There’s always a reason behind a player choosing a jersey number. Find out why Matt Dunigan had to change jersey numbers because of football great, Terry Bradshaw.
Marika Washchyshyn spoke to the CFL on TSN panelists about the numbers they wore throughout their football careers and the story behind their choice. Here’s part of her interview with CFL Hall of Famer, Matt Dunigan.
Did you choose your first number?
Matt Dunigan (MD): I got to choose. Growing up in Dallas, I was a Roger Staubach fan, obviously I wanted twelve. Kenny Stabler was a big guy back then, and of course Terry Bradshaw. Those were my guys. I chose twelve because of Staubach and Stabler, two very contrasting types of quarterbacks. But then when I went to Louisiana Tech, Bradshaw, who wore twelve, that was retired so I had to pick up sixteen from then on. I should’ve picked five because it was my favourite number growing up, but I wanted to emulate Staubach and Stabler.
What’s your favourite all-time CFL number?
MD: I’d probably have to say Jackie Parker, ninety-one. It’s pretty cool, because if you flip a ninety-one, it’s a sixteen basically (91-16). Jackie was my guy, he was the head coach who gave me an opportunity, believed me and put the ball in my hands. He gave me the confidence and certainly the opportunity to play the game.
He was a gun-slinger, Mississippi gambler mentality…when he played, he was so spectacular. To have him as my head coach and have that mindset kind of rub off on you and influence your career early on was a great opportunity. I have a picture of Jackie Parker’s jersey sitting in his locker…it’s one of my prized possession, and I reflect on it and think of it as a sixteen instead of a ninety-one too.
Anything else about numbers, yours or otherwise?
MD: I think it’s identification. You think of certain numbers in the CFL and the guys who have worn em…it’s something people can identify with. Like I said in my case, whether it’s sixteen on this uniform or that, you know what type of player you’re gonna get and what to expect.
I was playing for respect of the game, my family…I was playing for the name not so much on the front of the jersey as the one on the back. That’s the way I looked at it. Each down was my last, I played it that way whether it was preseason, regular season or post. I was trying to make it synonymous – sixteen and Dunigan, this is a brand, the type of football you’re going to get and expect and you’ll get it every time I come out.