2000s Grey Cup Games – a viewing treat in store
The CFL has released the penultimate collection of ‘On Demand’ Portal games showcasing Grey Cup games. This time showcasing the Championship matches from 2000 onwards.
Now that the Grey Cup Portal has opened up the 2000’s, this covers a run of games from the 88th Grey Cup (2000) up to the 97th Grey Cup (2009).
This follows on from the first wave covering 1946-1959 here, the second wave covering 1960-1969 here. Along side the third selection of games covering 1970-1979 here, the fourth collection 1980-1989 here. And finally, the fifth set of games covering 1990-1999 here.
The 2000’s Grey Cup Portal Games
Looking back at the 2000s Grey Cup games we can see a shift in dominance in the East as the Montreal Alouettes came to the fore. Montreal rose out of the ashes of the now defunct Baltimore Stallions, returning to the league in 1996. The run from 1996 to 1999 had seen them go 49-22 and appear in four straight Eastern Finals. Unfortunately they lost the lot.
However, following a 12-6 season in 2000 they finally cleared that hurdle and made it to the Grey Cup for the first time since 1979. In fact they would appear in 7 of the 2000s Grey Cup games, posting a 2-5 record. Over this span (2000-2009) they would make 9 consecutive playoff appearances off the back of a 102-60 regular season record.
They would appear in the Grey Cup in the first and last title contests of the decade. The former saw them fall to the BC Lions 28-26 in a thriller. That game was B.C. Lions’ kicker Lui Passaglia’s last game. He kicked the winning points and retired from the CFL after the game as the CFL’s all-time leading scorer.
BC themselves made three appearances in this decade (2000, 2004 & 2006). Finishing 2-1. Both wins came against Montreal. Their loss came in 2004 when they lost to the 27-19 to the Toronto Argonauts making their only title game appearance of the 2000s.
Edmonton also made three appearances going 2-1. All three contests came against the Alouettes (losing in 2002, and winning in 2003 and 2005).
Calgary made two appearances, winning both, with a win in 2001 against Winnipeg and in 2008 against Montreal. Finally for the West, Saskatchewan made two appearances defeating Winnipeg 23-19 in 2007, and losing to Montreal 28-27 in 2009.
The Curious Case of the ‘Eastern, Blue Bombers
Aside from Montreal, Winnipeg were the only other team to appear in a 2000s Grey Cup game represeting the East Division. Despite being geographically a Western team, the Blue Bombers had moved around quite a bit for the sake of league balance dring the 1990’s.
Now they looked set to return to their ‘natural home in the West with the return of Montreal and the arrival of the Ottawa Renegades. However, the latter only lasted from 2002-2005 and this meant that Winnipeg were an Eastern Division team for both of their Grey Cup appearances, in 2001 and 2007.
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 that is the not case, then I would suggest a great place to start might be at the end of the decade with the 2009 Grey Cup. This one is ingrained into CFL Grey Cup folklore. Known for ‘too many me on the field’ this one often makes top ten lists of All time great Grey Cup games. The Als came from behind to win against the Saskatchewan Roughriders 28-27, on a 33-yard field goal by Damon Duval as time ran out. Duval having missed a first attempt, but Saskatchewan being penalized for having too many men on the field. Allowing Duval a second field goal attempt. This is one Rougrider fans still don’t want to think about!
Another great one would be the 2005 Grey Cup as Edmonton defeated Montreal 38-35. This one was a back and forth affair with six lead changes and a record 96-yard kickoff return by Edmonton’s Tony Tompkins. It had a wild finish too. On third-and-33 Anthony Calvillo was flushed from the pocket, ran and then punted the ball in desperation. Edmonton recovered, providing a wild but essentially typical Canadian football finish.
Banner Image: The Alouettes celebrate their remarkable win in 2009. Image from the Toronto Star.