For the record: Jacques Chapdelaine and the 1983 Grey Cup

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Should Jacques Chapdelaine be blamed for the BC Lions' 1983 Grey Cup loss?

Yes
4
33%
No
8
67%
 
Total votes: 12
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Robbie
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:02 pm

First, you can see the 1983 Grey Cup in its entirety on this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=15033

Over the last decade, there has been the occasional mention about Jacques Chapdelaine and his miss late in the 1983 Grey Cup. Some of you have said that had Chapdelaine made the catch the Lions would have been hoisting the Grey Cup in BC Place that November 27, 1983. But there's been some disagreement about exactly what the play was, where the miss was, and how easy that catch was. It looks like Chapdelaine was certainly the scapegoat when in fact, both the Lions offence were responsible for not putting any points in the second half, and the Lions defence allowed the Argonauts to get back into the game and eventually take the lead.

Finally, here's a clip that will set the record straight once and for all and I will state some important facts.



1. The play in question was on a 2nd and 20 from the Lions own 35-yard line with roughly 1:35 remaining in the 4th quarter.

2. Chapdelaine leaped very high to try to catch the long pass and contact was made at around the Argonauts 37-yard line.

3. Had Chapdelaine been able to catch and secure the ball, the momentum would have brought him to the Argonauts 35-yard line. And that would have given the Lions a first down and with some conservative rushing plays with the worst situation of no gain, it would have been a 42-yard field goal attempt for Lui. Likely Lui would have completed it but still no chip shot at that distance.

4. Looking at the replay, it does look like an extremely difficult catch to make as it looks like the ball only glanced off Chapdelaine fingers or hands, and the ball didn't land on his chest in which case Chapdelaine could have had better control of the ball. Even if there wasn't good defensive coverage, it's unlikely Chapdelaine would have caught the ball. And if Chapdelaine was wide open with no coverage, then there would be a stronger case against him. But as the next point indicates, that was certainly not the case in the fact that there was indeed excellent coverage.

5. Above all though, Chapdelaine was NOT wide open as Argonauts defensive back Darrell Wilson was covering Chapdelaine very well on that play. Looking at the replay, it looks like Darrell Wilson made an outstanding defensive play by using his left hand to punch out the ball out of Chapdelaine's hands just as Chapdelaine was trying to control the ball. So Darrell Wilson should get full credit for ending the 31-year drought for the Argonauts with his great defensive play.

At 3rd and 20 from their own 35-yard line, the Lions chose to punt. In the Argonauts next and final possession, Joe Barnes ran for a crucial first down that put off a lot of precious time off the clock. By the time the Lions got the ball back there was only 1-second left. If there was a time to gamble on 3rd down, it would been right then and there.

Therefore, considering the huge difficulty of the catch as well as the excellent defensive play by Darrell Wilson, I personally do not blame Chapdelaine for the Lions losing the 1983 Grey Cup. I don't think any other receiver would have caught that pass given the extreme difficulty of the catch and the great coverage by Darrell Wilson. Wilson would have punched that ball away from any receivers hands in that play. If anything, I'd rather blame the Lions defensive secondary for allowing Joe Barnes to complete several long passes in the drive that allowed the Argonauts to take the lead late in the fourth, and by allowing Cedric Minter to be totally wide open when he made the Grey Cup winning TD catch.
Last edited by Robbie on Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.
祝加拿大加式足球聯賽不列颠哥伦比亚卑詩雄獅隊今年贏格雷杯冠軍。此外祝溫哥華加人隊贏總統獎座·卡雲斯·甘保杯·史丹利盃。還每年祝溫哥華白頭浪隊贏美國足球大联盟杯。不要忘記每年祝溫哥華巨人贏西部冰球聯盟冠軍。

改建後的卑詩體育館於二十十一年九月三十日重新對外開放,首場體育活動為同日舉行的加拿大足球聯賽賽事,由主場的卑詩雄獅隊以三十三比二十四擊敗愛民頓愛斯基摩人隊。

祝你雞年行大運。

恭喜西雅图海鹰直到第四十八屆超級盃最終四十三比八大勝曾拿下兩次超級盃冠軍的丹佛野馬拿下隊史第一個超級盃冠軍。

South Pender
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:13 pm

Excellent post, Robbie. I hadn't realized that Chapdelaine had been blamed for the loss.

