Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a Canadian Football League team based
The Blue Bombers have won the league's
championship ten times, most
recently in 1990
. They were also the
first team not located in Ontario or Quebec to win a
championship. They play their home games at Canad Inns
- Founded: 1930
- Helmet design: Gold background, with a blue
"W", lightning bolt and football
- Uniform colours: Blue, gold and white.
- Stadium: Osborne Stadium (1935-1952), Canad Inns
Stadium (known as Winnipeg Stadium from 1953 to 2011), New Winnipeg Blue Bombers
- Local radio: CJOB 680
(AM radio) 99.5 (Cable
- Eastern Division
championships: 7 — 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001,
- Western Division
championships: 13 — 1936, 1939, 1941, 1947, 1950,
1952, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1972
- Grey Cup finals
appearances: 23 — 1935 (won), 1937 (lost), 1938 (lost) 1939 (won), 1941
(won), 1945 (lost), 1946 (lost), 1947 (lost), 1950 (lost), 1953 (lost), 1957 (lost), 1958
(won), 1959 (won), 1961 (won), 1962 (won), 1965 (lost), 1984 (won), 1988 (won),
1990 (won), 1992 (lost), 1993 (lost),
2001 (lost), 2007
- Grey Cup wins: 10 — 1935,
1939, 1941, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962,
1984, 1988, 1990
- Division history:
Western Football Conference (1961-1979),
West Division (1980-1986), East
Division (1987-1995), North Division (1995),
West Division(1996), East
West Division (2002-2005), East
- Main rivals: Saskatchewan Roughriders (see
Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowl) , Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a team they have
played on numerous occasions for the Grey Cup and the Toronto Argonauts
regular season record: 7 wins, 11 losses, 0 ties
The first football team in Winnipeg was formed in 1880, and was
called the Winnipeg Football
. On June 10, 1930, they amalgamated with all the other
teams in the Manitoba Rugby Football Union to create the
1935 Grey Cup
Western teams had been to the Grey Cup game 10 times since 1909,
but they had always gone home empty handed. It was clear in those
days that the East was much more powerful, outscoring their
opponents 236–29 in these games.
On December 7, 1935, the Winnipegs got their first shot at winning
the Grey Cup. The game was being held in Hamilton, with the
home-town Tiger-Cats being their opponent. It was a rainy day at
Hamilton Amateur Athletic Association Grounds, with 6,405 fans in
Winnipeg was up 5–0 before many fans knew what was happening. After
returning the opening kickoff to the Hamilton 15-yard line,
Winnipeg scored quickly on a Bob Fritz
pass to Bud Marquardt
to get the early
lead. After scoring another touchdown, Winnipeg went into halftime
up 12–4. Their lead was soon cut to two points in the second half
after Hamilton scored a touchdown of their own.
Then, standing deep in his end zone, Winnipeg's RB/KR Fritz Hanson
caught the kickoff, and after a
few moves and a few missed tackles, was on his way to a
The final score was Winnipeg 18, Hamilton 12. With that, Winnipeg
had become the first team from Western Canada to win a Grey
In 1936, during a game against the University of North Dakota,
writer Vince Leah
are the Blue Bombers of Western football". This phrase was
referring to then heavyweight champion Joe
, known as the Brown Bomber. From that day forward the
team has been known as the Blue Bombers.
Early days of glory
From 1936 to 1949, the Bombers won the right to compete for the
Grey Cup 9 times (1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1945). Of
these appearances, Winnipeg won only twice, in 1939 over the
Ottawa Rough Riders
and again in
their 1941 rematch.
Jack Jacobs era
, known as Indian Jack, was a
quarterback from Oklahoma. He
came to the Bombers in 1950 after a successful career in the United
States. He led the Bombers to two Grey Cup appearances, losing
both. His exciting style of play and extreme talent increased
ticket sales and overall awareness and popularity of the club. The
revenue the Bombers were getting from their newfound popularity was
enough to convince them to move from the small outdated Osborne
Stadium to the new Winnipeg Stadium (now known as Canad Inns
Stadium). Jacobs was so well liked that the fans even referred to
the new stadium as “The House that Jack Built”. Jacobs retired in
1954 to become a talent scout for the team.
