After his passing last week, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League are honouring club legend Angelo Mosca with a helmet decal.
The Ticats will add a ’68’ decal to the backs of their helmets to honour Mosca, starting with tonight’s (Nov. 12) game in Toronto against the Argonauts. The decal is a black circle with a yellow border, with Mosca’s number 68 in the middle in yellow with a white outline. They will be worn for the rest of the 2021 CFL season.
“Angelo Mosca was a legend. He was one of the most legendary players in CFL history and certainly the most legendary to ever wear a Tiger-Cat uniform. His contributions to the game of Canadian football, to our organization, and to the Hamilton community will never be forgotten. We send our sincere condolences to Angelo’s entire family.”— Hamilton Tiger-Cats statement on Ticats.ca
Mosca passed away on Saturday, Nov. 6, at the age of 84. He had been battling Alzheimer’s disease since 2015, according to the CBC.
Born in Waltham, Massachusetts, in February 1937, Mosca was a University of Notre Dame product who played as both an offensive and defensive lineman throughout his CFL career, which lasted from 1958 to 1972. He won five Grey Cups, including four with Hamilton and one with the Ottawa Rough Riders, and shares the record for most Grey Cup appearances with nine. He was named a CFL All-Star twice and a divisional all-star five times.
He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. The Ticats retired his number 68 in 2015 — only the second number retired in franchise history (the other being Bernie Faloney‘s number 10).
After retiring, Mosca embarked on a career in professional wrestling. At one point in the early 1980s, he was a top challenger to World Wrestling Federation Champion Bob Backlund, though he never did win the belt.
“Savvy, smart and ahead of his time, he built his bad guy personae into a personal brand that was bigger than life. Unloved in some markets, where he was the villain, his stature was unmatched in Hamilton, where he was a hero, and when he traded his shoulder pads for wrestling tights, he enthralled Mosca fans in countries near and far. Big Ang was that rare athlete whose charisma carried his legend beyond the field, beyond his own generation, even beyond our borders.”— Canadian Football League statement on CFL.ca
Mosca may be best known to younger fans, though, for getting into a fight with former BC Lions quarterback Joe Kapp during a CFL alumni luncheon during Grey Cup week in 2011. The two men, both over 70 years old at the time, came to blows over a controversial hit in the 1963 Grey Cup game that forced Lions tailback Willie Fleming out of the game. Mosca hit Kapp over the head with his cane at one point.
Video of the incident was viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, and was mentioned by major sports media throughout the U.S. and Canada. Mosca later auctioned off the cane he used to hit Kapp, with proceeds going toward the Canadian Football League Alumni Association’s “dire straits” fund for struggling former players.
Feature photo courtesy @Ticats / Twitter