Canada is on the Raid


Last week I wrote about Kellen Winslow's "Fantasy Hall of Fame" performance when he pulled in five touchdown receptions in one game against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 22, 1981. That receiving showcase actually only tied the NFL record for most TD catches in a game. The first person to accomplish the feat was Bob Shaw of the Chicago Cardinals who pulled in five scoring grabs against the old Baltimore Colts (a different franchise than current day Baltimore/Indianapolis franchise) on Oct. 2, 1950.

The story of Shaw is rather interesting. I will use this blog to briefly tell his story. He was coached by the legendary Paul Brown at Ohio State where he earned All-American honors in 1941 and '42. After graduation he enlisted in the Army where he was awarded a Bronze Star with the 104th Infantry in World War II, seeing service in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany.

Upon his discharge in 1945 he immediately joined the Cleveland Rams where he saw only spot duty for the next two seasons as a receiver and played mostly on defense. A spell of bad luck sidelined him in 1947 and '48 when he cracked a vertebra and suffered a severe neck injury. He battled back, however, to have a respectable year in 1949 with 29 receptions for 535 yards and 6 TDs. He was then traded to the Cardinals for the 1950 season.

It was that year that Shaw really made a name for himself. To go along with his record 5-TD performance against the Colts, he finished the season with 48 receptions for 971 yards (which equated to an eye-popping 20.2-yard average) and a league-leading 12 scoring grabs. His efforts earned him second team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl selection.

All of a sudden, Shaw was a highly-touted commodity. At the same time the Canadian Football League began to raid players south of their border. Many NFL stars such as Frank Filchock and Jack Jacobs began to travel north for the promise of greater money. Shaw, who had initially resigned with Cardinals to play with the team in 1951, was a target of the Calgary Stampeders. The club's promise to Shaw was to have him become player-coach. The offer apparently was too much for Shaw to turn down and he jumped on his contract with Chicago. The Cardinals were stunned. A great deal on legal wrangling followed but the move stuck.

Shaw remained with Calgary for two seasons before he retired as a player to focus solely on coaching where he enjoyed a fairly distinguished career. Shaw served as the ends coach for the Baltimore Colts in 1958 when the team won what many refer to as the "Greatest Game Ever Played" against the New York Giants in that year's title game. He was Roger Staubach's head coach during the quarterback's time at the New Mexico Military Institute. He also served as head coach with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats where he was named CFL Coach of the Year in 1976.

Previous Next
Go back to all blog listings