Winnipeg Blue Bombers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
2014 Winnipeg Blue Bombers season

Winnipeg Blue Bombers logo

Founded 1930
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
Division West Division
Nickname(s) Bombers, Blue and Gold, Big Blue, True Blue,
Head coach Mike O'Shea
General manager Kyle Walters
Owner(s) The club is a corporation without share capital. No one person or entity owns the team.
Grey Cup wins 10 (1935, 1939, 1941, 1958
1959, 1961, 1962, 1984
1988, 1990)
Current uniform
CFL WPG Jersey.png
Colours Blue and gold
         
Mascot(s) Buzz and Boomer
Website www.bluebombers.com

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a Canadian football team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are currently members of the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). They play their home games at Investors Group Field after many years of playing as the since demolished Canad Inns Stadium.

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 CFL franchise has as many Grey Cup appearances as the Blue Bombers current 24. The Blue Bombers were also the first team not located in Ontario or Quebec to win a championship.

Team facts[edit]

Founded: 1930
Helmet design: Gold background, with a white "W" and blue trim
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: 13 — 1936, 1939, 1941, 1947, 1950, 1952, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1972
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)
Grey Cup wins: 10 — 1935, 1939, 1941, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1984, 1988, 1990
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 (2006–2013), West Division (2014–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, Toronto Argonauts, British Columbia Lions, fans chant "BC Sucks!" throughout the entire game when the Blue Bombers play the Lions and other prairie city teams the Edmonton Eskimos and the Calgary Stampeders.
2013 regular season record: 3 wins, 15 losses, 0 ties

Team history[edit]

Beginning[edit]

The first football team in Winnipeg was formed in 1879, and was called the Winnipeg Rugby Football Club. On June 10, 1930, they amalgamated with all the other teams in the Manitoba Rugby Football Union to create the Winnipeg Winnipegs Rugby Football Club, adopting the colours of green and white. The Winnipegs played their first game against St. John's Rugby Club on June 13, 1930, where St. John's won by a score of 7–3. In 1932, the Winnipegs and St. John's merged into one team and adopted the colours of blue and gold.[1]

1935 Grey Cup[edit]

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.[2]

Blue Bombers[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Jack Jacobs era[edit]

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 newfound 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[edit]

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, Blue Bombers fans named Labatt's Pilsener Lager, which had a blue label, Labatt Blue, in honour of their team.[3][4]

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). 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 with the likes of quarterback Don Jonas, running-back Mack Herron, 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.

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.

Cal Murphy era[edit]

Canad Inns Stadium

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 crushing victory in the 1984 Grey Cup, coincidentally 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 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.

Reinebold years[edit]

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 2 years, winning only 7 games in 1995, and 9 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 4 games in 1997, and just 3 in 1998.

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 1 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 2nd half 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 few memorable players on the team during that time included Linebacker: K.D. Williams, Safety: Tom Europe, Running back / Returner: Eric Blount, and of course, Milt Stegall.

Milt Stegall era[edit]

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 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 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 & 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 '08. 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.[5] On February 18, 2009, Milt Stegall did retire from the CFL which formally ended the Milt Stegall era.

A new era[edit]

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 2011 season features 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.[6] The team success hinged around one of the league's leading defence that has adopted the name Swaggerville, which led them to their first division title in 10 years.[7] The team advanced to the 99th Grey Cup after defeating Hamilton in the Eastern Final. However, they lost to the favoured BC Lions by a score of 34–23.


Current Personnel[edit]

Football Operation Staff[edit]

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Staff
Front Office
  • Owner – Community owned (non-profit corporation owned by members)
  • Chairperson of the Board of Governors – Brock Bulbuck
  • President/CEO – Wade Miller
  • General Manager of Football Operations – Kyle Walters
  • Assistant General Manager / Director of U.S. Scouting – Danny McManus
  • Assistant General Manager / Director of Player Personnel – Ted Goveia
  • National Scout - Drew Morris
  • Director of Football Operations - Dave Siddall

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

 

Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches


Coaching Staff
More CFL staffs


Roster[edit]

Winnipeg Blue Bombers roster
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Slotbacks

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Unsigned Free Agents


Italics indicate Import player
Roster updated 2014-03-06
Depth ChartTransactions
60 Active, 4 Unsigned Free Agents

More rosters


Management[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

General managers[edit]

Stadium[edit]

During the Blue Bombers' early years the team played at Osborne Stadium, a small stadium near the Manitoba Legislative Buildings. 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. Winnipeg Stadium was built in the West End of the city near Polo Park, and the Blue Bombers began play there in 1953. The Blue Bombers continue to play at the stadium, though it has gone through significant changes over the years and is now known as Canad Inns Stadium.

In recent years, various plans have been proposed to relocate the stadium. The latest is a 2008 plan to build a new stadium at the University of Manitoba, with both private and public funding. On April 2, 2009, David Asper (a media mogul located out of Winnipeg associated with Canwest and Creswin Properties) finally inked a deal with all levels of governments to build a new 33,422 (expandable to 45,000) seat stadium at the University of Manitoba in Southwest Winnipeg. This will serve as the home for the Blue Bombers as well as the U of M Bisons. The deal includes refurbishing the existing Bison Stadium for practice and training as well as upgrading, expanding, and building new sports and fitness facilities. This project, once complete, will be the premiere sports training facility in Canada. The project will be on-goingly funded by a retail development that Asper plans to build on the former CanadInns stadium site. As part of the deal, Creswin properties will take over ownership of the team in 2010. The new stadium and facilities will be complete for the 2012 CFL season, with the retail development finished in 2013.[8][9]

On May 2, 2012, the Blue Bombers announced that because of constructions delays, the stadium would not be ready until September, thus forcing the team to play four or five home games at Canad Inns Stadium to start the season.[10] In June 2012 it was announced that the stadium would not open until the 2013 season.[11]

Players of note[edit]

Canadian Football Hall of Famers[edit]

All-Time 75th Anniversary Team[edit]

Team members notable elsewhere[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2009 Canadian Football League Facts, Figures & Records, Canadian Football League Properties/Publications, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 978-0-9739425-4-5, p.282-283
  2. ^ Grey Cup 1935 "1935 Grey Cup". CFL. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Labatt Blue". Labatt Brewing Company. Retrieved 2009-08-28. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Labatt renews long-standings relationship with Blue Bombers". Labatt Brewing Company. 2007-05-24. Retrieved 2009-08-28. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Taman resigns player personal post with Blue Bombers". TSN. January 13, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Blue go from reverse to first". Winnipeg Free Press. November 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Swaggerville reincarnate". Winnipeg Free Press. September 19, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Official Site of the new Bomber Stadium". Blue and Gold. 
  9. ^ "Bombers accelerate stadium plan". CFL. March 31, 2010. 
  10. ^ "First game in new stadium could be as early as Sept. 9: Bombers". Winnipeg Free Press. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  11. ^ "Bombers to play entire season at Canad Inns Stadium". Winnipeg Free Press. June 15, 2012. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]