Born in Burlington in 1948, Tony was one of 12 children and as a result, he learned at an early age the value of being competitive. Attending school in Burlington it wasn’t until his last few years at Burlington Central High School that he began to shine as an athlete and school citizen.
He didn’t make the school football team in his grade ten year, but that didn’t deter him.
He went on to excel at basketball and scored 48 points in a senior basketball game to outscore the entire Nelson High School team. He became Student Council President in his senior year as well.
After being released by the Central football team Tony joined the Burlington Braves Junior Football Team which was coached at the time by Bernie Custis. His admiration and respect for Bernie combined with his outstanding athletic ability enable him to excel with the Braves and eventually earn a scholarship to Syracuse University.
Tony graduated from Syracuse with an Engineering degree and shunned the National Football League to come home and play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1971. After a somewhat quiet first year, Tony went on to star in the Canadian Football League and helped the Cats with the Grey Cup in 1972. In 1975 Tony was traded to the Ottawa Roughriders. In Ottawa, he gained national recognition which endures to this day.
Perhaps his greatest game was the 1976 Grey Cup when he caught a touchdown pass in the last minute of the game to help Ottawa overcome almost certain defeat and win the Grey Cup. He was the recipient of the Schenley Award as the Most Valuable Player in the C.F.L. that year. No Canadian has won it since. As well, he was named the top Canadian Player in the C.F.L. this same year.
Tony was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and in 1986 he was voted one f the C.F.L.’s Top 50 players of all time (#18). He is also a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.