Back to accessibility links

7 memorable Grey Cup games

Plus more trivia about Canada's football tradition

Nov. 20, 2012

On Nov. 25, 2012, the Grey Cup will mark its 100th anniversary, pitting the Toronto Argonauts on home turf against the Calgary Stampeders. The last time the Argos won the championship at home was in 1952.

The Grey Cup has had its share of ups and downs, but the Canadian tradition remains strong, fuelled by loyal fans and classic moments. We take a look at a few iconic games over the years as well as some Cup-related trivia.

Download Flash Player to view this content.

[ CBC looks at the 1950 Mud Bowl and the 2012 re-enactment. ]

Nov. 25, 1950 | Toronto

Toronto 13, Winnipeg 0

The Toronto Argonauts slipped and slid through the muddy field to shut out the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a game remembered more for the elements than the participants. The CFL records listed the conditions as "cloudy, muddy quagmire."

According to news reports, Winnipeg lineman Buddy Tinsley, knocked out on a play, fell face first onto a puddle and almost became the first player to drown in a Grey Cup game. (Tinsley later called the story highly exaggerated).

The Canadian Rugby Union was criticized for the poor field conditions. The game marked the last time a team has been shut out in the Grey Cup final.

Related: CBC Sports coverage

Inside the News: The Grey Cup's not just about football

Download Flash Player to view this content.

[ CBC's Terry Walker looks at some memorable moments, including the infamous trip ]

Nov. 30, 1957 | Toronto

Hamilton 32, Winnipeg 7

In the first coast-to-coast broadcast of the championship game, Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Ray Bawel intercepted a pass and was streaking down the sideline for what seemed like an easy touchdown.

A fan stretched out a leg and tripped Bawel.

But it didn't affect the outcome of the game. The fan slipped away undetected, but he would later identify himself as David Humphrey, a prominent Toronto lawyer (and future Ontario judge).

Download Flash Player to view this content.

[ CBC's Steve Armitage recalls some memorable Grey Cups, including the Fog Bowl ]

Dec. 1-2, 1962 | Toronto

Winnipeg 28, Hamilton 27

Fog rolled in off Lake Ontario and left fans at Exhibition Stadium unable to see anything of the 1962 Cup between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The game was called off in the fourth quarter and completed the following day.

It's the only Grey Cup game ever suspended during play.

Missing Cup

December 1969 | Ottawa

In December 1969, thieves broke into the Ottawa Rough Riders' offices and stole the Grey Cup, holding it for ransom.

The CFL refused to pay and planned a duplicate replacement.

The trophy remained missing for two months until Toronto police received a tip that led them to a locker at the Royal York Hotel. The thieves were never caught.

Nov. 28, 1971 | Vancouver

Calgary 14, Toronto 11

Hoping to end Grey Cup droughts, the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts went head-to-head on a wet field in Vancouver in a tight, defensive battle. Late in the game with the Stampeders ahead, Argo Dick Thornton intercepted a pass, putting Toronto in a scoring position. But running back Leon McQuay slipped and fell on the rain-slicked field, fumbling the ball and helped to seal Calgary's victory.

HarperPrime Minister Stephen Harper, days before the 100th Grey Cup featuring another Calgary-Toronto matchup, told reporters that he took the 1971 loss hard as a boy. "It was the only time I cried in front of the TV… I was growing up in Toronto then, and the Argonauts were my team." Now, Harper admitted, he'll have to cheer for his new home team, Calgary.

Dec. 3, 1972 | Hamilton, Ont.

Hamilton 13, Saskatchewan 10

With a few seconds left in the game against the Roughriders and the score tied, Ticats quarterback Chuck Ealey threw a completion to Garney Henley. With no time on the clock, Ian Sunter, a 19-year-old rookie, kicked the winning 34-yard field goal.

The championship was also CFL all-star Angelo Mosca's final game. He played in nine Grey Cups and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He became a professional wrestler after his retirement from football.

Nov. 24, 1996 | Hamilton, Ont.

Toronto 43, Edmonton 37

Considered to be one of the more exciting Grey Cup championships, Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos battled in -10 C temperatures, strong winds and blowing snow, changing leads several times in the game.

In his first season with Toronto, diminutive quarterback Doug Flutie improvised plays and ploughed through snow. Before the game, some critics thought Flutie couldn't play well in cold weather. Named the game's top performer and the CFL's outstanding player that season, Flutie led the Argos to the first of back-to-back championships for Toronto.

First Grey Cup game

Dec. 4, 1909, at Rosedale Field in Toronto.

University of Toronto 26, Toronto Parkdale Canoe Club 6

No Grey Cup games played

1916-1918: First World War

1919: Cancelled because of dispute over rules

Most-watched game

97th Grey Cup, Nov. 29, 2009, McMahon Stadium in Calgary

6.1 million Canadian viewers

Montreal Alouettes 28, Saskatchewan Roughriders 27

Download Flash Player to view this content.

[ CBC on the CFL in 1985; includes PM kickoff at the Grey Cup ]

To its fans, the Grey Cup is more than a football game.

No mere football game could attract prime ministers to perform the ceremonial kickoff.

Pierre Trudeau did it in 1968. So did John Diefenbaker in 1959, and Lester Pearson in 1964.

CBC Archives: Grey Cup: The Fans and the Fanfare

From football to journalism

McKeownBefore starting his award-winning career in news, the fifth estate's Bob McKeown played in the CFL as an all-star centre with the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1972 to 1976. The team won the Grey Cup in 1973.

From the fifth estate: Bob McKeown - Rough Rider
From the fifth estate: A Personal Reflection

[Photo: McKeown (#42) with teammates Gerry Organ (#71) and Rod Woodward (#26) | Courtesy the fifth estate]

Interactive by Ruby Buiza, CBC News

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media