CFLAA Legends of the Game Profile – Tom Clements
Prior to joining the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders, Tom Clements was the starting quarterback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 1972 to 1974. Clements led Notre Dame to a national championship in 1973 and a 24-23 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama.
To round out his college career Clements finished fourth in the 1974 Heisman Trophy voting and was named a first-team All-American.
An undrafted free agent, Clements spent four seasons with Ottawa, winning the CFL’s Rookie-of-the-Year award, and the 1976 Grey Cup against Saskatchewan. Prior to the 1979 season Clements was traded to the Western Division Roughriders and then dealt to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats later that same year.
In 1980, Clements had a brief stay with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs but returned to Hamilton and the CFL in 1981. That season he threw for an amazing 4,536 yards. He improved his numbers the next year tossing for 4,706 yards. Clements was traded from Hamilton to Winnipeg in 1983 for long-time Blue Bomber quarterback Dieter Brock.
The next year, Hamilton and Winnipeg faced each other in the Championship game with Clements leading the Bombers to their first Grey Cup victory since 1962.
1986 saw Clements set a new CFL completion percentage record with 67.5, (173 out of 256). Clements, a seven-time CFL all-star, finished his career with Winnipeg in 1987 earning the league’s Most Outstanding Player award.
Clements’ CFL career stats were very impressive, throwing for over 39,000 yards with 252 passing touchdowns.
In 2005, as part of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 75th anniversary, Clements was selected one of the franchise’s 20 all-time greatest players. Clements was honoured for his playing career and inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Upon the completion of his playing career, Clements continued making his mark in football as a coach. He started with Notre Dame in 1992. Clements, who also earned a law degree, coached with the New Orleans Saints (1997-1999), Kansas City Chiefs (2000), Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-2003), Buffalo Bills (2004-2005) and Green Bay Packers (2006-2016). During his NFL career, Clements was part of the Packers Super Bowl XLV championship.
Article written by Tony Playter
Photo Courtesy of F. Scott Grant Photography