The Grey Cup (French: Coupe Grey) is the name of both the championship game of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the trophy awarded to the victorious team playing in the namesake championship of professional Canadian football. It is contested between the winners of the CFL's East and West Divisional playoffs and is one of Canadian television's largest annual sporting events. The Toronto Argonauts have the most Grey Cup wins (17) since its introduction in 1909, while the Edmonton Eskimos have the most Grey Cup wins (11) since the creation of the professional CFL in 1958. The latest, the 106th Grey Cup, took place in Edmonton, Alberta, on November 25, 2018, when the Calgary Stampeders defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 27–16.
The trophy was commissioned in 1909 by the Earl Grey, then Canada's governor general, who originally hoped to donate it for the country's senior amateur hockey championship. After the Allan Cup was later donated for that purpose, Grey instead made his trophy available as the "Canadian Dominion Football Championship" (national championship) of Canadian football. The trophy has a silver chalice attached to a large base on which the names of all winning teams, players and executives are engraved. The Grey Cup has been broken on several occasions, stolen twice and held for ransom. It survived a 1947 fire that destroyed numerous artifacts housed in the same building.
The Grey Cup was first won by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Play was suspended from 1916 to 1918 due to the First World War and in 1919 due to a rules dispute. The game has typically been contested in an east versus west format since the 1920s. The game was always played on a Saturdays until 1968, but since 1969 (except for 1970) has always been on a Sunday. Held in late November (in some years, but not since 1972, the game was played in early December), and mostly in outdoor stadiums, the Grey Cup has been played in inclement weather at times, including the 1950 "Mud Bowl", in which a player reportedly came close to drowning in a puddle, then the 1962 "Fog Bowl", when the final minutes of the game had to be postponed to the following day due to a heavy fog, and the 1977 "Ice Bowl", contested on the frozen-over artificial turf at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. Most recently, in the 2017 game snow fell, at times heavily, throughout the game.
The Edmonton Eskimos formed the Grey Cup's longest dynasty, winning five consecutive championships from 1978 to 1982. Competition for the trophy has been exclusively between Canadian teams, except for a three-year period from 1993 to 1995, when an expansion of the CFL south into the United States resulted in the Baltimore Stallions winning the 1995 championship and taking the Grey Cup south of the border for the only time in its history.
|Given for||Winning the Canadian Football League championship|
|Most recent||106th Grey Cup|
While the Stanley Cup was created in 1893 as the Canadian amateur hockey championship, professional teams were openly competing for the trophy by 1907. Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey, the Governor General of Canada, planned to donate a new trophy to serve as the senior amateur championship; however, Sir Montague Allan donated the Allan Cup before he could finalize his plans. Grey instead offered an award for the Canadian amateur rugby football championship beginning in 1909. He initially failed to follow through on his offer; the trophy was not ordered until two weeks prior to the first championship game.
The first Grey Cup game was held on December 4, 1909, between two Toronto clubs: the University of Toronto Varsity Blues defeated the Parkdale Canoe Club 26–6 before 3,800 fans. The trophy was not ready for presentation following the game, and the Varsity Blues did not receive it until March 1910. They retained the trophy in the following two years, defeating the Hamilton Tigers in 1910 and the Toronto Argonauts in 1911. The University of Toronto failed to reach the 1912 Grey Cup, which was won by the Hamilton Alerts over the Argonauts. The Varsity Blues refused to hand over the trophy on the belief they could keep it until they were defeated in a title game. They kept the trophy until 1914 when they were defeated by the Argonauts, who made the trophy available to subsequent champions.
Canada's participation in the First World War resulted in the cancellation of the championship from 1916 to 1918, during which time the Cup was forgotten. Montreal Gazette writer Bob Dunn claimed that the trophy was later rediscovered as "one of the family heirlooms" of an employee of the Toronto trust company where it had been sent for storage. The Grey Cup game was also cancelled in 1919 due to a lack of interest from the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and the intercollegiate unions, along with rules conflicts between the Canadian Rugby Union (CRU) and the western union. Competition finally resumed in 1920 with the 8th Grey Cup game, won 16–3 by the Varsity Blues over the Argonauts. It was the University of Toronto's fourth, and final, championship.
Competition for the Grey Cup was limited to member unions of the CRU, the champions of which petitioned the league body for the right to challenge for the national championship. The Western Canada Rugby Football Union (WCRFU) was formed in 1911, but the CRU did not come to a participation agreement with it until 1921, allowing the Edmonton Eskimos (no lineage to the similarly-named team operating since 1949) of the WCRFU to challenge. Facing the Argonauts in the 9th Grey Cup, the Eskimos became the first western team – and the first from outside Toronto or Hamilton – to compete for the trophy. The Argonauts entered the game with an undefeated record, having outscored their opposition 226 to 55 during the season. They dominated Edmonton, recording the first shutout in Grey Cup history with a 23–0 victory. Multi-sport star Lionel Conacher was Toronto's top player, scoring 15 of his team's points before leaving the game after the third quarter to join his hockey team for their game. The same Edmonton team (renamed as Edmonton Elks) challenged for the trophy again in 1922, but lost 13–1 to their eastern opposition, the Queen's University Golden Gaels. For Queen's, it was the first of three consecutive titles.
