Tiger-Cats' Past Performance & Future Prospects

I have not spent much time on this Forum lately . . . Christmas, New Years, College Bowl games, NFL playoff races, etc.

I came to the site to see the reaction to the change in the Ownership structure, and instead I became distracted by this bickering between 2 opposed groups ( & this goes beyond just ExPat, Displaced Cats Fan & Crash) in another thread. And it seems to me that we are witnessing philosophical differences between 2 groups, commenting on the exact same situation, namely the recent performance & future prospects of the current Hamilton Tiger-Cats' regime.

These opinions are no doubt influenced by 2 consecutive losses in the Grey Cup game, as well as being on the wrong side of the ledger in 4 of the last 8 GC games (there is no need to regurgitate the results for this group). But when evaluating these last 8 seasons, one group tends to see the "glass half full", and the other group invariably sees the "glass half empty". In my opinion, it is quite natural that there are two different viewpoints on this topic - not all people are wired the same way.

If we focus on the "drought" since 1972, I think we can all agree that the teams coached by Al Bruno (1984 - 1989) & Ron Lancaster (1998 - 2002; 2003 has been wiped clean from my memory) produced some very competitive teams (actually Al Bruno's teams tended to wait until after Labour Day to play good football). Those teams account for the last 2 Grey Cup victories, but produced several other competitive teams as well.
I think that we can also all agree that the periods both immediately before & after the Al Bruno / Ron Lancaster periods produced some very bad football at Ivor Wynne Stadium; very dark daze for Ti-Cat fans.

But the last 8 seasons are certainly open for healthy debate between the "glass half full" versus "glass half empty" crowds.
For my part, I will point out that the unique thing about football is that when it matters most, it becomes a single elimination tourney. Past records & past performances are irrelevant . . . this is what makes football playoffs so much fun. But it also produces those painful "agony of defeat" moments as we just experienced 3 weeks ago . . . and the 1981 Tiger-Cats, coached by the dictatorial Frank Kush, produced another perfect example of that concept. The 1981 'Cats were expected to match the dynasty, Warren Moon-led Edmonton Eskimos punch for punch in the 1981 GC game. But George Brancato & the 5 - 11 Ottawa Rough Riders had other ideas. If my memory serves me well, the Tiger-Cats were leading the Rough Riders by 3 points late in the 4thQ, and our defence had Ottawa pinned deep in their own end, when Julius Caesar Watts hit Jeff Avery with a pass down the south sideline, Zac Henderson one of our better tacklers missed, & Avery's TD ended the 1981 season for the 'Cats. And of course, that Ottawa team lead by JC Watts almost pulled off the biggest upset in Grey Cup history, the very next weekend. Shit happens . . . !! And of course, the CFL absolutely loves those sorts of games . . . those sorts of results. Those games like the 1989 Grey Cup game, which Hamilton also lost (for a variety of reasons that we will not get into now), are super exciting for all fans.

At the end of the day, I say both sides are entitled to their opinions of how this current regime has performed in the last 8 years (since Kent Austin's arrival).
Please keep in mind that there is no "right answer" because both sides are only expressing an opinion . . . and the truth is we are all cheering for the same team !!

So carry on . . . and Happy New Year btw . . .


I think it was Canadian slotback Pat Stoqua who scored that late TD on a 102 yd catch and run...


AHA !! Pat Stoqua !! I would not have retrieved that name from the memory banks in 100 years - thanks.
But that reinforces my point, because the Jeff Avery / Zac Henderson play that I described represents another play from an earlier game (highly likely that JC Watts was not involved in the play that I described) where the favoured (??) Tiger-Cats lost to the Rough Riders on a late 4thQ TD . . . (also possible the play that I described did not even take place at IWS) . . . if someone can also add some insight to that faulty memory, it would also be much appreciated.

Anyhow, the point is that it is sports, & in sports the "best" team does not always win. In fact, that is the very essence of Sports as a form of entertainment.

Zac Henderson wasn't even on that 1981 Cats team . His last season here was in 1979 . He played in the NFL for the 80-81 seasons before coming back to the CFL and signing with Toronto for the 1982 season .

The Avery play you are talking about occurred in the 1977 Labour Day game in Hamilton. Your memory is a little fuzzy so here are the facts.
With the half-time score knotted at 10-10 the Rough Riders had the wind to start the third quarter. Late in the third quarter, after Ottawa had scored an earlier field goal, Tom Clements found Jeff Avery wide open on an 82-yard pass and run touchdown play. Shortly after that TD, Clements ran one in for another TD, giving the Riders a 27-10 third quarter lead. Ottawa went on to win the game 33-18.
The Avery catch was definitely the back-breaking play in that game.

That's OK Dewey. We all have decades of Ti-Cat lore jumbled up in our brains.

Eventually in 20 years somebody will post about the time Taylor Reed took a knee in the endzone. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Ah yes, fond memories! That explains his boneheaded but gentle push on Cart McKarlney in that Stanley Cup final where Tim "swivel hips" White scored that amazing 150-yard punt return! (or was it a slap shot?) .. .Well, anyway, who could forget that, right? :crazy_face:

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No probs, JustDewey. I looked it up. :grin: It's from the Ottawa Citizen Sports page dated November 16, 1981 by Tom Casey. Have a look - it's a really good read. You'll note what a shitty game our QB, Tom Clements, had with 4 INTs! And it was JC Watt's first CFL start.


P.S. It's on page 20 of 74...

No I think you're confused. I remember that play involved Ogie Ogilthorpe.


OMG! I had to look that one up - one of my all-time fave movies!

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It must be something about wearing the Ticat jersey to bring out the worst in a big game. Clements has Grey Cup rings from Ottawa before and Winnipeg after. Go figure!

Then there's Terry Vaughn.

Clements didn’t win a playoff game in Hamilton. We picked him up late in ‘79 from Ottawa and he brought us close to beating the Rough Riders in the semi- final that year. Then he tried out for KC Chiefs in 1980 while Marler was our starter. He came back in 1981 and we were upset by the 5-11 Rough Riders at home. Again in 1982 we lost to Ottawa at home in the semi- final. Of course he got traded the next year to Wpg who kicked the snot out of us in the ‘84 Cup.

That 1979 playoff game with Clements was my first ever Ti-Cat game. It was the start of all this 40+ years of madness. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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40 years to life, with no parole. One championship every 20 years for good behaviour😉


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Actually, we got Tommy from Saskatchewan in 1979...

You’re probably right. Memory’s the first to go.

Well from everything I've heard from older dudes, memory is actually the second thing to go. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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If memory does go first, then I won’t remember the other thing😃

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