Montreal Alouettes Banner.
1974-1981, 1986


The Montreal Alouettes, evolved from the Montreal Football Club that use to play in the Quebec Rugby Football Union (QRFU) to one of the great franchises in today's CFL, but to the fans of Montreal, it seemed it was a love/hate relationship with professional football. When the Montreal Football Club (MFC) was playing, they had many different names to reflect what organization they belong to at that time. For example when Montreal was part of the Amateur Athletic Association in 1919, they were known as the Montreal Winged Wheelers. Some other names that Montreal had over the years were the Indians, Cubs, Royals, Bulldogs, and Hornets.


The Montreal Senior Football Club in 1928.
Circa 1928
Varsity Stadium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Panoramic Camera Co.
Gordon Perry


The story of the Alouettes, started in 1946, when then owners Lew Hayman, Leo Dandurand & Eric Cradock, decided to form a team, because of the success that former Montreal teams had in the past winning Grey Cups. The first Montreal team to win the Grey Cup was the Winged Wheelers, who defeated the Regina Roughriders 22-0.


Action from the 1931 Grey Cup game.
5 December 1931
Molson Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


The second Montreal team was the St. Hyacinthe-Donnacona Navy who were stationed there during World War II. Their only Grey Cup victory was in 1944, when they won 7-6 against the Hamilton Flying Wildcats.


The name Alouettes actually came from the song that describes children plucking a skylark (Alouette) feathers from the top of its head. The owners then decided on the Alouettes name when they heard a group of snowshoers singing the popular French song in a Montreal hotel lobby. The purpose of actually calling the team, the Alouettes is that the owners wanted to get the non-football enthusiasts who are French actually excited about football. The Alouettes first season was expected, going 7-3-2, but losing in their first ever playoffs.

The first real success of the Alouettes came in 1949 when they won their first Grey Cup, beating Calgary 28-15. One person who helped with the victory was John (Jack) Harper. He was Montreal's Half-Back during that time.


Jack Harper's #67 jersey.
Circa 1948


1949 Montreal Alouettes team photo.
Circa 1949
Molson Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


The 1954 season was one for the ages in Montreal. Fans and the media in Montreal were already claiming that this team is 'the Greatest Alouettes team of all time', with such talent like Sam Etcheverry, Harold Patterson, and Red O'Quinn on the squad. During the season, Montreal was winning their games by an average score of 24-10. They finished the 1954 season with an 11-3 record. When the post-season started there was a two-game total point series against last year Grey Cup champions The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to determine who will be the Big-4 representative for the Grey Cup. At the end of the series Montreal defeated Hamilton by a combined score of 38-28. Montreal went on to play the Edmonton Eskimos for the Grey Cup. Prior to the game, it was noted that Harold Patterson will not be able to play the game due to an injury. Without Patterson, The Alouettes still made it an exciting game, but ending up losing 26-25. After the game, it was said that The Alouettes dressing room was sombre and that not one player was bickering with each other. When the Alouettes returned to Montreal the following day, there was a parade to celebrate the year's accomplishment.

During the 1960s, Montreal had some pretty lacklustre seasons, but the one season that stands out was the 1961 season in which the Alouettes played the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) in an exhibition game in August. Then head coach of Montreal, Perry Moss suggested that Montreal could lose 50-0 or 80-0. But Perry Moss was way off as the Alouettes only lost 34-16. During the game, Montreal held the lead twice 3-0 and 9-7 both in the first half which was played under Canadian rules, but in the second half, when the game was played under NFL rules, Chicago took the lead and never looked back. After the game was done, Chicago Head Coach, George Halas commented that the Canadian game was a lovely game, and the 13th man comes in handy. During the season, Montreal finished their season with a 4-9-1 and missed the playoffs.


Game program for the Montreal Alouettes and the Chicago Bears of the NFL.
5 August 1961
Molson Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Montreal's most successful season in the 1960s was in 1966 when they finished with a 7-7 record. With the on-field product being horrible, there was off field distractions as well. One distraction was the trading of their star player Hal Patterson. The second distraction was the Alouettes's new owner Sam Berger.

In terms of success, the 1970s were by far the greatest the club has ever seen at the time. Their first Grey Cup in the 1970s was during the 1970 season, when Montreal defeated Calgary 23-10 in Toronto. Their second Grey Cup was in 1974, when the Alouettes defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 20-7, and their last Grey Cup was in 1977 with an 41-6 win over the Edmonton again, ex-players like Sam Etcheverry & Red O' Quinn who were in control of the front office, and the exciting players like Sonny Wade and Peter Dalla Riva, Montreal had nowhere to go but up were the reason for the Alouettes success during those times.


Game ball used during the 1970 Grey Cup.
28 November 1970
CNE Stadium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The 1974 Grey Cup champions.
Circa 1974
Molson Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada