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Author Topic: History on CFL Rules and the Blue Bombers  (Read 37729 times)
Stats Junkie
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« on: March 20, 2012, 09:28:06 PM »

10 strange rules from the past

1.   No point for you! - In Western Canada (1935-1945), a kick that sailed through the end zone without touching in bounds resulted in no points. The ball had to land in the field of play for a single point to be scored.
2.   Coaching from the sidelines - up until the mid-1950s, a coach was not allowed to communicate with the players on the field. The penalty for Coaching from the sidelines was 10 yards. In 1954, Winnipeg Coach Al Sherman found a way around this rule - he sent his plays into the game with players who substituted for each other after each play.
3.   Passes into the end zone (1940s) - If there were two consecutive passes into the end zone that were incomplete it was a turnover with the opposition taking possession on their own 10 yard line. If there was an incomplete pass into the end zone on 3rd down, the opposition received the ball at the 25 yard line.
4.   Pass must cross the line of scrimmage - a forward pass had to cross the line of scrimmage in the air for it to be deemed an eligible pass. If caught behind the line of scrimmage, the play was stopped and the offence was charged with a loss of down. This rule cost the Blue Bombers a very importanat TD in the 1947 Grey Cup - the rule was changed in 1949.
5.   Shovel pass - in the early 1950s, an underhand pass that was thrown forward was treated the same as a backwards pass. This rule meant that an incomplete underhand pass was a live ball. Jack Jacobs would have had a few more TD passes if the shovel pass didn't count as a run.
6.   Kickoff through the end zone - a kickoff through the end zone was penalized with a re-kick (no yardage penalty. If three successive kicks went through the end zone, the receiving team received the ball at the point of the kickoff. This rule was changed in 1970. Hamilton kicker Don Sutherin almost got caught by this rule in the 1965 Grey Cup. After putting two kicks through the end zone, the Referee advised Sutherin of the rule. Winnipeg Coach Bud Grant was upset that the Referee interfered.
7.   A fumble into the end zone that was recovered by the opposition resulted in a single point for the team that fumbled the ball. This rule was changed in 1977.
8.   No Yards on passes - When the forward pass was introduced to Canadian football in 1929, an incomplete pass was treated as a punt and the passing team had to give yards to the defender.
9.   In 1950, free substitutions were introduced to Canadian football. Prior to the 1950 season, if a player left the field for any reason he was not allowed to return to the field until the start of the next quarter. This meant that players had to play both ways. It also meant that there was no such thing as a specialist kicker. Your kicker and punter had to be one of the twelve men on the field.
10.   Interception in the end zone - up until the early 1960s, an interception in the end zone could not be returned. On first or second down, an interception in goal resulted in a first down on the 10 yard line. If the interception occurred on 3rd down then the ruling was a first down at the 25 yard line. In 1961, Norm Rauhaus returned an interception 111 yards for a TD but it did not count. The rule would be changed in next year and Neal Beaumont set the CFL record for longest interception return in 1963 - Beaumont returned his interception 120 yards.

And one more...
Up until 1920, teams played with 14 players per side and the ball was put in play by one of its three scrimmages. Starting with the 1921 season, teams would play with 12 players per side and the center scrimmage was now responsible for passing the ball to the quarterback via the snapback. The primary reason for reducing the number of players was money. The biggest expenses that a team faced was travel and lodging and the elimination of two players would have significant cost savings. It should be noted that Alberta made this move in 1920 and the rest of the Provincial Unions followed suit in 1921.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2014, 05:36:53 PM by Stats Junkie » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 09:58:14 PM »

Some great historical information there SJ.  Thank you!
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2012, 12:26:57 PM »

this is awesome.
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Stats Junkie
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 07:52:54 PM »

10 things that you may not know about the Winnipeg Football Club

1.   1933 - The St.John's had been the dominant team in Winnipeg for several years but in 1933 they shocked many when they announced that they would be suspending operations for a season while they got their finances in order. Efforts to have another club assume operations of the St.John's team proved fruitless. Although a few other clubs operated at the junior level, but no one wanted to become custodian of the St.John's team for one season. In August of 1933, the St.John's players were dispersed between the Winnipegs and the Garrison. The Garrison would only accept servicemen so all but one player ended up in the Winnipegs camp. With nearly enough players to operate two teams, the Winnipegs did just that; they operated two teams.
The best players formed the "A'" team which kept the Winnipegs name and adopted Blue & White jerseys (the gold was not added until 1934). The "B" team kept the old Green jerseys and adopted the name Shamrocks. Season tickets reached a new high thanks to the promotion by Winnipeg Enterprises. 1933 would be the best chance that a Winnipeg team would have against the hated Regina Roughriders and the Manitoba/Saskatchewan playoff was in Winnipeg in 1933. If Winnipeg defeated the Roughriders, your season ticket package would get you a free ticket to the West Final as well.
No one knew it at the time, but the St.John's would never play senior football again.

