The 1970’s Grey Cup Portal Games
The 1970’s Grey Cup games saw all of the Eastern Cities represented. Toronto appeared in 1971, Ottawa in 1973 & 1976, and Hamilton in 1972.
It was a decade dominated in the East however by the Montreal Alouettes. They made six Grey Cup appearances in the 1970’s and finished with a 3-3 record from them.
In fact, to promote the release of these games Marv Levy has been remeniscing about his time coaching in Canada. You can get a flavour of those memories here, here, and here. Levy coached the Als from 1973-1977 posting a 43-31-4 record and going 7-3 in the playoffs. That included 3 Grey Cups, with wins in 1974 & 1977 and a defeat in 1975. All of those championship contests were against the Edmonton Eskimos.
Over in the West it was Edmonton who dominated the Grey Cup appearances as Montreal did for the 1970’s Grey Cup games.
Winnipeg and BC were not in any title matches in this decade. Calgary made two appearances to start the decade – 1970 & 1971, whilst Saskatchewan appeared twice losing out to Hamilton in 1972 and Ottawa in 1976.
Edmonton meanwhile made six appearances. Like Montreal they would finish the decade with a 3-3 record in the big game. The two teams met in half the Grey Cup games of the decade (five times – 1974, 1975, & 1977-79). Edmonton finished ahead 3-2 in those contests.
As the CFL exited the decade in fact, Edmonton were emerging into the most dominant dynasty in league history. As they would win five consecutive Grey Cups from 1978-1982.
Where to start
If you are a fan of the CFL, or of any of the teams involved here, then it is easy to know which games to watch first.
But, if you are a neutral, or have less knowledge of the CFL game you are probably just looking for excitement. For that you might want to start with the 64th Grey Cup in 1976.
Although they would be overshadowed in the decade by Montreal and Edmonton, it was here that Ottawa Rough Riders won their fourth title in nine years. And they overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half to do it.
Stars abounded. Saskatchewan were led by Hall of Famer, Ron Lancaster, in his final Grey Cup. The ‘Little General’ passed for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Ottawa were quarterbacked by Tom Clements, a fellow HOF QB who was named Offensive MVP for this one.
The game is defined by ‘The Catch‘ With 20 seconds left to play and Saskatchewan up 20-16, Clements found Tony Gabriel for a 24-yard score to put Ottawa ahead. The city of Ottawa would have to wait another 40 years for a title as the RedBlacks won their first Grey Cup.
Following on from the 1970’s Grey Cup games, the ‘next wave’ the 1980’s games are set to be released on March the 11th.
Banner Image: Montreal and Edmonton clash in 1977 the year of the Ice Bowl. Image from Montrealgazette.com