Remember the Toronto Argonauts. They are the forgotten team in their home city. They don't receive much media coverage and they're not talked about too often. Well, I have to congratulate the Argos for finishing first in the Eastern Division of the Canadian Football League. They have a great chance of going on to win the CFL's holy grail, the Grey Cup. Their next game is at home tomorrow against the Edmonton Elks.
I must admit that I have a soft spot for the CFL and the Grey Cup. Of course, it's not as glitzy and glittery as the NFL and the Super Bowl. Yet it has its own charm. It's more homey and down to earth, and it is far less commercial. Does anyone out there remember a Grey Cup ad?
Several years ago (I think it was 2007), when the Grey Cup was held in Toronto, I visited one of the pavillions at the Toronto Convention Centre. As it turned out, I sat at a table with a group of Americans from Baltimore. I asked them why they were attending Grey Cup festivities. They told me that they had been fans of the defunct Baltimore Stallions, who won the Grey Cup in 1995, In the 1990;s, the CFL expanded into U.S. cities. The American experiment didn't succeed and the CFL reverted to its Canadian teams only. However. the Stallions remain the only American franchise to capture the Canadian football championship.
For the Baltimore gang, the Grey Cup was s different experience than the Super Bowl. They still wanted a taste of it years after their CFL team disbanded. I enjoyed talking to them as they provided me with another perspective. Oh yes, they enjoyed being entertained by a Newfoundland band.
The Toronto Argonauts have won the Grey Cup a record 17 times. They have appeared 23 times in the CFL final. Their victories came in 1914, 1921, 1933, 1937, 1938, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950 , 1952, 1983, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2012 and 2017. Their record of 17 wins and six losses in those 23 games is quite good (73,9.per cent). Furthermore, the Argonauts were founded in 1873, making them the oldest existing professional sports franchise in North America still using its original name. To anyone who has any interest in sports history, that is impressive. The team has its origins in a version of rugby football that existed in North America in the latter half of the 19th century.
It should be noted that the Argos had a long championship drought from 1952 until 1983. During those years, they were regarded as loveable losers to their fans in the Toronto region and sad sacks elsewhere in Canada, The Argos also have the distinction of winning the 100th Grey Cup in 2012 in front of the hometown crowd in Toronto.
This year's Grey Cup will take place on Sunday, December 12, 2012 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. It will be the 108th Grey Cup. The first Grey Cup was played on December 4, 1909 at Rosedale Field in Toronto. There was no Grey Cup last year as the entire CFL season was cancelled due to COVID-19. 2020 marked only the 5th time in Grey Cup history that the game was not played. It was the first time the event was not held since 1919, when it was cancelled due to a rules dispute with the Canadian Rugby Union. There also was no Grey Cup game from 1916 to 1918 as a result of World War I.
Fortunately, the Grey Cup is back this year. It is is a piece of Canadiana and it is uniquely ours. I ask you, where else can you see scarlet clad Mounties carrying a championship trophy into a stadium?