Sat Nov 26 04:40pm EST
One of the stories getting the most attention around the Grey Cup has nothing to do with any current players, but rather two guys who have each been retired for over 40 years. 73-year-old former B.C. Lions quarterback Joe Kapp and 73-year-old former Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive tackle Angelo Mosca reportedly got into a physical fight at a CFL alumni luncheon Friday. It's not every day you see septuagenarians fighting, but the fight appears to have sprung from the playing careers of the 73-year-old Kapp and the 74-year-old Mosca, specifically an incident that happened 48 years ago in the Grey Cup.
Football players often hold grudges, but it's still remarkable that one has endured all this time. According to reports, the incident started when highlights were shown from the 1963 Grey Cup, where Hamilton beat B.C. 21-10. Following that, the 73-year-old Kapp (seen at right above during a 2010 speech to Boy Scouts in California) picked up a centrepiece from a table and offered it to Mosca (accounts differ on how forcefully he did so), Mosca (seen at left above with the Canadian Title Belt he earned in Maple Leaf Wrestling in 1984) hit Kapp with his cane and punches were thrown.
The specific Grey Cup incidents that caused this grudge? Well, there are a couple of potential options. During that 1963 game at Vancouver's old Empire Stadium, Mosca knocked out B.C. star RB Willie Fleming with a hit that's been accused of being late and out of bounds, and one that left many Lions bearing grudges. Kapp apparently also refused to shake Mosca's hand after the game, so there's been bad blood on both sides for quite some time.
It's not particularly surprising to see Mosca involved here, as if there was a pool for "70-plus CFL alumnus involved in fight", he'd be the runaway favourite. He always demonstrated a temper and a ferocity on the field, something he talked about in his book. He also had a legendary professional wrestling career, as you can see from this video of him taking on the Iron Sheik in Toronto in 1980:
Kapp is a little more curious of an inclusion, as you don't see many quarterbacks throwing punches. Also, his post-CFL career was less about physical violence than Mosca's, if no less interesting: he starred with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings in the late 1960s, then spent one year with the Boston (now the New England) Patriots, did some acting (including appearing in the original The Longest Yard film) and then went into coaching, becoming the head coach at his alma mater, Cal, in 1982. That was a pretty incredible year for the Golden Bears, particularly with their last-second triumph over Stanford under circumstances immortalized as simply "The Play":
Both Mosca and Kapp have done a lot since their CFL playing careers, but it's not surprising to those who know them that they're still fired up about 1963. Our own Sandy Annunziata said it's not uncommon to see players holding grudges well beyond their playing days.
"Football players don't forget," he said.
B.C. head coach Wally Buono said players of Mosca's and Kapp's generation also may be more fiery thanks to their other experiences.
"That is a tough, tough generation," Buono said. "I don't see them being all buddy-buddy after 40 years."
Current Lions' quarterback Travis Lulay also said Saturday Kapp's intensity has always impressed him.
"Knowing Joe Kapp, that story didn't surprise me a ton," Lulay said. "I did have a chance to meet Joe and that fire's still there."
Lulay said the incident shows the stakes of the Grey Cup.
"I thought that was a pretty cool story," he said. "It speaks to the intensity of the game."
When asked if there's any Bomber he'd pick to get in a fight with years later, Lulay chose his opposite number, quarterback Buck Pierce.
"I hope I can wrestle Buck."