April 1, 2024

The story behind the statue: George Reed and an iconic image

Today, we look back at George Reed looking back.

The accompanying image shows the legendary Saskatchewan Roughriders fullback peeking over his left shoulder, scanning the field for any would-be tacklers, while sprinting for a touchdown against the visiting Calgary Stampeders.

If that image looks familiar, well, it should.

It is the prototype for the Reed statue that is located outside Mosaic Stadium.

All we had on file at the outset was that priceless photograph — without any details.

We were able to drill down to the specifics via the process of elimination.

The first step was to establish a timeline, with the assistance of the three Calgary players who are shown on Taylor Field’s east sideline — receiver John Senst (No. 74), offensive lineman Lanny Boleski (63) and quarterback Jim Lindsey (12).

Senst and Lindsey played for Calgary from 1971 to 1973. The 1973 season was Boleski’s eighth as a Stampeder.

Anyway, the parameters are 1971 to 1973.

The weather looks nice, so we were able to narrow down the sample size to Stampeders visits in the spring, summer or early fall of 1971, 1972 or 1973. The possibilities …

July 30, 1971: Calgary 21, Saskatchewan 0.

July 21, 1972: Saskatchewan 15, Calgary 7 (pre-season).

Aug. 27, 1972: Saskatchewan 35, Calgary 3.

Sept. 9, 1973: Calgary 25, Saskatchewan 8.

Now, in which of those games was Reed home free for a touchdown or a long gain?

Not in 1971 (seven carries for 35 yards, with a long gain of 10; no receptions).

Possibly on July 21, 1972, when he scored from 26 yards out after catching a screen pass from Bubba Wyche.

Definitely on Aug. 27, 1972, when he scored on a 59-yard run — the longest touchdown of his illustrious CFL career.

Cross out 1973, because Reed’s longest gain during that early-September contest was courtesy of an 18-yard run — a decent gain, of course, but not an off-to-the-races kind of play.

That brings us back to 1972. Which game is it?

It has to be the late-August meeting with Calgary, because the pre-season contest was a night game that didn’t begin until 8 o’clock. The photo shown above was clearly taken during the day.

So there you have it — the story behind the statue.

Reed, for the record, crossed the goal line at 1:39 of the third quarter after turning a second-and-three play into a long gainer.

That was one of four big plays that the home side turned into six points on Aug. 27, 1972.

Ron Lancaster threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Tom Campana, who scored 6:18 into the game.

But the defence matched the Ronnie and George Show for fireworks, producing two rapid-fire interception-return TDs.

Bruce Bennett ignited the pick-six-fest by intercepting Jerry Keeling and sprinting 112 yards to pay dirt at 6:40 of the second quarter.

Just 3:34 later, Lewis Cook stepped in front of a Keeling aerial and waltzed 98 yards for a major.
Cook also ran for 37 yards after intercepting Lindsey. The 135 interception-return yards by Cook are an enduring Roughriders single-game record.

Bennett’s 112-yarder also stands as the longest interception return in Roughriders history.

Over the course of the afternoon, Saskatchewan returned four interceptions for a total of 291 yards — the latter being a total that remains a CFL single-game standard.

As for Reed, the 59-yard scoring jaunt was his sixth (and final) run of 50-plus yards during a career that would last 13 seasons.

The 59-yarder was also Reed’s only TD of 50-plus yards, period.

His other 50-something runs are as follows:

71 — vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Oct. 2, 1966.

69— at Calgary, Sept. 29, 1968.

56 — vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Oct. 6, 1971.

55 — vs. Montreal Alouettes, Sept. 7, 1964.

50 — vs. Hamilton, Oct 9, 1967.

Reed’s six running plays of 50-plus yards are the most in Roughriders history.

Kenton Keith is next in line with five, followed by Ed Buchanan, Gabe Patterson, Ray Purdin and Bobby Thompson with four. Ken Charlton, Darren Davis, Sammy Pierce and Marcus Thigpen each ran for 50-plus on three occasions.

Reed’s big-play resume also includes receptions for gains of 71 (1969) and 50 (1963), along with a 62-yard kickoff return (1964).

With nine plays of 50-plus yards on offence or special teams, Reed is tied with current Roughriders returner Mario Alford and former special-teams standout Tristan Jackson for 12th on the team’s All-Time list.

In just two years with Saskatchewan, Alford has gained 50-plus on four punt returns, three kickoff returns and two missed field goal returns. Jackson reached the 50 mark on six kickoff returns and three missed field goal returns.

The 50-plus list is led by Jeff Fairholm, who registered his 25 longest gains on receptions.

Weston Dressler ranks second with 22 (14 receptions, three punt returns, three missed field goal returns, two kickoff returns).

Bobby Thompson is third with 20 (14 receptions, four runs, two kickoff returns).

Fairholm, Dressler and Thompson are followed on the all-purpose 50-plus list by Tom Campana (15), Dwight Edwards (13), Corey Holmes (13), Albert Brown (12), Gord Barwell (11), Ray Purdin (10), Reed, Jackson and Alford.


A note about Jim Lindsey …

Lindsey, No. 12 in the accompanying photo, was a Roughrider for 13 days.

He was acquired from Calgary for running back John Lanier on July 8, 1974, only to be traded to the Toronto Argonauts on July 21 for defensive lineman George Wells.

Lindsey completed eight of 15 passes for 66 yards while dressing for 11 games with the 1974 Argonauts, with whom he made his final stop in the CFL.

As a first-year Roughrider, Wells was named a CFL All-Star in 1974. He also made the West’s All-Star Team in 1975 and 1976.

Wells was traded to Hamilton on Aug. 28, 1978 for Mike Samples, who was a member of the Roughriders’ defensive line until 1983.

Samples, a two-time West All-Star, made the CFL’s All-Star team in 1982. He entered the SaskTel Plaza of Honour in 1991.