Rob Ford celebrates a Nov. 15 quarterfinal win with the high school team he coaches.With the Grey Cup in Toronto, mayor Rob Ford has been making even more news than normal over the last few days, from betting his weight in food donations against Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi to ducking over to City Hall to welcome the trophy during a break in his court appearance. Still, one of his most classic moments came Tuesday during a football game with his brother Doug (a city councillor) and a bunch of city staff. Ford often talks about football, and he recently skipped a council meeting to coach his high school team, but you don't often see him playing the game himself. Although he has some good moments in this clip, he doesn't exactly cover himself with glory in the play starting at 0:19...Read More »from Rob Ford’s football follies bring further notoriety, but add levity to Toronto’s Grey Cup Week
55 Yard Line
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Tue, 20 Nov, 2012 8:38 PM EST
- Dustin Pollack | 55 Yard Line – Tue, 20 Nov, 2012 3:24 PM EST
Mark Cohon spoke on U of T campus Tuesday morning.After a 70-day, 4,100-kilometre train tour and several visits across the country by plane including Iqaluit, Nunavut and St. John's, the Grey Cup finally arrived in Toronto over the weekend. The trophy, alongside CFL commissioner Mark Cohon, paid a visit to the University of Toronto campus to commemorate 100 years of Canadian football history and to unveil and plaque recognizing the Grey Cup as an event of national significance.
The CFL commissioner spoke about his tour around the country that ended in Toronto on Saturday.
"Along the journey [around the country] I think what's been really interesting is how this Cup has touched the lives of Canadians and how those Canadians have touched our lives," Cohon said.
CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon (left) alongside Peter Van Loan, MP for York Simcoe. (right)"To the gentleman in Sarnia whose father played on the Sarnia Imperials who won the Grey Cup and found a picture of his father on the train, to the kids in Windsor who made a tribute to the train, the stories on this journey have really been remarkable and they've touchedRead More »from Grey Cup and CFL commissioner honoured at the University of Toronto
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Tue, 20 Nov, 2012 11:27 AM EST
Karyn Drake and Quick Six celebrate a Sept. 3 touchdown.It's appropriate that a team with a horse for a logo has plenty of equine stories going around this week. Firstly, and perhaps most concerningly for Stampeders' fans, The Calgary Herald's Bryce Forbes writes that the Stampeders' traditional touchdown celebration, a horse galloping down the sidelines, may not be allowed in the Rogers Centre Sunday:
Read More »from Stampeders’ touchdown horse could be sidelined, but Calgary fans plan Royal York ride
Rider Karyn Drake said she was told Monday afternoon that she would not be travelling to Toronto for the Sunday game against the Argos due to rules at the Rogers Centre , which has a retractable roof and 54,000-seat capacity.
"I've been told they don't have the room for a horse," she told the Herald late Monday.
A Stampeders spokesman confirmed negotiations are continuing with the Rogers Centre, the league and the Stampeders to allow a horse at the game. But no official decision has been made yet, he said.
The Stamps' regular horse, Quick Six, a staple at McMahon Stadium for about seven years, wouldn't have made the trip anyway, as the team
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Tue, 20 Nov, 2012 10:37 AM EST
Given that Prime Minister Stephen Harper grew up in Toronto but now represents a Calgary riding, it was natural that his allegiances in this year's Grey Cup would come up. Here's video of Harper's response when asked about this at the Canadian American Business Council Forum in Ottawa Monday:
So, Harper cried over the Leon McQuay fumble (the most famous negative example of the old Argo Bounce) that cost the Argonauts the 1971 Grey Cup against the Stampeders (one of the most famous battles between the teams), but now roots for Calgary given his connections to that city. The best part, though? Harper finishes with an equivocal, political response, and one that's factually incorrect. "I'd be happy with either — the good thing about a Grey Cup is that a Canadian team always wins."Read More »from Stephen Harper cried over Argos’ 1971 loss, now roots for Calgary, but missed 1995 Grey Cup
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Tue, 20 Nov, 2012 10:01 AM EST
The Calgary Stampeders' trip to the Grey Cup for the first time since 2008 is inspiring plenty of flashbacks to that year, and one of the most interesting that's come out so far is Allen Cameron's Calgary Herald examination of Stampeders' head coach/general manager John Hufnagel's pre-game speech before that game. As Hufnagel told Cameron Monday, his inspiration came from a classic source:
When John Hufnagel joined the list with his inspiring message to the troops prior to the 2008 Grey Cup in Montreal, he wasn't channelling any coaches who'd come before him.
Nope, his "Men, we've got them right where we want them" speech was, in fact, inspired by a group of men who were more known for silly walks, dead parrots and lumberjacks.
"I was trying to use a little Monty Python humour," revealed the Calgary Stampeders coach and GM with a chuckle on Monday. "I'm a little bit of a fan."
