Over 46 Grey Cup games that your correspondent has enjoyed, nothing tops the 1996 Snow Bowl contest that saw Doug Flutie and the Toronto Argonauts beat Edmonton in a blizzard, and Eddie Brown of the Eskimos make the greatest catch ever
That's been written about many times, however, so here's a list of other memories from more than four decades of CFL title games. 1969 -- Hello everybody, I'm Ronnie Stewart
When 10 years old is 44 years back, the images of your second Grey Cup are fragmented, black and white and, apparently, geometric.
Ronnie Stewart scored two TDs that day at the old Autostade in Montreal (built semi-temporarily for Expo 67) to help the legendary Russ Jackson and the Ottawa Rough Riders beat Regina.
What I remember was a cool circle thing the super-modern TV folks deployed to highlight replays of Stewart's runs, superimposed on a crowd shot. That was amazing.
I went to look it up ... it wasn't a circle at all, it was a diamond shape. And they used it while still live. Stewart was fabulous inside of the thing.Sesame Street
had just started that year and I think that's where the CBC/CTV guys (they used to cover the cup final together) must have gotten the inspiration.
1970 -- Hey, I've got an idea ...
A couple of civic idiots were looking at the poor old turf at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium and they had an inspiration -- new turf for the Grey Cup.
Ignoring suggestions that grass doesn't take root quickly in November, they went ahead anyway and created a game-long farce of stripped-out turf strips as Sonny Wade and the Alouettes beat Calgary.
This is the same city that called in the ploughs to take the snow off the field in 1950, creating the Mud Bowl, so no one was surprised.
Thank God there wasn't an Internet to make fun of us.
1975 -- Game? What game?
I'm 16, my hormones are raging and somehow I still find time to sit down and watch the 63rd Grey Cup, wherein the Eskimos beat Montreal 9-8 in a game history tells us was terribly boring and playing in minus-20 degree weather at Calgary.
Don't remember a thing after the coin toss, when a local woman named Nadia suddenly appeared, stark naked, RIGHT THERE.
"Dad ... hey dad, do you SEE that? Dad?"
Dad's mouth was agape.
Best part was the referee totally ignored her (as she waved her arms right next to him) and went about his business.
"Edmonton will receive the ball at this end of the field ..."
1976 -- What, are you stupid?
Tom Clements is moving the ball downfield with time running out in Toronto as Ottawa tries to come back on Saskatchewan.
He makes a great toss to future Hall of Famer Tony Gabriel for a first down on the 24 with 35 seconds left and the clock ticking down. It was obvious where the next one was going, including to me as I pulled desperately for the Green Riders.
Me: "It's going to Tony Gabriel ..."
Don Chevrier on TV: "They are 24 yards and 21 seconds away from a Grey Cup comeback ..."
Me: "Don't worry, Dad, Saskatchewan knows it's going to Gabriel ... Everyone knows."
Chevrier: "Gabriel is open in the end zone ..."
Me: "What? IT'S GOING TO GABRIEL ... ARE YOU ... WHAT? ..."
Chevrier: TOUCHDOWN (Big pause) ... And the Ottawa fans and players are going crazy."
Me: "You idiots. How can you ... EVERYONE KNEW IT WAS GOING TO GABRIEL!!!"
1982 -- Dreams in the rains of November
Those who know how passionate I was as an Argo fan growing up might be surprised that 1983 isn't on this list, the year Toronto won the Cup for the first time in 31 years.
Anyone who went through the 1970s with that horrible succession of teams would get it.
Ralph Sazio came over from Hamilton in 1981 (shocking that city to the core) to take over as President, rebuilt the club quickly, hired Bob O'Billovich as coach in 1982 and went for it.
That Argo team was 9-6-1 (up from 2-14 the year before), featured coach Mouse Davis's Run and Shoot offence, the fabulous Terry Greer at receiver and was fun, fun, fun.
We knew there was no chance to beat Edmonton and Warren Moon in the final at Exhibition Stadium, but to be there, with that team, was amazing.
Until the rains came down and the toilets overflowed. But who cared. Argos were back.
1986 -- Harold, the old fart, actually won something
Harold Ballard may have crushed hopes for Toronto Maple Leafs fans in his 29 years as part- or full owner of the NHL club with endless incompetence (except at making money). But, in fairness, he saved the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 10 years of ownership.
Ballard pumped millions in, and received four Grey Cup visits out of it, winning in a shocking upset of Edmonton in 1986 at B.C.
There was something rather nice about the old crook standing on the podium accepting the trophy for the win, just 20 days after his best friend, Frank "King" Clancy, had died.
A weird memory, but a strong one.
1991 -- Look, it's Barney the Dinosaur!
Yes, it's Winnipeg. Minus-900 Celcius. Argos and Stamps. Toronto owners John Candy, Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall. Rocket Ismail and the flying beer can.
But that's not my favourite memory.
It was the sideline interview with Alan Thicke, from Hollywood (by way of Kirkland Lake, Ont.), in a purple snow jacket thing, freezing his jewels off, standing next to McNall (definitely of California) in a simple leather jacket, wide open to the elements.
Alan. You're a Canadian from northern Ontario, for gosh sakes. Come on, man.
Check out the attire (and a young Scott Oake!) starting at the 44:40 mark of the video:
1992 -- A House of Dreams
North Toronto Collegiate produced a pair of influential duos for this period - Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo, and Dave Sapunjis and Andy McVey of the Calgary Stampeders.
At the time, I was at Town Crier Newspapers, a collection of monthlies that covered mostly the middle class, well-off and really filthy rich in central T.O. Those four men were a big part of what we did.
Slotback Sapunjis and fullback McVey were part of the high-powered Calgary offence led by Doug Flutie that beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 1992 game at Toronto's SkyDome. A Flutie to Sapunjis pass in that game for a TD was just swell (random Blue Rodeo reference).
Stamps fans will remember that era as the most disappointing in the club's history however, because a team that won 71 games over five seasons managed to win just one Cup.
2002 -- She got us good
Live halftime music shows go back to 1991 when Luba appeared in Winnipeg, and they have seen everything from the sublime (Gordon Lightfoot, The Guess Who, Lenny Kravitz) to Justin Bieber.
Nothing tops when Shania Twain (then the hottest entertainer in the world), clad in yellow puffy parka and red touque, hit the stage in Edmonton as Montreal was on the way to beating the Eskimos 25-16.
This was so Edmonton, where they take the Grey Cup seriously.
First, nobody left their seats at Commonwealth to get a hot dog and coffee. Shania was worth the price of admission.
Then there were the square dancers doing their thing below, in the dark, where the cameras pretty much ignored them. No screaming fans surrounding the stage and messing up the turf here, bub. Just down-home steppin'. Down there in the dark.
And we got cheerleaders in red, over there. No ... over there. See 'em?
Shania was fab ("It's great to be back in Ca-Na-Da.") The crowd was fab. Never saw the dancers again.
2004 -- We are FAMILY (Gosh darn it!!!)
I was going to list Edmonton coach Danny Maciocia dancing up and down on the sideline to celebrate the 2005 Grey Cup victory when there was still a play left, but how could we not finish with Michael Clemons and his Emmy Award-winning performance in the remake of Knute Rockne, All American.
"Guys, I think of myself as a rational man ... a guy who understands perspective ..."
And then he took off from there, bouncing up and down and all around like a, well, you know ...
Damon Allen and the Argos screamed out of the room and upset the heavily favoured Lions 27-19. B.C. never had a chance after that.
Casey Printers will never forget it.
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