Western teams continued to vie for the trophy, but were consistently outclassed for several years. Eastern teams and critics felt the quality of the western game was inferior to theirs, and when Queen's defeated the Regina Rugby Club 54–0 in the 1923 final, the critics felt they deliberately ran up the score to prove that point. Regina was western Canada's dominant team, appearing in the Grey Cup on six occasions between 1928 and 1934, but lost to their eastern opponents each time. Regina helped revolutionize Canadian football in 1929, however, as they attempted the first forward pass in Grey Cup history. The Winnipeg 'Pegs (now the Blue Bombers) became the first western Grey Cup champion in 1935 when they defeated the Hamilton Tigers, 18–12. While the Grey Cup was slow to achieve national popularity, the advent of the east versus west format helped make the game the nation's largest sporting event.
As the quality of senior football improved, university teams realized they were no longer able to compete on equal footing and withdrew from competition for the Grey Cup in 1933. By 1938, only three unions continued to compete under the banner of the CRU: the IRFU and the Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU) in the east, and the Western Interprovincial Football Union (WIFU) in the west. The CRU experimented with a two-game, total points series to determine the champion in 1940. The Ottawa Rough Riders won both games against Toronto's Balmy Beach, 8–2 and 12–5. The Grey Cup returned to its one-game format the following year.
Both the IRFU and WIFU suspended operations in 1942 due to the Second World War. Grey Cup play was expected to be suspended along with the unions; however, the military felt the game and sport would serve as a morale booster and organized teams at bases across the country. For the following three years, Grey Cup competition was limited to military teams, and in the 1942 Grey Cup, the Toronto RCAF Hurricanes defeated the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers 8–5 to become the first non-civilian team to win the national championship. Two years later, the St. Hyacinthe–Donnacona Navy defeated the Hamilton Flying Wildcats, 7–6; no Grey Cup championship since then has featured two eastern teams. The conclusion of the war led to the reformation of civilian teams; the IRFU resumed play in 1945, and the WIFU the following year.
A push by the sport's organizers to adopt an increasingly professional attitude dominated the post-war period: poor field conditions, previously accepted as part of the game, resulted in numerous complaints against the CRU following the 1949 and 1950 Grey Cups. Field conditions at Toronto's Varsity Stadium were so poor in 1950 that the game has since gained infamy as the "Mud Bowl". Deep ruts in the field and poor weather in the days leading up to the game resulted in a sloppy field covered in large puddles of water. The game also gained notoriety for the near drowning of Winnipeg's Buddy Tinsley, who was found face down in a large puddle, apparently unconscious. Tinsley later said that he had not lost consciousness, but his leg had gone numb from a hard hit to a preexisting injury. Toronto won the game 13–0, the last time a team has been shut out in a Grey Cup game.
The ORFU, the last purely amateur union competing for the Grey Cup, withdrew from Cup competition in 1954. Although the IRFU and WIFU champions had faced each other in the Grey Cup final since 1945, the ORFU's withdrawal left the IRFU and WIFU unchallenged as Canada's top football unions. The Eskimos faced the Montreal Alouettes in three consecutive Grey Cups in the mid-1950s, winning all three. Edmonton's first title in 1954 ended in bizarre fashion after Jackie Parker scored a touchdown (converted by Bob Dean) from a fumble recovery late in the game that gave Edmonton a 26-25 lead. At the time in Canadian football, touchdowns were only worth 5 points. Parker's 90-yard fumble return was the longest in league history until Toronto's Cassius Vaughn returned a Calgary fumble 109 yards in the 2017 Grey Cup game which was won by Toronto. The 1954 game also marked the end of the amateur era as the top teams completed their transition to professional organizations.
As the 1950s wore on, the IRFU and WIFU distanced themselves from the CRU, forming the Canadian Football Council in 1956 to administer the game at the professional level. Two years later, on January 18, 1958, the CFC withdrew from the CRU and reorganized as the Canadian Football League (CFL). The new league formally assumed control of the Grey Cup from the CRU.
In the CFL's initial seasons, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were the league's dominant team, appearing in nine Grey Cups and winning four titles between 1957 and 1967. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers opposed Hamilton on six of those occasions, winning four titles. The two teams were involved in a series of bizarre incidents, the first occurring during the 1957 Grey Cup. Toronto-based lawyer and fan David Humphrey had talked his way past stadium security and had been allowed to watch the game from the sidelines. Ten minutes into the fourth quarter, Hamilton's Ray Bawel intercepted a pass and it appeared he would return the ball for a touchdown when Humphrey stuck his leg out and tripped Bawel as he ran up the sideline. Unsure how to handle the situation as there was no rule designed to cover it, referee Paul Dojack invented one on the spot. He placed the ball half the distance to the Winnipeg goal line from the point Bawel was tripped. The incident did not affect the final score, as Hamilton won 32–7. The league also created a new rule during the 1961 Grey Cup as it was the first in history to end regulation time in a tie: CFL Commissioner Sid Halter determined the teams would play an overtime period that consisted of two five-minute halves. That rule remained the CFL standard into the 2000s. Winnipeg scored the lone touchdown in overtime to defeat Hamilton 21–14.
Winnipeg and Hamilton met again in 1962, the 50th Grey Cup, immortalized as the "Fog Bowl". The game was held at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium, and began on Saturday, December 1, 1962. The fog rolled in early in the second quarter and became increasingly dense as the game progressed. By the fourth quarter, the players were unable to see the sideline markers and the fans unable to see the play. The players were unable to see the ball in the air – kick returners listened for the sound of the ball hitting the ground – and the action was largely invisible to the television audience. With nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds remaining in the game and Winnipeg holding onto a 28–27 lead, officials made the unprecedented decision to suspend play until the next day. Though the league feared that continuing fog on the morning of December 2 would force the complete abandonment of the game, it lifted in time for the contest to resume. Around 15,000 of the original 32,655 spectators watched Winnipeg win the Grey Cup without further scoring by either team. It was the first title game completed on a Sunday; the Grey Cup moved from its traditional Saturday start to Sunday in 1969; however, the game was played on a Saturday for the last time in 1970.
