Top 10 Exclusive | Quarterbacks

The Winnipeg Football Club has 90 years of history to celebrate, dating way back to the days of leather helmets and the Great Depression.

Over that time there have been countless great plays authored by superstar players… and average Joes, too. There have been memorable games featuring iconic moments and, dating back to 1930, this franchise has captured a Grey Cup championship 11 times.

Each week cracks open the record book, dusts off the archives and dives deep into our collective memory banks for our Top 10 Exclusive list.

This week: Top 10 Quarterbacks

It’s a list that is, frankly, ridiculously talented. They are champions, icons and hall of famers. They are record holders and individual hardware winners.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have had a star-studded cast of quarterbacks line up behind centre over the years, many of them household names in this town decades after they tossed their last pass.

Now, a discussion on the Top 10 QBs in this franchise’s history is obviously a subjective one that covers different eras and evolutions of the game. So, for the purpose of this list we’re simply ranking them by their career passing yardage numbers. The rest of the debate, well, that’s up to you…

  1. Dieter Brock, 1974-83 – 29,623 passing yards

He exited under acrimonious terms – ultimately being traded to Hamilton for Tom Clements – and bolted to the NFL at 34, leading the Los Angeles Rams to a division title.

But ‘The Birmingham Rifle’ grew into a star as a Blue Bomber, coming to Winnipeg from Jacksonville State and filling the sky with passes.

He’s both a Canadian Football and Winnipeg Football Club hall of famer, and spent years making up with the fan base here. Twice named the CFL Most Outstanding Player – in 1980 and 1981 – he’s also now a member of the Bombers Ring of Honour.

  1. Khari Jones, 2000-04 – 20,175 passing yards

Now the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes, Jones arrived in a trade with the B.C. Lions and began his days in Winnipeg backing up Kerwin Bell. He assumed the starting role midway through 2000 and helped lead the team to a division title.

A year later he was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player and in 2002 he set Bombers records with 48 touchdown passes and 5,334 passing yards.

He was traded to Calgary in 2004 and spent 2005 in Hamilton before retiring.

  1. Kevin Glenn, 2004-08, 2016 – 18,116 passing yards

He began his career in Saskatchewan, but became a full-time starter in Winnipeg in 2004 after the trade of Khari Jones. Glenn posted his best numbers here in 2007, leading the club to a Grey Cup berth – unfortunately breaking his arm late in the East Final – and throwing for 5,117 yards and 25 TDs that season.

  1. Ken Ploen, 1957-67 – 16,470 passing yards

In a word: legend. A gifted athlete who came to the Bombers after helping Iowa win the 1957 Rose Bowl, Ploen was part of four Grey Cup championship teams in his years with Winnipeg and retired as the club’s all-time leading passer.

He’s a member of both the Canadian Football and Winnipeg Football Club Halls of Fame and remains one of this town’s greatest sports figures.

  1. Matt Nichols, 2015-19 – 14,977 passing yards

He’s a member of the Toronto Argonauts now, but was part of the rebirth of the Bombers during his days with the club. A respected leader, Nichols played hurt and played with passion and certainly earned his share of the credit for helping the franchise end the Grey Cup drought in 2019.

  1. Tom Clements, 1983-87 – 14,917 passing yards

Clements arrived halfway through 1983 in the deal for Dieter Brock – a trade of future hall of famers – and settled in with a Bombers squad primed to win. He was behind centre in the 1984 Grey Cup, was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 1987 and is another player in both the team’s hall of fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

  1. Don Jonas, 1971-74 – 12,291 passing yards

As colourful as any player to pull on a Bombers jersey, Jonas arrived in Winnipeg after the Toronto Argonauts signed Notre Dame star Joe Theisman in 1971. That year Jonas – who also handled the placekicking chores — became the first Bombers player to be named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player. He was traded midway through 1974 for Chuck Ealey.

  1. Matt Dunigan, 1992-94 – 11,504 passing yards

Dunigan’s arm strength rivalled that of Brock and he played the game like a linebacker in a quarterback’s body. He fought through injuries during his three years in Winnipeg, leaving many to wonder ‘what if’ about some dominant teams that missed him in his absences – particularly in the ’93 Grey Cup.

His 713-yard passing game in 1994 might be the CFL equivalent of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in the NBA.

  1. Jack Jacobs, 1950-54 – 11,094 passing yards

Before Brock and Jones, before Ploen and Glenn, there was Jack Jacobs. He came to Winnipeg after six seasons in the NFL, primarily as a punter, with the promise he could play quarterback. His passing skills had fans packing old Osborne Stadium and led, in part, to the construction of Winnipeg Stadium – ‘The House That Jack Built.’

  1. Tom Burgess, 1990-91 – 8,170 passing yards

Burgess never received high marks for artistic impression, but he consistently got it done. Acquired in a Canada Day trade with Saskatchewan in 1990, he was the offensive MVP of the Grey Cup later that year and averaged over 4,000 yards in his two years in Winnipeg. He left for Ottawa in ’92 after the Bombers signed Dunigan in free agency.

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