Ted Provost - Safety - Ohio State - 1973-77
Ted Provost inducted into Plaza of Honour - Murray McCormick , Leader-Post - May 22, 2008
REGINA -- The ghosts of 1976 were revived with Thursday's announcement of the 2008 Saskatchewan Roughriders Plaza of Honor inductees.
Safety Ted Provost, running-back-slotback Tom Campana and offensive tackle Lawrie Skolrood are to be inducted into the Plaza of Honor during the gala dinner at the Queensbury Centre on Oct. 17. There are 104 former Roughriders players and builders in the Plaza of Honor but few are as associated with the 1976 Grey Cup game as Provost.
The Ottawa Rough Riders prevailed 23-20 over the Roughriders in one of the most memorable Grey Cup matches in the history of the CFL's championship game. Ottawa receiver Tony Gabriel sparked a celebration in Toronto, site of the Grey Cup, and Ottawa when he hauled in a Tom Clements pass in the end zone with 20 seconds remaining to complete Ottawa's win over the Roughriders.
Gabriel froze Provost with a post move and then turned to the right corner of the end zone. Gabriel was labeled Ottawa's hero after hauling in the pass.
Provost, who had intercepted Clemens in the first half, was labeled
the Riders' goat for allowing Gabriel to get open. Provost could only watch from five yards away as Gabriel made the reception.
"I still remember the play,'' Provost, 59, said Thursday from his home in Hilliard, Ohio. "It's not that big of an embarrassment. I had a pretty good game other than the last play. I had months of glory and one bad play.''
Campana, who played with the Riders in the 1972 and 1976 Grey Cup games, defended his friend and former teammate, Campana said from Canton. Ga., that the Riders should never have been in position to allow the last play to determine the game's outcome.
"Just because (Provost) was the closest (to Gabriel) doesn't mean that he was the guy,'' Campana said. "Thinking back to that time, the wrong defence was called and we were out of position. Things happened and it didn't work out. If we were going to win it, it shouldn't have come down to the last play. They took advantage of it and maybe they deserved to win. It was still a heck of a game.''
Skolrood rejoined the Riders in 1979 after playing with them in 1974. It was three seasons after the Grey Cup loss but Skolrood still remembers the game-winning play. He also felt that Provost has been unfairly singled out for his part in the touchdown reception.
"Ted happened to make a great play to get into the picture,'' said Skolrood, who is a deputy fire chief in Vernon, B.C. "Ted made a great play to get that close and he has taken a bum rap for that one for years.''
The induction into the Plaza of Honor provides an opportunity to reflect on the great seasons that Provost enjoyed with the Riders. He spent two seasons in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Cardinals before making his way to the CFL. Provost was named a Western Conference all-star twice in his five seasons with the Riders. He also intercepted 12 passes.
"As we get older, we really appreciate a lot more of what life is all about,'' Campana said. "Just the opportunity to play in those games should be enough. It's always nice to win but you have to get there first and we where there.
"I always look on the bright side and we were fortunate to be able to play in those games. Not everyone is able to do that.''
Provost hasn't been back to Regina since his playing days. He got started in home remodeling during his offseasons in Regina and remains involved in that business. The demands of raising a family and work have kept him from returning to Regina.
"It was one of the best times that I ever had playing football,'' said Provost. "I didn't make a lot of money but I got into the business that I'm still in today because of being up there. I enjoyed my teammates and the opportunity to play. That is basically what I wanted to do. It was a good opportunity for me.''