Their First Grey Cup: The Montreal Alouettes

Their First Grey Cup: The Montreal Alouettes

The CFL season is heading towards the playoffs and before we know it the Grey Cup will be upon us.

In the run up to that game in November I thought it might be interesting to do a series detailing the first time each team in the league captured the grand old trophy.

So far we have looked at the initial Grey Cup wins for Toronto, Winnipeg & Calgary. Now we are moving on to the Montreal Alouettes first in in 1949.

The 37th Grey Cup saw 20,087 fans on hand at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. There they witnessed the 8-4 Alouettes defeat the 13-1 defending champion Calgary Stampeders by a score of 28-15.

The Run up to the Game

The Alouettes were a recently formed team heading into this game. The team had been founded in 1946 as a member of the IRFU. They had immediate success appearing in 3 IRFU finals in their first 4 years of existence.

Montreal had seen a Grey Cup winner prior to this. That was Because the Montreal Winged Wheelers had captured the trophy in 1931.

For the Alouettes to get past the IRFU final, take the East and appear in a Grey Cup in only their 4th year however was quite an achievement.

Grey Cup Playoffs

The playoff bracket for this one saw the Als defeat the Rough Riders of the IRFU & the Hamilton Tigers of the ORFU on their way the the championship game.

Montreal had an aggregate victory of 36-20 over Ottawa in the IRFU match-up. They then dispatched the Tigers 40-0 in the Eastern Final contest.

Meanwhile Calgary had enjoyed a bye before defeating the Saskatchewan Roughriders in an all WIFU tournament to reach the championship game.

Calgary had come off an unbeaten season and first Grey Cup win in 1948. This season saw them drop one game in the regular season before a tight Western Final.

That final was played over two games against the Riders. A contest that finished with one win each and saw Calgary squeak past with an aggregate score of 22-21.

The Grey Cup Game

Montreal started fast with 2 converted touchdowns to take a 12-0 lead.

The Alouettes turned an 85-yard drive into points early on. That followed Calgary recovering a fumble & driving from the Montreal 40.

They made it to the one-yard line, but an illegal interference call moved the ball back to the Montreal 25. QB Keith Spaith’s intended pass for Harry Hood in the end zone was batted down.

That series of plays can actually be seen here thanks to the CFHOF.

On the ensuing kickoff the Stampeders fumbled and three plays later the Alouettes scored again.

After scoring a single the Stampeders quickly got the ball back at midfield and staged a successful scoring drive.

After that the Als took over the game up until 4th quarter.

Montreal’s Herb Trawick forced a fumble which he ran in over for a touchdown. The Alouettes led 17-7 at the half.

The Alouettes hit on another touchdown in the third quarter, this time on a 61-yard drive. They added a field goal, to take a commanding 26-7 lead after three quarters.

Calgary got some traction in the fourth quarter. A safety was followed by a Sugarfoot Anderson touchdown.

The Alouettes scored the final two points of the game however to take home the trophy.

What Came Next

The Alouettes would go into a brief decline from 1950-1952. After which they would again be dominant in the East from 1953-56.

During that period they would appear in 3 consecutive title games (1954-6) and lose on each occasion to the Edmonton Eskimos.

In fact Montreal would not win the Grey Cup again until 1970. Ironically enough that year they would again defeat the Stamps. This time by a margin of 23-10.

In total the Als have won the Grey Cup on 7 occasions so far. They last won it in 2010.

Montreal fans have not had much to cheer about of late, last making the playoffs in 2014. So they will be excited to see their team are back in the post-season this year.

Banner Image: some of the Grey Cup wins for Montreal celebrated on championship banners. Far left is the banner for the 1949 win. Image from flickr.com

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