The Calgary Stampeders have to be a bit frustrated. Have the best record in the league. Go into the Grey Cup against an opponent that isn't above .500. And lose the Grey Cup.
The 2017 version dominated the Grey Cup but a couple of big plays from the Toronto Argonauts meant the Stampeders went home empty-handed.
The Toronto Argonauts survived the snow at TD Place in Ottawa and a dominant Calgary team to pull off the 27-24 upset over the Stampeders.
Long Distance Voyageur keeps the Boatmen theme and sums up the impact of major plays in the Argonauts Grey Cup win. In the first half, the 100-yard TD pass from Ricky Ray to DeVier Posey set up a Grey Cup record. Posey ended up winning the Most Valuable Player for the 2017 Grey Cup with 7 receptions for 175 yards. Cassius Vaughn pulled off a 110-yard fumble recovery TD as the Stampeders were driving for a touchdown that could have sealed the deal for Calgary.
Even with the Argos comeback, Calgary had a very good shot at either a tying field goal or a game-winning touchdown until Matt Black came down with an interception in the end zone.
Given how close the game was and the contrast in regular season records, there will be a debate over whether Calgary would have won without the snow. Despite Canada's reputation for snow, this was the only CFL game this season with snow.
Shania Twain entered the stage via dog sled, a genius move if they knew snow was coming. The entrance tickled Twitter in both countries.
Twain also did halftime for the 2002 Grey Cup in Edmonton. This year's new album from Twain is her first since that same year of 2002.
The last time the Grey Cup was in Ottawa, the halftime entertainment was The Tragically Hip.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Julie Payette were also in attendance at the 105th Grey Cup.
Stadium capacity in the east is rather limited, so a 36,154 sellout attendance figure is rather impressive. That mark is almost 3,000 more than the BMO Field crowd of 2016 and 480 fewer than Winnipeg drew in 2015.
The 106th Grey Cup will be on November 25, 2018 from Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
The Toronto Argonauts only picked up 4 games in the standings from 5-13 in 2016 to 9-9 in 2017. The Argos clinched first place and a .500 record by beating the BC Lions on the last CFL game of the season. The 4-point win over Saskatchewan was the worst performance of any East team against a crossover team in the division final.
However, the Argos played well when the team needed that playoff effort. This was definitely a much improved squad over the team Calgary saw twice in August.
We knew that Henry Burris was likely to call it a career after the 2016 Grey Cup. Ricky Ray is now the only starting QB to win 4 Grey Cups. At age 38, it would be easy for Ray to walk away. But this time might not be so obvious.
Calgary has gone 28-6-2 in the last 2 seasons and no Grey Cup for their efforts. The combined record of their Grey Cup opponents: 17-18-1.
Calgary already had revenge over losing last year's Grey Cup in overtime to Ottawa. Toronto went from being the worst team in the CFL in 2016 with new leadership from coach Marc Trestman and general manager Jim Popp.
Grey Cup titles since 1990
|Toronto||1991, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2012, 2017|
|Calgary||1992, 1998, 2001, 2008, 2014|
|Edmonton||1993, 2003, 2005, 2015|
|BC||1994, 2000, 2006, 2011|
|Montréal||2002, 2009, 2010|
Note: Baltimore Stallions won the 1995 Grey Cup.
CFL parity promoters note that 7 of the 9 franchises have won a Grey Cup in the last decade. Winnipeg and Hamilton have had the longest droughts with their last Grey Cup win coming in the 20th century.
The two teams in the 2017 Grey Cup have had the most success since 1990, the last year that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the Grey Cup. Toronto now has 6 Grey Cups with Calgary just behind at 5 Grey Cups. Edmonton and BC are at 4 titles with the Montréal Alouettes winning 3 titles.
In 2016, Ottawa snapped a 40-year streak that extended through the end of the Rough Riders and past the Renegades. The 2018 Grey Cup could extend the parity ideal with a Winnipeg-Hamilton battle.
photos credit: ESPN2/TSN/CFL
Twitter capture: CFL