Opposite ends of history: Argos and Elks

Opposite ends of history: Argos and Elks
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Opposite ends of history: Argos and Elks

Right now the Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Elks are finding themselves at the opposite ends of history. That’s not just because the Double Blue are 4-0 and the Green and Gold are 0-6 this season either.

This is about a longer arc for both teams. The Argos have made their best start to a CFL season in 40 years. While the Elks are on a record setting losing streak that they and their fans are desperate to see broken. Especially as this is the first time they have gone 0-6 in the team’s 74-year history.

Opposite ends: the good

Toronto hasn’t started a season 4-0 since their 1983 campaign. The Argonauts have won the Grey Cup a record 18 times in 24 visits to the big game. But I doubt any win was as satisfying as the one they posted in 1983.

When they became a CFL member, the Argos had last won the Grey Cup in 1952. But they would not return to the title game until 1971. And they would not win it again until 1983. A 31 year title drought. During that time the Argonauts put together a 169-259-8 record.

A low period was going 16-40 from 1956-59. Whilst highlights came in going 10-4 in 1960 and 1971 (the latter leading to a Grey Cup berth), and having made the Grey Cup in 1982 the year before ending their longest title drought.

They would wait another eight years to win again in 1991. A wait equalled by the gaps between 2004 and 2012 Grey Cup wins. But nothing has come close to that 1983 team breaking the 31 year drought. No wonder that Condredge Holloway and the team are so fondly remembered by so many Argos fans.

It would be a dream for the defending champs to be as beloved as that 1983 team. And now they are off to a fine start.

Opposite ends: the bad

Elks fans meanwhile are truly suffering right now. Up until now the lean times have been few and far between for Edmonton. Their lowest point prior to this probably came from the period 1962-1965 when they went 17-46-1 and missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons. Which, incredibly stands as the longest playoff drought in team history. Which only reflects how much success the team has had over the years.

Over the last full decade of play (2010-2019), Edmonton went 94-86. They appeared in the playoffs on seven occasions. Those post-season sojourns saw the then Esks go 7-6. They also picked up a Grey Cup win. That win – giving them their 14th Grey Cup title was their only appearance in the big game of the decade. The rebranded Edmonton Elks, team and fans will want to get back to the levels of success and even dominance they have displayed in the past.

But since 2021 the on-field product has left something to be desired. As the Elks, Edmonton sported an anaemic 7-25 record going into this season (now 7-31), and of course have not won at home since October the 12th 2019 when they defeated the BC Lions 19-6.

The CFL streaks

While the Argos are making their best start to a season in four decades, they are hardly about to toruble the CFL record books for longest winning streaks. They may be on a 6-0 run if you count last years’ playoffs. But they lost their last regualr season game in 2022. Meaning this 4-0 run is well behind the modern era 14 game win streaks, or the Stamps all time 22 game winning run.

If they want to keep winning they are going to need to work on reducing their penalties and mistakes too. But for now Toronto fans can enjoy being in the midst of one of their most successful periods in recent years over the past few seasons.

Meanwhile Edmonton have lost 10 in a row. Three more games will get them onto the all-time consecutive losing streaks list. Which of course they will want to avoid. Especially matching Shreveport’s 14 consective losses to start a season.

They already now own the record for most consecutive home defeats in the CFL (currently 20). Another record they and their fans will be desperate to see snapped.

Sports is often cyclical. Which means eventually all teams have their ups and downs. Argos fans then should make the most of being defending champs off to their best start in four decades. While Elks fans should keep their fingers crossed and know the pain will end – eventually.

Banner image: The Argos at the Elks as both teams are at the opposit ends of history. Image from: thepeterboroughexaminer.com

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