Us Montrealers gain pleasure when we see teams from Toronto lose almost every year. The Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup back in 1967 and have not made the playoffs since 2004. The Blue Jays have not made the playoffs since winning the World Series in 1993 while TFC and the Raps missing the playoffs since 2007 and 2008 respectively. However this day, the other team that was not mentioned ended their drought. In front of a hometown crowd of 53,208 at the Rogers Center, the Toronto Argonauts are the 100th Grey Cup Champs defeating the Calgary Stampeders 35-22. Their journey to the cup was remarkably similar to a situation a long time ago between two different teams.
After seeing hall of fame QB Damon Allen go down with serious injury (Fractured Tibia) during the midway part of the 2004 season vs Montreal, he managed to recover from the injury and lead his team to winning the big game and in part beating the Als at Olympic Stadium in the East Final. Eight years later with another future hall of fame QB, the same fate happens again. Ricky Ray suffers a knee injury against the same team, the Als. Although his injury was less severe, he managed to recover from it and like Allen eight years before, he walked into Olympic Stadium and led his team to a victory.
The second situation is similar to what happened to the Saskatchewan Roughriders back in 2007. They hired former QB great and Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin as their new Head Coach. Although he lasted only one season, he was instrumental in getting Saskatchewan to the big game which they won in Toronto. The same fate had to happen to the Argos on their coaching staff. GM Jim Barker hired Scott Milanovich as their new Coach. Like Austin, Milanovich was a QB in the CFL but was more well known for being Montreal's Offensive Coordinator for four seasons (2008-2011). As a first year coach and five years after an former OC won a championship at the same building (Rogers Center) where the 100th Grey Cup was, the same fate would happen again with Milanovich.
Now off to the game. The Argos made it possible to win their 16th championship with strong performances from guys like Ray, Pacino Horne, Chad Owens and Chad Kackert. Owens got the ball rolling by scoring an early touchdown from a five yard pass. Horne intercepted a Kevin Glenn pass and ran 25 yards for the score to put the Argos up 14-3. After building a 24-6 lead at half-time, the Argos continued to play effective football with Andre Durie catching a Touchdown while Swayze Waters chipped in with a couple of field goals. Final Score, 35-22 Argos.
Apart from an early interception, Ray was 18 for 31 for 231 yards with two touchdown passes but it was Kackert who stole the show. He ran for 133 yards on 20 carries along with 62 yards on 8 receptions on his way to becoming the Grey Cup MVP. From Calgary's side, it was evident that QB Glenn was nervous from the start as he could not get any rhythm going for his team and only completed 14 of his 22 passes for 222 yards. The Argos defence also did a great job shutting down Canadian Running Back Jon Cornish as he was only able to run for 57 yards on 15 carries along with a one fumble. Although there were some moments where the Stamps did get far, they only managed kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns.
As I mentioned in the 2011 Grey Cup Blog, The Argos did not start 0-5 like the BC Lions did but, they put their mediocre 9-9 record behind them when it counted most in the three playoffs games vs the Esks, the Als and the Stamps.