R-Nation’s guide to picking a Grey Cup team

Grey Cup week is well under way and despite the home team not participating in the 105th contest for Lord Earl Grey’s trophy, R-Nation has welcomed the country to the nation’s capital in style.

Parties are well under way and fans of opposing teams continue to trade friendly barbs. But despite a good time being had by all, if you’re a part of R-Nation, you can’t help but feel like the Ottawa Redblacks really blew a rare opportunity by not being in Sunday’s big game.

As any Grey Cup attendee can attest, it always sucks seeing another team win on your home field, doubly so when there’s a championship on the line.

With all that said, the show must go on, so if you’re a member of R-Nation who hasn’t sold your ticket, a big question remains: Who do you cheer for on Sunday?

As an Ottawa fan, there are legitimate reasons to despise both teams. Luckily, I’ve got you covered.

Here are a few reasons why you should (and shouldn’t) cheer for both the Argos and Stampeders.

Toronto Argos

Reasons for:

While cheering for a divisional rival may seem to go against every natural instinct in your body, rooting for the Argos in the Grey Cup isn’t the worst thing in the world. First off, as much as many in Ottawa have a hate on for all Toronto sports teams, the Argos are NOT the Leafs, they just happen to reside in the same city.

Furthermore, given the off-field turmoil and barrage of negative press that has surrounded the team for years, a championship win could go a long way to stabilizing a ship that’s taken on a lot of water in recent years.

If anyone can sympathize with Argo fans, it should be R-Nation. After all, we’ve watched two franchises fold and disappear; we know better than anyone else how much that hurts.

Plus, they’ve got a Hall of Fame QB (who could be looking to ride off into the sunset with a new Grey Cup ring on his finger, a la Henry Burris) throwing to a 32-year-old receiver in the midst of one of the most incredible comeback seasons in recent memory.

Finally, their defence is nicknamed “The Dreaded D” because half of its starters have dreadlocks. Need I say more?

Reasons against:

First off, we’re talking about the Argos. Under no circumstances should you ever cheer for a division rival.

Secondly, the Argos were such a mess that two weeks into free agency, they didn’t have a head coach or a GM. Conventional wisdom says it’s flat out unfair that they’ve even made it this far.

Thirdly, another championship win would only make Toronto that much more smug, and in a city that already considers itself the centre of Canada, that’s just a nope.

Fourthly, did I mention we’re talking about the Argos? Because under no circumstances should you ever cheer for a division rival.

Calgary Stampeders

Reasons for:

In a sense, Ottawa kind of owes Calgary. After all, in 2016 the Redblacks singlehandedly turned what could have gone down as one of the greatest seasons of all time into just another chapter in the Stampeders’ long history of playoff failures.

The Stampeders are perennial contenders and led by QB Bo Levi Mitchell. Mitchell, who rubs some the wrong way, is exactly the kind of star the CFL needs. When he’s not hosting his weekly radio show, he’s building hype before games with trash talk and doing what he does best, winning football games.

Despite only being in his sixth CFL season, Mitchell is 59-14-2 as a starter and is on the verge of becoming the first QB to win two Grey Cups for the Stampeders. Sometimes you have to respect greatness.

Lastly, you can’t overlook the fact that Calgary’s uniforms are extremely similar to Ottawa’s. In fact, a few beers in, you might not even be able to tell the difference!

Reasons against:

First off, why would you cheer for (and emotionally invest yourself) in a team that has a storied legacy of choking? That’s like ordering a shawarma without garlic sauce, you’re asking to be disappointed.

But the truth of the matter is there’s only one main reason to cheer against Calgary.

As Easterners, how can you not be sick of hearing about how much better the West division is? Sure they may run roughshod over the East in the regular season, but who cares if the East comes out on top when it matters most? The biggest downside of a Calgary win would be the endless slew of hot takes proclaiming the West as the “clearly superior” division.

Bonus suggestion:

If this guide has made everything as clear as mud and you still don’t know who to root for, keep in mind that there’s always a failsafe.

If you really don’t want to support Toronto or Calgary, then cheer loudly and proudly for every single mouchoir that gets tossed.

After all, only the refs (and the Atlantic Schooners) are undefeated.

Santino Filoso is originally from Ottawa and has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know).