Hey, they've been worse

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

One thing about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers: their timing is lousy.

Here they are, limping along with four wins and mired in the West Division basement, and their next game is supposed to be a celebration of their 75th anniversary season.

Yikes.

Those third jerseys better be something.

Sunday's 42-23 loss in Montreal dropped the Bombers to 4-10 on the season, the kind of record that will, inevitably, draw comparisons to the worst teams in franchise history.

So we thought we'd do just that -- rank the most miserable collections of talent (?) in the annals of Blue Bombers football.

We're pretty sure this idea didn't rate a chapter in Blue & Gold, 75 Years of Blue Bomber Glory, the book released last week.

But that doesn't mean it's not worth a look-see. After all, if you don't learn from history, you're bound to repeat it, right?

So hold your noses, pop a Gravol or two and slog your way through what we'll call Blue & Bad: Five Years of Bomber Gore.

1964: Bud's Blues (1-14-1)

Hard to believe a Bud Grant-coached team could manage one measly victory, but that's exactly what happened to the '64 squad, the only Winnipeg team in the modern era (1950-on) with that blotch on its record.

The 13-game skid to end the season remains the longest losing streak in franchise history.

Decimated by injuries, this is one of just three Bombers teams ('75 and '95 were the others) to be shut out of the CFL all-star team.

1970: Pivotal Problem (2-14)

This outfit can boast the dullest attack in franchise history, with a meager 11.5 points scored per game.

Its leading passer was Wally Gabler, with a paltry 1,077 yards.

All you need to know about this group lies in who was named its most outstanding player. That'd be Bill Frank, an offensive lineman.

1998: QB, or not QB? (3-15)

Nearly three decades later, Bomber fans learned all over again you can't win in the CFL without a quarterback.

No less than five -- T. J. Rubley, Chris Vargas, Kevin Mason, Troy Kopp and Jay Walker -- took turns running the most feeble offence in the CFL.

This team also allowed the most points in the league that year, a deadly combination that produced a club record 10 losses to start the season and a 0-9 mark on the road.

Oh, and the 622 yards of team losses (plays that went backwards) established a franchise record that may never be broken.

Of course, the whole mess cost coach Jeff Reinebold his job.

1997: Spilled Milt (4-14)

Reinebold's first season was almost as bad -- and likely would have been worse if it weren't for receiver Milt Stegall.

No. 85 set a CFL record that stands to this day, averaging 26.5 yards per catch and scoring 14 touchdowns for the worst passing team in the league.

Meanwhile, the Bomber defence was giving up gobs of yards, a league-worst 404 per game, as the team lost seven games by at least two touchdowns, including a 66-25 blowout at home to Toronto.

1999: Ritchie's Rogues (6-12)

First-year head coach Dave Ritchie's crew, a collection of washed up veterans, may have won six games, but their true colours were shown in the dozen losses -- no less than eight were by 25 points, or more.

A 39-9 blowout Week 1, a 45-10 throttling Week 18 and a 65-15 slaughter in between -- how's that for a bad sandwich?

So there you have it: five Bombers teams you wouldn't have wanted to take home to mom or dad.

Where the current crew fits in remains to be seen.

If you're looking for some hope, how's this: that '64 team came back to reach the Grey Cup a year later.

There.

Can't say we're always being negative.


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