There is a gap between the championship games due to a cancelled season. But this rematch affords both teams a big opportunity. For Winnipeg that is the opportunity to win back to back titles for the first time since 1962. If Blue Bombers fans were looking for portents, those back to back championships were also aginst Hamilton.
Winnipeg first won the Grey Cup as the ‘Pegs in 1935, against…. the Hamilton Tigers! Before the last full season, their fans had endured the longest wait of any in the CFL, as before 2019 they last won it all in 1990.
On the other side of the field, Hamilton first won the Grey Cup as an amalgamated team in 1953 – against Winnipeg! They last won it in 1999. Because of that they and their fans are currently exeperiencing their longest title drought in the League.
Prior to going 8-6 this season and reaching another title match, the tabbies have gone 149-210-1 and appeared in the Grey Cup three times (2013-14, and 2019). A 1-17 season was a low point whilst 2019 was a record setting year with 15 regular season wins despite losing in the Grey Cup game.
The Ti-Cats have have come into this rematch after a chequered season that saw them finish 8-6 and sit second in the East Division.
However, they have been gathering some momentum. From being 4-5 going into a bye week they have six out of seven wins (including the playoffs) to book a place in the big game.
Hamilton will have all the motivation they need as the Grey Cup is being played at their home stadium and they have already announced a sell-out.
The Blue Bombers finished 11-3 and top of the West Division this year. During that span they were 7-0 at home and 3-2 against the East Division teams. Including a week 1 victory by 19 points to 6 over Hamilton in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg finished the season resting players once they had locked up the home playoff spot in the West Division Final. Falling from 11-1 to 11-3.
They then defeated West Division runners-up the Roughriders in a tense game in Winnipeg to set up this game. This is the secod time in a row the Blue Bombers have overcome Saskatchewan at this stage to make the Grey Cup game.
Hoping for a great game
Fans of both sets of teams will want to see their team claim the title – preferably in dominant fashion. For the rest, it will be about hoping for a great game.
Teams from Hamilton and Winnipeg have met in the Grey Cup 9 times in the modern era. Let’s hope this is closer than the last two occasions. In 1984 Winnipeg won 47-17, and in 2019 they repeated the victory this time by a scoreline of 33-12.
Nobody knows how this will play out but Grey Cup week is full of anticipation and excitement. Fingers crossed the game lives up to it!
Banner image: The Ti-Cats and Blue Bombers will lock horns in a rematch of the 2019 Grey Cup. Image from globalnews.ca