Saskatchewan Roughriders

Bob Richardson - Tight End - Iowa State - 1975-78


Richardson has hand(s) to remember - The Leader-Post 10-11-2007

Bob Richardson deserved a hand for his efforts in the CFL's 1976 West Conference final.
One hand was all he needed to make one of the biggest plays of the game.

At 2:04 of the fourth quarter, the Roughriders tight end used his left hand to snare a Ron Lancaster pass and rumbled into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. Bob Macoritti's convert completed the scoring as Saskatchewan defeated the arch-rival Edmonton Eskimos 23-13 to advance to the Grey Cup.

That conquest of 31 years ago endures as the Roughriders' most-recent home playoff victory. Despite the passage of time, Richardson is often reminded of the one-handed touchdown catch he made on Nov. 20, 1976 before a then-record Taylor Field playoff crowd of 21,896.

"People will still bring it up,'' Richardson says from his home in Burlington, Ont. "Needless to say, it was probably the highlight of my CFL career -- or one of them.''
How did the play unfold?

"The play was to the other side of the field,'' recalls Richardson, 58. "I was just doing sort of a half-moon run, clearing deep. You never did see Ronnie. He was always hidden behind a barrier

Bob Richardson   Iowa State
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1972 Ham 15 251 16.7 36 1
1973 Ham 9 72 8.0 19 1
1974 Ham 3 61 20.3 37 0
1975 Ssk 3 38 12.7 18 0
1976 Ssk 41 527 12.9 29 3
1977 Ssk 28 334 11.9 42 0
1978 Ssk 22 237 10.8 37 1
Total 7 121 1,520 12.6 42 6

 of linemen. All of a sudden, the ball comes flying out. I thought, 'Who the hell is that for?' I ran over there and reached out and snagged it. The two defenders fell into each other and tripped over, so I went into the end zone.

"At that point, we were up by three. That sort of cemented it. When I hit the end zone, I threw my hands up in the air -- which you don't see in a lot of the highlights -- and I tripped and fell on my face.''
Needless to say, there have been more elaborate touchdown celebrations.
"I didn't bring anything out of the padding of the goal post or anything like that,'' Richardson says with a chuckle. "I caught my toe and fell flat on my face.''

Richardson also caught a touchdown pass from Lancaster eight days later in the Grey Cup at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
"In the Grey Cup, I ran over one or two guys getting that in, so I felt good about that,'' says Richardson, who caught an intermediate-length pass from Lancaster and dragged would-be tacklers the final 10 yards.

"That's why my knees are so bad today and why I've got arthritis, because you don't let the first guy tackle you. It takes two or three, because I was always big. That's why my body's hurting today, but it was fun. I enjoyed it. I would live it all over again if I had to.''
Saskatchewan assumed a 20-10 lead early in the third quarter, but the Ottawa Rough Riders scored the final 13 points. Ottawa's Tony Gabriel scored the winning touchdown on a 24-yard pass from Tom Clements with 20 seconds left.

Gabriel was also a key factor in the 1972 Grey Cup, when his late-game heroics set up Ian Sunter's last-second field goal. That 36-yard boot gave Hamilton a 13-10 victory over Saskatchewan.

Richardson was a rookie with Hamilton at the time. He joined the Roughriders in 1975 and spent four seasons with the Green and White.

"When I came to Regina, George (Reed) and Ronnie used to say, 'We should have had the ring for that game,' '' Richardson says.
"(Tiger-Cats running back) Dave Fleming caught the one touchdown and they say he was out of bounds. If you look at all the camera shots, there was one shot that looked like he was in and a couple of others that looked like he was out.

"They went on and they would argue about that. I said, 'Look, who's got the ring? Argue all you want. Who's got the ring?' We had a lot of fun over that.''

Richardson especially enjoyed playing alongside Lancaster.

"Playing with Ronnie was always fun,'' he says. "Winning the big games was cool because he would change things up. We would work together. It was, 'This isn't working. Can I do this?' We were always communicating with each other. He was quite good at that.
"With that team, you did things as a team. You gave up yourself so the other guy could make a play. That's what it's all about -- teamwork.''

That approach helped Saskatchewan defeat Edmonton in 1976 after losing to the host Eskimos in the previous three West finals.
"Edmonton was cocky,'' remembers Richardson, who was the West's all-star tight end that season. "They were a good team, no doubt about it, but we felt they were cocky. Here we were from Regina. We were sort of the runt of the league, as it were. To beat them was special ... and we partied after that game. It was really nice to beat them.
"To beat them and go to the Grey Cup, that was our Grey Cup.''