The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats enter the CFL championship game with the longest active streaks without winning the Grey Cup.
Winnipeg has gone 28 seasons since their win in 1990 and Hamilton 19 seasons since their 1999 victory. That is the second-largest post-War (since 1945) combined Grey Cup drought. That 47-year total is exceeded only by the 1983 Grey Cup at 48, the B.C. Lions 18 years (1965-82) and Toronto 30 (1953-82).
Five of the last six 15-win teams made it to and won the Grey Cup: Baltimore 1995, Toronto 1996-1997, Montreal 2009, Calgary 2014. Only Calgary in 1995 has won 15 games since 1995 and not won the Grey Cup, but the Stamps lost a 15-win Stallions team.
Winnipeg comes in as a third place Grey Cup participant. The Bombers are the first team to come from third place (winning consecutive road games) to reach the Grey Cup since Edmonton in 2005. There have been just nine prior teams and they defied the odds to be 5-4 in the Grey Cup.
Let’s see which side of history the 3Down pickers are on.
Sunday, November 24
Hamilton vs. Winnipeg, 6 p.m. EST
Dunk: Orlondo Steinauer has had Hamilton locked in all season long. Even when quarterback Jeremiah Masoli went down the Tiger-Cats never flinched, Dane Evans was the next man up and he’s been highly productive.
There are weapons in every phase for the Ticats. On offence, Brandon Banks and Bralon Addison, defence, Ja’Gared Davis and Simoni Lawrence, special teams, Frankie Williams and if needed Banks. Plenty of playmakers who can change the game in an instant.
Winnipeg appears to be a team of destiny with Zach Collaros leading an improbable run to the Grey Cup. Unless the Bombers can bully the Ticats for 60 minutes and control the entire pace of the contest, the storybook ending will be cut short in Calgary. TICATS
Hodge: The #DroughtBowl offers an exciting matchup between two teams that haven’t won a title in 20-plus years. Winnipeg has a chance — if they play mistake-free football and get a takeaway or two, the Bombers win.
But Hamilton has been the league’s best team all season. The club has no weaknesses on their depth chart and are extremely well-coached. This should be Hamilton’s game to lose. TICATS
Ballantine: This game will come down to whether or not Winnipeg’s defence can continue the roll they’ve been on in these playoffs. Shutting down Calgary and Saskatchewan was no easy feat on the road.
Straw poll has Winnipeg the sentimental favourite for most non-involved fan bases so they will likely have the “13th Man” on their side. BOMBERS
Alfieri: These offences are very different, but they’re both effective in their own way. The defences are also solid. I think this one will come down to the wire and the difference will be a big play on special teams.
Unfortunately for Winnipeg, I think the drought will continue. Hamilton gets to party like it’s 1999. TICATS
Filoso: Zach Collaros rises to the occasion, getting a large measure of revenge for his early season cheap shot from Ticats linebacker Simoni Lawrence. Winnipeg controls the clock with a punishing ground game led by Andrew Harris and Chris Streveler. BOMBERS
Gasson: Hamilton is the best team in the league. Over a series, they’d win but in one game anything can happen. My playoff record has been abysmal and I’m going to stick with the pre-season pick. So congrats Winnipeg. TICATS.
Smith: I clinched the 3DownNation picks title a long time ago, so whatever I pick here won’t change that. With that out of the way, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are going to win the Grey Cup.
The Ticats have been the best team on all sides of the ball almost all season. Whether it is being the highest-scoring offence or the stingiest defence, the Ticats have dominated from Week 1 until now.
Orlondo Steinauer has proven to be the great head coach we all thought he would be, tying the CFL record for most wins by a first-year head coach. It has been 20 long years since a Ticats team hoisted the Grey Cup and after enduring so much heartbreak five years ago, Brandon Banks, Simoni Lawrence and the Tiger-Cats finally get the chance to lift the Grey Cup. TICATS
TICATS 5 BOMBERS 2
2019 records after Week 21, Division Semi-Finals and Division Finals: