Shreveport Pirates                                                   

 

                      

                     NFL legend Forrest Gregg coach of the Pirates                               

                           

      

-- team --

 

Toronto

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Montreal

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Hamilton

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Ottawa

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Winnipeg

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Saskatchewan

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British Columbia

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Edmonton

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Calgary

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U.S. Expansion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-- contents --

 

Grey Cup

 

 

 

 

Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

-- photos --

 

Terrance Jones

Bjorn Nittmo

Harold Nash

Gregg Stumon

-- team story --

 

Following the 1993 season the Glieberman family having owned the Ottawa Rough Riders informed the Canadian Football League that they would be exercising an option in their agreement upon buying the Rough Riders to move the team to the United States. The C.F.L. was actively pursuing franchises for the U.S. but moving a team from Ottawa with 118 years of history was not an option the league wanted. Commissioner Larry Smith approved a partial transfer of players with the Glieberman's provided they could find ownership to keep the Rough Riders in Ottawa. The Glieberman's found Ottawa businessman Bruce Firestone to sell the Rough Riders to and moved their ownership to a new U.S. market, what turned out to be Shreveport Louisiana.

 

Lonie Glieberman club president brought with him to Shreveport former Ottawa players including: Lineman Dexter Manley, Quarterback Terence Jones and Linebacker Greg Stumon.  For a coach Glieberman selected John Huard a former player coach with the Montreal Alouettes. Huard would not make the season, Huard a longtime friend of the teams executive director of football operation and longtime CFL GM J.I.Albrecht; was fired before the team played a game in relation to verbal abuse of a volunteer athletic therapist.

 

Former Toronto Argonaut head coach and N.F.L. Hall of Fame lineman Forrest Gregg  took over the coaching duties following Huard's departure. The team did have some talented players in Defensive End Elfrid Payton, kicker Bjorn Nittmo and running back Martin Patton but had a dreadful first season. The club started the year with no wins in their first 14 games. The franchise achieved it's first victory on October 16 defeating the Sacramento Gold Miners 24-12 to go to 1-14. They finished the year at 3-15, top performers were wide receiver Charles Thompson who had 641 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns, running back Martin Patton from Texas A&I was the clubs leading rusher with 659 yards on the ground and 8 touchdowns. Terrence Jones had 1,046 yard passing with 4 touchdowns to go with 9 interceptions, Mike Johnson out of the University of Akron passed for 1,259 yards and 4 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. The club averaged a respectable 18,000 fans per game with a high of 32,011 for a November victory over Ottawa but the poor on-field product needed to be addressed.

 

 

In order to make a splash for the 1995 season the Pirates pursued NFL journeyman pivot Billy Joe Tolliver. They signed the Texas native to a two year deal worth $400,000 a year. The supporting cast for Tolliver would remain primarily the same. The club did add receivers Rod Harris and Curtis Mayfield to the receiving corps. The club did improve in the 1995 season finishing the year at 5-13. Tolliver took some adjusting but did hit his stride finishing with 3,767 yards passing to go with 16 touchdowns against 15 interceptions. The highlight of the season came in the month of August. In an August 4th contest in Shreveport the Pirates stunned Winnipeg with a 65-17 shellacking, the game was at 42-0 for Shreveport midway through the third quarter. Then on August 18 versus Ottawa, Shreveport demolished the Rough Riders 61-11 much to the delight of the Glieberman's. The club missed the playoffs for the second and would be last season. Of true dissapointment was the fact that Shreveport finished last in the South division behind both first year clubs in Birmingham and Memphis. Curtis Mayfield led the team in receptions with 58 for 846 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Martin Patton who had enjoyed a 5 touchdown day versus Winnipeg finished the season with 1,040 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Kicker Bjorn Nittmo finished 46 of 53 in field goals and was sixth in the league in scoring.

 

With the demise of the American teams following the 1995 season, so to came the end of the Shreveport Pirates. The Glieberman's did seek to move the team to Virginia but never succeeded. For two years Canadian Football was brought into the heart of Louisiana. Fans did respond to the product in Shreveprt but the CFL in the USA experiment was over.

 

 

-- players --

 

Tolliver

Barnes

Payton

Fenerty


-- stadium attendance --

 

Independence Stadium

Capacity (40,000)

1994 Avg: 17,870

1995 Avg: 14,359

 


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