The Case for the Defense (CFL): Jim Corrigall

The Case for the Defense (CFL): Jim Corrigall
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The Case for the Defense: Jim Corrigall.

CFL Free agency was busy again this year. Arguably the biggest signing was when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers retained Outstanding defensive player of the year Willie Jefferson.

All of which got me to thinking. We have run a series on all time great CFL special teams players in the past. * So now I think in honour of Willie Jefferson being perhaps the biggest name this time around, we should focus on some defensive greats.

It is time to redress the balance a little. The series itself so far has featured Willie PlessAngelo MoscaDickie HarrisNorm FieldgateWayne Harris, & Bill Baker. Now it is time to look at another great defensive player from the CFL annals. Step forward ‘Country’ Jim Corrigall.

Jim Corrigall – Double Blue his entire CFL career

It may be true that whilst in high school in 1965 in North Bay, Ontario Corrigall attended a high school football camp sponsored by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. However, whilst they helped highlight his potential, it was the Toronto Argonauts who ultimately benefited.

That camp helped him catch the eye of Kent State recruiters. He would play for the Golden Flashes from 1966-70 and was the first player in the history of the university to be named to the first team All-Mid-American Conference in three consecutive years.

He was drafted in the second round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, but the Argos had territorial rights to Corrigall. A two year contract was signed with the latter. He would wind up playing 12 seasons (1970-1981), and 153 games for the team, (148 regular season and 5 playoff games).

Corrigall did not win a championship in the CFL, although he did appear in the 1971 Grey Cup. That was the high point as during his time in Toronto Corrigall spent most of his career on poor or average teams. The Argos were an anemic 69-110-5 during his time there.

One thing you can say about that is all his personal accolades meant people recognized how good he was even when playing on a poor team.

Statistics, what statistics?

No defensive tackle stats were kept during the years Jim Corrigall played. Only in his last season (1981) did the league start keeping sack stats. He had 4 in 9 games that year as well as 3 fumble recoveries covering 33 yards and a touchdown.

It is often difficult to assess players from a pre-stat era. We cannot compare their numbers with those of their contemporaries and see where they would have sat.

However, when we look at the awards a player garnered, (see below), you can begin to measure Jim’s greatness as gauged by those who saw him play.

The Awards

Jim Corrigall was Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year in 1970, and an 8 time East Division All-Star (1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980).

CFL All-Star nods came on 4 occasions (1971, 1973, 1975, & 1977). As well as being named CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 1975. That year he was also the Argonauts’ nominee for the Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Canadian awards.

They would nominate him in all three categories again in 1978.

Corrigall was named an All time Argonaut in 1997, as well as being named on the All-Time Argo Depth chart at DE in 2007.

He was elected to the Barrie Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 & the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

*This included the likes of Pinball ClemonsHenry ‘Gizmo’ WilliamsLui PassagliaBob Cameron, & Dave Cutler. Go take a look if you are interested!

Banner Image: ‘Country’ Jim Corrigal IMage from the BArrie sports Hall of Fame via Barrietoday.com.

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