It took officials 15 minutes to sort out the situation, a delay during which spectators at Varsity Stadium began tossing snowballs. In the end, a 10-yard penalty was assessed. Happily for the Argos, they soon scored the touchdown denied Mr. Curtis by an illegal play. In his defence, Mr. Karpuk said he’d once been instructed that the rule book did not prevent such an act. He was right and the Canadian Rugby Union added a more punitive clause to the rules just days later.
Mr. Curtis concluded his third season with the Argos as the leading scorer with 80 points on 16 touchdowns, a Big Four record. He ran for 998 yards in 12 games. In a game against the Montreal Alouettes on Sept. 6, 1952, Crazy Legs romped for 208 yards, setting a club record that would last 36 years.
Under the direction of Mr. Wirkowski, the Argos won their second Grey Cup in three seasons in 1952 by defeating the Edmonton Eskimos, 21-11. Early in the second quarter, Mr. Curtis was stopped from scoring at the one-yard line. His quarterback punched the ball across in the next play from scrimmage. The championship would be the last enjoyed by the Argos for 31 years.
A knee injury ended Mr. Curtis’s career after just five campaigns. He had carried the ball 529 times for a total of 3,712 yards, averaging a spectacular seven yards per carry. He had also rushed for 26 touchdowns (and would have had one more had it not been for Mr. Karpuk’s skulduggery).
Every off season, he returned to Albion, Mich., where he worked at the metal factory and a glass factory. After leaving football, Mr. Curtis decided to become a Canadian citizen and settle in Toronto with his young family. He became a teacher, including a stint at Associated Hebrew Schools, later spending more than 30 years in public school classrooms. He taught history, geography and physical education, and was a guidance counsellor at Downsview Secondary School in North York, where he also coached the Mustangs senior football team.
Mr. Curtis died of natural causes at his home in Toronto. He leaves his wife Catherine (née Williams), whom he married in 1949 while both were juniors at Florida A&M; a son and two daughters, as well as a daughter from his first marriage, which ended in divorce; five grandchildren; a sister and a brother. He was predeceased by two sisters and three brothers.
Mr. Curtis was named an All-Time Argo by the club in a pregame ceremony in 2005. In 1983, The Globe noted that Curtis was “an obvious but so far” neglected choice for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. The failure to induct him, either as a player for five remarkable seasons or as a builder for his role in helping to integrate Canadian football, remains a
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