Ottawa Rough Riders Team History
The Rough Riders were pioneers in international play in the 1950s. In 1950 and 1951, Ottawa hosted the New York Giants in exhibition games; 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 played the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Buffalo in 1951, the Argonauts would later face the Calgary Stampeders in another 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 of the early/mid 1990s.)
The 39th Grey Cup was the Canadian Football League’s championship game of the 1951 season, played on November 24, 1951.
The Ottawa Rough Riders defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 21 to 14 at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium before a crowd of 27,341 fans in the first Grey Cup match-up between the two similarly named teams.
Grey Cup 1960
The 48th Grey Cup was the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) championship game of the 1960 season on November 26, 1960.
The Ottawa Rough Riders defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 16 to 6 at Vancouver’s Empire Stadium before a crowd of 38,102 fans.
Grey Cup 1968
56th Grey Cup was played November 30, 1968, and the Ottawa Rough Riders defeated the Calgary Stampeders 24 to 21 before 32,655 fans at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. Vic Washington’s 79-yard run is still a Grey Cup record, and he won the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player award. This was the final Grey Cup game to be played on a Saturday; beginning the next year and since then (except for 1970), all Grey Cup games have been played on a Sunday.
Grey Cup 1969
57th Grey Cup, the Canadian Football League’s championship game, was played November 30, 1969, and the Ottawa Rough Riders defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 29 to 11 before 33,172 fans at Montreal’s Autostade. It was the first time since 1931, a break of 38 years, that the CFL title match would be played in Montreal.
The game is the focus of the “Playing a Dangerous Game” episode in TSN’s 2012 documentary series Engraved on a Nation celebrating the 100th Grey Cup game. Concerns about ongoing FLQ separatist terrorist bombing activities in Quebec prompted the CFL and Montreal authorities to have police officers in full riot gear securing the stadium and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. However, no incidents occurred during the course of the weekend.
This was the first Grey Cup game played in its entirety on a Sunday; all Grey Cup games since this one (except for 1970) have been played on a Sunday.
Grey Cup 1973
The 61st Grey Cup game was played at Toronto’s CNE Stadium on November 25, 1973. The Ottawa Rough Riders defeated the Edmonton Eskimos before a crowd of 36,653.
Grey Cup 1976
The 64th Grey Cup was played on November 28, 1976, at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. The Ottawa Rough Riders defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 23-20 in what is considered one of the most thrilling Grey Cup games, featuring some of the most exciting plays in Grey Cup history.
The attendance was 53,467 at the time, a Grey Cup record due to the recently completed stadium reconfiguration to accommodate the Toronto Blue Jays, a Major League Baseball expansion team that commenced play the following year. Toronto’s Grey Cup attendance record would last but one season before being broken by the 65th Grey Cup at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
Following the 1996 season, years of poor ownership and mismanagement took a toll on the Rough Riders franchise that ultimately led to its folding after a storied 120 years. After the Rough Riders folded, the CFL moved its easternmost-West Division team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, back to the East Division for a second time to take Ottawa’s place and to balance out the divisions (they played in the East from 1987 – 1994, and the Bombers would stay in the East Division from 1997–2001; it would return there upon the folding of the Renegades from 2006 – 2013).
The Ottawa Rough Riders were a Canadian Football League team based in Ottawa, Ontario, founded in 1876. Formerly 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.
1958 - 1996 / Canadian Football League
1876 - 1996 / Ottawa Rough Riders
Rough Riders - The nickname Roughriders adopted by Regina likely comes from the name given to horsemen, specifically those that broke broncos. NWMP members who played two rugby matches in Winnipeg in 1890 were referred to as "Roughriders" and Regina was home to the NWMP, who later became the RCMP. While the team was referred to casually as the Roughriders once in 1915 in the Regina Leader the team officially adopted the name in 1924. Prior to that they were known as the Regina Rugby Club. In 1946 the team switched to a provincial designation and became the Saskatchewan Roughriders, officially adopting that moniker in 1950.
Grey Cup 9
1976, 1973, 1969, 1968, 1960, 1951, 1940, 1926, 1925
1908 - 1996 / Frank Clair Stadium
1996 / Canadian Football League
1995 - 1996 / Horn Chen
1994 - 1995 / Bruce Firestone
1991 - 1994 / Bernard Glieberman
1991 / Canadian Football League
1987 - 1991 / Limited Partnership of 27 businessmen
1977 - 1987 / Alan Waters
1969 - 1977 / David Loeb
1960 - 1969 / David Loeb and Unknown
1950 - 1960 / Sam Berger
1897 - 1950 / Community - Widely Held
Who is the greatest Ottawa Rough Riders?
11 Ron Stewart
12 Russ Jackson
26 Whit Tucker
40 Bruno Bitkowski
60 Jim Coode
62 Moe Racine
70 Bobby Simpson
71 Gerry Organ
72 Tony Golab
77 Tony Gabriel
*Blue is this team’s history