The Montreal Alouettes' 1970 Grey Cup championship, an upset win over the favoured Calgary Stampeders, served as a morale booster for the city of Montreal, which was reeling in the aftermath of the October Crisis. The 1970s belonged to the Edmonton Eskimos, however, as they ended the decade as one of the most dominant teams in CFL history, reaching the Grey Cup nine times between 1973 and 1982. The team competed in three consecutive finals early in the decade, losing to Ottawa in 1973 and Montreal in 1974, before winning the franchise's fourth championship in 1975. The 1975 championship was held in Calgary and was the first Grey Cup played on the Canadian Prairies. A young woman infamously streaked across the field during the national anthem despite frigid temperatures well below freezing. The only time the Eskimos did not reach the Grey Cup final during this span was in 1976, when the Saskatchewan Roughriders met the Ottawa Rough Riders, in what would be the final all-"Roughriders" Grey Cup game. Both teams would fight a see-saw battle, which was decided in the dying seconds of the game when Ottawa quarterback Tom Clements threw to Tony Gabriel, which stood out as the winning touchdown, 23-20. The 1977 Grey Cup was the first held at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, contested by the home town Alouettes and the Eskimos in front of a record crowd of 68,318. The game became known as the "Ice Bowl", as low temperatures froze snow on the field that had been melted by groundskeepers with salt, making the artificial turf extremely slippery. The Alouettes adapted to the field conditions by affixing staples to the soles of their shoes, improving their traction, and won the game by a 41–6 score.
Upset at losing the 1977 game under poor weather conditions, the Eskimos hoped for a rematch with Montreal in 1978. Both teams reached the final game, which Edmonton won 20–13. It was the first of five consecutive championships, a streak that remains unmatched in the history of the Grey Cup. The Eskimos' dynasty dominated the league, losing a total of only six games during the three seasons from 1979 to 1981. The 1981 Grey Cup was expected to be yet another easy win for Edmonton, who posted a 14–1–1 record during the season and were considered overwhelming favourites against the 5–11 Ottawa Rough Riders. The first half did not go as Edmonton hoped, though, as Ottawa emerged with a 20–1 lead. Quarterback Warren Moon led the Eskimos back in the second half, and with the game tied at 23, Dave Cutler kicked the game-winning field goal with just three seconds remaining.
Edmonton's championship run came to an end in 1983 when they lost in the West Semi-Final game; the Argonauts defeated the BC Lions to win the championship that year, ending the team's 31-year Grey Cup title drought. Despite Toronto's win, the CFL felt that the overall quality of play in the East Division had deteriorated compared to that of the West. In 1986, it altered the playoff format to allow the first non-playoff team in one division to take the last playoff spot, but stay in their division if they had a better record. The consequences of the new rules were felt immediately, as the league gave a playoff spot to the Stampeders having a better record than the Alouettes, and decided the East Division Final would be a 2-game-total-point Final between the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who finished first and second, respectively. The crossover, if necessary, would begin in 1987. In financial difficulty, the loss of the playoff spot was disastrous for Montreal, which ceased operations one year later. The crossover rule was eliminated and not revisited until a decade later due to Montreal's folding. Reduced to eight teams, the CFL shifted Winnipeg to the East Division, making the 1988 Grey Cup between the Blue Bombers and Lions the first championship game between two western Canadian teams.
The 1989 Grey Cup is considered one of the finest games in Canadian football history: The Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 43–40 in the highest scoring Grey Cup game of all-time. Saskatchewan kicker Dave Ridgway's last-second field goal won the game and made him a legend in the prairie province.
Declining interest in the CFL during the 1990s left the league in financial difficulty. Hoping to restore the league's credibility with fans, a new ownership group featuring Bruce McNall, hockey player Wayne Gretzky and actor John Candy purchased the Toronto Argonauts in 1991 and lured American college standout Rocket Ismail to Canada with a four-year, $26.2 million contract which made him the highest paid player in football history at that time. The Argonauts reached the 1991 Grey Cup and defeated the Calgary Stampeders 36–21. With 261 all-purpose yards on the game, including a then-Grey Cup record 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, Ismail was named Grey Cup Most Valuable Player.
The potential for the league to enter the American market was discussed in 1987 when operators of the defunct United States Football League approached the CFL about merging the two leagues. The league showed little interest at the time, but as it continued its decline, the CFL reevaluated its position. In 1992, the CFL announced that it would expand into the United States. The Sacramento Gold Miners joined the league and became the first American team eligible to win the Grey Cup. The league added three additional American teams in 1994 and two in 1995 (with one team folding), but the initiative failed in most markets, and by 1996, the CFL again operated exclusively within Canada.
The lone successful American market was in Baltimore, home to the Stallions. The team averaged over 35,000 fans per game in its inaugural season, nearly double that of Toronto or Hamilton. They matched that success on the field by becoming the first American team to play in the Grey Cup. The BC Lions kept the Grey Cup in Canada with a 26–23 victory in the 1994 final. Baltimore returned to the title game one year later and became the only American team to win the trophy by defeating the Calgary Stampeders, 37–20. The relocation of the National Football League's Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996 caused the Stallions to seek a new city to avoid direct competition with an NFL team. The team moved to Montreal, forming the current incarnation of the Alouettes franchise and ending the CFL's excursion into the United States.
