Ottawa Rough Riders: Wikis

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Ottawa Rough Riders
Ottawa Rough Riders helmet Ottawa Rough Riders logo

Founded 1876
Folded 1996
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Home field Frank Clair Stadium
League Canadian Football League
Division East Division
Colours Black and red
         
Grey Cup wins 1925, 1926, 1940,
1951, 1960, 1968,
1969, 1973, 1976
Uniform CFL Jersey OTT 1996.png

The Ottawa Rough Riders were a Canadian Football League team based in Ottawa, Ontario, founded in 1876. One of the oldest and longest lived professional sports teams in North America, the Rough Riders won the Grey Cup championship nine times. Their most dominant era was the 1960s and 1970s, a period in which they won five Grey Cups. The team's fortunes waned in the 1980s and 1990s and they ultimately ceased operations following the 1996 season. Five years later, a new CFL team known as the Ottawa Renegades was founded.

Contents

Team facts

Founded: 1876
Folded: 1996
Formerly known as: Ottawa Football Club 1876 to 1897, Ottawa Senators 1925 to 1926.
Home stadium: Frank Clair Stadium, formerly called Lansdowne Park
Uniform colours: Black, red, and white
Helmet design: Black background with a face of a Rough Rider with a log driver's (rough rider's) pike in the background.
Eastern regular season championships: 15—1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978
Grey Cup finals appearances: 15—1925 (won), 1926 (won), 1936 (lost), 1939 (lost), 1940 (won), 1941 (lost), 1948 (lost), 1951 (won), 1960 (won), 1966 (lost), 1968 (won), 1969 (won), 1973 (won), 1976 (won), 1981 (lost)

History

The Ottawa Rough Riders playing the Toronto Argonauts in 1924

The team was organized in 1876 as the Ottawa Football Club. The club absorbed the Ottawa St. Pats when the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union formed in 1907. It adopted the name Rough Riders in 1898. Although in later years the name was said to derive from logging, the team played from 1925 on in the colours of Teddy Roosevelt's regiment in the Spanish-American War, which, with the date of the renaming, suggests that the name comes from the war. The team did change its nickname to Senators in 1925 and 1926.

For much of the team's history it played in the same league as the Saskatchewan Roughriders, confusing many, and also attracting general ridicule to the CFL for being a league with only eight or nine teams but two of them being named "rough riders" (although spelled differently). The teams historically belonged to separate leagues ('unions'), which were not truly merged until the late 1950s; they were allowed to keep their long-standing nicknames. On four occasions, the two teams met in the Grey Cup, prompting joking predictions that "the 'riders" would win.

The Rough Riders were pioneers in international play in the 1950s. In 1950 and 1951, Ottawa hosted the New York Giants in exhibition games;[1] the Giants won both times, and NFL-CFL matches would not be attempted again until 1959. In the first season of the CFL, the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats made history when they played the first regular season CFL game at Philadelphia's Franklin Field on August 23, 1958. This was the only time that two Canadian football teams would play a regular-season game on American soil. Hamilton defeated Ottawa, 13-7. (The Toronto Argonauts and the Calgary Stampeders played an exhibition game in Portland, Oregon in 1992, and several CFL games with at least one Canadian team occurred in the United States during the CFL USA era.)

The 1960s and 1970s were the Rough Riders' glory years. With coach and general manager Frank Clair at the helm along with players Russ Jackson, Whit Tucker, Ron Stewart, Tom Clements, and Tony Gabriel, the Riders were one of the CFL's best teams, winning the Grey Cup five times in that span and including their last victory in 1976, where Tony Gabriel made the game-winning touchdown catch in the end zone in a 23–20 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Rough Riders' last and final appearance in the Grey Cup game was 1981 against the heavily favoured Edmonton Eskimos. The game started out as a shocker when the Riders jumped out to a 20–1 halftime lead over the Eskimos. But a controversial double interference call against Riders receiver Tony Gabriel in the second half proved to be costly, as the Eskimos, led by backup quarterback Tom Wilkinson, came from behind to beat the Riders 26–23 on a game-winning field goal by kicker Dave Cutler.

Throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s, despite having two even (0.500) records (8–8 in 1983 and 9–9 in 1992) along with hosting the 1988 Grey Cup, the Riders struggled with losing seasons, poor ownership, mismanagement, and decreased fan support. In 1988, Jo-Anne Polak was named the co-General Manager of the Rough Riders. She became the first woman in CFL history to be appointed to an executive post.[2] The bottom fell out in 1992, when then-owner Bernard Glieberman began making noise about moving the Rough Riders out of Canada, and to the United States. The CFL, obviously, did not take kindly to Glieberman's suggestion, but allowed him to split the Rough Riders apart into a Canadian franchise (which he would sell off, and which would retain the Rough Riders name and history) and an American franchise that Glieberman would own, known as the Shreveport Pirates (this arrangement is similar to the arrangement made by Art Modell and the Cleveland Browns). Neither team played well. In 1995, Ottawa management showed its quality by drafting Derrell Robertson, who had died the previous December.[3][4] Falling attendance ultimately led to the team folding in 1996.

Football fans in Ottawa lived without CFL football for the next five years until 2002, when the city regained a CFL team, this one called the Renegades. Although there was sentiment toward resurrecting the Rough Riders name, the final owner of the previous franchise expected payment for the rights to it; the new franchise declined the request, and went with a 'fresh' name for the new team. Since the suspension of the Renegades for the 2006 season, and the tentative awarding of a new franchise for 2012, owner Jeff Hunt has shown some interest in purchasing the rights to the Rough Riders name.

