Reaching the Grey Cup is challenging enough, but to do it your home stadium? That requires not only elite play but also some luck with scheduling.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are set to play at home in the 108th Grey Cup on Sunday, hosting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. With the game just days away, it’s time to take a look back and see how teams have historically fared at home in the CFL’s title game.
And yes, while every Grey Cup has one “away” team and one “home” team, this article is meant to reflect teams who played on their home turf and in front of their hometown fans.
Twelve teams have played at home in the Grey Cup in the CFL’s modern era (1958-present), accruing a 6-6 record. Here is a breakout of all twelve of those games.
2013 — WIN: Saskatchewan 45, Hamilton 23
The Riders got it done at old Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field in commanding fashion, building a 31-6 lead by halftime. Kory Sheets was named the game’s MVP after setting a Grey Cup record with 197 rushing yards and two touchdowns in what remains the greatest day in the history of Rider Nation.
2012 — WIN: Toronto 35, Calgary 22
Ricky Ray led the hometown Argos to an upset victory in the 100th Grey Cup, which was the last CFL title game played at the Rogers Centre. Kevin Glenn and the Stamps entered the contest as two-point favourites but failed to overcome a 24-6 halftime deficit as Toronto running back Chad Kackert ran wild.
2011 — WIN: B.C. 34, Winnipeg 23
The Lions overcame a horrendous 1-6 start to the season to capture the Grey Cup at BC Place Stadium. Led by CFL Most Outstanding Player Travis Lulay, B.C. sealed the game midway through the fourth quarter when Arland Bruce III caught a six-yard touchdown to take a 22-point lead.
2008 — LOSS: Calgary 22, Montreal 14
Most of the 66,308 fans in attendance at Olympic Stadium left disappointed after this game as the hometown Alouettes squandered a 13-10 halftime lead. Henry Burris won his first of two Grey Cup MVP awards, while Sandro DeAngelis booted five field goals to give John Hufnagel a title in his first year as Calgary’s head coach and general manager.
2002 — LOSS: Montreal 25, Edmonton 16
Commonwealth Stadium was full of disappointed green-clad fans after this game, which was Ricky Ray’s first Grey Cup as a starter. The teams came in with identical 13-5 regular season records but Montreal never trailed as Anthony Calvillo was named the game’s MVP after tossing a pair of touchdowns.
1994 — WIN: B.C. 26, Baltimore 23
The Lions got it done at home in what remains arguably the most memorable Grey Cup of all-time. Lui Passaglia’s last-second field goal to seal the win has been replayed thousands of times as B.C. prevented Earl Grey’s mug from travelling south of the border (until Baltimore won it the following year, anyway).
1983 — LOSS: Toronto 18, B.C. 17
BC Place Stadium hosted the Grey Cup in its inaugural year with the hometown Lions representing the West Division. Toronto outscored the home team 11-0 in the second half to complete the comeback, snaping a miserable 31-year championship drought.
1982 — LOSS: Edmonton 32, Toronto 16
A rain-soaked game at Exhibition Stadium — located on the same site of modern-day BMO Field — marked the fifth-straight Grey Cup victory for Edmonton, capping their dynasty. Warren Moon won his second career Grey Cup MVP award after throwing for 319 yards and two touchdowns.
1979 — LOSS: Edmonton 17, Montreal 9
The Als came out flat at Olympic Stadium, disappointing their 65,113 hometown fans. Montreal took 16 penalties, generated just nine points, and remain the only team since 1978 not to score at least ten points in a Grey Cup. The was Edmonton’s second of five-straight Grey Cups, the first two of which came against Montreal.
1977 — WIN: Montreal 41, Edmonton 6
Marv Levy led the Als to victory in an extremely lopsided game, dominating Edmonton at Olympic Stadium. Sonny Wade threw for three touchdowns in front of what remains the largest crowd in Grey Cup history at 68,318. I can only imagine how much beer was consumed on this day.
1972 — WIN: Hamilton 13, Saskatchewan 10
Ian Sunter kicked a last-second field goal to seal the first Grey Cup game at Ivor Wynne Stadium since the Ticats became full-time tenants in 1950. It was a low-scoring affair but the 33,993 fans in attendance must have left awfully happy with Angelo Mosca hoisting the Grey Cup at home in his final CFL season.
1963 — LOSS: Hamilton 21, B.C. 10
The Lions fell behind 14-3 in the first quarter of this game at Empire Stadium and never recovered. Willie Fleming was hit late play by Mosca, which later served as the fuel for an altercation that took place between Mosca and Joe Kapp at the 2011 Grey Cup. This game may have been bland, but it provided some great payoff 48 years later.
Grey Cup records at home since 1958
B.C. Lions — 2-2
Calgary Stampeders — 0-0
Edmonton Elks — 0-1
Saskatchewan Roughriders — 1-0
Winnipeg Blue Bombers — 0-0
Hamilton Tiger-Cats — 1-0
Toronto Argonauts — 1-1
Ottawa Redblacks — 0-0
Montreal Alouettes — 1-2
It should be noted that well over two dozen Grey Cup games featured a home team prior to 1958 — including a decade-long run from 1924 to 1933 — but these are not reflected in the list above.