Frank Filchock

Frank Filchock played his college football at Indiana from 1934 to 1937 and was drafted in the second round of the 1938 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers). Filchock was an understudy to #1 QB Sam Baugh and the duo was known by the nick names Slingin Sam and Flingin Frank.  After a year with Pittsburgh, Filchock moved on to Washington and then served in the Navy for two years during the war.  Filchock returned to Washington in 1944 and was traded to the New York Giants where Steve Owen was the head coach, and wanted a QB to run his A Formation.  Filchock was involved in a scandal surrounding the 1946 NFL Championship game with Chicago.   A story came out that Filchock and Merle Hapes (who also played in the CFL) took money to try and throw the championship game.  Hapes admitted being approached, Filchock denied ever being approached.  Hapes was not allowed to play in the championship game, while Filchock played 50 minutes and threw two touchdown passes in a 24-14 loss.  There were trials of some of the gamblers involved, allegations made, and Hapes and Filchock were suspended even though there was no proof that either player took any money at all.  Banned from playing in the NFL and any other league in the States, Filchock came to Canada to continue playing.

Through no fault of his, controversy continued to follow Filchock in Canada. At the time, players in the CFL were a mix of Canadians and Americans.  The Canadian players were not paid (though they did receive some gifts), and the Americans, which were a relatively new phenomenon in football in Canada were paid. Since football in Canada was officially an amateur sport, that payment was not allowed, but almost all the teams were doing it and everyone turned a blind eye to it until Filchock arrived in Canada.  The Hamilton Tigers (who would merge with the Hamilton Wildcats to form the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1950) outbid the Ottawa Rough Riders for Filchock, and he signed as a player-coach for a reported salary of $7000. The signing of such a well nown player brought the whole issue of payments into the open.  The CRU (Canadian Rugby Union), who oversaw footbal in Canada would not grant Filchock a playing certificate.  Filchock played four games for the Tigers in 1947, and the team had to forfeit those games.  In 1948, Filchock returned to the Tigers, but the team switched leagues in a dispute over revenue sharing with the IRFU (Interprovincial Rugby Football Union) or Big Four.  In modern times, the Big Four would become the East Division of the CFL.  The dispute was largely over Filchock as the other teams in the league saw increased gate reveue due to Filchock, but the Tigers had to pay his salary and didn't have a large enough stadium to benefit.  The Tigers and Filchock moved to the ORFU (Ontario Rugby Football Union) which was considered a step down from the IRFU by most.  In 1949, Lew Heyman of Montreal signed Filchock, and he played two seasons for the Alouettes in 1949 and 1950.   Filchock led the Alouettes to their first Grey Cup win in 1949, when they defeated the defending cup chamption Calgary Stampeders 28-15.  Filchock completed 11 of 19 passes in the game for 204 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Playing defense, he also intercepted three Stampeder passes.  In July of 1950, the NFL lifted the suspension of Filchock, but when the Giants failed to make him an offer, citing a move towards youth, Filchock returned to Montreal to play in the 1950 season.  When Montreal finished out of the playoffs, Filchock returned to the NFL to play one game for Baltimore.  The Colts folded after that season, leaving Filchock to come back to Canada to play football.  Filchock played two years in Edmonton (1951 and 1952) and finished his playing career as a player-coach with Saskatchewan in 1953.  After retiring as a player, Filchock continued to coach the Roughriders through 1957.  Filchock later coached Sarnia in the ORFU, was an assistant coach with the Calgary Stampeders, became the first head coach of the Denver Broncos of the new NFL (for two seasons) and finished his coaching career with the Quebec Rifles of the United Football League.

For more details on the career and the scandal, see the Wikipedia Article on Frank Filchock.  Frank Filchock died on June 20, 1994.

NFL Stats for Frank Filchock

Games Played, Passing and Rushing
Year Team GP PA PC % Yds TD Int Sacked Yds TC Yds Avg Avg TD
1947 HT 4
1948 HT 9                          
1949 MON 12                          
1950 MON 12                          
1951 EDM
194 105 54.2 1826 12 10

3 -11 -3.7 -3.7 0
1952 EDM
74 41 55.4 560 7 3

4 -9 -2.3 -2.3 0
1953 SASK
106 62 58.5 925 5 7 0 0 9 -14 -1.6 -1.6 0

The rushing stats for 1951-53 included losses while passing (sacks).

Year Team Int Yds Avg TDInt Long
1947 HT          
1948 HT          
1949 MON          
1950 MON          
1951 EDM 0 0 0 0 0
1952 EDM 1 15 15 0 15
1953 SASK 0 0 0 0 0