This is the first in a series of off-season “Blue Bomber Stories,” that are actual excerpts from the next football book written by the authors of Quiet Hero: The Ken Ploen Story. Scott Taylor and Roy Rosmus provide young fans with an opportunity to learn a little about the history of one of the greatest franchises in CFL history. Let’s Get “Crazy Roscoe’s Stories” rolling…
By Roy Rosmus (with some help from Scott Taylor)
Young fans might think otherwise, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is indeed, one of the greatest franchises in the history of Canadian football. Yeah, yeah, we know, the team has fallen on hard times in recent years, but there was a time when the Bombers were truly great. Granted, those times tend to fall in bunches — kind of like binge-winning — but when the Bombers are good, they are very, very good.
The Bombers have won the Grey Cup 10 times. The First Wave was between 1935 and 1941, when the team named by sportswriter Vince Leah, won three times — 1935, 1939 and 1941. The Second Wave came with the arrival of Bud Grant and Ken Ploen when the Bombers won four times in five years — 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. The Final Wave came between 1984 and 1990 with Cal Murphy as coach and then general manager — 1984, 1988 and 1990.
Since the Final Wave, the Bombers have gone to the Grey Cup game on five different occasions — 1992, 1993, 2001, 2007 and 2011. Of course, they have lost all five of those appearances.
The last quarterback to win a Grey Cup game for Winnipeg was Tom Burgess. Since then, the Bombers have used (not started, but suited up) 52 different quarterbacks without a Grey Cup victory.
The Good Lord Himself, and maybe Joe Mack, are the only natural and supernatural beings who have even the faintest idea who will be next in line. This spring, Buck Pierce will be back to battle for the starting job against (as of Dec. 10) Joey Elliott, Alex Brink, Justin Goltz and R.J. Archer.
Regardless, it’s been a long time since Tommy Burgess beat the Edmonton Eskimos 50-11 at B.C. Place Stadium in the 78th Grey Cup game.
Bombers Quarterbacks Since The last Grey Cup in 1990
Tom Burgess, Danny McManus, Matt Dunigan, Sammy Garza, Keithen McCant, Reggie Slack
Kevin McDougal, Steve Pelluer, Raymond Philyaw, Terry Dean, Shawn Moore, Kent Austin
Chris Vargas, Tom Porras, Jay Walker, T.J. Rubley, Terry Karg, Kevin Mason
Troy Kopp, Kerwin Bell, Khari Jones, Brian Ah Yat, Jose Davis, Pat Barnes
Brian Stallworth, Stanley Jackson, Kevin Glenn, Tee Martin, Spergon Wynn, Mike Quinn
Russ Michna, Brad Banks, Zac Taylor, Justin Holland, Ryan Dinwiddie, Bryan Randall
Kliff Kingsbury, Michael Bishop, Ricky Santos, Richie Williams, Stefan Lefors, Steven Jyles
Casey Bramlett, Timmy Chang, Zac Champion, Adam DiMichelle, Brandon Summers
Buck Pierce, Joey Elliott, Alex Brink, Justin Goltz, R.J. Archer
The best line we heard from any coach regarding the quarterbacks he used came from Jeff Reinebold. Reinebold, of course, coached the Bombers in 1997 and 1998. His No. 1 quarterback was T.J. Rubley, who did go on and not only have a very successful financial career in Denver, but also married the sister of Mrs. Sylvester Stallone.
In 2001, Reinebold was at the Super Bowl in Tampa when he saw Scott Taylor at the International Media Party. Reinebold walked up to Taylor and without so much as saying hello, said, “Scotty, T.J. Rubley. What was I thinkin’?”
He’s probably not the only Bomber coach in the last 22 years who has had second thoughts.