Members of the Edmonton Eskimos celebrate their 2005 Grey Cup win under a hail of confetti. The Eskimos edged the Montreal Alouettes 38-35 in just the second overtime game in CFL history. (Canadian Press)
Greatest Grey Cup moments
The CFL's wide-open game gives its fans frequent glimpses at great plays and thrilling comebacks. Here's 10 of the best — and bizarre — Grey Cup plays.
Last Updated Nov. 19, 2007
The Tripper (1957)
Most fans are content staying close to their seat at a sporting event. Some, though, view joining the action as a bigger thrill. Remember overzealous Chicago Cubs supporter Steve Bartman in the 2003 National League Championship Series?
In Canadian Football League history, few spectators rival Dave Humphrey's actions at the 1957 Grey Cup in Toronto.
In the first coast-to-coast broadcast of the championship game, Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Ray Bawel had just intercepted a pass and was streaking down the sideline for a sure touchdown. Humphrey, standing in front of the Winnipeg bench, suddenly stretched out a leg and tripped Bawel.
Fortunately for Humphrey, he didn't face the wrath of Hamilton fans as the Tiger-Cats won the game 32-7.
While Bartman quickly took cover from the bright lights of the media, Humphrey remained in the spotlight. He earned a dubious place in Grey Cup history, but later became a famous Ontario criminal lawyer.
Working overtime (1961 and 2005)
Quiz time. How many Grey Cup championship games have needed overtime to snap a deadlock? Remember, this is a title that's been around since 1909. The answer? Two.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats needed an extra period to settle the 1961 CFL title after finishing the fourth quarter at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium tied 14-14.
The hero that day turned out to be jack-of-all trades and future CFL Hall of Famer Ken Ploen of the Blue Bombers. The skilled quarterback, who also took turns at safety and halfback, raced in for the winning touchdown to give Winnipeg the first OT win in Grey Cup history.
Extra play wouldn't be needed again in the CFL title game until 2005, when the Edmonton Eskimos and Montreal Alouettes remained tied 28-28 after 60 minutes. With the league's new alternating-possession overtime format being used for the first time ever in a Grey Cup game, the teams traded touchdowns before the Eskimos' Sean Fleming booted a 36-yard field goal to give Edmonton its second championship in three years.
Refs suspend the Fog Bowl (1962)
In the 91-year history of the Grey Cup, no other game has as much folklore surrounding it than the 1962 final in Toronto between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Dubbed the Fog Bowl, the game took an unexpected turn when a thick fog rolled off Lake Ontario in the fourth quarter, reducing visibility to a few feet.
The pea soup-like concoction that enveloped CNE Stadium was so dense that players and referees couldn't even see the field markers. Fans were in a haze, as they couldn't see the action on the field. Players were bumping into each other, turning the game into a Keystone Cops spectacle.
Midway through the fourth, it was the referees who made the biggest play of the afternoon, suspending the game and ordering the final 9:29 to be played the following day. The teams re-assembled 24 hours later and when the mist finally cleared, Winnipeg held on for a 28-27 victory and its fourth Grey Cup win over the Ticats in five years.
Vic Washington's fumble (1968)
There's lucky and then there's Vic Washington.
The running back's one shot at fame nearly ended in disaster for the Ottawa Rough Riders in the 1968 Grey Cup against Calgary, but Washington managed to avoid the Hall of Shame.
Worrying more about keeping his balance on a muddy field at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium, Washington fumbled the ball while streaking down the sideline, but it quickly bounced back in his hands.
Washington's 80-yard run for a touchdown -- a Grey Cup record -- ended up being the difference as Ottawa edged the Stampeders 24-21. Washington was later named the game's most valuable player.
The Catch (1976)
It's known simply as "the catch." The scene: the 1976 Grey Cup. A frosty Toronto night. Late in the fourth quarter. Ottawa trailing Saskatchewan 20-16. Cue the comeback.
Ottawa quarterback Tom Clements dropped back for a pass from the Saskatchewan 24-yard line hoping for a miracle. His prayers were answered when tight end Tony Gabriel slipped behind the Saskatchewan secondary and reeled in Clements' throw in the back of the end zone with 20 seconds left on the clock. Pandemonium ensued, as Gabriel was mobbed by teammates and fans. Ottawa held on for a 23-20 victory. Gabriel finished with seven receptions in the game, but none were any bigger in his 11-year, Hall of Fame career than "the catch."
