Edmonton Eskimos banner.
In 1948, the modern day Eskimos became a public company, and started wearing the green and gold as some people recognized this as the beginning of the franchise.
The 1950s or the Fabulous Fifties as some Eskimo faithful would describe it, was a time in which Edmonton qualify for the playoffs every year in the decade, and won the Grey Cup a number of times. Albeit an accident, some Eskimo fans thank the Stampeders and their Grey Cup win in 1948 for the Eskimos resurgence.
Edmonton has a vast history of football when it first started in 1892 when the Edmonton Rugby Club was formed. In 1895, the birth of a rivalry was born when Calgary played Edmonton for the Alberta Rugby Football Title for the first time in which Edmonton won. Edmonton's second Rugby title came in 1908, when the Edmonton Esquimax captured the title. In 1910, the Esquimax was renamed to the Eskimos. In 1921, Edmonton was the first Western Canada team to play for the Grey Cup in which they lost rather easily to the Toronto Argonauts 23-0. The following season in 1922, Edmonton returned to the Grey Cup in which they challenged Queen's University. Although Edmonton was leading 1-0, Queen's came storming back to win 13-1. The next significant date in Eskimos history was in 1928 when the Eskimos won their last Alberta Rugby Championship.
Edmonton finished the 1950 season with a 7-7 record. In the playoffs, Edmonton defeated Saskatchewan in the semi-finals and lost to Winnipeg in a best of three series. This series was significant because that was the first time that Winnipeg and Edmonton played under lights in the playoffs.
Game program for the Edmonton Eskimos vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
9 October 1950
Osborne Stadium, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
In 1951, Edmonton finished with an 8-6 record, and like the previous season Edmonton returned to the Western Final which Saskatchewan won two games to one. In 1952, new head coach Frank Filchok led the Eskimos to their second Grey Cup appearance against Toronto, in which they lost 21-11. The following season, Edmonton once again made it to the West Final, but could not defeat the Blue Bombers.
The 1954 season was a challenging one for Edmonton. Edmonton once again reached the playoffs, defeated Winnipeg two games to one in the West Final. Instead of going to the Grey Cup to play Montreal, Edmonton played Kitchener-Waterloo of the Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU) in another semi-final before playing in the Grey Cup. Edmonton easily defeated the ORFU champions 38-6 and reached the Grey Cup for the second time in five seasons. This time around they were not to be easily defeated as Edmonton defeated Montreal 26-25 for their first Grey Cup in franchise history. The play that changed the outcome of the game was a critical catch of Steve Bendiak in the fourth quarter.
A catch by Steve Bendiak in the 1954 Grey Cup.
27 November 1954
Varsity Stadium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
For the next two seasons, Edmonton would return to the Grey Cup and defeat the Montreal Alouettes 34-19 and 50-27 respectively. The Eskimos was the fourth team to win three straight Grey Cups, the first one since the 1947 Toronto Argonauts to win three straight Grey Cups.
Team photo of the 1955 Edmonton Eskimos.
Clarke Stadium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Roster for the 1956 Grey Cup.
24 November 1956
Varsity Stadium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
In 1957, Edmonton was looking to return to the Grey Cup and finished the season with a 14-2 record and was poised to defend their title, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stopped them in the West final by defeating Edmonton two games to one. In 1958, the Eskimos took a small step back by going 9-6-1 and played a semi-final game against Saskatchewan. Edmonton easily defeated Saskatchewan, and once again played Winnipeg and much like last season, Edmonton lost the series two games to one. 1959 was very much like the previous season, a subpar season, easily defeated the BC Lions in the semi-final, and once again lost to Winnipeg in the West Final. To the Eskimos and their fans, the Fabulous Fifties look back to the decade with pride, knowing that were in the playoffs every year, and were victorious in three Grey Cups. The thing that the fans and the Eskimos did not know that they sixties was going to be a bumpy ride.
In 1960, Edmonton had a 10-6 record and once again played the semi-finals, this time against Calgary. Edmonton easily defeated Calgary and once again had to go through Winnipeg to reach the Grey Cup. Not much like the previous two seasons Edmonton defeated Winnipeg two games to one and reached the Grey Cup for the first time since 1956.
In the Grey Cup game, Edmonton played against the Ottawa Rough Riders and lost 16-6 and with the lost, some Eskimo greats decided to leave the team like Norman Kwong and Willie Parker.
Program for the 1960 Grey Cup.
26 November 1960
Empire Stadium, Vancouver, British columbia, Canada