Argos make history in winter wonderland

on November 2017 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

The Toronto Argonauts stunned the country as they came from behind to beat the Calgary Stampeders 27-24 in the 105th Grey Cup. It was quite an unbelievable feat that I doubt any author could imagine writing such a story line. Forget reality tv, forget the Walking Dead and yes, even forget Game of Thrones (at least for one night) as this game will be remembered in the annals of Canadian Sport for a long, long time. It will be brought up for many reasons such as the snow. Only in Canada can it be a clear day until just a few hours before kickoff and then WHAM, not only is the field covered in snow but there are no signs it was clearing up. It wasn’t necessarily an advantage for one side over the other, but you get the feeling it gave the Argos hope as anything can happen in the snow… and anything did.

The game will also be remembered for the emotional devastation that must have been felt by the losing side. As soon as you caught a glimpse of the dejected look on the faces of the Western Champions players and fans, you felt almost guilty for cheering. There is no doubt that for the past two seasons the Calgary Stampeders have been the best team in the league and yet, have nothing to show for it. Your heart goes out to them, you can give them all the respect they deserve but none of that will take their pain away. Nothing does. The pain from last year’s overtime loss is still there and is only compounded by stinging of this defeat. Winning is the only thing that can take that kind of pain away, but even that, at best, is still a full year away.

The Argos on the other hand are still in a state of shock for the storied ending to their storied year came about on a few his-storied performances. Yup, I went there. Toronto, their fans and CFL historians will relive two key moments of this game and the magic of their leader, Ricky Ray. We can start by the play that changed the game. With 4:35 left in the 4th quarter, the Stamps were leading 24-16 and were inside the Argo’s 10 yard line. A Bo Levi Mitchell pass to Kamar Jorden should have been the beginning of the end for the Double Blue, but wait… FUM-BLE! Argonaut Cassius Vaughn picked it up and ran 109 yards, that’s right, I said 109 yards for the touchdown that brought the Argos to within two. It was the longest fumble return in Grey Cup and I believe CFL history. Vaughn picked up the ball on his own one yard line and he was able to avoid two Stampeders who were close to tackling him and later avoided falling as he slipped on the snow along the sideline. Nothing was going to stop him or the Argos as destiny was waiting at the other end of the field on this historic night.

The second moment may not have come at a critical time, but really was the only spark the Argos had in the first half which ended 17-8 in Calgary’s favour. After a pedestrian first quarter and being down 6-0, quarterback Ricky Ray lobbed the ball over a Calgary defender and into the hands of the Grey Cup MVP DeVier Posey. The wide receiver ran and ran and then ran some more into the endzone for Toronto’s first points of the game. When the statisticians finished their bean counting, it turns out it was a 100 yard TD completion and yes, another Grey Cup record. This time the record for longest TD catch had bitten the dust. Posey finished with 175 yards receiving on 7 catches. Oh, and how big of a play was that for Toronto? Ray had only 129 passing yards that first half. Now take away that one catch and you can see how tough a game it was out there.

Speaking of the veteran Argonauts QB, he didn’t walk away from this game without making a little history of his own either. Ray now stands alone as the only quarterback in CFL history to start and win 4 Grey Cups. That’s one more than legends Anthony Calvillo, Ray Allen and yes even one more than Warren Moon who won a couple as a back up. What makes this even more improbable was that Ray lost the starting role last year. In fact, the very first decision that new coach Marc Trestman made when he was hired was to say, that there is no QB controversy as Ricky Ray is the starting QB for the Toronto Argonauts. I think he made the right call.

Other notable items from this Grey Cup has to start with Shania Twain and the half time show. I am not a big fan of country music but I did enjoy her performance although I think the person who created her one piece went way too far with the bedazzling gun. I still don’t think I can see properly. On the other hand, whoever came up with idea of having her get to the stage in a dog sled was pure genius. Made me feel proud to be Canadian. Big shout out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also in attendance and braved the cold at TD Place Stadium which housed a sell out 36,154 fans.

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