100 Years Later the Cup Returns (100th Grey Cup Review)

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The historical season for the CFL came to a close with the 100th Grey Cup in the place where it all started. In 1909 Rosedale Field in Toronto hosted the first ever Grey Cup championship where the University of Toronto Varsity Blues beat the Toronto Parkdale Canoe Club to earn the first Grey Cup. After over 103 years, with a few years off during the First World War, and the Grey Cup would return to Toronto for the 100th edition. The game would feature two very unlikely teams after a very unpredictable season. The Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts would begin the season with some mild hopes. The problem was that both would have to get through the two best teams in the CFL to get to the big game. Montreal and B.C. were the two teams that seemed to be on their way to a historic day in the CFL. When all was set and done though it was the Stamps and Argos that were set to face off in the Grey Cup after both turned things around at the end of the season. The Stampeders had some high hopes as one of the only teams thought to be able to challenge the B.C. Lions with new QB Drew Tate under centre. Then in week 2 Tate would suffer a major injury putting him out for the season and forcing Kevin Glenn into the driver’s seat. Not many people could see Glenn guiding the team to the playoffs but along with some help from Jon Cornish he did just that and despite being benched in the Semi-Finals for a healed Drew Tate would lead the Stamps to a Western Finals win and a chance at the Grey Cup. In the East the Argonauts made moves in the offseason in hopes that they could achieve what the B.C. Lions had done a year before and win a Grey Cup at home. They added Ricky Ray in a great offseason trade while also signing his favorite target from 2011 in Jason Barnes and introduced a new head coach in former Montreal Offensive Coordinator Scott Milanovich. The moves didn’t stop there as they released their star running back Cory Boyd in favour of Chad Kackert who fit better with their offensive scheme. It all seemed to come together with two weeks left in the season after Ricky Ray had returned from an ankle injury and both the offence and defence started to come together. They were the hottest team going into the playoffs and continued it through the playoffs to roll over Edmonton and squeak by Montreal. Both teams did not seem to be on their way to the Grey Cup throughout the season but both would meet in the final historical game. Both teams came in with some key players and needing to do certain things to win. The game began with both defences taking the focus as the opening drive for the Argos would end with a Calgary interception. It wouldn’t take long for the mistake to be erased as the second possession for the Stamps would end with a fumble. From that point on the Argos never looked back as they would score on the ensuing drive and continue their defensive dominance. The Stamps would get a number of big plays but would not be able to score a touchdown until the 4th quarter. The Argos offence would fare much better behind Chad Kackert who would end his day with 195 all-purpose yards. The game would be very one-sided as Kevin Glenn would not be able to solve the Argos defence which would bend but not break. In the end it was the Argonauts who would win the 100th Grey Cup in their hometown thanks to a crippling defence and an outstanding performance from Chad Kackert. It would be the first Grey Cup since 2004 and only the second championship for Toronto in almost two decades.

It was a simple plan for the Argonauts as they needed to do one thing on defence to ensure a championship. Going into the Grey Cup the Stampeders had one of the best weapons in the league as Jon Cornish had been the linchpin to their offence. As the Western Division nominee and runner-up for the CFL Most Outstanding Player he would be the focus of the Argos. If Toronto could shut down Cornish they would force Kevin Glenn to beat them. That is exactly what the Argonauts did as the defence would not let Jon Cornish get going in this game. They would limit him to 57 yards rushing all game and would force Glenn to beat them through the air. It worked out for the Argos as they would force Glenn into some key mistakes and would stay out of penalty trouble despite playing aggressive. It was the perfect storm for the defence as they dominated the Stamps offence not allowing a touchdown until the fourth quarter. On offence the Argonauts would generally look to the Ray-to-Owens connection but in this game it was nowhere to be found as the Stamps took Owens out of the game. It was a good plan for the Stampeders defence as they would take the best player on the team away and force the other playmakers to beat them. It was a good plan but they did not count on Chad Kackert having a career day in the biggest game he has ever played in. Kackert would be the running game and the passing game despite having no TDs. With 195 all-purpose yards and a total of 65 touches in the game he was the X-Factor. In the end it almost seemed destined that the Argonauts would win the game as they would play at home for the biggest Grey Cup and would represent the most legendary team in the CFL. As the Argos walked away a few things stood out besides the fact that the game was not a typical legendary game that fans of the CFL in general were hoping for. First it would mark the second Grey Cup in as many years that David Braley would win as an owner after winning one with B.C. and now his second with Toronto. Secondly the theory of the hottest team wins got a little stronger as BC proved it in 2011 and now Toronto, who won 5 straight including the Grey Cup, did it in 2012. It was a classic end to the season that would see the oldest professional team in North America win the oldest trophy in professional sports in North America.

 

Grey Cup MVP:

Chad Kackert, RB (Toronto Argonauts)
20 rsh
133 yds
8 rec
62 rec yds
0 TD

 

Grey Cup Most Outstanding Canadian:

Ricky Foley, DE (Toronto Argonauts)
4 tkl
1 sck
0 INT
0 FF

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