January 8, 2018
by Ed Tait/Winnipeg Blue Bombers
We begin by trotting out an old sports cliché: ‘Records are meant to be broken.’
It’s primarily a true statement, of course, especially as athletes these days get bigger, stronger, faster and pay more attention to the science of training and taking care of their bodies.
But some records, it would seem, just aren’t meant to be broken.
Think of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, set as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors way back on March 2, 1962. Imagine how impossible Glenn Hall’s 502 consecutive starts in goal seems today or how untouchable Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak has been since 1941.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, you should know, have a few individual records of their own that have either stood for decades or should be carved in stone for all time.
The invincibility of the following records is up for debate, of course, and bluebombers.com welcomes your input on any we may have missed. To that end and as a conversation starter, here are 11 Bomber records – in no particular order – we think will stand forever…
The record: It was back on July 14, 1994 that Bombers QB Matt Dunigan filled the sky with passes, throwing for a CFL record 713 yards in a win over the Edmonton Eskimos.
Both David Williams and Alfred Jackson would also break the club mark for receiving in a game; Jackson finishing with 308 yards and Williams with 240.
Consider this: Dunigan broke Danny Barrett’s CFL record of 601, set a year earlier. The second-highest total in Bomber history if 467, set by Dunigan in 1992.
The record: Seasons and games played by punter Bob Cameron, set over a span from 1980-2002.
Just think about that for a moment… the hall of fame hoofer was late finding a home – he was infamously cut eight times before landing with the Bombers – and then played until he was 48 years old.
Consider this: No. 2 on the Bombers’ seasons and games played list is another kicker, Troy Westwood, who comes in at 18 years of service and 293 games. Chris Walby played the most games among position players, at 249.
Cameron’s 394 games played is second all-time in the CFL to B.C. Lions legend Lui Passaglia, also a kicker, who suited up for 408 games in his career.
The record: The career point total for Westwood, first on the Bombers’ list and fifth all-time, behind four other kickers – Passaglia (3,991), Paul McCallum (3,145), Mark McLoughlin (2,993) and Paul Osbaldiston (2,932).
Consider this: Milt Stegall, the CFL’s all-time TD leader with 147, finished with 890 points. Justin Medlock has averaged 218 points in his two years in Winnipeg – a player would need to average that for over 12 years to come close to matching Westwood’s total.
The record: Points and touchdowns scored in a single regular-season game, held by Bob McNamara. It is one of the longest-standing records in CFL history, having been set at old Empire Stadium in Vancouver back on October 13, 1956.
Interestingly, a Bombers player also holds the record for most touchdowns scored in a playoff game. Lorne ‘Boom-Boom’ Benson scored six touchdowns in the first game of the 1953 West Semi-Final, a 43-5 romp over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Both these marks still stand today.
Consider this: Five players have all finished games with five touchdowns, including Bomber hall of famer Ernie Pitts, who accomplished the feat in 1959. The last time a CFL player even came close was 1995 – twice – when both Shreveport’s Martin Patton and Eric Blount had five TDs in games against the Bombers.
The last Bombers to come even remotely close to this mark were Milt Stegall and Charles Roberts, both of whom had four-touchdown games; Roberts’ last game in 2007, Stegall’s in 2005.
The record: Touchdowns in a single season – also a CFL record – set by Milt Stegall in 2002, the year he was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player.
Consider this: Stegall broke the Bomber record of 19, set by Gerry James in 1957, and the CFL mark of 22 that was established by Cory Philpot of the Lions in 1995. The last CFL player to come even remotely close to the mark was Joe Smith, who had 19 TDs in 2007 with the Lions.
The record: Two records, actually. Both CFL marks for interceptions in a single game – one in the regular season the other in a playoff contest – and both set by Bombers.
Bomber hall of famer Rod Hill set the CFL regular season record with five picks in a game against Hamilton in 1990, while the legendary Bud Grant still holds the league mark for interceptions in a playoff game with five in a win over Saskatchewan in 1953.
Consider this: Saskatchewan’s Ed Gainey was the last to threaten Hill’s regular season mark, picking off four passes this past August in a victory over B.C.
