CFL: Banjo Bowl or Tyrone Jones Classic?

Kelly BundleAnalyst IJune 16, 2008

News of the long-serving kicker's release begs one glaring question: can we finally shake the Westwood-inspired "Banjo Bowl" for the annual clash between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg the week after Labor Day?  

The unfortunate passing of a CFL legend Tyrone Jones, combined with Westwood's release, connects the dots for a few who have never liked the title of the contest.  Tyrone passed away on June 10 of an inoperable brain cancer.  He is survived by his three sons.

For those who didn't have the pleasure of seeing the "hell-bent but heaven-sent" linebacker play, he was as ferocious on the field as he was a gentleman off of it.

He played nine years in the CFL starting in 1983 for the Blue Bombers, where he played seven of those seasons.  He also played and entertained fans for one year in BC and another in Saskatchewan.  

He was a four-time CFL and five-time division All-Star.  He holds the team record for the most sacks in Blue Bomber history, and Grey Cup records of most sacks in a game (four) and most sacks in Cup history (five).  

Tyrone won the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award in 1985 and won two Grey Cups, the first in 1984 when he took the MVP Award, and again in 1990.

He gained fans wherever he played, including Saskatchewan, and that, along with Westwood's severance, is why re-naming the "Banjo Bowl" makes a lot of sense.  

According to Wikipedia, the winner of the four previous "Banjo Bowls" has earned $10,000 for charity courtesy of the National Post newspaper.  Perhaps this prize could be continued and re-allocated specifically to the disease that affects so many precious lives and took our hero from us at the age of 46.

The new title for the Winnipeg half of the annual home-and-home series would be the "Tyrone Jones Classic," and would be more befitting of the rivalry/friendship than "Banjo Bowl" ever has been.  

In the words of the immortal Wilfred Brimley, "It's the right thing to do."