The league approached the 1996 Grey Cup in dire financial straits: the American expansion had been a failure, the 120-year-old Ottawa Rough Riders franchise ceased operations at the conclusion of the regular season, and out of the eight remaining teams, seven had lost money and two required direct assistance from the league to stay afloat. The Edmonton Eskimos could not afford to bring their players' families to the championship game. The Toronto Star echoed fears spoken by fans and media across the country when it asked if the 1996 championship, won by Toronto over Edmonton, would be the final Grey Cup.
While the league struggled, the Grey Cup game itself retained its popularity and remained a national institution. The strength of the contest allowed the league to endure its challenges. The CFL survived into 1997 and was buoyed by an interest-free loan from the NFL, a new television deal with The Sports Network which, along with the launch of its popular Friday Night Football program, has been credited with saving the league. That year's Grey Cup, held in Edmonton and won by Toronto, drew nearly 22,000 more fans than the previous year. The CFL restored its reputation over time, enjoying new popularity into the 2000s such that it no longer had to rely on an exciting Grey Cup final to achieve stability for the next season.
In 2000, the 8–10 BC Lions made history when they defeated the Montreal Alouettes, 28–26, becoming the first team in history to win the Grey Cup with a losing record in the regular season. In the game, 25-year veteran Lui Passaglia ended the longest career in CFL history by kicking what was ultimately the game-winning field goal. The Calgary Stampeders matched the Lions' feat the next year by becoming the second 8–10 team to win the Grey Cup, defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers by a 27–19 score in front of 65,255 fans, the second largest crowd in the game's history.
The 2005 Grey Cup was the second overtime game in Grey Cup history, and the first one using the league's shootout overtime format (introduced in 2000). Both the Eskimos and Alouettes scored touchdowns on their first possessions, while Edmonton scored a field goal in its second and held Montreal scoreless to win the game by a 38–35 score. The game was played in the middle of a stretch of eight Grey Cup appearances by the Alouettes between 2000 and 2010. In 2009, they defeated the Roughriders in dramatic fashion: placekicker Damon Duval missed a last-second field goal attempt that appeared to give Saskatchewan the victory. However, the Riders were penalized for having too many men on the field, allowing Duval a second opportunity. His second attempt was successful, giving Montreal a 28–27 victory.
The 100th Grey Cup game was played on November 25, 2012 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto between the Toronto Argonauts and the Calgary Stampeders. The Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup with a score of 35–22.
The 104th Grey Cup game was played at BMO Field in Toronto, which became the new home of the Argonauts beginning in the 2016 season. After being promised the 102nd Grey Cup game as an incentive to rejoin the league, the 105th Grey Cup game was played at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa in 2017, as part of celebrations to mark 150 years of Confederation. The 55th Grey Cup, played at the end of the 1967 CFL season, was also held in Ottawa as part of celebrations to mark 100 years of Confederation.
The trophy was commissioned in 1909 at a cost of $48. The chalice is made of sterling silver and stands 33 centimetres (13 in) tall. Its original base was made of wood, with silver shields listing each championship year and winning team's name, beginning with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The players of the 1915 championship Hamilton team, apparently as revenge for Toronto's refusal to relinquish the trophy in 1912 and 1913, added a shield for the 1908 Tigers team to give the appearance that their organization had won the first Grey Cup.
A 1947 fire destroyed the clubhouse of the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club and damaged the Grey Cup. Many other trophies and artifacts in the clubhouse melted or were damaged beyond repair but the Grey Cup survived by catching onto a nail attached to a surviving wall when the shelf upon which it sat collapsed. The trophy has been broken on six other occasions: in 1978, when it was dropped by celebrating Edmonton Eskimos players; in 1987, when an Eskimos' player sat on it; in 1993, when Edmonton's Blake Dermott head-butted it; in 2006, when the chalice broke away from its base as the BC Lions celebrated their victory; in 2012 when one of the handles broke off as the Toronto Argonauts celebrated; and finally in 2014 when the chalice broke away from its base again as the Calgary Stampeders celebrated their win. The CFL commissioned a replica of the trophy in 2008.
The Grey Cup has been stolen on two occasions: it disappeared for three days in 1967 when it was taken from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a prank, and in December 1969 it was stolen from the offices of the Ottawa Rough Riders at Lansdowne Park. The thieves attempted to ransom the trophy, but the CFL refused to pay and made plans to replace it with a duplicate. An anonymous phone call led to the trophy's recovery two months later in a locker at Toronto's Royal York Hotel. The thieves were never found.
The current design of the Grey Cup's base was introduced in 1987. The base stands 84 centimetres (33 in) high and is made of black-lacquered aluminum with silver plates engraved with the names of each winning team's players and executives since 1909. The trophy, one of Canada's best known symbols, ran out of room for new additions following the 2012 Grey Cup. The league announced that the base will be redesigned but will remain similar in shape to its current design.
Similar to the more famous Stanley Cup used exclusively today by the NHL, members of the winning teams are allowed time to celebrate with the trophy in their own fashion, often taking it to their home towns or tours in locations across Canada. The board of directors for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame act as the Grey Cup's trustees and control its rental for events. The trophy is accompanied by a designated representative of the Hall of Fame at all times. Like the Stanley Cup, but unlike the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the NFL's Super Bowl, a new trophy is not made every year; rather, the Grey Cup is loaned to the winning team for a year.