2.   1950 - The Blue Bombers introduced their new uniforms which were all Robins Egg Blue (pants, jerseys and helmets). The team had been known as the Blue & Gold since 1934 and the players felt this tradition should continue. After a short meeting, the players went down to the local hardware store and purchased some cans of gold paint. The players then spent the rest of the evening painting their helmets gold. Those light blue jerseys only lasted half a season.

3.   1941 - The Blue Bombers became the first Canadian team to play a professional team from the United States. The first game was played on August 26, 1941; the Blue Bombers defeated the AFL Champion Columbus Bulls (Bullies) 19-12. By the end of the 1941 season, the Blue Bombers had played the Columbus Bulls 3 times and the Kenosha Cardinals twice. The Bombers record in those five games was 1-4.

4.   The original Winnipeg Football Club was formed in 1879 and continued play through the end of the 1906 season (no team in 1903; the Winnipegs separated from the MRFU and created a new league - it never got off the ground). Organized play in Manitoba began in 1887 and the Winnipegs won their first game which was played on October 22, 1887; the Winnipegs defeated the St.John's College Football Club by two goals to a try (12-4). The last game the team played was on October 13, 1906, a 12-8 loss to the Brandon Football Club. These Winnipegs wore Blue and White jerseys.

5.   1933-1952 - the Winnipeg Rugby Club played its home games at Osborne Stadium. The first game was on September 27, 1933; it was a 33-6 win over the local Army team known as the Garrison. The final game played at Osborne Stadium was played on November 11, 1952; it was a 22-11 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos who won the Western Final by a count of two games to one. Osborne Stadium hosted two football games in 1932 - they involved the Winnipeg St.John's and the Regina Roughriders.

6.   Sunday games didn't show up on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers schedule for several years. The 1962 Grey Cup was played over two days and had to be finished on Sunday December 2. The first game that the Blue Bombers played which began on a Sunday was in Montreal on September 8, 1963. The first home game ever played on a Sunday was later that year, October 27, 1963 versus the BC Lions.

7.   In 1942, the war efforts had put a strain on available players in many western cities. As a result, there was no competition for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In Winnipeg there was an abundance of players available and the team created its own league, the Winnipeg City League. The players were divided into three teams. The military men were assigned to the RCAF Flyers, the civilian men played for a team known only as the Bombers and the younger men played for the University of Manitoba Bisons. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers supplied coaches for all three teams.
After the City League season ended, an all-star team was created that would compete for the Grey Cup. 34 players were selected from the three teams that played in the City League. The name used by the all-star team was the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers and the team wore the red jerseys of the RCAF Flyers. The Winnipeg Rugby Club kept the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers together for the 1943 season but the club suspended operations for the 1944 season.

8.   1955 - The man the Blue Bombers selected to replace Jack Jacobs at quarterback was Bobby Freeman. The Blue Bombers were about to introduce a new offensive system which relied on a quarterback who could throw on the run and halfbacks who could throw as well. Freeman was handpicked as the quarterback with Buddy Leake and Bob McNamara as the halfbacks. Shortly after signing a two year deal with the Blue Bombers, Freeman signed a two year deal with the Cleveland Browns of the NFL. In July, The Blue Bombers received a temporary injunction which prevented Freeman from joining the Browns. On August 15, U.S. Federal Judge Paul Jones made the injunction permanent when he ruled that the contract Freeman signed with the Blue Bombers took precedence.
Freeman contacted the Blue Bombers and told them that he would play if the team would pay him an amount close to what he had signed with the Browns. Winnipeg management deferred the decision to accept Freeman's terms to Coach Al Sherman. Despite the fact that the Bombers were struggling with Buddy Leake at quarterback and a season ending injury to Bob McNamara forced the Bombers to play Leo Lewis on offence, Sherman decided not to give in to Freeman's demands.
Freeman sat out the two year term of his Winnipeg contract. In 1957, he joined the Cleveland Browns as a defensive player. He played for 4 teams over 6 seasons and never played quarterback.

