LISTEN: How Grey Cup trash talk sounded in 1958, before another Ticats-Blue Bombers rematch


Published December 8, 2021 at 7:01 pm

Diehard football lovers in Canada once got their hate on through the majesty of song.

Sixty-three years ago, in 1958, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers were pitted against each other in a second consecutive Grey Cup game, just as they are this week in Hamilton. That time around, it had been only 12 months since their last showdown. And, a Winnipeg radio station, CKRC, produced what would later be known as a diss track, directed at a “loud-mouthed coach from the East,” Hamilton bench boss Jim Trimble.

It was entitled, “Hang Down Your Head Jim Trimble,” and sung to the tune of a popular song of the day. The artists, so-called, were a group male vocalists named The Terrible Three. That might have been in reference to the folk group The Kingston Trio, who were vying with Elvis Presley for No. 1 on the charts at the time. The lyrics predicted what Blue Bombers coach Bud Grant — one of only three men who is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame — and his “Winnipeg boys” would do to Hamilton in the Grey Cup.

Some sample lyrics:

Hang down your head Jim Trimble
Hang down your head and cry
The 29th of November
Reckon where will you be
Down in the lonesome locker
Crying in misery

Modern fans might open ire on opposing players, ideally within the limits of socially acceptable behaviour. Head coaches such as Hamilton’s Orlondo Steinauer and Winnipeg’s Michael O’Shea, who are practised in the artless art of saying little, might not angry up the blood of rival teams’ fans. Performers such as Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence or slotback Brandon (Speedy) Banks might be more likely to draw some mean tweets.

Jim Trimble, who coached the Tiger-Cats in the late 1950s and early ’60s, though, was a larger-than-life persona. That same year, legendary Canadian sportswriter Trent Frayne described him as “a bear of a man… who stands six feet two, weighs two hundred and fifty pounds and owns a scarlet vocabulary.”

That same profile in Maclean’s magazine noted that Trimble was ahead of his time in seeing his coaching position as a marketing role. Frayne’s profile noted that Trimble once made 52 after-dinner speeches in two months during the off-season to promote the Tiger-Cats and the CFL. Keep in mind, this was before Ontario had 400-series highways.

That bombast contrasted to his counterpart, Grant, whose stoicism played well on the Prairies, first in Winnipeg and later with the Minnesota Vikings.

One reason there was beef stemmed from how the 1957 Grey Cup had played out in Toronto. Not unlike Winnipeg heading into 2019 matchup, the Tiger-Cats were suspected of being sporadic on offence. But Trimble predicted Hamilton would score at least 30 points, and lo and behold, they beat the Blue Bombers 32-7. But Winnipeggers felt like Trimble could have called off the dogs before the Ticats tacked on the last touchdown.

That was still living in Blue Bombers fans’ heads a year later, if one goes by the lyrics.

You said we were crybabies
This is the way you felt
Now your tears will start fallin’
When you meet Jim Van Pelt

Those lyrics were prescient. Jim Van Pelt, who was Winnipeg’s rookie quarterback, was the game’s star. Van Pelt scored in every way except passing, rushing for one touchdown, catching a throwback pass for a second TD, and also handling the placekicking en route to scoring a then Grey Cup-record 22 points to lead Winnipeg to a 35-28 victory.


The records show that Winnipeg, under Grant, went 4-2 in Grey Cups against Hamilton in the late 1950s and ’60s. Grant then took over his home state’s NFL team, and the Vikings became the 0-and-4-runner to the 1990s Buffalo Bills.

Minnesota played in four of the first 11 Super Bowl games, and lost all of them, by average of 15 points. Nevertheless, he was the first person to be inducted into in both halls of fame, later joined by coach Marv Levy and quarterback Warren Moon.

Rob Olson on Twitter: “Legendary coach Bud Grant at his official portrait unveiling at the ⁦@MNHistoryCenter⁩ … At 94, he remains both an engaging and imposing Minnesotan!” / Twitter

Trimble, who died at age 87 in 2006, is on the short list of dual Grey Cup and Super Bowl champions. He spent two decades scouting with the New York Giants, and was part of their staff when they won Super Bowl XX to end the 1986 season.

He also had a perhaps more lasting legacy. In the 1960s, when he was between coaching gigs, Trimble and a friend invented the modern ‘slingshot’ goal post, which needed only one post instead of two, and had the crossbar suspended over the goal line. The posts were adopted by the CFL in 1966 and by the NFL a year later.

Thanks to Trimble, the hazard of running into the post and getting hurt was reduced significantly. For that contribution, his descendants should have their heads held high.

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