In 1951, Jack Jacobs became the first pro football quarterback to
throw for over 3,000 yards in a season with 3,248. That year
he was also the first pro football quarterback to throw for at
least 30 touchdowns, with 33. The next year he bested that mark
Blue Bombers Logo used from 1963-1994
Bud Grant joined the team in 1953 after a two year stint with the
Philadelphia Eagles, as one of numerous NFL players lured to Canada
during the first part of the decade for then better salaries. After
a four-year career as a receiver, then at the time called an
offensive end, he accepted the position of head coach of the
Bombers in 1957. Grant went on to coach the team for the next ten
years before becoming the head coach of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings
In 1956, Blue Bombers fans named Labatt's
Pilsener Lager, which had a
blue label, Labatt Blue, in honour of their team.
During Grant’s tenure as head coach the Bombers welcomed the likes
of Ken Ploen
, Ernie Pitts
and Ed Kotowich
to the team. The Bombers competed in
six Grey Cup games during Grant's tenure, winning four (1958, 1959,
1961, and 1962). In 1961 the Bombers won 21–14 over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats
in the first Grey
Cup game to go into overtime. The Bombers and Ticats met again in
the 1962 Grey Cup
, with the game being
postponed with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter due to zero
visibility in the famous “Fog Bowl”. The game resumed the next
morning with the Bombers winning 28-27.
During the second half of the 1960s the Bombers domination gave
away to lean years, with four seasons of double digits in the loss
column. The team bounced back in the early 1970s with the likes of
quarterback Don Jonas, running-back Mack Herron, wide receivers Jim
Thorpe and Bob LaRose. The team finished first in the Western
Conference in 1972, the first time it had done so since 1962.
However it also marks the last time the team has finished first in
the West. The team struggled for a few more seasons and then became
one of the stronger teams in the West, but usually behind the
powerhouse Edmonton Eskimos
In 1981, wide receiver Eugene Goodlow became the first CFL played
to reach the century mark in receptions in a season. Goodlow caught
100 passes for 1,494 yards and 14 touchdowns. That season the
Bombers became one of the first teams to have three receivers with
at least 1,000 yards in a season. Goodlow with 1,494; Joe
Poplawski with 1,271; and Rick House with 1,102.
Cal Murphy era
Canad Inns Stadium
In 1983 Cal Murphy
was hired to be the
new head coach of the Blue Bombers. Almost immediately, Murphy set
the tone for his career with the Bombers by trading popular QB
to Hamilton in exchange
for lesser-known QB Tom Clements
Trading Brock turned out to be a wise decision, with Clements
leading the Bombers to crushing victory in the 1984 Grey Cup
, coincidently over the Brock-led
Tiger-Cats. This was Winnipeg's first Grey Cup in 22 years. Murphy
was named coach of the year in both 1983 and 1984.
In 1987 Murphy stepped down as head coach to become the team
general manger, with assistant coach Mike
(son of former Winnipeg coach Bud
) taking over head coaching duties. Riley's teams won the
Grey Cup in both 1988 and 1990, garnering Riley the coach of the
year award both seasons.
After Riley left, Darryl Rogers
each helmed the team for a
season until 1993, when Murphy took over head coaching duties
again. Murphy went on to lead the team to a total of five Grey Cup
appearances, winning, as a coach in 1984, and as a GM, in 1988 and
1990. He left the club after the 1996
, having spent 14 years with the team. Later, he would
coach the Saskatchewan
In November 1996, Cal Murphy left the Blue Bomber organization,
after 14 years. This was partly due to a 68-7 playoff thumping by
the Edmonton Eskimos, and partly because the team had not had a
winning record the previous 2 years, winning only 7 games in 1995,
and 9 in 1996.
was hired to replace
Murphy as the teams coach, and despite a huge amount of hype, and
championship promises going into the 1997 season, proved to be one
of the least successful head coaches in team history. The Bombers
won 4 games in 1997, and just 3 in 1998.
The few notable highlights from that era include:
- Milt Stegall becoming an all-star in 1997, his first full year
with the team, and scoring what seemed like at least 1 long TD in
- A 43-12 drubbing of the eventual Western Division champion
Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 1997 Labour Day Classic.
- A dramatic win over the Roughriders at home in 1998, with
forgotten backup QB Troy Kopp leading the 2nd half 20+ point
comeback. This was the "Guaranteed Win day" that the club had been
promoting all week, as well as the first win of the season, well
The few memorable players on the team during that time included
Linebacker: K.D. Williams
, Safety: Tom
, Running back / Returner: Eric
, and of course, Milt Stegall.