9.   The Blue Bombers have made two trades with NFL teams. In September 1957, the Blue Bombers traded QB Chuck Curtis to the New Giants for LB/HB Pete Mangum and future considerations. In two games with Winnipeg, Curtis completed 8 of 18 passes for 99 yards and 2 interceptions. In September 1959, the Blue Bombers obtained End Ralph Anderson from the Chicago Bears of the NFL. In return, the Bombers sent Tackle Fred Cole to the Bears.

10.   The team that we now call the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was born on May 14, 1930. It was at the annual meeting of the Manitoba Rugby Football Union that two franchises were awarded. The first franchise was granted to the YMHA who played junior football. The other franchise was awarded when the Tammany Tigers had their name legally changed to the Winnipeg Rugby Club; they played senior football in 1930 as the Winnipegs.

And one thing nobody really knows for sure... when was the name Blue Bombers coined by Vince Leah?
It was Vince Leah who said 'these are the Blue Bombers of western football'; that is not in question. It was this statement which ultimately led to the Winnipegs becoming the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. What is not certain is when Vince Leah said those famous words.
Most sources state that he said them after a game with the University of North Dakota in 1936. The problem is that the Winnipegs did not play UND in 1936... One source states that it was after a game versus North Dakota State in 1936. Although the frequency that the name 'Blue Bombers' was used increased substantially after the North Dakota State game, there are uses of the name 'Blue Bombers' which predate that game... A few sources state that it was first said in 1935; either after the game with the University of North Dakota or after the Grey Cup versus Hamilton.

EDIT
According to the book that Vince Leah released in the 1970's, he came up with the term "Blue Bombers" while covering the team during training camp (1936). This timing seems to be consistent with the appearance of the term "Blue Bombers" in the Winnipeg Tribune from that time.

The name was only used sporadically during the next few seasons. It appears as though the Winnipeg Rugby Club did not adopt the name Blue Bombers until 1939.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2014, 05:42:18 PM by Stats Junkie » Logged

@Stats_Junkie
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2012, 06:26:40 PM »

You are awesome Stats....so glad you post....very interesting.... Kiss
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The players change, the coach & management change, even some of the fans change. But if you've followed this team as long as I have, you know this is what they do. They take us to euphoric highs of dizzying proportions and send us reeling with crashing lows. I'm enjoying the ride and cheering them.
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 02:02:47 AM »

10 strange rules from the past

3.   Passes into the end zone (1940s) - If there were two consecutive passes into the end zone that were incomplete it was a turnover with the opposition taking possession on their own 10 yard line. If there was an incomplete pass into the end zone on 3rd down, the opposition received the ball at the 25 yard line.
4.   Pass must cross the line of scrimmage - a forward pass had to cross the line of scrimmage in the air for it to be deemed an eligible pass. If caught behind the line of scrimmage, the play was stopped and the offence was charged with a loss of down. This rule cost the Blue Bombers a very importanat TD in the 1947 Grey Cup - the rule was changed in 1949.
5.   Shovel pass - in the early 1950s, an underhand pass that was thrown forward was treated the same as a backwards pass. This rule meant that an incomplete underhand pass was a live ball. Jack Jacobs would have had a few more TD passes if the shovel pass didn't count as a run.
9.   In 1950, free substitutions were introduced to Canadian football. Prior to the 1950 season, if a player left the field for any reason he was not allowed to return to the field until the start of the next quarter. This meant that players had to play both ways. It also meant that there was no such thing as a specialist kicker. Your kicker and punter had to be one of the twelve men on the field.
10.   Interception in the end zone - up until the early 1960s, an interception in the end zone could not be returned. On first or second down, an interception in goal resulted in a first down on the 10 yard line. If the interception occurred on 3rd down then the ruling was a first down at the 25 yard line. In 1961, Norm Rauhaus returned an interception 111 yards for a TD but it did not count. The rule would be changed in next year and Neal Beaumont set the CFL record for longest interception return in 1963 - Beaumont returned his interception 120 yards.

And one more...
Up until 1920, teams played with 14 players per side and the ball was put in play by one of its three scrimmages. The outside scrimmages would throw the ball in from the sideline while center scrimmage was responsible for introducing the ball to a scrum - similar to rugby. Starting with the 1921 season, teams would play with 12 players per side and the center scrimmage was now responsible for passing the ball to the quarterback via the snapback. The primary reason for reducing the number of players was money. The biggest expenses that a team faced was travel and lodging and the elimination of two players would have significant cost savings. It should be noted that Alberta made this move in 1920 and the rest of the Provincial Unions followed suit in 1921.

