New York Times on Pigskin Pete, Box J Boys and Ivor Wynne

click here

2 thumbs up for the 2 directors of the Forbidden Website that were interviewed for the piece.

What a cool article. I didn't know the Tiger-Cats are the only CFL team to beat an NFL team.

I would argue that O.J. Simpson was the Bills greatest rusher, but what do I know?

Just a Guy - the article said Cookie Gilchrist was the Bills greatest rusher in their AFL days - that would be pre-NFL

Thanks, buddy. Great article!

Incidentally, the reporters from the NY Times told the forbidden board of directors that they were long time fans of the forbidden website, and that it is a "brilliant" concept.

The last line says it all in my books . Football is a great game and I wish more Canadians would get that fact !!!!!!

((((Muah)))) What a great little Gem, just emailed it to my hubby Thanks Mike What a great find, and yes we have the best stadium to watch football in. I have been to Skydoom and Orchard Park, We simply have the best !!!!! :rockin:


What a great little “shout out” for PigSkin Pete, (((muah))) you made the New York Times Paul !!!

Hey that was a really awesome article, nice to know they had better things to say about the Cats and Ivor Wynn than the Argos and Skydome (I refuse to call it Rogers Centre!).

It certainly was good to see an article like that in the New York Times. That certainly is not where one would expect and article like that to appear. It's not that often that anything positive is said about the CFL in the media south of the border, so I enjoyed reading that.

Great post Mikey. Now I'm curious about how many times the CFL and NFL have played each other and what the scores were. Anyone know? Not very often I assume.

Off the top of my head, I think it's on the CFL website... I seem to remember about 6 times that it's happened, and the Bills - Ti-Cats game was the last one.

The only thing that the NFL website says about CFL is the "quarterback raids" that we did in the 1950's, almost as though it were the Rape of Nanking.

that was a great article, i made it to 2 of the 3 games (ticats,bills)

I know what you're saying, one can only take so many questions about whether your dogsled team sleeps inside or outside of your igloo before one reverses the stereotype and assumes all Americans are that clued out. But the writers of that article, Jeff Z. Klein and Karl-Eric Reif, corroborate the overly-simplistic but still-insightful assertion that, in terms of culture anyhow, North America divides more naturally into "The United States of Canada" and "Jesusland":

Being born and raised in Buffalo, Klein and Reif were exposed to Canadian news, culture and sports in a way that was the flip side of our own familiarity with persons, places, or things like Irv Weinstein, Ed Kilgore, "The Aud", Rocketship 7, house fires in Cheektowaga, or schoolhouse rock on WNED. But there is also those other aspects of the Southern Ontario/Western New York cultural relationship that exist in a more hybridized space, like CFL/NFL, the Sabres, hockey in general, Tim Horton(s), and on and on.

In their prophetic book "The Death of Hockey" (1998), Klein and Reif put it this way :

[quote]Buffalo is in many ways Canada's maquiladora, a sort of Tijuana of the north, the only American city of any size that is dwarfed by the economic and media influence of a nearby Canadian city. That, plus the fact that the Bills and Sabres are the city's only two big-league teams, plus the Western New York region's substantial Six Nations population, have all combined to give it a sports sensibility unique for an American city - in fact, it's the sports sensibility of a Canadian city. It's profoundly dislocating to drive from New York, where the sports talk is all Yankees and Mets and Knicks and who the point guard of the Sacramento Kings is going to be, to Buffalo, where you switch on the radio and hear the top sports stories: the National Lacrosse League playoffs get underway tonight, the Calgary Flames are trading their backup goalie, and the defenceman the Sabres have just called up from Rochester missed the 6 o'clock Greyhound and won't get in until 8:30. Then you switch over to a Canadian station and hear the Northern Ontario skip mulling the thorny question: Which is harder, the World Championships or the Brier? (We are not making this up). There is no other place in the United States where you can hear any of these things discussed in public, except maybe Hockeytown USA, and you know where that is....[end quote]

Football has traditionally gone un-analyzed in this cross-border relationship, at least in comparison to hockey, but the connections are in some ways even deeper, what with the AFL-CFL games, or Canada Day at the Bills game, or the shared cast of characters that includes Marv Levy, Tay Cody, Doug Flutie, Tim Tindale, and many others. Klein and Reif's article therefore does a service to history, in the sense that leaving football out of the cross-border story would be like writing a history of local railways and neglecting to mention the TH&B.

