It’s time for Halloween Hell for the CFL. But what do we mean by that? It could have been a follow up from our delve into the misery of the losers club. An extended look at some of the worst teams since the 18 game season was instigated.
But no. For Halloween we need to find not just the bad. Not just the sad. But the spookily bad, the scarily bad one offs. The games or moments that left their teams fans feeling tricked by the Halloween moment.
Halloween games in the 21st Century
There may have been plenty of games around the Halloween weekend since the dawn of the new millenium. But not all that many games have been played on Halloween itself since we ticked from years beginning with nineteen to years beginning with twenty.
Since 2000 there have been just seven games played on Halloween. Every team in the league except Winnipeg has appeared in a Halloween game in that span. (Winnipeg last played a Halloween game in 1992 when they beat the BC Lions 29-26).
The Halloween Games
Saskatchewan Roughriders 38 BC Lions 40 2004
Saskatchewan Roughriders 6 Hamitlon Tiger-Cats 24 2009
Toronto Argonauts 6 Edmonton 36 2009
Saskatchewan Roughriders 17 BC Lions 23 2010
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 34 Ottawa RedBlacks 25 2014
Saskatchewan Roughriders 19 Calgary Stampeders 42 2015
Only one Halloween double header in the first fifth of the century. And in 2009 that delivered two spookily one sided contests. A combined score of 60-12 doesn’t sound all that riveting for the neutrals.
One team and their fans must be hoping not to appear in a Halloween game if recent history is anything to go by. Four defeats out of four for Saskatchewan must have left them feeling green. And not Rider green – a sickly shade of Halloween green! A combined 80-129 score over four Halloween games – not much to celebrate there.
It’s not Halloween Hell – but it is CFL Horror
What teams have put their fans through the most consecutive Halloween Hell? To be clear – I am only looking at teams since the official inception of the CFL. So the 25 game losing streak in Ottawa from 1928 to 1933 does not count.
Longest home losing streak: Boy have Ottawa fans suffered down the years! The Ottawa Rough Riders lost 14 straight at home between 1987 and 1988.
Longest away losing streak: The Montreal Alouettes lost a remarkable 22 straight on the road between 1980 and 1983.
Special Mention goes to the Shreveport Pirates who are gone but not forgotten. Manging a sickly 8-28 record over two years they left few treats for their fans. Plus they set the record for most defeats to start a season (14) in 1994 on their way to a 3-15 season. Owner Lonie Glieberman boasted that the Pirates would be the first US based CFL franchise to win the Grey Cup!
No winning seasons here: And we are back with the Ottawa Rough Riders who went .500 or less 17 times in a row between 1980 and 1996. In fairness in 1981 they made it to the Grey Cup game. And this run does include 10 playoff appearances! The most fitting Halloween Hell ending though comes from the fact that after a 3-15 1996 season the franchise was wound up.
The 2020 season: What season? This isn’t just Halloween Hell ofr CFL fans. This is a season long purgatory that we all want to put behind us. Need I say any more really?
After the Halloween Hell, a few treats
Halloween Hell is all good and well. But the phrase is trick or treat after all. So are there any things we can look to from the Canadian game that is a treat for us all?
Well it may be pre-CFL but arguably without Canadian football the game of American football as we know it would not exist. The first ever game could be traced to
During a match in 1874 between Harvard University and McGill University, the Harvard players decided they liked the Canadian rugby-style rules more than their rugby-soccer mix. A year later, they integrated things like tackles and an oval ball into their American game.
We have been fortunate enough to have the CFL on our screens in the UK for five years (this would have been the sixth).
Oh, and when it comes back the league is sure to provide us with even more close, fun, exciting contests like these!
It’s a shame we are missing the action this year. But fingers crossed for more Halloween Hell and tricks or treats from the teams in future.
Happy Halloween CFL fans!
Banner image from @cfl48 on twitter.