A Look At Taylor Swift In The CFL

By Chris Lawton

Well Super Bowl LVIII has an overriding off-field narrative. The relationship between global singing star Taylor Swift, and the Chiefs starting Tight End, Travis Kelce. But while the NFL showpiece has its own Taylor Swift connection; did you know the CFL has its own Taylor-Swift connection? It’s a stretch in all honesty and it’s not about the fact that Swift has never played the Super Bowl or Grey Cup halftime show.

No, this is  dubious connection raised by Saskatchewan Roughriders writer Rob Vanstone on the Riders website recently. Wherein he mentions, ‘The CFL’s Taylor-Swift connection: Bobby Taylor and Bob Swift were teammates with the Toronto Argonauts from 1966 to 1970.

Yes, it’s a tenuous link, but it’s just a bit of fun. A bit of fun that, with my love of the history of the game, I couldn’t resist looking a bit further into and checking out the careers of the (Bobby) Taylor/(Bob) Swift connection. So let’s take a look at what they did in their CFL careers.

Bobby Taylor

Taylor is in a way ‘one of ours’ on this side of the pond. Having been born in 1939 in Barrow-in-Furness, England. However, by the time he was in the CFL (1961-1974) he was a Canadian National. He had been schooled in Toronto and played junior football in Calgary before making the Calgary Stampeders roster in 1961. His breakout season came in 1963 when he had 74 catches or 1,057 yards and 6 touchdowns making him the West Divisions’ leading pass catcher.

His most consistent run as a pro came between 1963 and 1969, the first three seasons with Calgary, and the latter years with Toronto. During that time, he had 406 catches for 6,619 yards and 41 touchdowns.

After an injury filled 1970 season Taylor was swiftly traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for 1971. He wasn’t there long either as part way through the season they traded him to Edmonton. However, once in Alberta he had a single season renaissance in 1972 making 52 catches for 800 yards and 4 touchdowns. This was his seventh season with 50+ receptions

Bob Swift

Bob Swift arrived with the BC Lions as a rookie for the 1964 season. He had an immediate impact too. Playing as a Full Back he had 229 carries for 1,054 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 11-2-3 Lions team that would win their first Grey Cup in the 1964 Grey Cup game. The Leos got off to 34-8 lead in this one, with the first score coming on a 1-yard plunge from Smith in the first quarter. Swift however left this game injured and following a broken leg would never be the same again as a Running Back. Although he did have 501 yards at 4.1 yards per carry and 8 TDs the following year the Leos traded Swift to the Argonauts for the 1966 season.

After another try at being a running back, Swift reinvented himself for the 1967 season onwards as a Centre. The two positions have very different skill sets, but Swift made a success of the conversion going on the be recognised as a CFL All-Star as a lineman in 1971, 1972 and 1974.

Having played Centre in 56 games over 4 years for Toronto, Swift was moving again, this time to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the 1971 season. With Winnipeg, playing 16-gme seasons he appeared in 112 games, and it was also with the Blue & Gold that he won his All-Star recognition. He was also Winnipeg’s nominee for the Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 1974, the first year for the award.

In a curiously circular end to his CFL career his last season saw Winnipeg lose 33-32 to the BC Lions in a Western playoff game. All in all a pretty successful CFL career for this former Clemson Tiger.

Taylor-Swift Time In Toronto

The main Taylor-Swift time came in the career crossover for Bob and Bobby with the Toronto Argonauts between 1966 and 1970. But what were these yeas like for the Double Blue?

This was a time of steady improvement for the Argos. After a 5-9 season in 1966, new coach Leo Cahill arrived in 1967. That season’s 5-8-1 was not much of an improvement but the Boatmen did make the playoffs for the first time in six years. That would be the start of a five-year playoff run culminating in defeat in the 1971 Grey Cup.

Of course, ‘Taylor-Swift’ had left at the end of the year before that. But they had seen the Argonauts go from a previous 19-51 run before they arrived to a 37-32-1 run and 4 playoff appearances during their time with the team. Leo Cahill was a very quotable coach and brought attention and talent to Toronto during his time with the team. There seems little doubt that ‘Taylor-Swift’ would be around to have witnessed a good deal of this too.

Taylor-swift associated with the promotion of a sports league? Now where have we seen such a thing in the modern sports landscape?



Chris originally started following the NFL with the ‘first wave’ of fans when it was shown on Channel 4 in the 1980’s. He has been a keen supporter of the Miami Dolphins since 1983. Chris first encountered the CFL in 2016 and instantly fell in love with the Canadian game. He has been writing about the CFL 2017. Chris has a degree in history, postgraduate degree in librarianship and can be found on twitter as @CFLfanUK