Seasons

Season W L T PF PA Pts Finish Playoffs
1935 5 4 0 104 98 10 3rd, IRFU Lost in playoffs
1936 3 3 0 49 63 6 2nd, IRFU Lost Grey Cup game
1937 3 3 0 52 46 6 2nd, IRFU Lost IRFU Finals
1938 5 1 0 141 41 10 1st, IRFU Lost IRFU Finals
1939 5 1 0 145 44 10 1st, IRFU Lost Grey Cup game
1940 5 1 0 116 40 10 1st, IRFU Won Grey Cup
1941 5 1 0 72 21 10 1st, IRFU Lost Grey Cup game
1945 5 1 0 105 40 10 1st, IRFU Lost IRFU Finals
1946 6 4 2 175 128 14 3rd, IRFU Missed playoffs
1947 8 4 0 170 103 16 1st, IRFU Lost IRFU Finals
1948 10 2 0 264 130 20 1st, IRFU Lost Grey Cup game
1949 11 1 0 261 170 22 1st, IRFU Lost IRFU Finals
1950 4 7 1 182 231 9 4th, IRFU Missed playoffs
1951 7 5 0 218 197 14 1st, IRFU Won Grey Cup
1952 5 7 0 200 238 10 3rd, IRFU Missed playoffs
1953 7 7 0 266 238 14 3rd, IRFU Missed playoffs
1954 2 12 0 129 337 4 4th, IRFU Missed playoffs
1955 3 9 0 174 337 6 4th, IRFU Missed playoffs
1956 7 7 0 326 359 14 3rd, IRFU Lost IRFU Semi-final
1957 8 6 0 326 237 16 2nd, IRFU Lost IRFU Semi-final
1958 6 8 0 233 243 12 3rd, IRFU Lost Eastern Finals
1959 8 6 0 275 217 16 2nd, IRFU Lost Eastern Finals
1960 9 5 0 400 283 18 2nd, EFC Won Grey Cup
1961 8 6 0 359 285 16 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Semi-final
1962 6 7 1 339 302 13 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Semi-final
1963 9 5 0 326 284 18 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Finals
1964 8 5 1 313 228 17 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Finals
1965 7 7 0 300 234 14 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Finals
1966 11 3 0 278 177 22 1st, EFC Lost Grey Cup game
1967 9 4 1 337 209 19 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Finals
1968 9 3 2 416 271 20 1st, EFC Won Grey Cup
1969 11 3 0 399 298 22 1st, EFC Won Grey Cup
1970 4 10 0 255 279 8 4th, EFC Missed playoffs
1971 6 8 0 291 277 12 3rd, EFC Lost Eastern Semi-final
1972 11 3 0 298 228 22 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Finals
1973 9 5 0 275 234 18 1st, EFC Won Grey Cup
1974 7 9 0 261 271 14 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Final
1975 10 5 1 394 280 21 1st, EFC Lost Eastern Final
1976 9 6 1 411 346 19 1st, EFC Won Grey Cup
1977 8 8 0 368 344 16 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Final
1978 11 5 0 395 261 22 1st, EFC Lost Eastern Final
1979 8 6 2 349 315 18 2nd, EFC Lost Eastern Final
1980 7 9 0 353 393 14 3rd, EFC Lost Eastern Semi-final
1981 5 11 0 306 446 10 2nd, East Lost Grey Cup game
1982 5 11 0 376 462 10 3rd, East Lost East Final
1983 8 8 0 384 424 16 2nd, East Lost East Semi-final
1984 4 12 0 354 507 8 4th, East Missed playoffs
1985 7 9 0 272 404 14 3rd, East Lost East Semi-final
1986 3 14 1 346 415 7 4th, East Missed playoffs
1987 3 15 0 377 598 6 4th, East Missed playoffs
1988 2 16 0 278 618 4 4th, East Missed playoffs
1989 4 14 0 426 630 8 4th, East Missed playoffs
1990 7 11 0 540 602 14 3rd, East Lost East Semi-final
1991 7 11 0 522 577 14 3rd, East Lost East Semi-final
1992 9 9 0 484 439 18 3rd, East Lost East Semi-final
1993 4 14 0 387 517 8 3rd, East Lost East Semi-final
1994 4 14 0 480 647 8 4th, East Lost East Semi-final
1995 3 15 0 348 685 6 8th, North Missed playoffs
1996 3 15 0 352 524 6 4th, East Missed playoffs

Helmets

Players of note

Canadian Football Hall of Famers:

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Other stars

References

  1. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p.369
  2. ^ Weird Facts about Canadian Football, p.134, Overtime Books, First Printing 2009, ISBN 978-1-897277-26-3
  3. ^ Gustkey, Earl (1995-05-24). "Oh Well, Milwaukee Is Still Supporting Beer and Bowling". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1995-05-24/sports/sp-5279_1_milwaukee-brewers. Retrieved 2009-08-12.  
  4. ^ "TSN25: Ottawa's Rough Riders, Renegades and Senators". TSN.ca. 2009-08-12. http://www.tsn.ca/tsn25/story/?id=287489. Retrieved 2009-08-12.  

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