Lions announce the passing of Ted Gerela

Info and tributes to former Lions who have past away

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David
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Sad news from the Den. Longtime fans will remember kicker Ted Gerela who just passed away at age 76. He was the league's first soccer-style kicker and known for his powerful leg. RIP.

https://www.bclions.com/2020/07/20/lion ... ed-gerela/


DH :cool:


Please sell the team, Mr. Braley.
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Impossible to let this news pass without adding my thoughts. I grew up watching the Lions and Ted Gerela was a favourite almost right from his first kick. I became envious of his success kicking "soccer style" so I tried to emulate him but I failed miserably, probably because I had never played soccer. I stuck with the Dave Cutler straight-on kicking style.

But he was fun to watch whether he was kicking, punting, or helping out wherever he could. Among his career stats you might be surprised to discover he rushed 16 times for 82 yards as a backup fullback, caught 13 passes for 109 yards, and even returned punts and kickoffs! (22 returns for 248 yards) I had forgotten all of that. And although I can find no stats for tackles made, I vaguely recall he was also tried as a backup linebacker/DB, with 2 interceptions to his credit.

In his first season with the Leos he won the Dr. Beattie Martin Award as the West's top rookie, and had there been an Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award back then Ted would likely have been a unanimous winner in 1968. Winning the scoring title and kicking 30 field goals that season set a new standard for kickers in all of professional football and ushered in the age of the kicking specialist. Although his field goal percentage was low by modern standards, it was decent for his era - 123/271 - and he was noted for his ability to routinely kick field goals of 50 yards or more.

RIP Ted, and thanks for all the great memories #35!


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Ted Gerela revolutionized the kicking game. Until he demonstrated the power of soccer-style kicking, all CFL kickers were toe-punchers. Many were positional players who often tied the toes of their boots up in the air before kicking and then untied them to return to their regular positions. RIP.


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I asked PostMedia's Ed Willes why no mention of Ted (when they went with 2 pages of Jack McIlhargey....and then incorrectly captioned a photo from the 1970s as Dennis Ververgaert!). Ed said that he's writing a piece for Monday, but to send him what I've got. Here goes:

According to Lui (who looked up to Ted when he was a kid), Ted and Jan Stenerud were the first soccer-style kickers in N.A. https://post.futurimedia.com/ckstam/pla ... 25705.html

A lot of people didn't realize Ted's versatility. He was a back-up fullback, returned punts and kicks, and even played DB (I have a DVD of him playing DB in a game at Empire in 1969).

This is from the 1973 CFL Illustrated (B.C. Lions), "In 1969 under Jim Champion - and later (Jackie) Parker for the last game of the season, plus one playoff game - Gerela was a regular in the defensive backfield. Although he got beat deep on occasions, he impressed everyone with his hitting, putting several players out of games with his vicious shoulder tackles."

According to John Wirtanen in the book, B.C. Lions Football: The First 50 Years, "...Years later Gerela told sports writer Gary Kingston, "There wasn't a lot of practice time, particularly when I had to spend so much time learning the fullback and running back plays. And at that time, unlike today, we didn't concentrate much on the kicking game. I could never understand it because it was one-third of the game. Anyway, in 1974, I went to Eagle Keys and told him I wanted to concentrate on kicking. Eagle said, 'You're good enough to do other things, we can't afford to have you just do that.' Since he wasn't going to let me specialize...I retired. (p. 96).

"Ted Gerela, aka Teddy Bear, is the teams leading scorer (1969) and second in the WFC scoring race. Teammates say he "...has calves like two loaves of French bread." Reporters agree and state he has trouble pulling up his elastic-bottomed pants up his legs. (During warm-ups in Calgary on July 6th (1969), Ted kicked a wind-at-his-back 67-yard field goal that left fans gasping). (p. 109).

He held a CFL record for field goals in a season (30), in 1968.
Won the Bobby Bourne Trophy in 1968 (Most Popular B.C. Lions Player)
In 1970, he was 30 for 30 on converts (then a rarity).
Played in 1970 All-Star game.


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Please sell the team, Mr. Braley.
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From Ed Willes's Monday Musings column (7/27/20):

When Lui Passaglia was growing up in East Van, he made a practise of arriving early for B.C. Lions’ games at Empire Stadium to watch Ted Gerela warm up.

“He made it look so easy,” Passaglia said of the Lions’ former placekicker. “The ball just exploded off his foot. He had these tree trunks for legs and I wish I had his quads.

“I could have played another five years (!)”

Gerela passed away last week and he deserved a better send off from this province. His career with the Leos lasted just seven years but, in that time, he handled the placekicking chores, played in the secondary, backed up at fullback and punted for one year. He was the CFL’s first soccer-style kicker and his 30 field goals in 1968 was the most by any kicker in North America at the time.

His brother Roy, of course, kicked for the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and another brother, Metro, is in the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. But Ted Gerela was an original who left his mark.



DH :cool:


Please sell the team, Mr. Braley.
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