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This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Stampeders’ 1992 Grey Cup championship squad.
In the coming months, we’ll be taking a look back at the squad that snapped the Stamps’ 21-year title drought and the cast of characters responsible for the conquest.
This time, we take a look at receiver Derrick Crawford.
In 1992: 31 years old, 3rd season with Stamps
Regular season: Played 17 games and made 47 catches for 714 yards and five touchdowns. He also had 24 punt-return yards and 392 kickoff-return yards
Post-season: Played in both the West final and the Grey Cup and had six catches for 162 yards in the championship game
Trivia time: Who was the Stamps’ leading receiver in the 1992 Grey Cup?
The obvious answer would be all-star Allen Pitts, who led the Red and White with 103 grabs during the regular season. Another good guess would be super slotback David Sapunjis, a favourite target of Stamps quarterback Doug Flutie in those days.
A sneaky choice would be Carl Bland, a guy who was somewhat less famous than Pitts and the Sponge but nevertheless joined them in the 1,000-yard receiving club in 1992.
However, the correct response is none of the above. Move to the head of the class and give yourself a gold star if you said “Derrick Crawford.”
Make no mistake, Crawford was a fine receiver. While he was overshadowed by the trio of Pitts, Sapunjis and Bland with their 252 combined catches for 3,960 yards and 21 touchdowns, Crawford had a respectable regular season in 1992 with 47 catches for 714 yards and five scores.
Still, his performance in the championship game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that season – six catches for a whopping 162 yards – was unexpected. In fact, Crawford had been shut out in the receiving department in the Stamps’ West final victory over Edmonton, although he did contribute 79 yards in punt and kickoff returns in that contest.
But the diminutive speedster came up big in the big game as he averaged 27 yards on his six receptions including a 41-yarder. And it’s not like the Blue Bombers shut down the Big Three – who combined for 276 yards and Pitts and Sapunjis each had a touchdown as Calgary downed Winnipeg 24-10.
Crawford played a total of four seasons with the Red and White, including 1,000-yard performances in his debut campaign with Calgary (1990) and in his final year (1993).
His CFL time also included a 1995 stint with the short-lived Birmingham Barracudas. It was the final stop of his playing career.
Prior to coming to Canada, Crawford starred for the United States Football League’s Memphis Showboats – in the same city he was born and had played college – in 1984 and 1985 and then joined the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers in 1986.