Proud to be Canadian: NFL Hall of Famers

Proud to be Canadian: NFL Hall of Famers
02 Mar
2023
Not in Hall of Fame

There is a considerable history of Canadian players who have moved south to play in the world’s largest pigskin league, and these players have made waves at some of the top teams in the league. Even right now in the NFL, there are 25 players who have hailed from Canada and show up regularly in the league playing as nose tackles, cornerbacks, receivers and a number of other positions. As we look towards the biggest game of the American football season, and Canadian fans check out Bet99’s Super Bowl bet selection, we’re taking a look back into NFL history for some of the most prestigious Canadian NFL names.

Two Canadian players have achieved the biggest possible single-player accolade in the sport - entry into the NFL’s Hall of Fame. It seems certain that others will follow - maybe some of those currently playing in the league will make it once they have retired - but for now, we’re going to look at the two men who have climbed the ladder to the Valhalla of American gridiron achievement, and get an idea for why they have been recognised among the best to pull on a pair of cleats.

Bronco Nagurski

 

In recent years, outside of the occasional trick play, football stars have tended to specialise in a specific position, or at least limited their involvement to offensive or defensive play. Back in the day, when squads were smaller, it was not uncommon for players to do their thing on offense and then, when the ball went over to the other team, turn around and play defense. Nagurski was one such player. As a fullback for the Chicago Bears, he racked up more than 4000 yards total offense, threw seven touchdown passes, and then switched around to play as a defensive lineman. In that role, he was pretty much unblockable.

One story about Nagurski goes that he once carried for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins, shaking off two linebackers and watching two defensive backs bouncing off him on his way. He then bounced off the goalposts into a brick wall behind the endzone, and as he joined the huddle for the following PAT told his teammates “That last guy hit me awfully hard”. Maybe true, maybe not, but entirely believable about Nagurski.

Arnie Weinmeister

 

Saksatchewan native Weinmeister entered the American game in 1945, two years after Nagurski’s retirement. He played exclusively as a defensive tackle, first for the Brooklyn/NY Yankees of the All-America Football Conference, and then for the New York Giants before returning to Canada to play for the BC Lions for a couple of seasons. Across 71 NFL games, he recovered eight fumbles, and gained a fearsome reputation as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive lineman. Although his career span was a relatively short eight years, his impact on the game was enough to elect him to the HoF in 1984.

Standing at 6’ 4 in his playing days and weighing 235lb, Weinmeister was one of the biggest tackles playing the game at the time. This, allied to his incredible pace for a lineman and his ethos of always hitting the other guy first (and hardest) made him a force to be reckoned with at the highest level of the game.

Committee Chairman

Kirk Buchner, "The Committee Chairman", is the owner and operator of the site.  Kirk can be contacted at [email protected] .

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