As a kid the name stuck first, of course, with the rhyme and rhythm of a cartoon character any five-year-old could remember Bernie Faloney, or Bernie Baloney.
To become aware of the game and aware of him all at once was a most glorious convergance. Because how many other athletes this side of Jackie Parker so embodied Canadian football. His coach Jim Trimble a man who was media savvy before they had a word for it, once said "Bernie can't run, he can't kick and he can't pass. All Bernie can do is beat you." But he could run and he could throw at least so it seems in memory, and especially he could think and he could improvise. He was made to play football on our big wide fields.
Consider what had to be Faloney's greatest moment (thought technically it didn't count). In the 1961 Eastern Final, a two-game total-points affair between Hamilton and Toronto, the Argos, led by Tobin Rote, arrived for the second game at was then called Civic Stadium with a comfortable 25-7 lead.
The Tiger Cats roared back at home, eventually tying the series 27-27. But, with a little more than a minute left, the Argos intercepted a Faloney pass at Hamilton's 35-yard line. Toronto was blessed with one of the greatest punters to ever play the game, Dave Mann and so the ending seemed automatic. On the game's last play, Mann attempted to boot the ball through the end zone for the winning single. But he couldn't hit it far enough. Don Sutherin, the Hamilton kicker, fielded the ball behing the goal line and kicked it out. Mann caught that punt, and kicked it back in.
The ball landed in Faloney's hands and in one of the most memorable broken-field runs in football history, he scampered 120 yards for a touchdown. It was called back, in those days there was no blocking on punt returns allowed in the CFL and a whole bunch of them where thrown by his overzealous teammates. Nevertheless, right prevailed in the end, as the Ticats scored four touchdowns in overtime to advance to the Grey Cup.
Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame
Bernie Faloney began his illustrious career playing varsity football with the University of Maryland; he played in the Sugar Bowl in 1952 and the Orange Bowl in 1953, quarterbacking the Maryland team to the National Championship.
In 1953, he was the first draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers, but he chose the Edmonton Eskimos instead.
He played twelve seasons of professional football plus two years in the U.S. Air Force.
In twelve seasons with four CFL clubs, he played in eight Grey Cups, leading three to victory: the Edmonton Eskimos in 1954 and the Hamilton TigerCats in 1957 and 1963. He was the first person to quarterback both Eastern and Western league teams to the Grey Cup.
In 1961, Bernie won the Schenley Award for outstanding football player in Canada, and, in 1965, the Jeff Russell Trophy for Sportsmanship and Outstanding Ability with the Montreal Alouettes.
He also played for the B.C. Lions.
He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1974, the Western Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 1983, the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and the University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988. His final CFL statistics include 1,493 passes in 2,876 attempts for 153 touchdowns and 24,264 yards.
Excerpt - CFL Eastern Pivots spark excitement - GlobeandMail - Marty York - June 1996