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HISTORY >> CFL Legends >> Russ Jackson

QB -- Ottawa Rough Riders

1958 - 1969

Russ Jackson Russ Jackson has been described as the best Canadian-born quarterback to play in the Canadian Football League. Following his outstanding 12-year career with the Ottawa Rough Riders, Jackson is still part of the Canadian football scene as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats radio colour commentator on CHML-AM radio.

A native of Hamilton, Ontario, and a graduate of McMaster University, Russ Jackson excelled at both football and basketball and won all-conference honours in both while at school. Following a stellar collegiate career with the Marauders, the Ottawa Rough Riders drafted Jackson in 1958. Although new to the professional ranks, Jackson negotiated his contract which included a base salary, plus a $500.00 signing bonus and open plane ticket back and forth from Ottawa to Toronto in order to complete his teaching certificate at the Ontario College of Education.

Ottawa Rough Rider General Manager Jimmy McCaffrey's initial fears about the young Canadian prospect's abilities were quickly put to rest as Jackson, under the tutelage of legendary coach Frank Clair, became the most outstanding quarterback in Canadian Professional Football.

CFL superstars such as Sam Etcheverry, Bernie Faloney, Joe Kapp, Pete Liske, Ron Lancaster, Frank Tripuka, and Tobin Rote all led teams against Jackson's Rough Riders and all would respect and pay heed to the young pro's ability as a field general.

Over his 12-year CFL career, Russ Jackson received several awards, including:

CFL Awards
Grey Cup Champion: 1960, '68, '69
Grey Cup Finalist: 1966
Schenley Award for Most Outstanding Player: 1963, '66, '69
Schenley Award for Most Outstanding Canadian: 1959, ''63, '66, '69
Jeff Russell Memorial Trophy: 1959 and 1969
(Most Outstanding Player in the Eastern Division)
Inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in1973
Ontario's Outstanding Athlete
Canada's Outstanding Athlete
Member of the Order of Canada
CFL Records
Quarterbacked the CFL All-Star Team: 1966, '68, & '69
Six time Eastern Division All-Star: 1962, '63, '66, '67, '68, & '69
Five-time Passing Yards Leader (season): 1963, '64, '65, '66, & '67
Four-time Pass Attempt Leader (season): 1963, '66, '67, & '69
Fourth All-time Leader Most Rushing Yards by a QB in regular season: 5,045-yards
13th All-time Leading Passer: 1,356 of 2,530 for 24,592-yards (53.6%),
125 INTs
Third Longest Pass Completion All Time, Regular Season: 107-yards (to Ted Watkins, 1964)
Second All-time Leader Most Game Throwing Passes, Playoffs: 28
Second All-time Leader Most Season Throwing Passes, Playoffs: 12
Fourth All-time Leader Most Pass Attempts, Playoffs: 435
Fourth All-time Leader Most Passing Yards, Playoffs: 3,173-yards
Second All-time Leader Most Passing TDs, Playoffs: 25
First All-time Leader Most Passing Touchdowns, Grey Cup Game: 4
Tied for First All-time Leader Most Passing Touchdowns, Grey Cup: 8

In 1986, the Canadian Inter-University Athletic Union (CIAU) created the Russ Jackson Award which is presented annually, by TSN, to the football player who best exemplifies the attributes of academic achievement, football skill and citizenship in honour of the Hall of Famer.

Good quarterbacks like Russ Jackson are a special kind. They must be leaders, supremely confident, tough, courageous and possess incredible poise. They must also have good teammates, and Jackson was fortunate enough to play with some of the best, including: Dave Thelen, Kaye Vaughan, Bobby Simpson, Ron Stewart, Whit Tucker, Billy Joe Booth just to name a few.

According to Eddie MacCabe, Jackson was perhaps the last of a vanishing breed - the Canadian Quarterback, "Those of us who were fortunate to witness Russ Jackson's magnificent career are in his debt.

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