August 11, 2022

Wall of Honour: Jones’ Defence Backed EE to 5 Cup wins

It’s the greatest dynasty in CFL history. Between 1977 and 1982 Edmonton’s CFL club went to Grey Cup six straight times. The Green and Gold won five consecutive championships starting in 1978.

“We would always say that we had an 18-game season, knowing that we only played 16 regular season games, but we were pretty confident that we would be in the Western final and the Grey Cup during those years and we would make those statements day in and day out,” recalls safety Ed Jones.

Jones is one of three members of all five championship-winning EE teams in the late 70s and early 80s that will be inducted into the Green and Gold’s Wall of Honour on Saturday during halftime of the Elks game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. He’s joined in the Class of 2022 by former teammates Jim Germany and Joe Hollimon

“Every athlete would like to have their name enshrined on a wall or in a hall, and it’s a great honour to be selected as a member of the Wall of Honour and to go in with two of my teammates makes it even that much greater,” Jones says.

Jones was a four-time CFL West All-Star (1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981) and three-time CFL All-Star (1978, 1979, and 1980) with the Green and Gold. He shares franchise records for most interceptions in a game (three) and most interceptions returned for touchdown in a game (two). Jones tied for the league lead with 10 interceptions in 1980, then tied for second in 1981 when he picked off seven passes.

But the six-foot-zero defensive back’s most impressive numbers involve team success: during Edmonton’s span of five straight Grey Cup victories, Jones didn’t miss a single game, appearing in 80 regular season and 10 postseason contests. Edmonton was a combined 70-15-5 in those games, sustaining remarkable success thanks in large part to minimal roster turnover under the stewardship of coach Hugh Campbell.

“Coach Campbell was able to keep the nucleus of players together,” Jones said. “We didn’t have all the moving around in free-agency like today. Guys back then liked winning; it wasn’t’ all about money, it was about being a champion. A lot of the guys become family and we loved each other on the field and off the field and had everybody’s back.”

That kinship is what convinced the New Jersey native to hang his hat in Edmonton. He first arrived in the Alberta capital in 1976, after one season in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills.

“I played four regular season games and two playoff games but I had such a great time and met some wonderful people that I decided to come back and play again,” Jones says. “Then in ‘77 when we went to the Grey Cup (losing 41-6 to the Montreal Alouettes), I had to come back again because we knew we were better than the score indicated in that ’77 Grey Cup, and we wanted to prove to everybody else that we were a team to be contended with. And over the next five years we proved that.”

In 1980, Jones built a house in Edmonton. He still lives there.

“My wife’s from Edmonton, my kids were born here, I’ve made this my home,” says Jones. “I’m happy with the decision to stay here and enjoy all the things that Canada has to offer, it has such great people.”