What follows is a biased preview of the 106th Grey Cup, which goes this Sunday, Nov. 25, at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. It’s a battle of two first-place teams: the 13-5 Calgary Stampeders and the 11-7 Ottawa Redblacks, and a rematch of the epic 2016 Grey Cup, which Ottawa won 39-36 in overtime.
That year, the Stamps were 15-2-1, and lost to an 8-9-1 Ottawa team. The Redblacks are much better this year, and had the third best record in the league. Meanwhile, this is the worst record the Stamps have had in the last three seasons, looking more vulnerable than they have during any point in that stretch. I should mention that the last time the Stampeders were 13-5, Calgary won the Grey Cup — the only time Bo-Levi Mitchell has won it in three chances, but that’s so long ago that I’m just going to pretend it didn’t happen.
Still, there are examples of the Stampeders losing with a similar record to 13-5. Just last year, Calgary was 13-4-1 and lost to the 9-9 Toronto Argonauts in the most ridiculous way possible. Up 24-16 with five minutes left, the Stampeders were on Toronto’s 8 yard line, about to put the game out of reach, when they fumbled the ball and Cassius Vaughn returned the ball 109 yards for a touchdown.
We’ve already seen the Mitchell-led Stampeders lose in impossible ways twice, what’s to say they’ll finally win this year with a worse team against a much better opponent?
Yes, the Stampeders have both a better offence and defence than Ottawa, but all the pressure is on Calgary. If they get behind late in the game, they’re going to feel the weight of a third-straight upset on their shoulders. Plus, the game is in Edmonton, so hopefully that means many of the fans there will be cheering against Calgary. Technically, the Stampeders could have lots of fans because Calgary is only three hours away, but I’m hoping for lots of snow this weekend and that Calgarians choose to stay off Highway 2. It’s just not worth the risk, Calgary. This is me looking out for you, that’s all.
If you couldn’t tell, I don’t like the Stampeders, mostly because I’m a lifelong Edmonton Eskimos fan. In fact, the only CFL team I remember hating every single year is Calgary. The thing is, they were always better than Edmonton, and have been in and won a lot more Grey Cups than the Eskimos in the last 20 years. As far as I’m concerned, the Stamps are the New York Yankees or Seattle Seahawks of the CFL — a horrible, hated team that must be stopped at all costs.
Look, if you really wanted to, you could find reasons to back Calgary in this game, but what fun is that? The CFL is wacky, peculiar, and delightful — which is why I love it so much, but also why there’s a good chance at seeing the same team upset in the Grey Cup for the third year in a row. Even the possibility of this happening alone would never come to light in any other sport.
So this Sunday, pleas join me in shouting, “Go Redblacks!”