Adding to the Fab four: Winnipeg to host Grey Cup for the fifth time

Adding to the Fab four: Winnipeg to host Grey Cup for the fifth time
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Adding to the Fab four: Winnipeg to host Grey Cup for the fifth time

The 112th Grey Cup, (to be played in 2025), has been awarded to Winnipeg. This will be just the fifth time Winnipeg has hosted the Grey Cup and the first time since 2015.

Winnipeg first hosted the Grey Cup in 1991 – the 79th edition of th Grey Cup. The championship game then returned to Manitoba’s capital in 1998, 2006 and most recently, in 2015. The first three of those games were held at Canada Inns Stadium (formerly Winnipeg Stadium) but that venue was demolished after the Blue Bombers moved to IG Field in 2013. Meaning IG Field will play host to its second Grey Cup.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at what has gone before here. What have we seen from the fab four Grey Cup games in Winnipeg up to this point? What will the 2025 edition find itself being compaerd to? Let’s take a look!

1991 – 79th Grey Cup – The first in Winnipeg

Toronto Argonauts 36 Calgary Stampeders 21

1991 saw the first time that the Grey Cup was played in Winnipeg. Or should that be Winterpeg? The temperature at kickoff was minus 16 degrees Celsius, making this the coldest Grey cup game ever contested. By halftime the wind chill had it down to – 35.

The game started in dramatic fashion. Argos defensive back Ed Berry intercepted Calgary QB Danny Barrett’s first pass ateempt and ran it back 50 yards for a pick six. Lance Chomyc booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead. Chomyc hit a single for Toronto and they led 8-0. Calgary got moving a little later in the quarter and Barrett ran in a touchdown of his own and a Mark McLoughlin convert brought the scores closer at 8-7.

Calgary took the lead in the second quarter from a McLoughlin Field Goal, but Chomyc responded for Toronto so the Double Blue lead 11-10 at halftime.

The teams exchanged singles before Calgary got another 3 pointer from McLoughlin to lead 14-12. Once again it was a lead they couldn’t hold. Dunigan tossed a 48 yard touchdown to Darrell Smith for a 19-14 lead after three. It was proving a see-saw affair.

Rocket and the special teams swing it in the fourth

Toronto extended their lead to 22-14 after Chomyc slotted through three more points. But the Stampeders were far from done. They drove their way downfield and Allen Pitts hauled in a 12 yard touchdown reception to bring it back to 1 point difference – 22-21 to Toronto.

Then “The Rocket” played his part in a game winning sequence. Because on the ensuing kickoff return Ismail lived up to the hype. He returned the kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. Now the Argos led 29-21. Any chances of the Stampeders getting back into it died as they fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Argos’ special teams made the recovery. Toronto converted that into a 36 yard touchdown pass from Dunigan to Paul Masotti to round out the scoring 36-21.

Ismail broke the Grey Cup record for a kickoff return with his 87 yarder. And his 183 overall return yards were also a new Grey Cup mark. He took home the 1991 Grey Cup MVP award for his efforts.

1998 – 86th Grey Cup

Calgary Stampeders 26 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 24

The second time Winnipeg hosted the Grey Cup, and for the second time Calgary were there too. This time though they delivered a win for their fans. They won it on a walk off game winning kick from a Winnipeg native who had missed his initial attempt of the game. This one had lead changes, momentum swings and an in game redemption arc to boot.

In the first period Calgary’s Mark Mcloughlin missed a 48 yarder and Calgary took a point. Hamilton responded with a 24 yard filed goal from Paul Osbaldiston, before Mcloughlin hit a 34 yarder of his won to make it 4-3 Calgary after one.

Five minutes into the second quarter Kelvin Anderson ran in a touchdown from 3 yards out. The conversion was missed and the Stamps led 10-3. For the rest of the half it was all Tiger-Cats. First Obladiston chipped over his second field goal from 20 yards out. Then Hamilton running back Ronald Williams caught a 35-yard pass from Danny McManus that put the Tabbies ahead 13-10. Osbaldiston’s third field goal of the game extended that to 16-10 at the half.  

Keeping it close

Osbaldiston’s perfect game ended in the third quarter. A 32 yard attempt sailed right for a single. 17-10 Hamilton. He added another point when a 66 yard punt delivered the rouge. 18-10 Hamilton. Then Calgary finally got going. Stamps QB Jeff Garcia led the Stamps on a 75-yard drive, capping it by scoring on a one-yard run late in the third quarter. 18-17 Hamilton.

A key turnover followed as Aldi Henry picked off a McManus pass. That set up a 22-yard field goal by McLoughlin. The kicker added another from 32 yards out, putting Calgary in front 23-18.

Hamilton went ahead again as Ronald Williams ran in from the 4 yard line. However the Ticats missed on the 2 point coversion so led 24-23.

Following seven lead changes, the Calgary Stampeders earned their fourth CFL title. On the final play of the game, Mark McLoughlin found redemption for his earlier miss, connecting on a 35-yard field goal to give the Stamps a memorable walkoff 26-24 win.

2006 – 94th Grey Cup

BC Lions 25 Montreal Alouettes 14

This was an exciting time to be a BC Lions fan. From 2004 to 2007 is one of the best runs they have had. Going 52-19-1, taking four straight West Division titles, appearing in 2 Grey Cups, and winning their fifth ever Grey Cup title here in Winnipeg.

