Every CFL season ends with ecstasy for one team — a championship that will be remembered forever.
For eight other teams, the year ends in frustration, disappointment, and the search for answers heading into the following season.
We’ve already talked about why your team would have won the Grey Cup in 2020. Here’s why your team would not have won it.
Teams are listed in alphabetical order by city.
B.C. Lions by J.C. Abbott
If the Lions faltered in 2020, it’s because the offence wouldn’t have been good enough.
Bryan Burnham can’t do it all by himself. If Lemar Durant struggles to return from injury, Caleb Holley and Dominic Rhymes can’t produce, Shaq Johnson is still stuck at field-wide, and Jevon Cottoy doesn’t take the next step, Reilly has nowhere to throw it besides Burnham — again.
If a 31-year old Joel Figueroa tweaks his knee protecting Reilly while he holds onto the ball too long, Brett Boyko is back at tackle. That’s a problem if he hasn’t taken a big leap since 2019 when he struggled to adjust to the Canadian game.
Calgary Stampeders by Ryan Ballantine
This is a Grey Cup-calibre team when healthy, so injuries are the only way the Stamps fail to reach the big game.
Kamar Jorden and Eric Rogers have fought through injuries over the past few years while the team remains without a proven option behind Bo Levi Mitchell. If Bo goes down, Calgary’s hopes of winning a Grey Cup probably go down the drain, too.
Edmonton Football Team by Tom Gazzola
Where this club could have run into trouble is if the injury bug reared its ugly head.
We saw Trevor Harris go down in 2019 with Logan Kilgore stepping in and doing a respectable job. Antonio Pipkin is in the fold now providing more depth at QB.
However, if the defence were to be battered and bruised then a very competitive division would expose that weakness leading to the ‘Ls’ piling up, keeping this team out of the playoff picture.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats by Josh Smith
Injuries are usually to blame for teams that fail to meet expectations, but Hamilton is well-equipped to handle a couple of injuries — even to key players.
No, the reason Hamilton doesn’t win the 2020 Grey Cup is because, frankly, they are the Ticats and they never win.
Hamilton has lost its last three trips to the big game and finding ways not to pull it out when it matters most — turnovers, bad penalties, etc. — is just what the Ticats do.
Montreal Alouettes by Moe Khan
The Als’ defence, under coordinator Bob Slowik, was known for giving up a lot of yardage to opponents. In last year’s playoff loss to Edmonton, quarterback Trevor Harris was able to create a Thanksgiving feast by carving the Als into a mouth-watering turkey spread — with enough leftovers for sandwiches the rest of the week.
As a result, the organization did an excavation of its defensive staff, thus, allowing head coach Khari Jones to bring in his desired candidate to run the show. Keep this in mind; Slowik was hired by former Alouettes head coach, Mike Sherman. Jones will be allowed a lifeline to shake up the defensive side unit with his own hire. That means the Alouettes will go another year in the abyss searching for a Grey Cup title.
Ottawa Redblacks by Santino Filoso
Nick Arbuckle’s success from Calgary proves to be a flash in the pan. No amount of Paul LaPolice’s scheming can gloss over his inefficiencies at the quarterback position.
Much like Ottawa’s 2019 campaign, the defence winds up on the field too often and for too long, resulting in numerous second half collapses.
Lewis Ward continues to be the best thing to come out of Ottawa University in forever (except maybe Brad Sinopoli), nailing every kick on the rare occasions that his offence puts him in range.
Saskatchewan Roughriders by Joel Gasson
It basically all comes down to Cody Fajardo and offensive coordinator Jason Maas. Either they don’t jive well together or Fajardo isn’t able to recreate the magic he had in 2019 when he was named a CFL all-star.
The defence can only carry this team so far as we had previously seen under Chris Jones (2016-2018).
Toronto Argonauts by Justin Dunk
The new crew on the ship can’t handle the choppy water and the boat sinks, even though it looks championship calibre.
Both Matt Nichols and McLeod Bethel-Thompson are due to the largely new bookend offensive tackles. Hamilton’s fearsome front knocks both pivots out on separate hits in the same Labour Day Classic, Ja’Gared Davis and Dylan Wynn deliver the decisive blows.
After no success plugging the leaks, the Argos plunge to the bottom of the East Division.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers by John Hodge
Starting Zach Collaros isn’t a problem when you’ve got Chris Streveler to do some of the heavy lifting. Without the ultra-athletic quarterback to take pressure off Collaros, the veteran has a tough time producing and staying healthy.
The club still excels on defence and special teams — Willie Jefferson, Justin Medlock and Mike Miller remain elite — but can’t score enough points to repeat as Grey Cup champions.