Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1987
Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy
Grey Cup - Edmonton Eskimos
Inducted into Canadian Football Hall of Fame
An electrifying player who combined great athletic ability with a flair for the dramatic, Jackie Parker was voted player of the quarter century by the Football Writers of Canada in 1978. An extremely versatile athlete, he starred as a quarterback, halfback, defensive back, place kicker, and punter. He also participated in one of the most dramatic plays in the history of the Grey Cup. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Parker was an all-star by his second season playing for the Young high school football team. At Mississippi State, he set a scoring record of 120 points in 1952 and was voted the Southeastern conference's most valuable player in 1952 and 1953. Spurning offers from the National Football League, he came to Edmonton in 1954 to become part of the Edmonton Eskimos. In the 1954 Grey Cup final, the underdog western representatives were losing to the Montreal Alouettes in the closing minutes of the game. A fumble by the Alouettes' Chuck Hunsinger was scooped up by Parker who ran over 90 yards for the touchdown that set up the Eskimos' come-from-behind victory. Parker quarterbacked the Eskimos to their second Grey Cup win the next year and, in 1956, returned to his halfback position for Edmonton's third consecutive Grey Cup victory. From 1963 to 1965, he played for the Toronto Argonauts before becoming the coach for the Toronto Rifles of the short-lived Continental Football League in 1966. He was assistant coach for the BC Lions in 1968, head coach in 1969, and general manager from 1970 to 1975. After working for a number of years outside of football in public relations for the Inter-Provincial Steel and Pipe Company, he returned in 1983 as head coach of his beloved Edmonton Eskimos. He held this position until his retirement in 1987. Frequently called "Old Spaghetti Legs" and "The Fast Freight from Mississippi State," Jackie Parker had a superb career record. He scored 88 touchdowns, kicked 103 converts, 40 field goals, and 19 singles to bring his scoring total to 750 points. At quarterback, he passed for 16,476 yards. He won the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy as the Western Football conference's most valuable player seven times in eight years and was three times the recipient of the Schenley Award as the most outstanding player in the CFL. For his brilliant performance on the field, Parker was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1971.