They called him The Chief or Indian Jack, when it was still politically correct to do so.
But whatever nickname Jack Jacobs went by, he will go down in football history as the man who introduced the forward pass as an integral element of the offence in what has become the pass-happy Canadian Football League, and many argue he was one of the best Winnipeg Blue Bombers of all time.
Long after he was named to both the CFL (1963) and the Blue Bombers (1984) halls of fame, Jacobs is being inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements during what was only a five-year career as a brilliant quarterback, defensive back and kicker with the Winnipeg franchise.
Jacobs was born in Holdenville, Okla., in 1920 and he died in 1974 in North Carolina. But in between, he played with the NFL’s Cleveland Rams, Washington and Green Bay, leading the NFL in punting with the Packers in 1947. But it was with the Bombers from 1950-54 that he became a gridiron legend.
He transformed the Canadian game from a methodical running competition into an aerial battle, completing 709 of 1,330 passes for 11,094 yards in those five seasons. In 1952, he threw six touchdown passes against Calgary in one game and the next season, was 31 of 48 vs. Hamilton.
In November of 1953, Jacobs came off the bench to lead the Bombers to a comeback victory over the Edmonton Eskimos, tossing three TDs. On Labour Day in Regina in 1951, the Bombers trailed the Saskatchewan Roughriders 22-6 with less that 10 minutes left and Jacobs threw TD passes for another victory.
Altogether, Jacobs tossed 104 TD passes in five seasons, an average of more than 20 per campaign. Twice he was named an all-star (1950 and 1952) and twice he led the Bombers to the Grey Cup (1950, 1953); in 1952, he won the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player in the Western Conference.
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