The record: It’s not a sexy one – although Troy Westwood will tell you it is. Ol’ Left hit 657 consecutive converts between 1993-2007.
Consider this: The CFL moved the distance for convert attempts back to 32 yards in 2015, making it less of a gimmee. Paul McCallum holds the CFL mark of 801, which ended when he missed from 32 in 2015.
The record: Fred Reid broke the club record for rushing yards in a game, scampering for 260 yards in a win over B.C. in 2009. It broke the old mark of 249, set by Blaise Byrant in 1994.
Consider this: Reid’s 260 is third-highest in CFL history, behind Ron Stewart’s 287, set in 1960, and George Reed’s 268 in 1965. Only once in this millennium has a running back hit the 200-yard mark, with Darren Davis of Saskatchewan running for 220 in 2000.
The record: The career TD total for Milt Stegall, also a CFL record.
The record: Khari Jones holds the Bomber record for TD passes in a single year with 46, set in 2002 – with Milt Stegall catching half of those scores.
Consider this: The total is the third-highest in CFL history, with only Doug Flutie having thrown for more – he had 48 for Calgary in 1994 and 47 with Toronto in 1997.
The record: Passing touchdowns in a single game, set by Jim Van Pelt on Aug. 29, 1959 in Regina. The CFL mark of eight, FYI, was set by Hamilton’s Joe Zuger in 1962 – in his first career start, no less.
Consider this: Two other Bombers QBs have thrown for six TDs in a game – the legendary Jack Jacobs in a game in Calgary in 1952 and Sean Salisbury against B.C. in 1989.
You be the judge…
Longest-standing Bomber records (not including those listed above):
18 – Most rushing touchdowns in a season, set by Gerry James in 1957. Two Bombers have come close to challenging this record: Ronald Williams had 16 rushing TDs in 1997 and Charles Roberts had the same in 2007.
168 – Rushing yards by QB Ken Ploen in a 1958 game against the Lions, the third-highest total in CFL history behind Nealon Greene (180) and Damon Allen (170).
5 – Most receiving TDs in a game, set by Ernie Pitts on August, 29th, 1959. A CFL record that still stands.
541 – Rushing yards by a Bomber QB in a single season, set by Ploen in 1960. Matt Dunigan came close in 1993, rushing for 517.
8.71 – The rushing average per carry for Leo Lewis in 1960, second only to Willie Fleming’s league record of 9.72, established in 1963.
120 – Longest kickoff return in CFL history, set by ‘Mini’ Mack Herron in 1972.
103 – Longest run from scrimmage, set by Richard Crump vs. Saskatchewan in 1978.
41 – Pass completions in a game, set by Dieter Brock on Oct. 3, 1981 against the Ottawa Rough Riders. The accomplishment was a CFL record at the time (since broken by Henry Burris – 44; and Anthony Calvillo – 45) and remains a Bomber high.
15 – Eugene Goodlow pulled in 15 passes in the final game of the 1981 season, setting a Bomber record that still stands and becoming the first player in CFL history to reach the 100-catch mark in a single year.
3 – Most defensive touchdowns in a single game, set by James Jefferson in 1987. Jefferson took a lateral from Paul Bennett after an interception and returned it for a score, also scored on a lateral after an interception by Greg Battle and then found the end zone on his own fumble recovery.
2,996 – Career rushing yards by a Bomber QB, held by Ken Ploen. Number 2 on the list is Khari Jones at 1,501.
29,623 – Career passing totals for Dieter Brock, set between 1974-183 and a mark that still stands. Second on the list is Khari Jones at 20,175.
47 – Career interception totals for Rod Hill, set between 1988-92 and placing atop the Bombers’ all-time list. No. 2 on the list is Norm Rauhaus, who ha 34 between 1956-67.
29.1 – The average kickoff return yardage in the career of Leo Lewis (1955-66), third most in CFL history behind Larry Highbaugh (35.2) and Vic Washington (29.3).
38 – 100-yard rushing games by Charles Roberts (2001-2008), third highest in CFL history behind Mike Pringle (73) and George Reed (66).