Ezzrett “Sugarfoot” Anderson Football Athlete
Football Pioneer - Inducted 2010
Ezzrett Anderson was born in Nashville, Arkansas on February 10, 1920.
Playing football, he got the nickname “Sugarfoot” for the “sweet way” he could run like lightning. He played college football in Kentucky and semi-pro football in Los Angeles. With huge hands, large feet, and an incredible arm, Ezzrett “Sugarfoot” Anderson became a legend in the late 1930s. He threw the ball with such velocity that opponent Henry Pennymon said one pass “spun him around like a top.”
However, times were different, and from 1933-1946, there were no black players in the NFL. In the southern United States, no black or white players were allowed to play on the same field; a condition that was ruled by law. In 1946, several black players would play in the NFL, and Sugarfoot would soon follow.
The Calgary Stampeders saw Sugarfoot playing semi-pro football in Los Angeles and needed a defensive end for the 1949 season. Although Sugarfoot had already retired from football, he headed up to Canada after the Canadian Football League jumped at the chance to sign talented players who were ignored in the United States because of their skin colour.
Ezzrett “Sugarfoot” Anderson became an instant hero in Calgary. He spent seven seasons playing with the Calgary Stampeders. He was an all-star CFL player in 1949 when the Stampeders lost to Montreal Alouettes in the Grey Cup and was one of the only two Americans to make all-pro in Canada at both offense and defense. Sugarfoot retired from playing in 1956. Anderson was added to the Calgary Stampeders Football Wall of Fame in 1990 and has been a fixture with the Calgary Stampeders Alumni Association since 1983.
Sugarfoot was a celebrity on and off the football field. He made quite a name for himself in Hollywood and appeared in over 20 films from the late 1940s into the early 1950s. One of his most memorable is the original movie “The Story of Sea Biscuit” with Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald. He was also called upon to help out in productions filmed in Calgary, including “Prime Cut” and the “Superman” movies.
In retirement, he continues to be an ambassador for the Calgary Stampeders from his home office, selling season tickets and promoting the club through guest appearances.
Ezzrett passed away in March of 2017