It took 1,415 days but the Edmonton Elks have finally won a game at Commonwealth Stadium.
With a 30-20 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks on Sunday night, the Elks officially ended the longest consecutive home-losing streak in North American pro sports history at 22 games. The previous mark of 20 games was set by the MLB’s St. Louis Browns in 1953, until Edmonton surpassed them on July 29.
Canadian quarterback Tre Ford, making his third start of the season, proved to be the catalyst for victory. Fresh off delivering the team’s first win of 2023 last week in Hamilton, the 2022 first-round pick completed 15-of-18 pass attempts for 317 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 10 times for 74 yards and another score.
After Ottawa went up by a point on a first-quarter single from punter Richie Leone, Ford led his team on an eight-play, 79-yard drive to open the second quarter with a rushing score. The Elks never trailed again and a spectacular 66-yard touchdown catch from Eugene Lewis with 41 seconds remaining in the first half sent a clear statement that this would be different than previous attempts to break the streak.
The Redblacks attempted a late comeback, with Tyrell Pigrome scoring on a QB sneak with 1:10 remaining. However, the Elks’ defence stopped the two-point convert attempt to keep it a two-score game and Lewis recovered the onside kick to ice the game.
The team’s last victory at home came on October 12, 2019, against the B.C. Lions. The intervening years have included an organizational name change, a global pandemic, three team presidents, two general managers, and four separate head coaches — Jason Maas, Scott Milanovich (who never coached a game), Jaime Elizondo, and now Chris Jones.
Remarkably, the Elks (2-9) remain in the hunt for a playoff spot and have a chance to leapfrog their provincial rivals, the Calgary Stampeders (3-8), in the standings with a victory in the Labour Day Classic next week.
Edmonton travels to Calgary on Monday, September 4, before returning home for the rematch on Saturday, September 9.