British Columbia Lions

Joe Paopao - Quarterback - 1978-90 - Long Beach State

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Joe Paopao had a solid 11 season career as a player in the Canadian Football League. He arrived in Canada from Long Beach State where he is in the schools hall of fame in 1978. Paopao was a two-year letter winner at quarterback for Long Beach State in 1975-76, a time when the 49ers were known for running the football. Despite that, Paopao ranks No. 8 all-time with 2,830 career passing yards and No. 10 all-time in total offense (2,725). As a junior in 1975 Paopao led the 49ers to a 9-2 mark and a second place finish in the PCAA. He finished 24th in the nation in total offense at 145.3 yards per game and was 99-200 for 1,652 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a senior the 49ers went 8-3 as he threw for 1,178 yards and seven touchdowns.

 

Born in Honolulu and a longtime resident of Oceanside, CA, Paopao began an 11-year CFL playing career in 1978 as a quarterback with the BC Lions. In 1979, during a game against Toronto, Paopao set a league record of 18 consecutive completions, which was beaten by Eskimos’ Jason Maas in 2004. Known as the “Throwin’ Samoan,” Paopao led the Lions in passing for the three seasons.

In 1984, he signed as a free agent with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, finishing the season tied for the West Division lead in pass attempts, tied with Tom Clements of Winnipeg.

He made his first move to Ottawa in 1987 after a trade sent him to the eastern Rough Riders. In 1988, he played for Winnipeg in what he thought would be his final season in the CFL.


The BC Lions made Paopao the club’s offensive backfield coach in 1989, but he returned to the playing field as the team’s starting quarterback in 1990. When Doug Flutie signed with the Lions that same season, he took a role in introducing the Canadian game to the young quarterback.

Paopao passed for a career total of 22,474 yards, completing 1,721 of 3,008 attempts (57.2 per cent) for 117 touchdowns.

In 1991, he became the Lions’ quarterbacks coach, helping develop Flutie into what many say is the best player in CFL history. Flutie was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 1991, earning the honour five more times before moving to the NFL in 1998.

Paopao became the Lions’ offensive coordinator in 1992 holding that title for two seasons before moving to Edmonton in a similar position for the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

He became a head coach for the first time in 1996 with the Lions.

A change in Lions’ ownership led to Paopao resigning in BC, but he quickly resurfaced as Winnipeg’s offensive coordinator. In 1999, he returned to Vancouver, taking the Lions’ assistant head coaching duties along with the title of offensive coordinator for two seasons. In 2001, Paopao left the CFL to become offensive coordinator of the XFL San Francisco Demons, before returning to Canada with the Renegades in 2002. When the Renegades ceased operations in 2005 Joe spent 1 season with the Hamilton Tiger Cats as their offensive coordinator in 2006.

 

-- statistics --

 

 

Joe Paopao   Long Beach State    
    Passing        
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1979 BC 223 126 1,508 56.5 7 13 84
1980 BC 231 145 2,009 62.8 15 13 67
1981 BC 421 229 3,777 54.4 28 23 91
1982 BC 214 115 1,394 53.7 10 12 66
1983 BC 147 85 968 57.8 2 11 34
1984 Sask 453 260 3,270 57.4 12 19 94
1985 Sask 447 270 3,420 60.4 9 20 54
1986 Sask 363 207 2,647 57.0 13 24 60
1987 Ott 285 147 1,629 51.6 7 15 51
1988     Did Not Play        
1989     Did Not Play        
1990 BC 224 137 1,852 61.2 14 7 77
Total 10 3008 1721 22,474 57.2 117 157 91

 

    Rushing    
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1979 BC 27 16 0.6 9 0
1980 BC 22 57 2.6 13 0
1981 BC 15 25 1.7 6 0
1982 BC 5 7 1.4 2 0
1983 BC 9 25 2.8 5 0
1984 Sask 31 74 2.4 9 0
1985 Sask 31 15 0.5 9 0
1986 Sask 17 27 1.6 2 0
1987 Ott 17 81 4.8 15 0
1988   Did Not Play      
1989   Did Not Play      
1990 BC 14 26 1.9 9 3
Total 10 188 353 1.9 15 3