January 30, 2013
Paying homage to Super Bowl trailblazer Willie Wood
By PAUL WOODS, Special to QMI Agency

Willie Wood blazed a trail that allowed African-American men such as Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin and Mike (Pinball) Clemons to win championships as head coaches. (Paul Woods/Special to QMI Agency)

WASHINGTON - He was an unwanted player who defied the odds to become a perennial all-star, a highly respected member of a sporting dynasty and a Hall of Famer.

In what came to be known as Super Bowl I, he made the key play that propelled his team, the Green Bay Packers, to a victory that cemented their status as the football powerhouse of the 1960s.

Later, he became a civil rights pioneer, blazing a trail that allowed African-American men such as Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin and Mike (Pinball) Clemons to win championships as head coaches.

But on Sept. 14, 1981, Willie Wood was just another fired coach of the Toronto Argonauts — the 13th man to take that fall in 25 years.

Wood’s sudden departure from Toronto, after the Argonauts lost their first 10 games of the 1981 season, was destined to become one more sad footnote in a miserable three decades for the franchise. To many Argos fans, he was forgotten almost the instant he vanished from the scene.



CANOE.CA SLAM!