Jim Burrow: More than just Joe’s dad

Jim Burrow: More than just Joe’s dad
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Jim Burrow is sure to be a proud father right now. His son, Joe Burrow, having led the LSU Tigers to a 15-0 season and a National Championship.

Joe set a few records along the way. Including accounting for a new record 65 touchdowns in a season to surpass the 63 set by Colt Brennan in 2006.

But I am here to tell fans in the UK not to overlook Jim Burrow. He did OK for himself during a career in the CFL.

This followed on from being on a Nebraska team that went 19-5-1 between 1974 & 1975 and that won a Sugar Bowl and lost a Fiesta Bowl match.

Five Seasons in the CFL

Jim Burrow spent five seasons in the CFL between 1977 & 1981. Burrow had been an eighth round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1976 but didn’t catch on in the NFL.

Instead Burrow headed north and joined the Montreal Alouettes. That was initially on a five day trial in October of 1976.

He would play in Montreal until 1980, making his debut in 1977, before appearing for the Calgary Stampeders in 1980 & Ottawa Rough Riders in 1981.  

Burrow had two interceptions in just four games with Montreal during his rookie season.  He followed that up with 5 interceptions in 1978 and six in 1979.  Both totals were good for third best in the East those seasons and earned Burrow two East All-Star selections

Burrow moved on to Calgary in 1980 and finished his career in Ottawa in 1981.

The Grey Cup Win

The senior Burrow has a championship ring of his own as he played on the Grey Cup winning Alouettes team in 1977.

This game became renowned as the Ice Bowl. The game was a 41-6 blowout win for the Als, but the main talking point was cleats.

Burrow recalls that “Tony Proudfoot … and Wally Buono came up with the idea of using a large industrial staple gun in the tips of our shoes and when he (Proudfoot) came back, he said, ‘This works.’” Whether it was legal or not was a moot point – the Montreal players felt like they had better traction and that that was a large part of winning the game.

The game itself was played at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, in front of 68,318 people a Grey Cup record to this day. The nine top 10 CFL single game attendances were all played here.

In fact whilst he was there the Als would appear in three consecutive Grey Cup games (77-79). But this was their only win because they were overtaken by the emerging dominance of the Edmonton Eskimos.

A great Experience

Not only did he pick up a championship ring, but you sense Burrow had a great time in Canada.

He has noted, “I mean we’d have 68,000 people at Olympic Stadium,” (and) “We’d play before 50, 55,000 fans at old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto and when you went to Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton they had 50,000 there so it was a great experience.”

Now he will be looking to see if his son makes more of an impact in the NFL I am sure. But that should take nothing away from the 5 great years Jim Burrow had in the CFL and the friendships he will doubtless have made.

Banner image: Jim Burrow decked out in LSU gear to support Joe. Image from CBS.

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