Each year, the host city organizes numerous events as part of the annual Grey Cup festival. Gala concerts, parties, and fan festivals are held in the days leading up to the championship game. The CFL hands out its annual awards during the festival, and an annual Grey Cup parade is held. Historically, the festival also featured the "Miss Grey Cup" beauty pageant; this was discontinued in 1992. The game itself includes a performance of the Canadian national anthem (usually sung in both English and French) and a halftime show, often featuring performances by well-known Canadian musical acts such as Nickelback, who performed at the 2011 game.
Nicknamed Canada's "Grand National Drunk", the Grey Cup party originated in the 1948 championship when hundreds of Calgary Stampeders fans descended on Toronto for their team's first appearance in the game. Bringing chuckwagons and horses, the fans organized a pancake breakfast – a staple of the Calgary Stampede – for bewildered Torontonians. According to historian Hugh Dempsey, "The Grey Cup was just another game until Calgary went down to Toronto with chuckwagons and everything and turned it into an event." The Stampeders won the game on the strength of the "sleeper play", a touchdown scored by Norm Hill after he hid himself from the Ottawa defence by lying down on the sidelines, as if asleep. He received the pass from quarterback Keith Spaith while still on his back. The victory completed the only undefeated season in the history of Canadian professional football. The boisterous celebrations that followed the win gave rise to the legend of Calgary alderman and future mayor Don Mackay riding his horse into the lobby of the Royal York Hotel. This event was repeated in the 2012 Grey Cup game in Toronto to much of the delight of the fans of both teams. The Calgary Grey Cup Committee maintains the tradition of organizing a pancake breakfast at each year's championship.
A 2012 survey found that Canadians consider the Grey Cup to be the most important annual event to attend. Fans of all teams converge at the game venue, including some who have attended 60 or more Grey Cups. The influx of people from across the country is estimated to have an economic impact of over $120 million for the region hosting the championship game.
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||10||14||24||1990|
The Toronto Argonauts have won the most Grey Cup championships (17), followed by the Edmonton Eskimos (14) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10). The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have made the most Grey Cup appearances (24). Since the Canadian Football League began in 1958, the Eskimos have won the most Grey Cup Championships (11) and have made the most Grey Cup appearances (19). The Saskatchewan Roughriders have the most losses in Grey Cup play (15), including five consecutive losses between 1928 and 1932. The defending champions are the Calgary Stampeders who won the 106th Grey Cup in 2018. Six teams in CFL history have won the Grey Cup at home, the 2013 Saskatchewan Roughriders, the 2012 Toronto Argonauts, the 2011 BC Lions, the 1994 BC Lions, the 1977 Montreal Alouettes, and 1972 Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Blue Bombers were the losing team in 2011, extending Winnipeg's championship drought at the time to 21 seasons, and at 28 seasons (1991–2018) is the longest active streak in the CFL.
Individually, three players have won seven Grey Cups: Jack Wedley (Toronto, Montreal Navy), Bill Stevenson (Edmonton) and Hank Ilesic (Edmonton, Toronto). Ilesic is one of seven players to appear in nine Grey Cup games. Among quarterbacks, Anthony Calvillo appeared in a record eight games, winning three. Five coaches share the record for Grey Cup championships at five: Wally Buono (the CFL's all-time leader in total games won), Don Matthews, Frank Clair, Hugh Campbell and Lew Hayman.
Two individual awards are handed out following each game. The Most Valuable Player award is given to the top performer in the Grey Cup. Between 1974 and 1990, the league named both offensive and defensive most valuable players. Three people have been named MVP on three occasions: Doug Flutie, Damon Allen and Sonny Wade. The Dick Suderman Trophy is given to the most valuable Canadian. It is named in honour of Dick Suderman, who died of a brain hemorrhage in 1972 while an active player for the Edmonton Eskimos. Dave Sapunjis and Don Sweet have each won the award three times (however, Sapunjis is the only player to win the award in back-to-back years).
The city of Toronto has hosted the most Grey Cup games with 47, including 30 of the first 45 games played. The first game was held on December 4, 1909, at Rosedale Field. Hamilton and Ottawa hosted several early games while Sarnia and Kingston each hosted one as the game's early years were dominated by teams in southern Ontario. The Grey Cup game and champion first left the province in 1931, when Montreal hosted the event and the Montreal AAA Winged Wheelers won the 19th Grey Cup. The game did not leave central Canada until 1955 when the 43rd Grey Cup was played in Vancouver. That contest achieved what was at the time an all-time Canadian football attendance record of 39,491. It was the first of 16 games hosted by the British Columbia city, second among all host cities.
The 1940 Grey Cup was a two-game series, Toronto & Ottawa each hosted a game.
The Grey Cup game was first broadcast on radio in 1928. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) carried radio coverage of the game for 51 years until 1986, when a network of private broadcasters took over.
Canadian television was in its infancy in 1952 when Toronto's CBLT paid $7,500 for the rights to carry the first televised broadcast of a Grey Cup game. Within two years, it was estimated that 80 percent of the nation's 900,000 television sets were tuned into the game, even though the first national telecast did not occur until 1957. The Grey Cup continues to be one of Canada's most-viewed sporting events. The 1962 "Fog Bowl" game was the first Grey Cup to be broadcast on American television.
The CBC carried the first national telecasts exclusively, but the CTV Television Network purchased rights to the 1962 game. The move sparked concern across Canada as the newly formed network was not yet available in many parts of the country. The debate over whether an "event of national interest" should be broadcast by the publicly funded CBC or private broadcasters reached the floor of Parliament as members of the federal government weighed in. It was decided that both networks would carry the game. The two networks continued with the simulcast arrangement until 1986 when CTV ceased its coverage.
