About Gridiron Underground
1951. Bernie Custis, a standout quarterback at Syracuse University has his invitation to play in the national East-West all-star game rescinded when the organizers discover he is black. At his first pro football camp in Cleveland, he is told that the NFL is not ready for an African-American quarterback. But if his heart is set on playing quarterback, there is a place where he can go. That place is Canada.
Strongwall Productions presents Gridiron Underground, a celebration of that long line of African-American players to come north to Canada, from the 1940’s to the present day. From trailblazers like Herb Trawick in Montreal in 1946 to stars like Johnny Bright, Rollie Miles and Bernie Custis in the 50’s. From Chuck Ealey, John “Twiggy” Williams and Bruce Smith with the ’72 Tiger-Cats to Warren Moon and his five Grey Cups in Edmonton. From the Argos, Michael “Pinball” Clemons and Damon Allen, to Henry Burris with Calgary and Ottawa.
More than a film about football, Gridiron Underground is a story of crossing borders – whether geographical, personal or professional – and becoming champions in the all-important game of life.