Blue Bombers' Grey Cup drought is older than the World Wide Web

The Winnipeg Blue Bunglers, er … Bombers head into winter hibernation once again without a parade, without blue and gold confetti blasting from a cannon, and without an end to a 28-year reign of futility.

How has the world changed since the Bombers last engraved their name onto the Grey Cup?

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Andrew Harris reacts after losing to the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL's West Division final on Sunday. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

The Winnipeg Blue Bunglers, er … Bombers head into winter hibernation once again without a parade, without blue and gold confetti blasting from a cannon, and without an end to a 28-year reign of futility.

On Sunday, the Calgary Stampeders downed the Bombers 22-14 in the CFL's West Division final and next face the Ottawa Redblacks in the 106th Grey Cup game on Nov. 25.

The Bombers, meanwhile, will blow up their playbooks in the off-season and try yet again to come up with a winning formula and give die-hard fans something to replace those tattered, neon-lettered souvenir sweatshirts from the last title in 1990.

Watch Highlights from the 1990 Grey Cup win

Time travel back to the last time the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the grey cup, in 1990 3:49
Neon was still a big thing the last time the Bombers won the Grey Cup. This sweatshirt is now being sold as a vintage item on eBay. (eBay)

Since then, an entire generation was born, raised, educated and is now contributing to retirement savings plans. 

The last time they won was three years before the World Wide Web was released for public use. It would be another two years before the Internet finally started to get some traction with an audience.

The world's population has grown by 2.4 billion people since then and Canada has had six prime ministers.

Calgary Stampeders' Riley Jones celebrates while Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Taylor Loffler goes off the field rejected after the Stampeders defeated the Blue Bombers in Sunday's West Division final. (Todd Korol/Canadian Press)

Heck, an American team even won the Grey Cup more recently than the Bombers. An American team! They don't even exist anymore.

The 83rd Grey Cup was won by the Baltimore Stallions in 1995, over the Calgary Stampeders during the CFL's brief U.S. expansion.

How else has the world changed since the Bombers last engraved their name on the Grey Cup?

  • There was just one Starbucks in all of Canada in 1990, at the Seabus Skytrain Station in Vancouver. There are now more than 1,200.
  • Blockbuster Video was just getting started. Blockbuster what? Yeah, they don't exist anymore, either.
  • You know what else soared to popularity and then disappeared? Slankets. Those blankets with sleeves that made you look like a sleepy Jedi.
  • There was no such thing as PlayStation (1995), Xbox (2001), Pokemon (1996), or Facebook (2004), and no one had ever heard of i-anything — no iMac, iPad, iPod, or iPhone.
  • In 1990, Princess Diana was still alive and Justin Bieber was still four years away from becoming a baby, baby, baby, oh.
  • It was a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, four years before Walmart Canada was founded, and six years before the original Winnipeg Jets left for the Arizona desert.
The Slanket was a big deal in 1998. (woot.com)

The Bombers have come close on occasion, reaching the big game five times — 1992, 1993, 2001, 2007, and 2011, but never hoisting the silver chalice.

Many fans will remember the team's 2001 collapse as the greatest shock. The Bombers rolled into the Grey Cup with the league's best record at 14-4 and faced the Stampeders, who crawled into the game with a less-than-stellar 8-10 record.

The over-confident Bombers stumbled and bumbled and the Stamps won 27-19.

It was heartbreak again, or rather a broken arm, in 2007.

Starting QB Kevin Glenn reached to recover a fumbled ball after a botched hand-off in the third quarter of the division final. His outstretched arm was snapped by a Toronto Argonauts defender diving for the ball.

The Bombers hung on to win but it was up to backup QB Ryan Dinwiddie to make his first-ever CFL start in the league's biggest game.

It didn't go well.

 
You have to go further back than Furbys to get to a Blue Bombers championship. (CBC)

Winnipeg's three-decade drought is even more difficult for those who were alive, or whose memories are still intact, to recall the dominant teams that won it all in 1984, 1988, and then 1990.

And while this current dry spell is a long one, it's not the first. The Bombers were Grey Cup champs in 1962 and didn't drink from the trophy again until 1984.

So there's hope.

And fans can at least be grateful they're not devotees of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. That team holds the longest active title drought in pro football, dating back to 1947.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the Blue Bombers won the Grey Cup in 1965, and didn't win another until 1984. In fact, the Bombers won the cup in 1962.
    Nov 19, 2018 5:35 PM CT

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