The CFL operated the Canadian Football Network, a coalition of private broadcasters that shared league games and the Grey Cup with the CBC, from 1987 to 1990. CBC then broadcast the championship game alone until 2007, when the CFL sold exclusive rights to all games, including the Grey Cup, to specialty channel The Sports Network (TSN) and its French-language sister station Réseau des sports (RDS), a deal that was criticized by Canadians without cable access. Nonetheless, TSN and RDS achieved a record audience for the 2009 Grey Cup, with 6.1 million Canadians watching the game in its entirety, and over 14 million viewing at least part of the contest. Viewership has declined in recent years, and in 2014, about 33%, of Canadians watched at least some of the game, peaking at 5.1 million viewers in the fourth quarter.
The 100th Grey Cup was a Canadian football game between the East Division champion Toronto Argonauts and the West Division champion Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League to decide the Grey Cup champions of the 2012 season.
The game took place on Sunday, November 25, 2012, at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario. This was the fourth (and last) Grey Cup game played at Rogers Centre (by the next Grey Cup game that Toronto hosted in 2016, it was played at BMO Field), and the 46th in the city of Toronto.
The Argonauts defeated the Stampeders 35–22 to win their sixteenth Grey Cup title.This was the third meeting between Calgary and Toronto for the Grey Cup championship and the first since the 79th Grey Cup in 1991. This was also the second consecutive year that the Grey Cup game involved, and was won by, the team from the host city. The result of the game also meant that Argonauts owner David Braley became the first team owner to win back-to-back Grey Cups with two different teams; Braley also owned the 2011 champions, the BC Lions (Braley has since sold the Toronto Argonauts). Over 5.8 million viewers watched the game, with roughly 5.5 million originating from English Canada, making the game the most-watched Grey Cup ever recorded on English-language television.Following the game, Toronto running back Chad Kackert was named the Most Valuable Player. His teammate, defensive end Ricky Foley received the Dick Suderman Trophy as the Most Valuable Canadian.102nd Grey Cup
The 102nd Grey Cup was a Canadian football game played November 30, 2014, between the West Division champion Calgary Stampeders and East Division champion Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to determine the Canadian Football League (CFL) championship for the 2014 season. The contest was held at BC Place stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Stampeders won the contest 20–16 to claim their seventh Grey Cup championship in franchise history and first since 2008. Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was named the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player, while Hamilton's Andy Fantuz received the Dick Suderman Trophy as most outstanding Canadian.105th Grey Cup
The 105th Grey Cup was played on November 26, 2017 between the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario.In a re-match of the 100th Grey Cup, the Argos won the game 27–24, winning their 17th championship.106th Grey Cup
The 106th Grey Cup (branded as the 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw for sponsorship reasons) was the Canadian Football League (CFL) championship game for the 2018 season. It was played on November 25, 2018, between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Calgary Stampeders at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.In a rematch of the 104th Grey Cup, the Stampeders won 27–16, claiming their eighth Grey Cup Championship.36th Grey Cup
The 36th Grey Cup was played on November 27, 1948, before 20,013 fans at Varsity Stadium at Toronto.
The Calgary Stampeders defeated Ottawa Rough Riders 12 to 7.
The game is remembered fondly for being the year in which Calgary fans brought pageantry to the Grey Cup, as much as it was Calgary's first Grey Cup victory. Stamps fans created a party atmosphere by staging pancake breakfasts on the steps of City Hall, riding horses into the lobby of the prestigious Royal York Hotel, and starting parades, dances and parties everywhere.56th Grey Cup
56th Grey Cup was played November 30, 1968, and the Ottawa Rough Riders defeated the Calgary Stampeders 24 to 21 before 32,655 fans at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium. Vic Washington's 79-yard run is still a Grey Cup record, and he won the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player award. This was the final Grey Cup game to be played on a Saturday; beginning the next year and since then (except for 1970), all Grey Cup games have been played on a Sunday.79th Grey Cup
The 79th Grey Cup was the 1991 Canadian Football League championship game played between the Toronto Argonauts and the Calgary Stampeders at Winnipeg Stadium in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Argonauts defeated the Stampeders 36-21 in an entertaining game.92nd Grey Cup
The 92nd Grey Cup game took place on November 21, 2004, at Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario. The game decided the championship of the 2004 Canadian Football League season. The Toronto Argonauts defeated the BC Lions 27-19.
This is the first Grey Cup game to be played on the next-generation FieldTurf surface.95th Grey Cup
The 95th Grey Cup was held in Toronto at the Rogers Centre on November 25, 2007. The Grey Cup, first awarded in 1909, is the championship game of the Canadian Football League. It was played between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, with the Roughriders winning 23-19. It was the first Grey Cup meeting between the two teams, and was also the first time any Labour Day Classic matchup has been played in the Grey Cup.
The 95th Grey Cup was the 46th Grey Cup hosted by Toronto since the championship's inception in 1909 and the first it has hosted since 1992. SkyDome/Rogers Centre previously hosted the 77th Grey Cup in 1989 and the 80th Grey Cup in 1992. The game was announced as a sellout on November 19, 2007. Ticket prices ranged from $94 to $560.The game was viewed by approximately 3.337 million viewers on CBC television, up from 3.202 million the previous year. This was the last Grey Cup and CFL game broadcast by CBC, as TSN became the exclusive TV home for the CFL the following season.BC Lions
The BC Lions are a professional Canadian football team competing in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Lions play their home games at BC Place.
