September 11, 2008

Retro: A tribute to the past

Dan Goodspeed

Here in Winnipeg, as with every team in the league, we have many different jersey and pant combinations for our game day attire. It’s no secret that every fan has their favorite color jersey they prefer to see their team wearing on game day. Normally, I’m not concerned about what color our jersey and pants are for any particular game. This week is unique though as the CFL will roll out Retro jerseys for our game against Toronto.

The jerseys are from the 1950s CFL era. I think this is a great idea because coming up to the CFL as an American, I feel I missed some history of the Canadian game.

Every year Winnipeg hosts what is called the Legacy Dinner where current players are introduced and have a meal with past players, past front office personnel, some fans, and past Bomber greats who are being inducted into the Blue Bombers Hall of Fame.  At this meal, time is always spent speaking about the history of the franchise and playing some past video clips of where the club has been.  As you sit through this dinner you get a sense of pride that the community has for the Bombers and it’s storied past.  Since I am unfamiliar with the history, it allows me the chance to find out more about the club and hear all the stories of the great games played before me.   

As I’m writing this blog I checked the internet (Wikipedia) for more information on this era and found out that the 50s were an exciting time for the Bombers.  The stadium where we now play was built in 1953.  It was built because Osborne Stadium was too small for the amount of fans who wanted to see the amazing talents of a quarterback named Jack Jacobs.

“Indian Jack” as they referred to him was the first professional football player to throw for over 3,000 yards in a single season.  This caused the fans to refer to the stadium (Canad Inn Stadium) as “the house that Jack built”.  He led the Bombers to two Grey Cup appearances.  This includes the 38th Grey Cup (1950) dubbed the “Mud Bowl” which was played in Toronto at Varsity Stadium.

If interested, you can see a clip of the Mud Bowl game on YouTube.  The Bombers would go on to four more Grey Cups in this era, 1953, 1957, 1958, and 1959, bringing home two championships.  This era brought another Bomber great, Bud Grant who was a player and head coach and brought four championships in six appearances back to Winnipeg.

These two men, along with other players of this time, laid the foundation of this Winnipeg Blue Bombers franchise.  So this Friday when we play the Argos I will be happy to wear the jersey of so many great past players that made the Bombers organization what it is today.

Dan Goodspeed is one of the premier offensive tackles in the CFL. He was the East Division Outstanding Lineman in 2007 and is the anchor for an impressive Winnipeg Blue Bombers O-line.