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BOB'S BLOG: 1972 Grey Cup between Ticats, Western Riders was memorable

By Bob Wood
Blogs Slideshow
November 21, 2013 - 25 comments

With this year’s Grey Cup featuring Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Hamilton Tiger Cats, this blogger recalls the 1972 meeting of these two teams.

Many of you will remember, of course, their third meeting. That was the 1989 Classic, which went into overtime. The Green Riders prevailed 43-40.  Current Ticat Coach Kent Austin was the Saskatchewan quarterback in what some have called the greatest Grey Cup of all time.   

And some will recall the 1967 meeting, won by the Ticats. Here is a glimpse of the highlights, with Johnny Esaw working as the commentator.

 Forty-one years ago, Chuck Ealey became the first Afro-American quarterback to lead his team to victory in a Grey Cup.  (See my post from October 2012 HERE)

Hamilton took that game 13-10.

The game was historic.

 As Ealey told me as I was putting a story together for FYI last year:

“There was an overall stigma in the NFL at that time that African Americans were not to be playing quarterback.” 

Ealey grew up in the poor and racially divided city of Portsmouth, Ohio. Located on the Ohio River and bordering Kentucky, the city was a significant pass-through point on the route of the Underground Railroad and the opportunity for freedom in Canada for fugitive slaves.

Take a look at Stone Thrower, a movie directed by Charles Officer featuring Ealey and his younger daughter Jael. 

Director Officer documents how Ealey, denied the opportunity to play quarterback in his native land, essentially followed that same path that slaves had taken to get to Canada. 

Daughter Jael’s book The Stone Thrower – A Daughter’s Lessons. A Father’s Life. A Memoir tells the Ealey story from the perspective of the child of a star athlete who didn’t really share much of his past.

This Sunday’s Grey Cup will feature two Afro-American starting quarterbacks.  That’s hardly news for us.  However, south of the border, one Sunday earlier this year nine Afro-Americans led their teams in the National Football contests.

I’m certain Chuck Ealey and others from his era took note. 

 PS: My prediction for this year’s game: 

The two previous matches mentioned above were decided by field goals by (Ian Sunter, a 19-year-old rookie for the Ticats in ‘72 and Dave Ridgway for the Riders in ‘89) who, like your blogger were Burlington, Ont. natives.  That won’t happen this year.  You can count on it. 

Bob Wood is a housing and poverty advocate and former two-term Burlington City Councillor who has built a bed-and-breakfast with his wife on Lake Erie. 


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