Crazy Roscoe and His Stories: Bud Proved You Can Go From Last to First in One Year

This is the second 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…

By Roy Rosmus (with some help from Scott Taylor)

This past season, the Toronto Argonauts learned something from history: Blue Bomber history. More precisely, they learned something from the greatest coach in Blue Bombers history, Harry Peter (Bud) Grant.

Bud Grant

It has been said by more than one media expert that you simply can’t rebuild a CFL team in just one year. According to those same experts, going from last to first is virtually impossible.

But, as well know, the mainstream media is wrong a lot more often than it’s right. And this past season the Argos proved that. In 2011, the Argos were 6-12, dead last in the CFL East. In 2012, they were 9-9, second in the East and then they won three straight post-season games and claimed the 100th Grey Cup.

The Argos took a page out of Bud Grant’s book.

At the end of the 1965 season, a year in which the Bombers went to the Grey Cup after finishing 1-14-1 in 1964, Grant outlined what he did to go from dead last in the CFL to 11-5 and, eventually, a trip to the Grey Cup. See below:


Granted, the Argos hired a new head coach to start the 2012 season and Scott Milanovich did a wonderful job, but the rest of the recipe is pretty much standard. You decide on your core players, add some young players and add some free agents. You build on the good and replace the bad. The Bombers were able to pull it off with Paul LaPolice at head coach between 2010 and 2011 (when the Bombers went from 4-14 to 10-8), but Bud Grant provided the blueprint in 1965.

Which means that here in Winnipeg, the Bombers might have been 6-12 and out of the playoffs, but let’s be honest, the club has plenty of good players — Buck Pierce (if he can stay vertical), Marcellus Bowman, Bryant Turner, Alex Hall, Brandon Stewart, Johnny Sears, Chad Simpson, Chris Matthews, Clarence Denmark, Henoc Muamba, Demond Washington, Chris Cvetkovic, Glenn January, Jason Vega, Ian Logan… the list is pretty long.

A couple of young players here and a few free agents there and this Bombers team could be the next Toronto Argonauts or 1965 Bombers.

Bud Grant once said, “To be successful, you need a good quarterback QB, a loyal dog, and an understanding wife and not necessarily in that order.” Best of luck Tim Burke.

The good quarterback: Kenny Ploen.

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