The Lions played their first season in 1954, and have played every season since. As such, they are the oldest professional sports franchise in the city of Vancouver and in the province of British Columbia. They have appeared in the league's Grey Cup championship game 10 times, winning six of those games, with their most recent championship occurring in 2011.
The Lions were the first Western Canadian team to have won the Grey Cup at home, having done so in 1994 and 2011, before Saskatchewan won in 2013, while also becoming the only team to beat an American-based franchise in a championship game, a feat accomplished in 1994. The Lions hold the second longest playoff streak in CFL history, making the playoffs every season from the 1997 CFL season to the 2016 CFL season, failing to make the playoffs for the first time in over 20 seasons in 2017 (only the Edmonton Eskimos have had a longer playoff streak; theirs lasted for 34 seasons from 1972 to 2005).Calgary Stampeders
The Calgary Stampeders are a professional Canadian football team based in Calgary, Alberta, competing in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). The Stampeders play their home games at McMahon Stadium and are the third-oldest active franchise in the CFL. The Stampeders were officially founded in 1945, although there were clubs operating in Calgary as early as 1909.The Calgary Stampeders have won eight Grey Cups, most recently in 2018, from their appearances in 17 Grey Cup Championship games. They have won 20 Western Division Championships and one Northern Division Championship in the franchise's history. The team has a provincial rivalry with the Edmonton Eskimos, as well as fierce divisional rivalries with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the BC Lions.Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League (CFL; French: Ligue canadienne de football, LCF) is a professional sports league in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football. The league consists of nine teams, each located in a city in Canada. They are divided into two divisions: four teams in the East Division and five teams in the West Division.
As of 2018, it features a 21-week regular season where each team plays 18 games with three bye weeks. This season traditionally runs from mid-June to early November. Following the regular season, six teams compete in the league's three-week divisional playoffs which culminate in the Grey Cup championship game in late November. The Grey Cup is one of Canada's largest annual sports and television events.The CFL was officially founded on January 19, 1958. The league was formed through a merger between the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (founded in 1907) and the Western Interprovincial Football Union (founded in 1936).Dick Suderman Trophy
The Dick Suderman Trophy for the Grey Cup's Most Valuable Canadian is awarded annually to the Canadian player deemed to have the best performance in the Grey Cup game, the championship of the Canadian Football League.
No kicker has ever been the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player, but kickers have been the Most Valuable Canadian twelve times. Dave Sapunjis is the only player to win the award in back-to-back years.
The winner does not necessarily have to play for the Grey Cup winning team in order to qualify.
The trophy is named in honour of Dick Suderman, a Canadian defensive lineman in the Canadian Football League. One year after winning the Grey Cup's Most Valuable Canadian award in 1971 (the first year it was awarded), Suderman collapsed and died from a brain hemorrhage after playing a game in Vancouver, British Columbia against the B.C. Lions. The trophy was subsequently renamed in his honour.Grey Cup Most Valuable Player
The Grey Cup's Most Valuable Player award is awarded annually since 1959 to the player of the winning team who deemed to have had the best performance in the Grey Cup Game, the Canadian Football League's championship game.Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are a professional Canadian football team based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. They are currently members of the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). The Tiger-Cats play their home games at Tim Hortons Field. They were founded in 1950 with the merger of the Hamilton Tigers and the Hamilton Wildcats.Since the 1950 merger, the team has won the Grey Cup championship eight times, most recently in 1999. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club also recognizes all Grey Cups won by Hamilton-based teams as part of their history, which would bring their win total to 15 (the Hamilton Tigers with five, Hamilton Flying Wildcats with one and Hamilton Alerts also with one). However, the CFL does not recognize these wins under one franchise, rather as the individual franchises that won them. If one includes their historical lineage, Hamilton football clubs won league championships in every decade of the 20th century, a feat matched by only one other North American franchise in professional sports, the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings of the International League. Neither of these teams won a championship in the first decade of the 21st century.
In their first forty years of existence, the Tiger-Cats were a model franchise, qualifying for the playoffs in all but three of those years and winning seven Grey Cup championships. They are one of six teams in the modern era to win the Grey Cup at home and were the first to accomplish this when they did it in 1972. However, since 1990, they have missed the playoffs on eleven occasions and have won just one Grey Cup in 1999 (and have the longest Grey Cup drought of the current East Division teams). Their lowest moment came when they lost a CFL record 17 games in one season with just one win during their 2003 season. The franchise has started to return to prominence after qualifying for the post-season in four of the past five seasons, including a loss in the 101st Grey Cup and again in the 102nd Grey Cup.List of Grey Cup champions
The Grey Cup is the championship of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the trophy awarded to the victorious team. The trophy is named after Albert Grey, the Governor General of Canada from 1904 until 1911. He donated the trophy to the Canadian Rugby Union in 1909 to recognize the top amateur rugby football team in Canada. By this time Canadian football had become markedly different from the rugby football from which it developed. Although it was originally intended to be awarded only to amateur teams (like the Stanley Cup), over time, the Grey Cup became the property of the Canadian Football League as it evolved into a professional football league. Amateur teams ceased competing for the Cup by 1954; since 1965, the top amateur teams, playing in U Sports, have competed for the Vanier Cup.The Grey Cup game is Canada's largest annual sports and television event, regularly drawing a Canadian viewing audience of about 4 million. Two awards are given for play in the game, Most Valuable Player and the Dick Suderman Trophy as most valuable Canadian player.The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have made the most appearances (24), while the Toronto Argonauts have won the most championships (17) and have the best record in the Grey Cup composite standings (17-6). Despite the CFL's short-lived U.S. expansion in the mid-90's, the Grey Cup was never played outside of Canada. The Baltimore Stallions were the only American team to appear in the Grey Cup (twice, losing in 1994 and winning the following year). Although the first Grey Cup game was in 1909, none were played from 1916 to 1919, so the 2012 Grey Cup was the 100th. The 106th Grey Cup was played on November 25, 2018 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, with the Calgary Stampeders defeating the Ottawa Redblacks 27–16.Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are a professional Canadian football team based in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Roughriders play in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL).
