CFL Football – Lui Passaglia
CFL HALL OF FAME MEMBER
Position: Placekicker / Punter
Born: June 7, 1954, Vancouver BC
University: Simon Fraser
High School: Notre Dame
Draft: 1976 1st Round, 5th Overall
Long before Roberto ever heard the bass drenched cheer, Vancouver fans rained their admiration for one of the greatest BC Lions to ever put on a set of football pads.
For a quarter of a century, Passaglia punched his time card and took to the field at Empire Field and BC Place, a mark unmatched by any other player in CFL history.
When one thinks of untouchable sports records (Wilt’s 100 point game, Gretzky’s 200 point seasons, Hank Aaron and Roger Marris’ home run records *) few figure Passaglia into the same conversation as one of sports greatest.
Playing 408 games in his twenty five years with the Leos, Passaglia’s resume features such individual career notches as Most Total Points Scored (3,991), most consecutive converts (560) and most converts (1,045).
Add to his long list of successes, three time Grey Cup champion (85,94,00) and four time CFL All-Star (79,83,84,00) and it is shocking that Passaglia doesn’t get more love outside of British Columbia.
Those who think that Lui was just a kicker, let it be known that his resume also includes a pair of touchdowns, one during is first game as a Lion and the other to close out his on field contributions to the club twenty five years later.
Growing up playing quarterback and wide receiver at East Vancouver’s Notre Dame High School, where he captured three BCHS championships in four years, Passaglia traded in his navy/white/silver uniform for a red and white Simon Fraser University jersey and at the same time swapped launching points with his arm for ones with his footwork.
While many frown upon kickers, as they tend to have less contact throughout the course of their career than the other one the field, they are still susceptible to injury (Bill Gramatica anyone?) and aging.
just as QB’s are expected to make the “simple” passes and receivers are expected to make the “obvious” catches, fans and coaches pretty much have their kickers inked in to make the extra point or the field goal each time they take the field.
Throughout his career, Passaglia missed convert perfection only three times, with only three missed opportunities.
As far as three point opportunities, Lui has that on lock as well with 875 career field goals, with a cushion of 200 over the next closest tally.
Do kickers get the girls?
Do they get the big contracts?
Do they get the big time TV commercials and product sponsorship?
Chances are none of that matters to Passaglia as he closed out his career with the Lions with a career full of highlights and accomplishments that a sports fan can only dream of.
A touchdown in his final regular season game, the Grey Cup winning field goal in what was his final season and a three point conversion that took place off the field (BC Lions Wall of Fame, BC Sports Hall of Fame, CFL Hall of Fame) that cements Passaglia as one of the greatest football players to grace the gridiron.
* I personally do not consider McGuire and Bonds as the current record holders due to the steroid era*