Hamilton Minor Football teams in the 70s and 80s frequently crossed the border to play the game as well. For instance, those West Mountain Alouette teams that produced CFL'ers like the Boyko Bros. and Aubrey Cummings made an annual tradition of playing the North Tonawanda Lumberjacks, and billeted with the players' families for the weekend. This allowed for a glimpse into a culture that was by no means foreign to a kid from Hamilton. As an ineffectual lineman on some of those teams, I can remember how we spent the time before the big game on Sunday: road hockey (neighbourhood tournaments would break out because each household assumed their Canadian must be a ringer), road football (3 downs in the 1st half, 4 downs in the 2nd, etc.), watching CHCH TV, and then going to the Aud to see the Buffalo Jr. Sabres take on the St. Catharines Falcons. I've experienced more culture shock in places like Vancouver than I ever did in Western New York.

This cross-border cultural heritage is one of the best reasons that CFL/NFL exhibition games should be played, in the spirit of the old AFL-CFL matchups. There is of course a million reasons why it will never happen, but they all have to do with money, territorial rights, liability, asset protection, etc. Maybe the Bob Young-types of the Canadian sports scene will one day make it happen in conjunction with the Mark Cuban-types in the States?

Bunner, thanks for the follow up info. Insightful as always. Its not a surprize the writers of this fine piece called upon the Forbidden Website's BOD's prior to attending the game.

You send a great message to the youth of the emerging Ti-Cat fandom. Study Hard, be a fan and stay true to your roots (Forbidden Chant included).

Now that Aubrey Cummings.....must have changed his name or something...I digress.

I think this is all of them:


Aug. 12, 1950, in Ottawa:
N.Y. Giants 20, Rough Riders 6

Aug. 11, 1951, in Ottawa:
N.Y. Giants 38, Rough Riders 6

Aug. 5, 1959, in Toronto:
Chicago Cardinals 55, argos 26

Aug. 6, 1960, in Toronto:
Pittsburgh 43, argos 16

Aug. 2, 1961 in Toronto:
St. Louis 36, argos 7

Aug. 5, 1961 in Montreal:
Chicago 34, Alouettes 16


Aug. 8, 1961 in Hamilton:
Tiger-Cats 38, Buffalo Bills 21

...Furthermore, check out this synopsis of the Hamilton-Buffalo game as recounted in "Garney Henley: A Gentleman and a Tiger" (the Canadian smugness/American inferiority complex apparent in the Spec report is priceless):

 <blockquote>The first exhibition game of the season was against Edmonton...(but) the final exhibition encounter was a strange one. The Tiger-Cats played the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, and considering the prestige enjoyed by...(American football) today, what Warnick of The Hamilton Spectator wrote in 1961 is ancient history indeed:

"Tuesday night's game will be the first encounter between AFL and CFL teams. Until now the Canadians have looked down their collective noses at the American League, going into its second year of operation, and used such descriptive adjectives as "bush" when describing calibre of play in the new loop. The Americans on the other hand have protested that they are at least equal if not superior to their competitors north of the border"

 Canadian Rules were employed, and Hamilton won 38-21. Garney found the contest interesting, especially when he found himself pitted once more against Richie Lucas, who had quarterbacked the major school All-Americans in the bowl game in Tucson. After scoring one touchdown on a pass from Dublinski, Garney reached for another pass in the end zone but wrenched his foot, which prevented him from playing in the first league game. Warnick felt that the Hamilton team has "salvaged the prestige of Canadian football" by taking the Bills.</blockquote>

Really good stuff you've dug up, Bunner. Interesting that of all the inter-league games played, all were U.S. wins by pretty lopsided scores, with the exception of the lone CFL-AFL game played, which we won. Mind you, this was in the early days of the AFL, when it was still much inferior to the NFL.

I really enjoyed the NY Times piece. It was very respectful of the CFL, and presented a fascinating perspective on things. I especially liked the way they referred to Pigskin Pete and our unique cheer.

I'm a diehard CFL fan, I prefer it to NFL ball by a mile. It doesn’t bother me a bit when NFL fans say our game is inferior, or minor-league, “bush?. I don’t care if it is, it’s my game and I love it as it is, including our beat up old stadiums and especially our quaint, if corny, traditions.

I have say, though, that one of the comparisons made in the article was particularly striking... attendance. We had 24,000 in a stadium whose capacity they grossly over-estimated at 35,000. The Argos had 32,000 in a much larger stadium. The Bills had a sell-out crowd of 73,000 in their stadium. There was another thread a while ago that noted that the Packers have 30,000 people on the waiting list for season’s tickets there! That's more than we can get into Ivor Wynne!

Tickets to a CFL game cost a fraction of the cost to go to an NFL game, so the difference in ticket revenue is obviously immense, quite apart from the TV revenues which do not bear comparison at all. People in the U.S. obviously are prepared to pay a lot for their football “fix?, and wil flock to the games regardless,way more than Canadians do. Instead, we complain about the already low ticket prices and the cost of a beer. I guess this is one cultural difference between the countries, even Western NY and Southern Ontario, that is pretty significant.