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Thread: My tribute to Russ Jackson!

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    History My tribute to Russ Jackson!

    So it was fifty years ago this month that the 1968 Grey Cup Game between the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Calgary Stampeders was played. The Rough Riders' quarterback that game was legendary Hall of Famer Russ Jackson.

    After graduating from McMaster University of Hamilton in 1958, Jackson played for the Rough Riders from 1958 to 1969 leading the team to Grey Cup victories in 1960, 1968 and 1969. He also won the Schenley Award as the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in 1963, 1966 and 1969, was the MVP in the 1969 Grey Cup game and also the winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy for being Canada's most outstanding athlete in 1969. He therefore retired when he was still at the very top of his game. In November 2006 he was the number eight selection on TSN's list of the top CFL players of all-time. All this I knew.

    What I didn't know was that the degree with which he graduated from McMaster was a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics! Moreover he was McMaster University's nominee for a Rhodes Scholarship, but decided to pursue a career with the Rough Riders instead of going for the Rhodes Scholarship. Russ Jackson was clearly blessed with a positively intimidating mix of abilities.



    I remember meeting Russ Jackson at a pre-game brunch prior to the 1987 Vanier Cup championship game for Canadian universities. The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds were heavily favoured to defeat the McGill Redmen. UBC were the defending champions and had been the dominant team out West. During his presentation, Jackson predicted a McGill victory. He pointed out a couple of key details. The weather was wet and cold and the field was sloppy. McGill had for several weeks played its games under really sloppy conditions but UBC had been playing its games under ideal field conditions. Secondly he showed us a clip of what the Thunderbirds liked to do on offence, and then told us how McGill could align its linebackers to take away what the Thunderbirds had been doing so successfully.

    Well I looked for that McGill defensive alignment after the game started and the Redmen did precisely that. Final score: McGill 47 British Columbia 11. Russ Jackson had called it exactly.

    Radically Canadian!

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    Re: My tribute to Russ Jackson!

    Russ Jackson had a degree in math...cool; I didn't know that! Another one to add to my wall.
    Out of my mind; back in five minutes.

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    Re: My tribute to Russ Jackson!

    Quote Originally Posted by glenvb View Post
    Russ Jackson had a degree in math...cool; I didn't know that! Another one to add to my wall.
    There is hardly a better intersection of phrasing than Russ Jackson and 'add to my wall', to share what I picked up in the silent auction at last year's Grey Cup Alumni Luncheon - one of Russ Jackson's old Schenley Awards. It was the plaque that the team was presented with to hang in their office when one of their players won an award. Given that the event was in Ottawa last year, I had the honour of a few moments with the man himself afterwards, a few stories and some pictures. Very humble, kind and gracious man and a truly starstruck moment for me.

    I don't collect a lot, but I know that they aren't making Schenleys any more and they sure as heck aren't making Russ Jacksons!

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    Re: My tribute to Russ Jackson!

    What's ironic is that growing up I was no fan of Russ Jackson whose career with the Ottawa Rough Riders exactly spanned my years from grade one to my last in high school.

    My schoolyard was swarming with Rough Rider fans in 1958-60, perhaps because of Canadians Russ Jackson and Ronnie Stewart. But the Rough Riders' popularity had the effect of making me lump them with the other mega popular teams, e.g. the New York Yankees and Montréal Canadiens, and causing me to dislike them. I very clearly remember all the big kids in the schoolyard opining that the Rough Riders would defeat the Eskimos in the 1960 Grey Cup Game which of course made me sympathize with the Eskimos. The Eskimos losing 16-6 turned me into an Eskimo fan for life. The fact that they had Jackie Parker, the most magical name in football to me of them all (exceeding even Russ Jackson, Sam Etcheverry and Faloney Baloney) also had a lot to do with the establishment of my lifetime loyalties.

    Nonetheless, now that all those decades have flown by and I've become one of those seedy bespectacled "grown-ups" (theoretically anyway), I can and do fully appreciate Russ Jackson for the man that he was and what he accomplished. After his induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1973, Jackson was also elected to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. Jackson also became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1970 and was added to Canada's Walk of Fame in 2012.



    Last edited by Foxhound; 11-20-2018 at 08:31 AM.
    Radically Canadian!

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