Hamilton Tiger Cats

Bernie Faloney - Quarterback - 1954-64 - Maryland

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Excerpt - Stephen Brunt - GlobeandMail 1999-06-16

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

It was the rivalry, recalled Faloney, who at 63 runs a successful machinery- and equipment-rental business in Hamilton. There was a personal challenge for us like there never was in any other year. Going head to head against Jackson, for instance, made me better and I probably made him better.

Faloney said he especially psyched himself for games against Rote, who had jumped to the Argonauts from the National Football League's Detroit Lions just before the 1960 season. Toronto had offered him $10,000 more. Rote was the CFL's best-paid player in 1960 with a stipend of $35,000.

Tobin was a bit standoffish and he had come in with the big billing, said Faloney, who was paid $22,000 in 1960. I remember (former Tiger-Cats head coach) Jim Trimble telling me that Rote was nothing special, that he put his pants on the same way I did. Trimble was a great coach and I appreciated what he was saying, but I wanted to knock Tobin's pants off just the same.

For information on obtaining this historical CFL Image visit:

http://scottgrant.photoshelter.com/

-- statistics --

 

 

Bernie Faloney            
  Passing          
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1954 Edm 71 26 529 36.6 3 5 69
1955 In U.S. Air Force          
1956 In U.S. Air Force          
1957 Ham 262 112 1,759 42.7 6 16 70
1958 Ham 309 167 2,852 54.0 18 24 69
1959 Ham 247 139 2,187 56.3 15 12 86
1960 Ham 385 196 3,075 50.9 24 31 96
1961 Ham 274 156 2,565 56.9 23 14 72
1962 Ham 89 46 743 51.7 5 6 87
1963 Ham 273 143 2,305 52.4 13 16 84
1964 Ham 221 106 1,939 48.0 17 16 86
1965 Ham 275 148 2,253 53.8 8 29 85
1966 Ham 116 54 754 46.6 2 11 60
1967 B.C 354 200 3,303 56.5 17 21 81
Total 12 2876 1493 24,264 51.9 151 201 96

 

    Rushing    
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1954 Edm 53 59 1.1 12 6
1955 In U.S. Air Force      
1956 In U.S. Air Force      
1957 Ham 61 295 4.8 23 2
1958 Ham 74 -26 -0.4 24 4
1959 Ham 61 300 4.9 51 3
1960 Ham 64 465 7.3 47 4
1961 Ham 77 434 5.6 27 4
1962 Ham 17 55 3.2 20 0
1963 Ham 59 297 5.0 30 2
1964 Ham 64 331 5.2 20 6
1965 Ham 57 200 3.5 27 2
1966 Ham 48 160 3.3 14 3
1967 B.C 59 236 4.0 25 2
Total 12 694 2,806 4.0 51 38