Gizmo goes wild (1987)
Punt returns as short as 10 yards have never been more exciting than when Henry "Gizmo" Williams handled a football. Who else could get a crowd to its feet on a broken play?
Over 11 seasons with Edmonton, the seven-time all-star ran for a combined 23,927 yards, setting the standard for punt and kick return players.
One of the signature moments in the classic 1987 Grey Cup between the Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts involved the colourful and explosive Giz (what a surprise).
He broke open the game, returning a missed field goal by Argos kicker Lance Chomyc for a 115-yard touchdown. Powered by Gizmo's big play, the Esks went on to a 38-36 victory.
Gizmo went on to rewrite the CFL record book before retiring on Oct. 25, 2000, leaving his mark as one of the greatest kick-returners in league history.
Ridgway restores Rider pride (1989)
Thirteen years after being burned by Tony Gabriel, Saskatchewan found itself in the 1989 Grey Cup final at Toronto's SkyDome against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Nobody gave the Riders (9-9) much chance against the heavily-favoured Ticats (12-6). With seven CFL all-stars in Hamilton's lineup, most critics thought it would be a blowout.
Instead, it turned out to be one of the greatest Grey Cup finals in CFL history. Late in the fourth quarter, Saskatchewan was sitting on a slim 40-33 lead but let it slip away. Hamilton marched the ball downfield and tied the score with under a minute left when wide receiver Tony Champion made a circus catch in the end zone.
Overtime loomed, but Saskatchewan would not be denied. With 44 seconds left on the clock, Rider quarterback Kent Austin put together a nifty drive, completing key passes to Ray Elgaard and Mark Guy. With nine seconds on the clock, kicker Dave Ridgway split the uprights with a clutch field goal, giving Saskatchewan a 43-40 victory and its first Grey Cup championship in 23 years. Rider Pride was restored.
Brown goes downtown (1996)It's not often the losing team is able to put together the most memorable play of the day in a Grey Cup championship game. In the first quarter. But that's what happened in the 1996 Classic between the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts.
Edmonton receiver Eddie Brown electrified the Hamilton crowd at Ivor Wynne Stadium with a spectacular shoestring catch. Brown raced down the freezing pitch and put his hands out to receive the pass from quarterback Danny McManus. The ball almost slipped through Brown's hands, but he managed to bend down and grasp it with his fingers just centimetres from the field. His work wasn't done there.
Brown proceeded to juke and jive his way to the end zone, dodging defenders on his way to a 64-yard touchdown strike. The pass put his Eskimos up 9-0, but the Doug Flutie-led Argos managed to fight back later in the game to win the Grey Cup, 43-37.
Passaglia goes out on top (2000)
Goal setting. Work ethic. Positive attitude. Teamwork. All are components for success. All of them define CFL legend Lui Passaglia. The kicker's 25-year career was filled with achievements -- 3,142 career regular-season points, 875 field goals, 1,045 converts and 309 singles, all league records.
After rewriting the CFL's record book, what do you do for an encore? If you're Passaglia, you script a storybook ending and live it. After missing three previous field goals in the 2000 Grey Cup, Passaglia was summoned from the bench with 85 seconds left in the game with the B.C. Lions holding on to a slim 25-20 lead over the Montreal Alouettes.
With a packed house at Calgary's McMahon Stadium chanting "Lu ... Lu," Passaglia split the uprights from 29 yards to pad B.C.’s lead. Passaglia’s field goal proved to be the difference in the game: Montreal scored a late touchdown but failed to score on a two-point convert, as the Lions held on for a 28-26 victory.
Passaglia rode into retirement a three-time champion and the Lions become only the fourth third-place team to win a Grey Cup.
Woodcock sets reception record (2002)
Montreal Alouettes receiver Pat Woodcock left the 2002 Grey Cup championship with a CFL title and the Outstanding Canadian award to his credit. He also left his stamp on the league record books by hauling in the longest reception in Grey Cup history, a 99-yard catch. Oh yeah, and the Ottawa native managed to cap off the spectacular play by scampering in for a touchdown.
Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo snapped the ball from his team's own 11 yard line early in the second quarter. The Montreal pivot found a streaking Woodcock, who managed to shake off Edmonton Eskimos defender Malcolm Frank and run the length of the field.
The major gave the Als an 8-0 advantage in the game en route to a 25-16 victory. It was Montreal's first Grey Cup championship since returning to the league in 1996.
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