Ottawa Rough Riders - History - 1980s and 1990s

1980s and 1990s

Throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s, despite having two even (.500) records (8–8 in 1983 and 9–9 in 1992) along with hosting the 1988 Grey Cup, the Riders struggled with losing seasons, poor ownership, mismanagement, and decreased fan support. In 1988, Jo-Anne Polak was named the co-General Manager of the Rough Riders. She became the first woman in CFL history to be appointed to an executive post. The bottom fell out in 1992, when then-owner Bernard Glieberman began making noise about moving the Rough Riders out of Canada, and to the United States. The CFL, obviously, did not take kindly to Glieberman's suggestion, but allowed him to split the Rough Riders apart into a Canadian franchise (which he would sell off, and which would retain the Rough Riders name and history) and an American franchise that Glieberman would own, known as the Shreveport Pirates (this arrangement is similar to the arrangement made by Art Modell and the Cleveland Browns). Neither team played well. In 1995, Ottawa management drafted Derrell Robertson, who had died the previous December. The 1994 season saw the unveiling of the team's final logo design with the team colours changing to dark navy, red, and gold. As these colour changes were unpopular, the team dropped the dark navy colour in favour of the return to black for the 1995 season. Falling attendance ultimately led to the team folding after the 1996 season.

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