Milt Stegall era
joined the Bombers in 1995
after a 3-year career returning kicks and seeing spot duty at
receiver with the Cincinnati
. He played in the Bombers' final six games of the
, racking up 469
receiving yards. In 1997 Stegall set a new league record that still
stands today for average gain per reception with 26.5 yards on
61 catches for 1616 yards, including 14 touchdowns. Following
a brief return to the NFL, that saw him on the verge of making the
Green Bay Packers if not for a serious knee injury at the end of
training camp, Stegall has remained the team's primary
In 1999 the Bombers acquired Khari Jones
from the BC Lions
. Together Stegall and
Jones brought the Bombers back to prominence, with Jones being the
CFL most outstanding player in 2001, and Stegall getting the honour
in 2002. During the 2006 Grey Cup Khari Jones and Milt Stegall were
voted and honored as the best QB/WR combo in CFL history. Charles Roberts
them in 2001, a year which the Bombers went to the Grey Cup, which
they eventually lost to the Calgary
. The team was a powerhouse during this period, being
one of the best teams in the league from 2001 until 2003.
Midway through the 2004 season Jones was traded to the Calgary
Stampeders, with backup QB Kevin Glenn
taking over the starting duties. Glenn led the team to two mediocre
seasons after the trade.
With the offensive core of Stegall and Roberts still intact, Glenn
led the Bombers back to respectability in 2006
. The season included many highlites but
none as exciting at what is simply known as "The Play". On July 20,
2006, trailing the Edmonton Eskimos on the road 22-19, and facing
third and long on their own 10 yardline with 4 seconds left in the
game, Milt Stegall caught a 100 yard TD pass from Kevin Glenn
as time expired to win the game 25-22. It is considered by many as
the greatest play in CFL history. Aided by the "miracle" catch, the
Bombers ended up making their first playoff appearance in two
years. Despite losing in the first round, optimism going into the
2007 was higher than ever.
The 2007 CFL season
was in some ways
the year of Milt Stegall: he broke the career CFL touchdown record
and fell just short of overtaking the career receiving yards record
held by Allen Pitts
. The 2007 season
would likely be Stegall’s last, as he was 37 years old and had been
contemplating retirement for the previous two seasons.
The 2007 Grey Cup
game was played
between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders,
the first time the two prairie teams met for the championship.
was defeated by the Saskatchewan Roughriders 23–19 in
Centre in Toronto.
During the East division final win over the Toronto Argonauts,
quarterback Kevin Glenn broke his arm and Winnipeg was left with an
inexperienced rookie to take his place for the championship game.
Back-up quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie — in his first CFL
start — did not fair well and threw one touchdown pass,
fumbled once and threw 3 interceptions to Saskatchewan cornerback
James Johnson. Johnson was later declared the game MVP.
One of the picks, was shown in the instant replay to have hit the
ground before it was caught. Despite his rookie mistakes, Dinwiddie
showed promise going into the 2008 season. He was released prior to
the 2009 season.
On January 31, 2008, it was announced that Milt Stegall will be
returning for yet one more year. He signed a one year contract for
$200,000 on the basis of the fact his wife wanted to have their
next child in Winnipeg, and the fact that they were in line to be a
contender for the Grey Cup. He took a $50,000 pay cut, and started
the season 159 yards away from breaking Allen Pitts all time
receiving yards record.
Other returning players who were free agents going into the 2008
season, including star DE Tom Canada, OL's Dan Goodspeed & Matt
Sheridan, signed for less money from the Bombers than other teams
were prepared to pay them, in hopes of a Grey Cup run in '08. Tom
Canada in particular, reportedly turned down a much higher contract
offer from the Montreal Alouettes, to come back to Winnipeg.
On September 2, 2008, the Bombers traded all star running back
to B.C. for Joe Smith
Then on September 8, 2008, they traded all star DE Tom Canada
to Hamilton for Zeke Moreno
. But on September 9, 2008, the trade
was cancelled due to the fact that Canada was injured and could not
play for at least 10 weeks. So since they could not trade Canada
they sent over Corey Mace
and a First
round pick for Moreno.
Following the 2008 season in which the Bombers were defeated in the
division semifinals, Doug Berry
coach) was fired. Mike
was chosen to replace him. At the end of the Cal Murphy
era Mike Kelly was the offensive coordinator and was passed over
for the top job in favour of Jeff
. With Milt Stegall's early season knee surgery and
drop in production it was once again speculated that Milt Stegall
The departure of Brendan Taman on January 13, 2009, was another
sign that this era was coming to an end and a new one was
beginning. On February 18, 2009, Milt Stegall did retire from the
CFL which formally ended the Milt Stegall era. The return of Mike
Kelly with The Database would open a new Cal Murphy era, and hoped
to bring back the success that would come with it.
