J.C. Watts - Quarterback - 1981-86 - Oklahoma
excerpted - CFL Illustrated - New Directions - J.C.Watts - July 1995
J.C. Watts was as exciting a quarterback as there was in the CFL in the early 1980's. After being named most valuable player in back-to-back Oklahome Sooner victories in the 1980 and '81 Orange Bowls. J.C. as a rookie quarterback threw a scare into an Edmonton Eskimo dynasty that was rolling towards a record five consecutive Grey Cup wins. With Watts at quarterback, the underdog Ottawa Rough Riders took a 20-1 lead. Edmonton replaced future CFL/NFL hall of fame quarterback Warren Moon with veteran Tom Wilkinson and was forced to launch a monster comeback that ended with Dave Cutler booting the winning field goal with just three seconds left in an eventual 26-23 Eskimo victory. Only a controversial pass interference call against Tony Gabriel negated a possible victory for Ottawa and a premature end
to the dynasty for Edmonton.
Watts was a scrambling quarterback with a strong arm and great improvisational ability. After his thrilling Grey Cup performance Watts did not play football in 1982 but did return to Ottawa in 1983 as the clubs starting quarterback. J.C. dazzled fans with his feet and his
arm. The club finished 8-8 in 1983 but lost to Hamilton 33-31 in the Eastern semi-final. While Watts would never lead the Rough Riders back to the Grey Cup game he did bring stability to the quarterback position for Ottawa and with his ability fans knew he could turn a game on one play with his stunning athleticism.
J.C left Ottawa midway through the 1986 season after 4 full seasons as the teams quarterback. J.C. joined Toronto for the final half of the 1986 season before retiring from professional football for good.
J.C. Watts became involved in politics in his home state of Oklahoma upon retiring. Watts has gone on to become an Oklahoma congressman and served in the House of Representatives as a Republican.
J.C. Watts was intelligent, articulate and an incredible athlete - this type of combination is what CFL fans dream of. One can only hope that someday fans in Ottawa will have the luxury of enjoying the exploits of another player similar to J.C. in a future incarnation of the Rough Riders.
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