Hufnagel was channelling the philosophy espoused by the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail — even when the odds continue to be stacked against you, keep fighting (after King Arthur cuts off both of the Black Knight's arms, the Knight responds: "It's just a flesh wound." You get the picture).
You can see video of that Hufnagel speech here. The part in question starts about 40 seconds in:Read More »from 10 Monty Python suggestions for John Hufnagel to use in a pregame speech this time around
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Tue, 20 Nov, 2012 8:48 AM EST
Guelph's Alumni Stadium in September following the installation of the video screen.The big CFL news that broke late Monday night didn't have anything to do with either of the teams competing in the 100th Grey Cup, but rather the long-since eliminated Hamilton Tiger-Cats. According to Drew Edwards of The Hamilton Spectator, the team has finally made arrangements for where they'll take their travelling road show next season while the old Ivor Wynne Stadium is torn down and the new one is built. Their choice? The University of Guelph:
Read More »from Tiger-Cats appear headed to Guelph for the majority of their 2013 home games
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will play the majority — and perhaps all — of their 2013 schedule at the University of Guelph, the Spectator has learned.
The team and university have reached an agreement that would enable the club to play all nine of their regular season games and one exhibition game at Alumni Stadium, home of the Guelph Gryphons. The facility, which just underwent a $18 million renovation, has an official capacity of 7,500 that will be expanded to approximately 12,000 to 15,000 through the use of temporary seating.
The Ticats may still play a game at a second location — both Moncton and the University of Western Ontario in London have been mentioned as potential sites — but there are no deals in place for a location other than Guelph.
The 1962 Fog Bowl remains one of the most legendary Grey Cup moments.When Toronto hosts the Grey Cup this Sunday, it will mark the 46th time in the Grey Cup's 100 years that the city has played host to the big game. The next-closest city is Vancouver, which has hosted the Grey Cup 15 times. Thus, it's not surprising that many of the most memorable moments in the history of the Grey Cup have come in Hogtown. Here are 10 of the most notable ones.
10. The one that started it all (1909): Sure, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues' 26-6 win over the Toronto Parkdale Canoe Club probably wasn't the most thrilling game ever played, but it marks the first time the Grey Cup was ever awarded. That's pretty special.
9: The Mud Bowl (1950): There have been plenty of muddy games over the years, but this one stands out. On a ridiculously muddy pitch at the old Varsity Stadium (brought on by using bulldozers to clear snow!), Frank Clair's 6-5-1 Argonauts not only upset Frank Larson's 10-4 Bombers, they shut them out 13-0. It was the last shutout in a Grey Cup, and it also led to the Grey Cup's rotation amongst cities thanks to the poor conditions in Toronto. Legend holds that Bombers' defensive tackle Buddy Tinsley almost drowned in a puddle during the game, but he maintained until his death in 2011 that the story was exaggerated. The game was recreated Monday by media types at W.A. Porter Collegiate in advance of a planned reseeding of their field.Read More »from The top 10 Grey Cup moments in Toronto
- Dustin Pollack | 55 Yard Line – Mon, 19 Nov, 2012 2:06 PM EST
Chad Owens (left) helped the Argos upset the Alouettes Sunday. (Reuters)And so the stage has been set. The Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders will play for the 100th Grey Cup this Sunday at the Rogers Centre.
Both teams went into their semifinal games as underdogs to the Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions, respectively, and both were able to come out on top. For the Argos it was impressive showings from Ricky Ray, Chad Owens, Chad Kackert and Marcus Ball combined with a dropped pass in the endzone by Als receiver Brian Bratton on the game's final play that earned them their spot in the Grey Cup and for the Stamps it was on the back of impressive performances from Kevin Glenn and Jon Cornish.
It's the first time the Argos will be playing in a Grey Cup at home in 30 years and while there's sure to be a spike in excitement around the city throughout the week it's important not to get carried away should a sea of teal and navy fill the Rogers Centre on Sunday.