The Roughriders were founded in 1910 as the Regina Rugby Club. Although they were not the first team to play football in Western Canada, the club has maintained an unbroken organizational continuity since their founding. The Roughriders are the third-oldest professional gridiron football team in existence today (only the Arizona Cardinals and Toronto Argonauts are older), and one of the oldest professional sports teams still in existence in North America. Of these teams, the Roughriders are both the oldest still in existence that continuously has been based in Western Canada (as well as the oldest-surviving team in the CFL's present-day West Division) as well as the oldest in North America to continuously have been based west of St. Louis, Missouri. They are also the continent's oldest community-owned professional sports franchise, older than every American professional sports team outside baseball other than the aforementioned Cardinals (who, unlike the Roughriders, no longer play in their original city, and have moved twice in their history) and older than every Canadian sports team outside football except the Montreal Canadiens, who were founded about nine months prior to the Roughriders. The team changed their name to the Regina Roughriders from the Regina Rugby Club in 1924 and finally to the current moniker in 1946. The Roughriders played their home games at historic Taylor Field from 1936 to 2016; in 2017, the team moved to the newly-constructed Mosaic Stadium at Evraz Place.
The team draws fans from across Saskatchewan and Canada who are affectionately known as the Rider Nation. The Roughriders play in the smallest market in the CFL, and the second-smallest major-league market in North America (only Green Bay, Wisconsin, is smaller). They have finished first in the Western Division seven times and have won the Western championship a record 28 times. They have played in the championship game 19 times and won four Grey Cups.
The team has had 20 players inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. The Riders' biggest rival is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers; games between the two are often sold out before the beginning of the season. The Roughriders Football Club and the city of Regina have hosted the Grey Cup three times, including a Roughrider win in the 101st Grey Cup.Toronto Argonauts
The Toronto Argonauts (officially the Toronto Argonaut Football Club, commonly referred to as the "Argos") are a professional Canadian football team competing in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Toronto, Ontario, the team was founded in 1873, and is the oldest existing professional sports team in North America still using its original name, and they are the oldest-surviving team in both the modern-day CFL and East Division. The team's origins date back to a modified version of rugby football that emerged in North America in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The Argonauts played their home games at Rogers Centre from 1989 until 2016 when the team moved to BMO Field, the fifth stadium site to host the team.
The Argonauts have won the Grey Cup a record 17 times and have appeared in the final 23 times. Most recently they defeated the Calgary Stampeders 27–24 in the 105th Grey Cup in 2017. The Argonauts hold the best winning percentage in the championship game (73.9%) and have the longest active winning streak in games in which they have appeared, at six. The Argonauts have faced every current western CFL team at least once in the Grey Cup, while their most celebrated divisional rivalry has been with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The team was owned by the Argonaut Rowing Club for its first 83 years, and has been owned by a series of business interests since 1956. The Argonauts were a fixture on the Toronto sports scene for decades, with attendance peaking in the 1970s. In May 2015 it was announced that a consortium of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's Larry Tanenbaum (via the Kilmer Group) and Bell Canada would acquire the team. The sale included a scheduled move to MLSE run BMO Field for the 2016 season, which has long been proposed given attendance under-utilization at Rogers Centre and announced plans to install natural grass at the domed stadium, rendering it unfit for football. (The move has since been done, albeit only the infield turf replaced with dirt, instead of grass) MLSE announced in December 2017 that it had agreed to purchase the team outright, with the deal finalized on January 19, 2018. The previous owners continue to indirectly own stakes in the Argos, as Bell Canada and the Kilmer Group respectively hold 37.5% and 25% stakes in MLSE.Given the length of franchise history, dozens of players, coaches, and management have been honoured in some form over the years. The team recognizes a select group of players with retired numbers: early greats Joe Krol and Dick Shatto, stalwart offensive lineman Danny Nykoluk, and Michael "Pinball" Clemons who has been the most recent face of the team.Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers (officially the Winnipeg Football Club) are a professional Canadian football team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are currently members of the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). They play their home games at Investors Group Field after many years of playing at the since demolished Canad Inns Stadium.The Blue Bombers were founded in 1930 as the Winnipeg Football Club, which has always been the organization's legal name. Unlike most other professional teams in the four most popular North American team sports (but much more common in soccer, especially in Europe) the official legal name Winnipeg Football Club continues to see significant everyday use alongside its nickname, particularly in local media and especially when reporting on the club's business affairs. Another unique aspect to the club compared to other North American professional sports teams (but also more common in Europe) is that it is organized as a corporation without share capital, meaning no one person or entity "owns" the team - while there are two other "community-owned" non-profit professional football teams in the CFL and one in the NFL, unlike the Winnipeg Football Club they all have shareholders.
Since their establishment, the Blue Bombers have won the league's Grey Cup championship 10 times, most recently in 1990. With 10 wins, they have the third-highest win total in the Grey Cup although they are currently the team with the longest Grey Cup drought. The Blue Bombers were the first team not located in Ontario or Quebec to win a championship and hold the record for most Grey Cup appearances with 24.