Jerry Keeling was truly a team player. A quarterback with Tulsa and a member of that school’s hall of fame, when he arrived in the Canadian Football League with Calgary in 1961 he was asked to play defensive back – in addition to spot duty at quarterback. Keeling, dutifully obliged and was a solid contributor on defense.
For 7 season Keeling would contribute on defense and see limited action at quarterback. In 1966 backing up for Peter Liske he threw for 677 yards including a 109 yard touchdown pass. When Liske moved on to the NFL, Keeling at last assumed the starting quarterbacking duties in 1969. He passed for 3,179 yards and 20 touchdowns and added 6 rushing touchdowns. His patience had paid off.
1971 was a terrific season for Calgary with Keeling at the controls. The team was led by a strong defence but Keeling delivered solid quarterbacking as the team advanced to the Grey Cup. Against the heavily favored Toronto Argonauts, Keeling and
the Stampeders surprised everyone to upset Toronto.
It would be Calgary’s 2nd Grey Cup championship. Keeling would stick with Calgary for 1972 and seve up 27 interceptions to go with 18 touchdowns. In 1973 Keeling moved East to Ottawa as Peter Liske returned to Calgary taking over top spot.
With Ottawa Keeling was solid providing a veteran presence. He split duties with Rick Cassata as Ottawa won the 1974 Grey Cup under Cassata. 1975 would be Keeling’s final season in professional football as he was dealt to Hamilton midway through the ’75 season. He posted strong totals as a Tiger Cat and retired at the end of the 1975 season.
Jerry Keeling paid his dues and had his opportunity to play quarterback full time arrive 9 years into his career. He would spend 15 seasons in the league and win 2 Grey Cups.
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