Meanwhile the Alouettes were on a great run of their own. They were making their fifth Grey Cup game appearance in seven seasons, but only had one championship to show for it.

B.C. was in possession of the ball for 10:26 of the opening quarter. All of which was converted into three Paul McCallum field goals and a 9-0 lead going into the second period.

Montreal finally forced B.C. to punt early in the second quarter, but were pinned on their own two-yard line by an accurate punt. The Als then managed just one first down before being forced to punt again. Starting at their own 43-yard line, the Lions took advantage. RB Ian Smart made an 18 yard reception, then took it 25 yards the rest of the way for the game’s opening touchdown.

Montreal finally got on the board with a 43 yard field goal, but McCallum responded at the end of the half with his fourth of the game. 19-3 Lions at the half.

Winnipeg sees the TD that wasn’t for Chip Cox

Early in the third quarter, Lions QB Dickenson appeared to fumble the ball on a sack by R-Kal Truluck. Chip Cox recovered it and ran the ball home for an apparent TD. The ruling was overturned however. The referees ruled that Dickenson was down before losing the ball. The on field decision being over-ruled by instant replay. Which meant Winnipeg saw the first instance of instant replay having this impact in Grey Cup history.

All of which led to the Als pinning the Lions deep and McCallum taking a safety. Montreal would surely have preferred seven points to the two this all led to! However, Montreal did get their touchdown eventually. Starting from their own 35 they blended running and passing before Robert Edwards finished it off with a 2 yard scamper to make the score 19-12 to the Leos.

In the fourth quarter Paul McCallum added two further field goals. His six in total tying the Grey Cup record. McCallum gave up another safety with 1:43 remaining to make the score 25–14.

The Alouettes were in great position to score a touchdown with 4:06 remaining in regulation, but Edwards fumbled on the one-yard line. The turnover being forced by Javy Glatt and recovered by B.C.’s Otis Floyd. But, ultimately, the Als never made it past the BC 15 yard line again before the clock wound down.

2015 – 103rd Grey Cup

Edmonton Eskimos 26 Ottawa REDBLACKS 20

This was the first Grey Cup game, broadcast on BT Sport, for a UK audience. And we liked what we saw.

The REDBLACKS are the newest franchise in the CFL. They were awarded a franchise in 2008, started football operations in 2013 and played their first season as an expansion club in 2014 finishing with a 2-16 record. However there has been football in Ottawa, on and off, for much longer than this. The Ottawa Football club was founded in 1876. They would later become better known as the Ottawa Rough Riders.

How quickly they turned things around as the new kids on the block was stunning. After that 2-16 record they went 12-6 in 2015 and found themselves in the Grey Cup against a 14-4 Edmonton team determined to make Winnipeg the site of their 14th Grey Cup championship in franchise history.

Ottawa completed a six play opening drive for their first score, then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that led to a second, but unconverted, touchdown as the REDBLACKS took a 13–0 lead before Edmonton’s offence had a chance to take the field.

Esks supporters were probably seeing shades of the 1981 Grey Cup. In that one the underdog Ottawa Rough Riders took a 13-0 lead after the first quarter and a 20-1 lead at the half before losing 26-23 to Edmonton on a last-second Dave Cutler field goal. Here the Ottawa underdogs were up 13-0 again. This time however, Edmonton hit back much earlier.

Most of the scoring comes in the first half

Edmonton answered with a field goal followed by a Mike Reilly touchdown pass to Adarius Bomwan from 23 yards out to make it 13-10 after one quarter in favour or the REDBLACKS.

The scoring kept up in the second period too. Ottawa extended their lead as Christopher Milo hit a 26 yard field goal to make it 16-10. Sean Whyte missed for Edmonton from 44 and now it was 16-11. In the end, Edmonton would lead at the half 17-16. That was because rookie running back Akeem Shavers had scored his first professional touchdown by catching a two-yard pass from Mike Reilly in the front corner of the end zone with 12 seconds left in the first half. A 2 point conversion failed and Edmonton had the narrowest of leads at the intermission.

Defence rules the day

The second half saw defensive domination for much of it from both teams. Drives were stalled and momentum held in check. Amidst some big hitting, in the third period the teams took it in turns to score. First Ottawa got their second field goal for a 19-17 lead. Then an Edmonton rouge on a 69 yard punt meant that Ottawa now had the narrowest of leads.

Milo attempted to pin the Esks deep with a long punt in the final period. However the Winnipeg wind had a part to play and his kick went 72 yards into the end zone for a single. Now Ottawa led 20-18.

Edmonton finally got moving against a ferocious Ottawa D towards the end of the game. Mind you, it took back-to-back pass interference penalties to sustain their game winning march. They moved the ball from the Edmonton 35 to the Ottawa 10-yard line. A nine-yard catch by Nate Coehoorn put the ball at the one-yard line.

On a third and goal gamble Jordan Lynch ran in the game winning score from one yard out for a 26-20 lead (with the successful 2 point coversion). Although there was 3:22 left on the clock at this point Ottawa did not trouble the scoreboard again.

2025 – the latest Winnipeg Grey Cup

Who will it be contesting the Cup in Winnipeg the next time around? Of course we will have to wait and see. But, as we can see there is already a rich tapestry of teams, games and history for the 112th game to be matched up against.

As ever, it will be great fun for us watching it all play out on the CFL fields in the games to come.

Banner Image: The BC Lions host the Grey Cup in Winnipeg after the 2006 matchup with Montreal. Image from

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