We are ranking the fab four – the Grey Cup games shown so far in the UK.
People love a good argument. That’s why so many websites rank best and worst of categories. They know it will lead to healthy debate.
Well, what about ranking the Grey Cups? You could do it, but there have been 106 before now. Not to mention we weren’t around for a large chunk of them!
Well, we have an advantage here. 2019 is only the fifth year BT Sport have been showing the CFL in the UK.
The Fab Four
Which means we have a ‘Fab Four’ Grey Cups to choose from only. Surely we can rank them?
One thing to note is how lucky we have been since the game was shown over here. There have been no bad games and some exceptionally good ones. So let’s dive in and rank them!
4th: The 2018 Grey Cup
Don’t get me wrong. Last years’ game wasn’t a bad game. It just wasn’t the barn-burner some of the others we’ve been privileged to see have been.
The Calgary Stampeders never really lost control in a game they won 27-16 against the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
Calgary finally won the CFL title in its third straight appearance. They had dominated the regular season but fallen twice in epic title games (see below). Redemption was the real story in this one.
3rd: The 2015 Grey Cup
The first game we saw was a great advert. The 103rd Grey Cup was a see-saw battle between the Edmonton Eskimos and Ottawa REDBLACKS.
Edmonton ultimately won 26-20 but we were witness to an Ottawa team that had gone 2-16 as an expansion club jump out to a 13-0 lead. After scoring exchanges Edmonton led 17-16 at the half and it was clear this one was in the balance.
The second half was dominated by the D’s but Edmonton scored the winning TD with 3:22 to go. We had been introduced to Grey Cup football and we liked what we saw!
2nd: The 2016 Grey Cup
The REDBLACKS were back, this time facing the Stampeders. After a 15-2-1 season the Stamps were heavily favoured, but it was the 8-9-1 team from Ottawa that caused one of the great Grey Cup upsets.
This game was the REDBLACKS first Grey Cup win as a franchise, and the first CFL title in Ottawa for forty years. In only their third season they had gone from 2-16 expansion stragglers to 2 title games and a championship.
This was a championship game for the ages. It featured the underdogs getting out to a big lead, the favourites making a huge comeback, and eventually a huge upset in overtime.
Calgary recovered an onside kick and nearly won it in regulation, but it was Ottawa’s day as they won out 39-33.
How could any game top the crazy back and forth nature of this one? Well…
1st: The 2017 Grey Cup
There was just something in the air that day – snow mostly, but a little magic too. The 13-4-1 Stampeders were back, looking to put the previous year’s upset behind them. Once again they were heavily favoured against the 9-9 Toronto Argonauts. Surely it couldn’t happen again?
Of course we know it did, as the Argos used two of the biggest plays in Grey Cup history as a springboard to a 27-24 upset.
This wasn’t just about the game though. The ‘snow globe game’ was a spectacle from start to finish. It’s the combination of game and spectacle that puts this game at the peak of our fab four.
Ricky Ray brought the Toronto Argos back, and they took the lead for the first time in the game on a 45-yard field goal following a 49-yard seven play drive. That was with 53 ticks left on the game clock.
Calgary, again, almost won it but a Matt Black interception in the endzone capped the win for the Boatmen. It was a ‘sneaky win‘ that would go down in football folklore.
Those big plays? Just a 100 yard touchdown pass and an 109 yard fumble return. Both touchdowns. Both for Toronto.
There was something in the stars under a snowy sky as Ray became the first quarterback in CFL history to win the Grey Cup four times as a starting quarterback and the Argos walked away with their 17th Grey Cup.
We haven’t had a bad game yet. We have seen three close Grey Cup games, two all-time classics and one visual spectacle.
It’s a lot for Winnipeg and Hamilton to live up to. This year’s Grey Cup has a wealth of fabulous story-lines.
Neutrals though will be hoping for one thing above all others – a great game. Maybe if we get that the fab four can be come the fantastic five!
Banner Image: the 2017 Grey Cup. Image from cfl.ca