Ranking the Grey Cup games for the last decade is an interesting challenge. We have previously ranked the Grey Cup games shown in the UK. That only covered four games though (it was written before the 2019 final had been played).
Now seemed like a good opportunity to extend that list. Especially as lots of all-decade retrospectives have been taking place on various CFL sites. Something we even got in on ourselves with a team by team decade review.
This is a completely subjective list. It will be subject to recency bias too as we have only had the CFL to watch in the UK for the latter half of the decade. Feel free to argue the case for your favourites in the comments below or get in touch with us and tell us why we are wrong!
Now with all that said, let’s get to it.
10th The 2013 Grey CUP
Saskatchewan Roughriders 45 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 23
Sorry Saskatchewan fans. This may have been the Riders only championship of the decade but it wasn’t a spectacle for the neutrals.
By halftime Saskatchewan led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats by a score of 31-6 and the game was all over bar the shouting.
It was 45-16 in the final quarter before the tabbies picked up a consolation TD with 1:56 on the clock.
9th: The 2012 Grey Cup
Toronto Argonauts 35 Calgary Stampeders 22
Yet this felt less earth shattering as those Argos had hit form at the right time.
Toronto led 24-6 at the half. A cagey third quarter saw them leading by a score of 27-11.
Towards the end of the game the Boatmen were up 35-14 and in control. Like Hamilton, the next year, Calgary notched a late consolation TD (with 20 seconds on the clock).
Neutrals watching knew well before that this was Toronto’s trophy.
8th The 2011 Grey Cup
BC Lions 34 Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23
Another early in the decade game, and another with a winner apparent well before the final gun.
The 2011 season saw the BC Lions convert a slow start (1-6), as the Leos won all but one of their final 13 games on the way to their sixth Grey Cup victory.
The victory, like the Riders 2013 win (above) came on home soil. B.C. Place Stadium had 54,313 fans on hand for this one.
The Lions led Winnipeg 24-9 after three quarters of play and looked in control. They extended that lead to 31-9 half way through the final stanza of the game. Although the Bombers responded with two touchdowns it was too little too late.
7th: The 2019 Grey Cup
Winnipeg Blue Bomber 33 Hamilton Tiger Cats 12
This was another one sided affair. It only appears this high on the list because we actually got to see it in the UK. As well as being a great rivalry game that would see one team end a drought.
The Winnipeg defence set the tone, forcing two turnovers in the first five minutes of game time. A franchise record setting Hamilton team that had led the league in points scored (551) and allowed (344) were dominated at the line of scrimmage.
The Blue Bombers led 21-6 at the half and never looked like losing control. The second half saw Winnipeg tack on four field goals against a solitary unconverted TD for the Ti-Cats.
Now it is Hamilton who have endured the longest win since their last championship.
6th The 2018 Grey Cup
Calgary Stampeders 27 Ottawa REDBLACKS 16
Don’t get me wrong. Last years’ game wasn’t a bad game. It just wasn’t the greatest. You never really felt like Calgary weren’t going to win it.
The Stampeders never really lost control in a game they won 27-16 against the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
The closest Ottawa came was pulling it back to 14-11 in the second quarter. Somehow though whilst watching you never really thought they could or would win.
A very defensive second half did little to alter Calgary’s halftime 21-11 lead either.
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.
5th: The 2014 Grey Cup
Calgary Stampeders 20 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 16
This game would not be as high on the list if Hamilton hadn’t made a contest of it in the fourth quarter.
A heavily favoured 15-3 Stamps side had breezed through the first three quarters leading the 9-9 Tiger-Cats 20-7. So far, so expected.
Hamilton shifted up a gear in the fourth, scoring a field goal to make it 20-10. They then intercepted Bo Levi Mitchell for the only turnover of the game and scored three more points following that.
Hamilton scored a third consecutive field goal to cut the lead to 20–16 with 2:05 remaining. There then followed the biggest non-play of the game – the one for which it is perhaps best remembered.
2019 CFL MOP Brandon Banks returned a punt 90 yards for an apparent game changing TD only to see it called back for an illegal block being called.
Instead of being ahead the Ti-Cats were at their own 12 and the game ended on an incomplete pass.
4th: The 2015 Grey Cup
Edmonton Eskimos 20 Ottawa REDBLACKS 16
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!
3rd: The 2010 Grey Cup
Montreal Alouettes 21 Saskatchewan Roughriders 18
The first championship of the decade was a good one. The defending champion Alouettes finally knowing they would best the Roughriders with just 56 seconds on the game clock.
This was a game that felt close throughout. Saskatchewan converted an 8-7 first quarter deficit into an 11-8 halftime lead. By the end of the third period the two teams were tied at 11-11.
The game itself felt big and had a grudge element too. The Als came into the game hoping to become the first team to repeat as Grey Cup Champions since 1996–97.
Saskatchewan meanwhile wanted to undermine that ambition and were out to avenge their last-second loss to Montreal in the previous year’s Grey Cup.
Montreal scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to go ahead 21-11. The Riders clung on though and scored again. After Montreal missed a field goal attempt Saskatchewan got the ball back deep in their own territory.
With 56 ticks left on the clock the Als picked off Darian Durant and were able to run out the clock in a tightly contested game.
2nd: The 2016 Grey Cup
Ottawa REDBLACKS 39 Calgary Stampeders 33 (OT)
The REDBLACKS were considered underdogs facing the Stampeders. Little wonder that 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
Toronto Argonauts 27 Calgary Stampeders 24
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 marks this game out for me.
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.
Feel Free to Disagree!
As stated above this list is all about personal opinion. It is slanted by the time coverage has been ongoing in the UK.
You may also have different opinions about which games are best based on your own teams being involved.
That’s the joy of sports like this though. You can take an opportunity to look back and celebrate all the greatness we have enjoyed before. Just as importantly though we can look ahead to all the greatness before us.
Here’s to the next decade!
Banner Image: Ottawa lift the 2016 Grey Cup. image from ottawaredblacks.com