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Ken Ploen

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Title: Ken Ploen  
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Subject: Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Bud Grant, Grey Cup Most Valuable Player, 1957 Rose Bowl, Randy Duncan
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Ken Ploen

Ken Ploen
No. 11, 89
Date of birth (1935-06-03) June 3, 1935
Place of birth Lost Nation, Iowa
Career information
Status Retired
CFL status International
Position(s) QB
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg)
College Iowa
NFL draft 1957 / Round: 19 / Pick: 222
Drafted by Cleveland Browns
Career history
As player
1957-1967 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star 1965
CFL West All-Star 1957, 1959, 1965
Career stats
  • Canadian Football Hall of Fame, 1975

Kenneth "Ken" Ploen [PLAYN], OM (born June 3, 1935) is a former star quarterback in American college football and for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL).


  • College football 1
  • Canadian Football League 2
  • After football 3
  • Video clips 4
  • References 5

College football

In 1956, Ploen became the University of Iowa Hawkeyes starting quarterback. That year, he led his team to its first Big Ten Conference title in 35 years and a victory in the 1957 Rose Bowl Game. He was named an All-American and the Big Ten player of the year. He was voted the 1957 Rose Bowl's Most Valuable Player.

Canadian Football League

After leaving Iowa, head coach Bud Grant brought Kenny Ploen to Canada to play quarterback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1957 to 1967. He also filled in at halfback and safety. Ploen led his team to six Grey Cup appearances (1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965), including four victories: 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962 and two losses: 1957, 1965. In the 49th Grey Cup game (1961), he scored one of the most memorable touchdowns in professional football history, eluding numerous defenders on an eighteen yard run into the endzone during overtime to win it (see video below). He was voted the 1961 Grey Cup Most Valuable Player, was selected as a divisional All-Star three times.

Kenny Ploen was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1975, the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1987, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1997, and the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2005, Ploen was named one of the Blue Bombers 20 All-Time Greats.

After football

After Ploen retired from football, he and his wife made Winnipeg their home. He worked as a sales representative and as a colour commentator for a local radio station.

In 2007, he was awarded the Order of Manitoba.[1]

In September 2009, he was recognized by fan vote and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, as the Most Outstanding CFL Player of the 1960s.

In June 2011, the CFL announced that the west entry service road off of Chancellor Matheson Road next to the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium will be named Ken Ploen Way, to honor the former Blue Bomber quarterback and Canadian Football Hall of Famer. Ploen was also honored at half-time, during the Blue Bombers’ first 2011 home preseason game, where the street sign was unveiled.[2]

In 2012 in honour of the 100th Grey Cup, Canada Post used his image on a series of commemorative postage stamps. The image was also used on presentation posters and other materials to promote the Grey Cup game and other celebrations associated with the centennial.

Video clips

Key pass in 1959 Grey Cup victory over Hamilton, 21-7 on YouTube

Running TD in 1961 Grey Cup overtime victory over Hamilton, 21-14 on YouTube

Winning quarterback in 1962 Grey Cup (Fog Bowl) victory over Hamilton, 28-27 on YouTube


  1. ^ "Twelve People to Receive Order of Manitoba". Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba official web site. May 11, 2007. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. 
  2. ^ Bombers announce 'Ken Ploen Way'. CFL Official Site, 23 June 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
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