A Beginners Guide to the Ottawa Redblacks

With two seasons under their belt, the Ottawa Redblacks have shown this city what they’re all about.

The professional football team went from winning only a couple games in their opening season to making it all the way to the Grey Cup this past year.

For those of you new to Ottawa, or anyone who wants to support the team in the upcoming season but would like to know a little more, here’s your guide to the Ottawa Redblacks.

The Redblacks are a professional football team playing in the CFL. Their run started in 2014, and the Redblacks are the third CFL franchise to play in Ottawa. The former teams were the Ottawa Rough Riders, who played from 1876 to 1996 and the Renegades, who had an unsuccessful stint between 2002 and 2005.

The team plays home games at the TD Place Stadium, where lumberjack mascot Big Joe is a crowd favourite. It has become a tradition for a team of woodcutters to chop off the end of a log every time the Redblacks score a touchdown.

In their first season, the team finished last in the East Division with only two wins the entire year. It was a building year and in the off-season trades were made, players were acquired and the Redblacks came back strong.

The Redblacks took 12 games this past season, winning the chance to play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the East Division Championship. They beat the Tiger-Cats 35-28 to the cheers of a home crowd at TD Place. For the first time in 34 years an Ottawa team was on its way to the Grey Cup.

In November, the Redblacks and fans travelled to Winnipeg in pursuit of the championship. But their dream was not to be. After a tough 26-20 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, the Redblacks ended their second season.

A new attitude, successful player development and small changes made in the off-season contributed to the Redblack’s success this past year.

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Coach Rick Campbell’s team-first attitude helped transform the Redblacks into a cohesive field on and off the field. His work helped change the Redblacks from a last place team to the winning team fans adored in only one year. He was named 2015 CFL coach of the year.

Top quarterback Henry Burris also led his team to success. After a troubled year in 2014, the 40-year-old quarterback came back a renewed player. He led the league in passing with 5,703 yards, set a new CFL record with 481 pass completions and won the league’s outstanding player of the year.

Now in the off-season, the Redblacks are making changes and fans are looking forward to cheering on their team for another great year.

Make sure to stay tuned to Ottawa Life Magazine for off season updates and continuing coverage.