Putting the Wins into Winnipeg

Putting the Wins into Winnipeg
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Putting the Wins into Winnipeg

Perhaps we should start calling the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ‘Winnerpeg’. Becaue of late it certainly feels like they have got the winning habit in spades.

This season for instance they are a perfect 7-0 with over a third of the season played. Just to give that some perspective, this is the first time since 1960 that a Blue Bombers team has started out 7-0.

When that team was playing the season was just 16 games long. In fact they opened up with 10 straight wins. To match that, this year’s team would have to win all the way into their first bye week. 

But it’s not just that. For a long time Blue Bombers fans suffered through the longest title drought in the CFL. But that pain was shattered by winning the Grey Cup in 2019 and again in 2021 to be back to back champions.

And the wins have continued. This season Winnipeg are coming off back to back matchups between perfect teams, first against BC and then Calgary. And through it all this Winnipeg team keeps making historic marks. For instance, Winnipeg is now 23-1 in its last 24 games at home. The best run of wins at home since a 27-1 run from 1983-86.

A historical wins warning?

1957-62 were great years to be a Blue Bombers fan. During that period, coached by Bud Grant, they would go 75-21. Appearing in 5 Grey Cup games and winning 4 along the way.

In fact there are striking similarities with the current team. As we have seen six wins to open the season is the best mark since 1960. Just as that 1960 team had won back to back Grey Cups against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, so has the modern team.

The 1960 team delivered their Grey Cups in 1958-59 off the back of a 25-7 run. This team used a 22-10 record as a springboard to their Grey Cup success. Then in the third season both deilvered fast starts. Usually an indicator of success.

But the 1960 team does serve as a warning to their modern counterparts. They delivered the most wins of any team over a 6 year span (14) but were the only Winnipeg team between 1957 and 1962 not to contest the Grey Cup, being knocked out in the West Final by Edmonton. They were also the only Winnipeg team between 1958 and 1962 not to win the Grey Cup, despite having the most regular season wins of any Blue Bombers team in this Grey Cup Dynasty period.

Likely to lose at some point

There has neve been a perfect season in the CFL. The 1948 Calgary Stampeders came oh so close to an undefeated un-tied season. But although they had gone 12-0 in the regular season, their one ‘blemish’ came in a 4-4 tie with Saskatchewan in a two legged Western Semi-Final. They did go on to win the Grey Cup that year.

The Blue Bombers have delivered 14 wins in a season three times. In a 16 game season in 1960 as we have seen. As well as in an 18 game season in 1993 and 2001. You feel that this team has the potential to match that perhaps. But again, they face a warning. None of those teams won the Grey Cup. (Although the latter two did make it to the big game).

This year the Blue Bombers face an 18 game schedule. The chances of coming through that unscathed seem pretty low. But, if this Winnipeg team has taught us anything it is that they know how to compete, pile the wins up and be there or there abouts at the sharp end of the season.

‘Winnerpeg’ indeed.

Banner Image: Adam Bighill hoist the Grey Cup for Winnipeg. Or is that Winnerpeg? Image from wildcatsports.com

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