Blue Bombers' early years the team played at Osborne Stadium, a small stadium near the
The fast passing-dominated play of Bombers
quarterback Jack Jacobs
increased attendance at Blue Bombers games and precipitated the
need for a new, larger stadium. Winnipeg Stadium was built in the West End of the city near Polo Park, and the Blue Bombers began play there
The Blue Bombers continue to play at the stadium,
though it has gone through significant changes over the years and
is now known as Canad Inns Stadium.
In recent years, various plans have been proposed to relocate the
stadium. The latest is a 2008 plan to build a new stadium at the
University of Manitoba, with both private and public funding.On
April 2, 2009, David Asper (a media mogul located out of Winnipeg
associated with Canwest and Creswin Properties) finally inked a
deal with all levels of governments to build a new 30,000
(expandable to 45,000) seat stadium
at the University
of Manitoba in Southwest Winnipeg. This will serve as the home for
the Blue Bombers as well as the U of M Bisons. The deal includes
refurbishing the existing Bison Stadium for practice and training
as well as upgrading, expanding, and building new sports and
fitness facilities. This project once complete (2011-12) will be
the premiere sports training facility in Canada. The project will
be on-goingly funded by a retail development Asper plans to build
on the former CanadInns stadium site. As part of the deal Creswin
properties will take over ownership of the team in 2010. The new
stadium and facilities will be complete for the 2011 CFL season,
with the retail development finished in 2013.
Image:Bomber Stadium.JPG|Canad Inns
StadiumImage:BlueBombersgame.jpg|Blue Bombers Game at Canad Inns
Stadium with temporary seating set up in the endzone for the
2006 Grey Cup
Players of note
Canadian Football Hall of Famers
Paul - Inducted as a Player in 2002.
- Bonk, John -
Inducted as a Player in 2008.
- Brock, Ralph
"Dieter" - Inducted as a Player in 1995.
Less - Inducted as a Player in 2002.
- Casey, Tom
"Citation" - Inducted as a Player in 1964.
Arthur - Inducted as a Builder in 1969.
Tom - Inducted as a Player in 1994.
Carl - Inducted as a Player in 1967.
Andrew - Inducted as a Builder in 1974.
Matt - Inducted as a Player in 2006.
- Frank, Bill
- Inducted as a Player in 2001.
- Grant, Harry Peter
"Bud" - Inducted as a Builder in 1983.
Tommy - Inducted as a Player in 1995.
G. Sydney -
Inducted as a Builder in 1966.
Frank - Inducted as a Builder in 1963.
Fritz - Inducted as a Player in 1963.
John - Inducted as a Player in 1985.
Dick - Inducted as a Player in 1987.
W.P. Billy -
Inducted as a Builder in 1974.
Jack - Inducted as a Player in 1963.
Eddie - Inducted as a Player in 1963.
Gerry - Inducted as a Player in 1981.
- Kabat, Greg
- Inducted as a Player in 1996.
- Lear, Les -
Inducted as a Player in 1974.
- Lewis, Leo "Lincoln
Locomotive" - Inducted as a Player in 1973.
Earl - Inducted as a Player in 1983.
Chester "Ches" - Inducted as a Player in
- Murphy, Cal
- Inducted as a Builder in 2004.
James - Inducted as a Player in 2000.
- Ploen, Ken -
Inducted as a Player in 1975.
Joe - Inducted as a Player in 1998.
- Rebholz, Russ "The
Wisconsin Wraith" - Inducted as a Player in
- Rigney, Frank
Joseph - Inducted as a Player in 1984.
- Ryan, Joseph
B. - Inducted as a Builder in 1968.
Karl - Inducted as a Builder in 1989.
Art - Inducted as a Player in 1969.
- Tinsley, Robert
Porter "Buddy" - Inducted as a Player in
Chris - Inducted as a Player in 2003.
Bert - Inducted as a Builder in 1964.
All-Time 75th Anniversary Team
- Brock, Ralph
Team members notable elsewhere
- Bob Irving (edited by). Blue & Gold: 75 Years of Blue
Bomber Glory, 2005. ISBN 1-894283-59-7
- Official statistics of the WIFU, CFC and CFL, 1950 to 2007
- CFL Facts, Figures and Records 1985 to 2007
- Winnipeg Blue Bomber Media Guides 2006 and 2007