Blue Bombers were 'bears' in '84

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:30 PM ET

Mention that year to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan, and there's a good chance he or she will respond with a simple statement.

"Best team ever."

One player from that squad reeled off the list of stars the 1984 roster featured, but he forgot to mention himself.

"That was a great football team," placekicker Trevor Kennerd said. "I'd be hard pressed to name all 12 starters on offence and defence, but these names are just legendary: Clements, Hufnagel, Willard Reaves, Joe Poplawski, James Murphy, Jeff Boyd, John Bonk, Chris Walby. And then on defence, David Shaw, Tyrone Jones, Stan Mikawos, Aaron Brown.

"There's just some great, great names."

Kennerd wasn't so shabby himself.

Unfortunately for Bombers fans and their tickers, the first quarter of the 72nd Grey Cup at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium was quite shabby for the Cal Murphy-led favourites.

EARLY LEADS

The underdog Hamilton Tiger-Cats built up leads of 14-0 and 17-6 early on, and players on Winnipeg's side of the field were wondering what the heck was going on.

"I remember we're looking at each other on the bench and kind of everybody is going, 'Somebody's gotta do something. Let's make a play out there.' We did have a superior football team," Kennerd recalled.

The Bombers did do something about it. David Shaw had an interception that led to a score. Then Tyrone Jones forced Hamilton quarterback -- and former Bomber -- Dieter Brock to fumble, and Stan Mikawos scooped up the loose pigskin and took it to the house.

Final score: Winnipeg 47, Hamilton 17.

"You teeter," said Kennerd, who booted four field goals and five converts. "In a game like that, the team can either come back like that bear that's been poked with a stick, or the team can have the deer-in-the-headlights look. Pick your animal.

"And luckily we did come back. Our great players just made the great plays."

There was great joy in Manitoba, as the victory ended the club's 22-year Grey Cup drought.

"The city and province was just euphoric, and the parade, I'll never forget it," Kennerd said. "I can't imagine a Stanley Cup or World Series parade could be any more enthusiastic.

"That's what happens, I guess, when a city and province is starving."

Bombers boosters figured their team had the title sewn up when it went into Vancouver and dumped the B.C. Lions in the West Division final just a week earlier.

The fans displayed their unbridled joy upon the team's return from the West Coast.

"The reception at the airport was unbelievable," Kennerd said. "In fact, the airport was damaged. There were ceiling tiles -- and that ceiling has gotta be 40 feet high -- but somehow there were ceiling tiles damaged from fans throwing stuff in the air or shooting stuff in the air, for all I know.

"You could not move in that airport. And there were cars turned over. ... This was a tremendous reception."

The Grey Cup celebration was even better, according to Kennerd.

"A bus drove out to the tarmac and we went right from the airplane onto a bus," he said. "And the Winnipeg Arena was where they had this big reception. The place was packed, 15,000 people at the arena.

"Each player was introduced on stage, and it's one of those moments you just won't forget."


Videos

Photos