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MexicoLionFan
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Thanks for that Robbie...I was at that game, and it still brings back lots of frustration as we should have won that game...and for sure the Lion's offence should not have had to rely on a 2nd and 20 bomb to a rookie Canadian WR to decide the game...but still...

CHAPDELAINE SHOULD HAVE CAUGHT THE BALL, and I'm certain that Jacques would tell you the same thing...he got 2 hands on the ball and the defender had NO CONTACT with him when the ball hit both of his hands...he had to make that catch...and with our defence, we hang on and win the game...

Oh well, that's show biz...
"Condemnation Without Investigation is the height of ignorance."

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274always
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:33 pm

In Paul Woods' book 'Bouncing back' it's mentioned the ball was simply knocked down by the Argo player
Grey Cup 103. Graduation day.

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Big Time
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:36 pm

I hate Chap on an entirely new level now.

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MexicoLionFan
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:40 pm

Big Time wrote:I hate Chap on an entirely new level now.
Funny...
"Condemnation Without Investigation is the height of ignorance."

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almo89
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:52 pm

I don't know...It looks like Chap himself even thought he should have caught it judging from his reaction

South Pender
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:13 pm

I've looked at that tape several times now, and I can't tell whether Chap ever had a chance to secure the ball. He could easily have had both hands on the ball for a split second, but not long enough to secure it, with the DB knocking it out of his hands. That happens all the time.

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Toppy Vann
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:50 pm

Dave Cutler missed what would have been the winning field goal vs BC Lions in BC Place. After other players had showered and dressed a dejected Cutler was approached by his HC Hugh Campbell who said simply:

'Never be so arrogant as to think that ONE play or ONE player wins or loses a football game.'

Even after Dave retired (got unceremoniously cut in not a classy way but that's another story) he didn't appreciate Campbell's words but for me that is what a team game is about.

Having said that, that ball WAS catchable then and still looks catchable today! But to say it was why BC lost the game is nuts. Lots happened and didn't happen in that game that should have led to more BC points but to the Argos credit their def play was pretty solid as I recall from being there.

This is interesting story and on Obie as a HC and that team of Argos:

http://www.torontosun.com/2013/08/17/th ... ey-cup-win

It sounds like a group of characters like the 1994 GC winning Lions were. Notice the last words in the excerpt: "It shows what made them great — and what made them grate."
The whole truth about the 1983 Argos' Grey Cup win


bill-lankhof
By Bill Lankhof ,Toronto Sun

First posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bouncing Back lauds Bob O’Billovich for his work ethic, for assembling the building blocks of a champion. Conversely, players recall he had all the personal warmth of a popsicle.

Trifaux on Obie: “He was a taskmaster ... incredibly demanding of himself and his coaches. His thing was: ‘We are going to focus on every little detail and if we get every little detail right, we’ll win.’ But it wasn’t a friendly relationship. The Bob O’Billovich of my memories wasn’t a great communicator. He wasn’t personable. I didn’t ever feel like he really cared or worried about me.”

Woods manages to get past the normal reticence of his subjects. Notes Don Moen, a former linebacker: “He (Obie) was like: ‘I’m the boss and not your friend. You work for me’. We got treated more like we were kids. It was a dictatorship.”

While the theme of the book is the club’s 18-17 win over Vancouver that brought Toronto its first Grey Cup in 31 years, it never gets bogged down in statistics.

