Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Suddenly Toronto is actually excited about the Canadian Football League after years of disinterest. The local pigskin franchise has always had a hard core of fans, but the Argonauts are largely ignored between Grey Cup appearances.

The Leafs dominate the local sports scene, with baseball's Blue Jays and basketball's Raptors sharing what remains of commentators' and fans' attention.

So, here's a quick primer for those who want to sound "in the know" over the chips and dip at the Grey Cup party:
• This is the 100th Grey Cup game.

• The first Grey Cup game was played on December 4, 1909, and the University of Toronto won.

• The Argonaut club was founded in 1873, and is the oldest pro sports team in North America that is still playing under its original name.

• This will be the 22nd time the team has contested for the Grey Cup.

• Argos have the Grey Cup's best winning percentage (71.4) and have won in their last four appearances (1991, 1996, 1997, 2004)

• Argos' last Grey Cup game was against the BC Lions in 2004, and they won 27-19.

• They moved from Exhibition Stadium to the Rogers Centre in 1989.

• The famous Grey Cup "mud bowl,"was played in 1950 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. My neighbour, Nick Volpe, kicked two field goals in that game to help Argos win it 12-zip.

• The "fog bowl" was played at Exhibition Stadium  in 1962 between Winnipeg and Hamilton. After the first quarter, the game was virtually invisible to fans, and players couldn't see the ball once it was airborne. Commissioner Sydney Halter halted the game with 9 minutes and 29 seconds left and the Blue Bombers up by one point. In the morning, the fog had lifted and the game resumed, with no change in the final score (28-27).

• The 1996 edition of the Grey Cup game was called the "snow bowl." It was played between Toronto and Edmonton at Hamilton's Ivor Wynne stadium, and snow was so heavy that tractors were needed to clear the field before the game and again at halftime.

• This year's tussle matches the Argos against the Calgary Stampeders for the third time. The Stamps defeated the Argos in 1971 (14-11) but, in their 1991 match up, Toronto came out on top (36-21).
There you go. That should get you to halftime, when the conversation will probably shift to the NHL lockout and mayor Ford's latest antics.

1 comment:

  1. Even I am interested in the Grey Cup Game. I don't know why exactly. Maybe it was the fog bowl, which I remember or the antics of those crazy westerners riding horses thru toronto hotels! I am not pleased that Calgary won't be allowed to bring their horse, Flame, to the stafium this year but I'm sure there will be some wonderful Canuck crazy-ness happening somewhere!