Penn State Alum John Hufnagel Coaches Stampeders to Canadian Football League Title
The Calgary Stampeders, coached by former Penn State quarterback John Hufnagel, beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 20-16 to take home the Grey Cup on Sunday afternoon. If you’re unaccustomed with the finer details of the Canadian Football League, the Grey Cup is Canada’s version of the Super Bowl.
Hufnagel was the starting quarterback for Penn State from 1970-72, and he guided the Nittany Lions to a 26-3 record over three years. His best season came in 1972, where he was an All-American and finished sixth in Heisman voting. Hufnagel passed for 2,039 yards during the 1972 season, and was the first Nittany Lion quarterback to ever throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season.
The Denver Broncos took Hufnagel in the 14th round of the NFL draft, but the former Penn State signal caller only lasted three seasons in the NFL before jumping for the CFL. From there, Hufnagel would play for four different teams before beginning his coaching career for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1987 as a player-coach.
As a coach, Hufnagel spent six years as the offensive coordinator for the Stampeders and even made a brief appearance in the Arena Football League as the head coach for the New Jersey Red Dogs before heading to the NFL in 1999. Hufnagel assumed the position of New York Giants offensive coordinator in 2004, but he was unfortunately fired after the 2006 season.
Hufnagel finally made his return to the CFL in 2008 when he took the Stampeders’ vacant head coaching position. Hufnagel led the Stampeders to a Grey Cup win in 2008 before bringing Calgary another CFL title with yesterday’s win.
The Stampeders went 15-3 in the regular season in 2014, and won its seventh Grey Cup in team history.
As for the actual game itself, the deciding factor came when a Hamilton punt return for a touchdown in the final minute was called back due to an illegal block. Hamilton failed to score there after, and Calgary was able to hold on for a tight 20-16 win.
“Our defense played well,” said Hufnagel after the win. “They made an unbelievable stop when the Tiger-Cats had the ball at the 3-yard line, forced them into a field goal. They tried two running plays and both were stuffed.”
Congrats to Hufnagel and Calgary on the big win!