2nd and 25. Bad snap. Henry Burris secures the ball to throw a 93-yard TD pass to Greg Ellingson for the winning score in the 35-28 win over Hamilton.
At 40, Henry Burris will lead the Ottawa RedBlacks to their first Grey Cup and the first for the city since 1981.
Edmonton had an easier time in defeating its provincial rival, the Calgary Stampeders, 45-31, though the Stamps finally looked alive in the 4th quarter. Counting the regular season, the Esks have won 9 in a row.
Calgary had an impressive 14-4 record, but had significant injuries on the offensive line. Not being able to get a touchdown in the first half buried the Stampeders in a hole that they ultimately couldn't dig their way out.
The two Grey Cup teams from last season ended up losing in the division final games. If Calgary and Hamilton had been healthier, the outcomes might have gone in a different direction.
John Hufnagel moves upstairs for the Calgary Stampeders as Dave Dickenson moves up to head coach for next season. The future of Jon Cornish is a huge concern in Calgary. Even with a 14-4 record, the Stamps missed him, especially in the playoffs.
Hamilton, despite using a 4th string quarterback, came close to going to the Grey Cup. In fact, this loss was Kent Austin's first playoff loss as a coach. With a healthy Zach Collaros and another year of chemistry, the other East teams should be concerned.
Hamilton almost had the story of the day, coming from behind to tie the game with the wind in the 4th quarter. Luke Tasker had an amazing TD catch to help tie the game at 28.
Why points count? Justin Medlock actually missed a FG but since the ball wasn't returned out of the end zone, the Tiger-Cats got a point.
Ottawa had several drives thwarted but were able to salvage every FG attempt thanks to Chris Milo. The RedBlacks kicker started the season with Saskatchewan but things didn't work out in Regina. Going from last place to the Grey Cup is a wild journey.
Jeremiah Masoli used the option well all game. Masoli pitched the ball to Luke Tasker who then threw a long successful pass to Andy Fantuz for the Tiger-Cats.
Hats off to the Ottawa RedBlacks for beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 3 games in a row in a 4-week span.
The 25,093 crowd is the largest home crowd in the history of the franchise. In fact, the Ottawa RedBlacks have only played in front of 4 crowds above 30,000. In 2015, Ottawa played before 30,480 in Regina on September 19. In 2014, the RedBlacks played in front of 33,427 in Regina on September 21; 31,521 in Edmonton on July 11; and 31,217 in Vancouver on October 11.
The 2015 Grey Cup will have a relatively small attendance versus recent Grey Cups but will be by far the largest crowd ever to see the Ottawa RedBlacks in person.
We are being serious about this being a big deal, but also poking fun since the East either limits attendance (Ottawa, Hamilton) despite demand or has limited attendance (Montréal, Toronto).
Edmonton drew a more respectable 34,414 in the West final, but in Commonwealth Stadium, the crowd didn't look as impressive.
Esks fans had it rough before Chris Jones came to town. But with a team with a 8-game winning streak, a home West final with Calgary in town and favored to win, you would imagine a larger crowd.
Attendance has been down in the CFL. Vancouver closed off the upper bowl but had trouble filling the lower bowl. People in the East are limited either by capacity or enthusiasm.
We were surprised that Ottawa didn't increase capacity for the East final. There were people sitting on the lawn on the east side, but so many more people would have been there. Years from now, more people than 25,093 will claim to have been there to see such an eventful game.
If there were politicians or celebrities in Ottawa, we missed them. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pretty busy days. We speculated on that last week.
We got the CFL rules primer promo as well as a spotlight on Brandon Banks in the ad breaks for ESPNews during the East final.
James Duthie and Ottawa resident Jock Climie along with Paul LaPolice handled duties in the nation's capital. The regular CFL on TSN studio crew were out west in Edmonton.
Both division finals deserved to be on U.S. television. We don't think the ratings will be that good because of the lack of second half telecasts and using ESPNews. Then again, the ratings threshold on ESPNews is much lower.
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