By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Blue-42, Blue-42, HUT, HUT, HUT. It’s highly unlikely that this was the quarterback signal call for the Blue Bombers back in the 50s when Jack Jacobs was the team’s starting quarterback.
In fact, it comes from a popular 90s movie, Ace Ventura Pet Detective. In this movie, an all-time great QB, Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, was kidnapped. It was imperative that he be rescued as he was the Dolphins main hope at winning the Super Bowl. Spoiler: in the end, he was saved and returned to the game at half-time.
We will never know if Dan won the Super Bowl in this movie — we just know in real life, he was never able to win it. The same can be said for Jack Jacobs and the Grey Cup. Both Jack and Dan were excellent at mesmerizing crowds with their passing abilities, but in the end, Jack also couldn’t win the top prize. His legacy will live on, though, considering what he accomplished for the great Canadian game on and off the field.
Where It All Started
Born in 1919 in Holdenville, Oklahoma, Jack was of Muscogee (Creek) Nation descent, the Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. He starred in college for the University of Oklahoma and was considered to be an excellent all-around player on defense and offense. After a few years, he was drafted into the NFL in 1942 by the Cleveland Rams in the second round.
After playing in the NFL for 8 years, Jack made the move to the CFL. He was not impressed with his current situation in Green Bay and the idea that he may have to change positions, you see, he wanted a guarantee that this would not happen.
That’s where the Blue Bombers came in. After signing a contract that guaranteed he would be the quarterback, Jack packed his bags for Winnipeg and would instantly take the league by storm.
Starring for the Blue and Gold
In his first season in 1950, he threw for 1,604 yards, led the team to a 10-4 record and a trip to the Grey Cup. They ended up losing the game to the Toronto Argonauts in what was coined the Mud Bowl, due to heavy snow and rain making an already poor field even worse to play on. The best was yet to come, however, as Jack was just getting warmed up.
Jack’s next season as a Bomber was statistically his best. In a league that was centred around the run game, he threw for just over 3,200 yards, which was the first for any pro in a season. He then continued that success the following year, throwing for just over 2,500 yards with 34 touchdown passes. For his efforts, he earned himself the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player in the Western Conference.
Jack’s play over the first few years in the CFL was unlike anything anyone had seen before. Each game packed Osborne Stadium’s 7,800-seat capacity. He was the trailblazer that set the CFL ablaze, making it a pass happy league. This eventually led to the building of a new stadium in 1953. Upon completion, it was dubbed “The House that Jack Built”.
In his final two campaigns before retiring, Jack’s statistics did not jump off the page, but he did establish a competitive mentality within the organization that would lead them to the glory days of the late 50s and early 60s.
The type of impact that Jack had as the QB of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be enshrined forever as he captivated crowds and helped build the popularity of the CFL. Both him and Marino had the ability to chuck the pigskin around during times when running was more prominent. Etched in history forever, people will always remember The House that Jack Built.