It’s a people book. It shows what made them great — and what made them grate.
Last edited by Toppy Vann on Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cromartie
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:50 pm

It hit him on the numbers and on his hands. In that situation, you should catch the ball.

Upper Bowl
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:13 pm

Thanks for posting Robbie.......it's not easy to look at, but at least we can share the frustration of watching it.

It may not have been the easiest catch, but it was certainly a clumsy attempt by Jacques. From my view, the biggest problem was that he jumped too soon, which often prevents receivers from making a grab. In fact, I'm not sure he had to jump at all. If Jacques had just run a couple more steps, and turned around, boxing out the DB in process, the ball would have landed in his sweet spot.

Wasn't Chapdelaine also close to catching Roy's final hail mary of the game, or was that someone else?

Such a tough loss, especially with the way that second half went. I've actually thought about creating a thread where we could debate the most heartbreaking loss: '83 or '88. Maybe that would be best left to the offseason.....

TheLionKing
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:01 pm

There's a saying in football that if you can get your hands on the football you should catch it. Chapdelaine blew it.

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SammyGreene
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:10 pm

That holding call 2 plays earlier was a killer too. The Lions were loaded with great Canadian defensive starters (Jackson, Konar, Hebeler, Klassen and Martin) but painfully thin on offence with Pankratz as their only proven Canadian reciever. As a raw Canadian rookie with only a handful of catches that season, that was one very big stage for Chaps.

This was the best memory from this game. IMHO one of the best throws by a QB in Lions history. Dewalt had just a cannon of a arm and not a bad receiver making the catch too. About 30 seconds in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dGREcEYCDQ

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Coast Mountain Lion
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:41 pm

South Pender wrote:Excellent post, Robbie. I hadn't realized that Chapdelaine had been blamed for the loss.
Heck, around here Chap gets blamed for the 1983 loss, the 1988 loss, the 2004 loss, and for that matter the 1963 loss, not to mention the 1886 Vancouver fire, the sinking of Queen of the North,the Canuck Stanley Cup riots, myriad Skytrain breakdowns, gang-related shootings in Surrey and Abbotsford, the 9/11 attacks, and global warming. :tease:

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Robbie
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Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:41 am

MexicoLionFan wrote:he got 2 hands on the ball and the defender had NO CONTACT with him when the ball hit both of his hands...
I'm not sure about that. From what I see, before Chapdelaine had full control of the ball Wilson clearly knocked the ball out of his grasp.
274always wrote:In Paul Woods' book 'Bouncing back' it's mentioned the ball was simply knocked down by the Argo player
I agree. And with his great GC saving play, Darrell Wilson should have received the MVP for Defence, which was given to Carl Brazley.
almo89 wrote:I don't know...It looks like Chap himself even thought he should have caught it judging from his reaction
I think it was total anger and frustration. Whether he could have really caught the ball, I'm sure we all agree that he and all the Lions and fans WANTED him to catch the ball.
South Pender wrote:I've looked at that tape several times now, and I can't tell whether Chap ever had a chance to secure the ball. He could easily have had both hands on the ball for a split second, but not long enough to secure it, with the DB knocking it out of his hands. That happens all the time.
Exactly. It was simply a great defensive play by Wilson to knock the ball out. It could happen to any receiver, and in this case it happened to be Chapdelaine.
Toppy Vann wrote:Having said that, that ball WAS catchable then and still looks catchable today! But to say it was why BC lost the game is nuts. Lots happened and didn't happen in that game that should have led to more BC points but to the Argos credit their def play was pretty solid as I recall from being there.
Catchable perhaps, but for the great defensive play. And yes, lots of reasons as to why BC lost and it's not just one player. With a 17-7 lead at halftime, the Lions got too overconfident and let their guard down. And also, the Lions defence didn't adjust to the different QB style of Barnes who replaced Holloway.
cromartie wrote:It hit him on the numbers and on his hands. In that situation, you should catch the ball.
Looking at the replay several times, the ball certainly hit his hands but I cannot definitely tell that the ball hit his numbers on his chest. From the front vantage point, it looks like the ball is in front of him and he was reaching out to catch it but he didn't have his body in front of it to fully trap and secure it.
Upper Bowl wrote:It may not have been the easiest catch, but it was certainly a clumsy attempt by Jacques. From my view, the biggest problem was that he jumped too soon, which often prevents receivers from making a grab. In fact, I'm not sure he had to jump at all. If Jacques had just run a couple more steps, and turned around, boxing out the DB in process, the ball would have landed in his sweet spot.