Wow!  Shocked
Thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2014, 03:05:00 PM »

Need some help - I am researching some old games and found the cover of a program for an exhibition game played in Winnipeg on July 23, 1962. The Bombers won 15-14 over Ottawa and The program cover dubs the game as the Salad Bowl - Bud Grant and Frank Clair are on the cover and I am wondering if this had to do with these two men or is this something that happened in Winnipeg over the years. Any help would be appreciated.
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Stats Junkie
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 05:28:59 AM »

I don't know the origin of the 'Salad Bowl' name. I do know that there was an annual exhibition game that was dubbed the 'Salad Bowl'. Other games that I can confirm are:
July 28, 1964 vs. Saskatchewan
July 20, 1965 vs. Hamilton (Postponed from July 19)
July 17, 1967 vs. Toronto
July 12, 1971 vs. Toronto
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2014, 03:17:49 PM »

I don't know the origin of the 'Salad Bowl' name. I do know that there was an annual exhibition game that was dubbed the 'Salad Bowl'. Other games that I can confirm are:
July 28, 1964 vs. Saskatchewan
July 20, 1965 vs. Hamilton (Postponed from July 19)
July 17, 1967 vs. Toronto
July 12, 1971 vs. Toronto


Those were usually exhibition or early season games and the name was a promotion, I believe through either Safeway or Dominion.

A couple of notes on history. The Blue Bombers are still officially known as the "Winnipeg Football Club". In the early days of sports teams they did not incorporate and names were quite unofficial. It was not until after WW1 that organization really started in Canada, and after WW2 that anything approaching modern sport was around.

Organized sport started in the 1800s, and this included football in Britain. Each English school had their own rules for football. To make it better to have games between schools, and grads of the schools, they convened a big meeting to make one football code for everybody. The Rugby School decided not to attend the meeting, and one other school decided they would play by Rugby's rules, or "laws". Since Rugby's laws provided a game based on running with ball in hand, the Football Association chose to amalgamate the rules around playing the ball with your feet. So we got association football, or "soccer", as a result. The Rugby Football Union was also formed to standardize rules for rugby football, sometimes called "rugger".

Football clubs would often play by any code, soccer one week, rugby the next. And maybe once in a while a trip to Ireland to play Gaelic football. (IMO had Rugby School attend the meeting of the Football Association we would have had one world-wide football game today which would look more similar to Gaelic football than anything we now have.)

IAE, at that time, and for many years thereafter, there was little cross-Atlantic contact in the world of sport. Football was brought into Canada and the USA on a fairly casual basis. Rules were thus very localized. When teams from different cities played the captains would meet before the game to go over the rules for the game. When Harvard played McGill one day, McGill introduced them to Canadianized rugby football. Harvard had been more acquainted with "Massachusetts football", which to me sounds quite a bit like Gaelic football, without tackling. The Harvard guys liked it and they developed Americanized rugby football in the States. In most States "football" was soccer, sometimes with limited rules to allow players to carry the ball in their hands.

Canadian football was called "rugby football" well into the 1900s, though "English rugby" was also played. This pdf article from 1926 shows the use of the term "English rugby" in The Ubyssey press for a game between UBC and Vancouver Rowing Club.

The Winnipeg Rugby Football Club, like others, played football under various codes. The exact date of birth of the club is not known. However, by 1926 the "English rugby" team was known informally as the "Wanderers" and continue to operate to this date. (An obituary from a good 20 years ago described the deceased as having played rugby football for the Wanderers since 1921, so these dates are subject to some debate.) The current Winnipeg Football Club was set up as a separate entity since 1930, to play Canadian rugby football.

The Blue Bombers issued a commemorative hoody in Bomber colours and with both logos on it about 4-5 years ago, which was not available to the general public.

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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2014, 03:46:29 AM »

I liked #8 the way Ali Sherman handled Bobby Freeman. I guess he thought a US court wouldn't honour a Canadian contract. Didn't think that players did shenanigans like that in the 50's.
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Duressler47
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 01:31:36 PM »

They should enforce rule number 6 in the NFL  Grin.

Good job, BTW. Very interesting read!
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GCn17
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2015, 01:40:21 PM »

That's what happens when the media votes on awards. The feel good story writes itself.
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2017, 03:34:08 PM »

Great read! Thanks for all the info.
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