Ticket Campaign Award | Winnipeg Blue Bombers". Bluebombers.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2009-10-27. Archived from the original on 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- 2009 Canadian Football League Facts, Figures & Records, Canadian Football League Properties/Publications, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 978-0-9739425-4-5, p.282–283
- Grey Cup 1935 "1935 Grey Cup". CFL. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
- "All Those A" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- "Labatt Blue". Labatt Brewing Company. Retrieved 2009-08-28.[dead link]
- "Labatt renews long-standings relationship with Blue Bombers". Labatt Brewing Company. 2007-05-24. Retrieved 2009-08-28.[dead link]
- By the Numbers: Playoffs???!!!
- "Bombers lead East with 10 all-stars | Winnipeg Blue Bombers". Bluebombers.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Taman resigns player personal post with Blue Bombers". TSN. January 13, 2009.
- Bombers fail at critical times
- "Blue go from reverse to first". Winnipeg Free Press. November 6, 2011.
- "Swaggerville reincarnate". Winnipeg Free Press. September 19, 2011.
- Bomber players remember Coach Harris http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8RIpNDB_Hw
- "Richard Harris: 1948-2011 - Single Point on cfldb". Cfldb.ca. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Eight Blue Bombers named to CFL’s East Division All-Star Team | Winnipeg Blue Bombers". Bluebombers.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Five Blue Bombers named to CFL's All-Star Team | Winnipeg Blue Bombers". Bluebombers.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Bombers axe LaPolice". Winnipeg Free Press. 25 August 12.
- "Blue Bombers announce seven-year extension with CJOB 680 for radio broadcast rights". BlueBombers.com.
- "Bob Irving". Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
- "Winnipeg Football Club unveils Bob Irving Media Centre at Investors Group Field". BlueBombers.com. May 24, 2013.
- Bellamy, Brent. "The Jets - and a big-league stadium, too". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Official Site of the new Bomber Stadium". Blue and Gold.
- "Bombers accelerate stadium plan". CFL. March 31, 2010.
- Bob Irving (edited by). Blue & Gold: 75 Years of Blue Bomber Glory, 2005. ISBN 1-894283-59-7
- Official statistics of the WIFU, CFC and CFL, 1950 to 2007
- CFL Facts, Figures and Records 1985 to 2007
- Winnipeg Blue Bomber Media Guides 2006 and 2007
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers official site
- Winnipeg Free Press Online Edition Blue Bomber Report
- Winnipeg Sun Online Edition Blue Bomber Page
- Winnipeg Blue Bomber page at TSN.ca
- Winnipeg Blue Bomber page at Slam.canoe.ca
- Winnipeg Blue Bomber page at Oursportscentral.com
- Winnipeg Blue Bomber page at The Pro Football Archives
- Official Facebook Page
- CJOB Radio Live broadcasts of all Blue Bomber games
- OurBombers.com Unofficial Winnipeg Blue Bomber fansite
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers History
- Blue Bombers History and Time Line
- Official Site of the proposed Winnipeg Blue Bomber Stadium
- CFL Scrapbook Winnipeg Blue Bommbers
- Bombers Stadium video tribute
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers set season ticket record
- Winnipeg Blue Bomber-Boys of Fall
- CFL Traditions DTV 5 Sports Special-Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL Club