Wasn't Chapdelaine also close to catching Roy's final hail mary of the game, or was that someone else?

Such a tough loss, especially with the way that second half went. I've actually thought about creating a thread where we could debate the most heartbreaking loss: '83 or '88. Maybe that would be best left to the offseason.....
It looks like Chapdelaine leaped to try to clear himself from Wilson in case he jumped too. Not sure how easy it is to box out the DB. And Chapdelaine was just a rookie and maybe he wasn't as experienced on how to deal with such a situation so he did what he thought was best. And I guess Dewalt chose him given the fact that the other receivers like Fernandez often had double coverage on him after his early TD catch. So Dewalt took his chances on Chapdelaine who often had 1 on 1 coverage as indicated in the play in question. And the result was that this time, Chapdelaine did not win the 1 on 1 battle with Wilson.

Watch part 20 for the hail mary in which the Lions scrimmaged on their own 25 with only 1 second left. Yes, it was to Chapdelaine although Fernandez was also in the vicinity. Even if either of them caught the ball roughly at the Argonauts 43 yard line, there were at least three defenders and they wouldn't have gotten a TD unless they were trying to draw a pass interference penalty.

There's been previous talk about both the 83 and 88 losses, and it seems like the 83 loss is more heartbreaking given the fact that it was at home and there was a 19-year drought, whereas for the 1988 the Lions had just won 3 years ago and the game was in a neutral site. What I can say for sure is that unlike Chap and the 83 loss, there wasn't really any scapegoat for the 1988 loss. 1) On offence, despite the fact that Dunigan committed at least 3 turnovers with his two costly interceptions and couldn't do a routine 3rd and 1 QB sneak and was only 14-32 in passing; 2) On special teams, despite the fact that Lui was only 1-3 in field goal attempts and punted terribly against the wind unlike his opponent counterpart Bob Cameron, and 3) On defence, despite the fact that Andre Francis assigned to cover James Murphy allowed Murphy to make 5 catches for 165 yards and scored the only Winnipeg touchdown.....all three of them are well liked by Lions fans for the most part and they don't get any animosity and criticism like Chapdelaine does.
SammyGreene wrote:That holding call 2 plays earlier was a killer too.
Yeah, had it not been for that holding penalty the Lions would have gotten a fresh set of downs and may not have settled in that bomb to Chap.

-------------------------------------
This is what Bob Ackles wrote about the 1983 Grey Cup and Chapdelaine in his book The Water Boy.
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祝加拿大加式足球聯賽不列颠哥伦比亚卑詩雄獅隊今年贏格雷杯冠軍。此外祝溫哥華加人隊贏總統獎座·卡雲斯·甘保杯·史丹利盃。還每年祝溫哥華白頭浪隊贏美國足球大联盟杯。不要忘記每年祝溫哥華巨人贏西部冰球聯盟冠軍。

改建後的卑詩體育館於二十十一年九月三十日重新對外開放,首場體育活動為同日舉行的加拿大足球聯賽賽事,由主場的卑詩雄獅隊以三十三比二十四擊敗愛民頓愛斯基摩人隊。

祝你雞年行大運。

恭喜西雅图海鹰直到第四十八屆超級盃最終四十三比八大勝曾拿下兩次超級盃冠軍的丹佛野馬拿下隊史第一個超級盃冠軍。

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