Ottawa Rough Riders
David Archer - Quarterback - 1993-1998 - Iowa State
David Archer was an Ottawa Rough Rider for just one season. After great success south of the border with Sacramento in 1993 and 1994 and 1 play-off season with San Antonio the Iowa State product came to Canada's Capital via the dispersal draft in 1996. The league ceased operation in the U.S. prior to the 1996 season and Archer was the #1 selection by the Rough Riders - who were looking for any way to bring interest and fans to the team.
Archer came in under new head coach John Payne. The Rough Riders had planned to go with quarterback Steve Taylor a former Stampeder back-up but when Archer became available - Taylor was moved out. David Archer had some impressive statistics - he threw for over 6,000 yards his first season in the league with Sacramento on an incredible 701 pass attempts.
With Ottawa in 1996 the teams owner Horn Chen stopped paying the bills partway through the season and with attendance languishing between 10-15,000 Archer soon realized being a Rough Rider was going involve a lot more than he expected. David agreed to re-structure his contract believed to be around $700,000 annually and joined the community initiative to sell tickets promote the team and keep it in Ottawa with an absentee owner.
With things not looking good for the team a desperate plea to fans brought out over 28,450 fans for a late August contest against rival
Montreal. The Rough Riders responded in front of the large crowd for a suprise 17-6 upset win. This win was followed by a victory over Saskatchewan - in Saskatchewan the first victory for the team outside of Ontario in years. With the modest 2 game win streak Ottawa returned home to face Hamilton with renewed optimism and support - over 26,000 fans witnessed Ottawa drop a heartbreaking loss
to the Tiger Cats ending any faint playoff hopes. Archer threw a critical interception in the end zone and Ticat kicker Paul Osbaldiston had 5 field goals. The loss took the wind out of Ottawa's sails and as they whimpered down the stretch it was clear the team would fold. The Ottawa Rough Riders did cease operation after the 1996 season.
David Archer was a great passing quarterback - after one season out of the game broadcasting for CBC - Archer returned in 1998 to quarterback the Edmonton Eskimos with his old San Antonio coach Kay Stephenson. The club had middling results at 9-9 ending with a loss to Calgary in the playoffs. It would be the end of David Archers playing career.
More success in Sacramento - playoffs in San Antonto and Edmonton but for this fan I will not forget 1996 in Ottawa with David Archer and the Rough Riders.
I look forward to more Rough Rider memories at Lansdowne on the banks of the Rideau.