Storm delays in season opener another chapter in CFL’s weird weather history

Nasty weather and the Canadian Football League have a long history together.

Another chapter was written at the regular season opener that began on Thursday night but didn’t end until 1:17 a.m. local time on Friday.

The Edmonton Eskimos topped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 33-30 on Sean Whyte’s last-minute field goal to in a game that took five hours 40 minutes to play – the longest continuous game and second longest overall in league history.

The game was interrupted twice in the second quarter by severe thunderstorms, the first for 84 minutes and the second for 94 minutes.

Here’s a look at classic bad-weather games:

FOG BOWL: The longest game ever was the 1962 Grey Cup game in Toronto, won 28-27 by Winnipeg over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Beginning in the second quarter, a thick fog moved onto Exhibition Stadium from Lake Ontario, reducing visibility to near zero. It got worse as the game went on and officials opted to suspend the game with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter. It was completed the following day.

LIGHTNING STRIKE: An Aug. 19, 2007 game in Regina between the Roughriders and Eskimos was interrupted for 58 minutes after a huge flash of lightning struck during a heavy downpour 1:40 into the fourth quarter. Referee Andre Proulx sent the players and officials to their dressing rooms. Not long after, the lights went out at Mosaic Stadium. The Roughriders trailed 32-27 when play stopped, but came back to win 39-32.

LABOUR DAY DELAY: Last Sept. 4, a game between Hamilton and the Toronto Argonauts was suspended for more than two hours at 6:45 of the second quarter due to severe thundershowers and lightning. The start of an Aug. 4, 2016 game in Winnipeg was delayed 2.5 hours for the same reason.

ICE BOWL: There were no interruptions, but the 1977 Grey Cup game at the then-roofless Olympic Stadium in Montreal was all about weather. Groundskeepers used salt to melt a heavy snowfall only to see a deep-freeze move in and turn the AstroTurf to ice. Thousands among the crowd of 68,318 walked to the park from downtown due to a transit strike. And the Montreal Alouettes put staples on their shoes for traction and routed the Edmonton Eskimos 41-6.

MUD BOWL: A huge snowfall followed by heavy rain turned Toronto’s Varsity Stadium’s grass field to slick, sloppy mud for the 1950 Grey Cup game, won 13-0 by the Argonauts over Winnipeg.

WIND BOWL: Coaches Ralph Sazio and Bud Grant agreed to modify a rule before the 1965 Grey Cup game at CNE Stadium in Toronto declaring punts kicked against the wind dead as soon as the returner touched the ball. It was the only way to cope with the 80 kilometre-per-hour winds. Sazio’s Tiger-Cats beat Grant’s Bombers 22-16, with all points scored by teams with the wind at their backs.

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