Back on August 3rd, 2011 the BC Lions started their season at a dismal 0-5 and had lots of problems on offence and on defence. On that day, Wally Buono the Coach and General Manager decided to shake things up on offence by trading talented yet troubled receiver Arland Bruce from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and I wrote on that day stating that was he going to be the saviour that the Lions so desperately needed to save their season.
Well after he returned from injury that he suffered before the trade, the Lions enjoyed a great second half of the season winning 11 of there last 12 games and helping his team make the playoffs as I mentioned that day by finishing first in the tough Western Division with an 11-7 record. Playing at the newly renovated BC Place Stadium since September 30th, the Leos rolled through the Western Final defeating the Edmonton Eskimos by a score of 40-23 in which QB Travis Lulay threw for 2 Touchdown passes, 293 yards, completing 20 of his 27 pass attempts and scored a 61 yard touchdown run while legendary receiver Geroy Simon had six catches for 106 yards.
So leading up to the big game, they became the first team since the Montreal Alouettes in 2008 to play the big game in their home building which was played at BC Place and their opponents were the Winnipeg Blue Bombers who were coming off a terrific year rebounding from a 4-14 season in 2010 to 10-8 and finishing first in the Eastern Division for the first time in a decade. Beating the Tiger-Cats 19-3 in the Eastern Final which would be the final game at CanadInns Stadium, this game had lots of hype as Wally Buono who is the winningest coach was coaching in his 9th Grey Cup tying him with Don Matthews and defensive tackle Doug Brown was playing in his final game still searching for a Grey Cup ring which still eludes the future hall of famer.
As the game came to a close, the BC Lions in remarkable fashion won their 6th Grey Cup in front of their hometown fans and their first championship in 5 years. Lulay who edged out pro football's all time leading passer Anthony Calvillo for the Most Outstanding Player award after throwing for 4815 yards and tied for first with 32 td passes was also the Most Outstanding Player in the big game after a terrific performance in which he completed 21 of 37 pass attempts, 320 yards and 2 touchdown passes while rookie running back Andrew Harris was the Most Outstanding Canadian piling 65 yards on the ground and helping BC's aerial attack and Wally Buono picked up his 5th Grey Cup tying Don Matthews, Frank Clair, Lew Hayman and Hugh Campbell for the all time record and as the last team to win the Grey Cup in their home building which was in 1994 when the beat the Baltimore Stallions on a last second field goal from Lui Passaglia, they did it again 17 years later. After starting 0-5 and then 1-6 after the acquision of Arland Bruce and from being last place to the top of the CFL, this will be a season to look back and say I cannot believe that a team who started so poorly actually are the champs.