While sports fans around the city may hop of the Argos bandwagon this week, by around this timeRead More »from What having the Argos play in the Grey Cup means for the future of the CFL in Toronto
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Mon, 19 Nov, 2012 10:27 AM EST
Toronto's Joe Theismann and Calgary's Dick Suderman (L) battled in the 1971 Grey Cup, and their teams face off again this year.Both road underdogs came away with victories in Sunday's CFL division finals, giving us a Toronto Argonauts-Calgary Stampeders clash for the Grey Cup. It's not a matchup many envisioned at the start of the playoffs, but it should be a thrilling one, and one where both teams have plenty to prove. The Argonauts haven't played in a Grey Cup since their victory in 2004, while the Stampeders haven't been back to the big game since winning in 2008; the Argos would also love to grab a Grey Cup victory at home and use that as a springboard to boost their off-field fortunes, while the Stamps will be keen to show that they can field a championship team, not just a consistently-good one. What's also notable is some of the Grey Cup history involving these teams, though. Fittingly enough for the 100th Grey Cup, a game where the league's prominently celebrating its past while looking to the future, the matchup also invokes history while being significant in the present and carrying implications for the future.Read More »from Stampeders-Argonauts Grey Cup sets up as underdog battle with historical connections
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Mon, 19 Nov, 2012 9:17 AM EST
When the Calgary Stampeders traded Henry Burris to Hamilton for Kevin Glenn this past offseason, it didn't really seem like a move that would be great for either team. Burris had put up better numbers than Glenn in 2011, but was fresh off losing his starting job to Drew Tate and was about to turn 37, and Glenn had been inconsistent over the last few years and was only being acquired as a backup to Tate. The trade proved to be vital for both teams, though. Although the Tiger-Cats struggled this year, Burris led the league with 5,367 yards and 43 touchdowns, while an early-season shoulder injury to Tate elevated Glenn to the starting job for most of the year, and the fractured wrist Tate suffered in the West semifinal tabbed Glenn as the Stampeders' starter again in Sunday's West Final. The man recently viewed as a castoff and a spare part shone there, throwing for 303 yards and three touchdowns and leading Calgary to a 34-29 victory over the favoured B.C. Lions and proving that the Stamps still have a Grey Cup shot even without Tate.Read More »from Kevin Glenn proves vital again, leading Stampeders to 34-29 West Final win over B.C.
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Sun, 18 Nov, 2012 8:43 PM EST
MONTREAL—By the numbers, the Toronto Argonauts did enough to win Sunday's East final several times over. You could write plenty of stories on everything they did right in their 27-20 victory: Ricky Ray's 28 completions on 37 attempts (75.6 per cent) for 399 yards; Chad Kackert's 139 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries (10.7 yards per carry); Chad Owens' 11 catches for 207 yards, an Argonauts' playoff record; Marcus Ball's two crucial interceptions, even the safety and two singles they forced early on. What stood out more was something they did wrong, though, and how an Alouettes' mistake made up for it. This game would have left a very different impression if it wasn't for Andre Durie's late fumble giving Montreal one more chance, and then Brian Bratton being unable to take advantage of that chance; he was open in the end zone, and Anthony Calvillo found him, but the ball bounced right off his arms. In many ways, both plays were reincarnations of the old Argo Bounce, and they're what's sending Toronto to the Grey Cup for the first time since 2004.Read More »from A new era for the “Argo Bounce”; how the East Final changed on two fateful plays
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Sun, 18 Nov, 2012 8:30 AM EST
Sunday sees two crucial division final games that will determine who advances to the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto next week, and 55-Yard Line's your home for full coverage of both games. We'll be live-chatting throughout both games right here. Both have a surplus of compelling stories. In the East Final (televised live at 1 p.m. Eastern on TSN in Canada, tape-delayed to 11 p.m. Eastern in the U.S. on NBC Sports Network), Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray will try and lead the Argos to an appearance in the hometown Grey Cup, but he'll have to survive the Montreal crowd and outduel another legendary quarterback, the Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo. With explosive players like Toronto's Chad Owens and Montreal's S.J. Green, this should be a high-scoring one. Out West, we may not see as many points, but we could be in for a fascinating game; Stamps' preferred starter Drew Tate is going to miss this one thanks to a fractured wrist, so that puts all the focus on veteran backup Kevin Glenn. Will he be able to continue the success he displayed in relief of Tate this season against the formidable B.C. defence?
Those are just the opening storylines, and there are plenty of other intriguing ones to consider as well. How much of a factor will both crowds be? Will B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay be fully recovered from his late-season injury? Who will win the battle of the Canadian running backs, Calgary's Jon Cornish or B.C.'s Andrew Harris? Will either the Argos or the Als be able to get defensive stops? Tune into the live chat below to find out. Things will kick off with East Final coverage at 1 p.m. Eastern.Read More »from Division finals live chat: East Final sees Ray-Calvillo showdown, while Glenn steps in out West
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Sun, 18 Nov, 2012 8:06 AM EST
It's another installment of the Playoff Preview series, setting up each game in terms of the matchups on offence, defence and special teams. Also, we'll be live-chatting here at 55-Yard Line during both division finals, so join us for that. Here's a look at the East Final, which will see Ricky Ray and the Toronto Argonauts travelling to Montreal to take on Anthony Calvillo and the hometown Alouettes (1 p.m. Eastern, TSN, tape-delayed to 11 p.m. Eastern on NBC Sports Network in the U.S.).
This one largely looks like a quarterback duel, as Ray and Calvillo have been two of the league's most effective pivots over the last decade. They've collided in high-stakes games before, including the 2005 Grey Cup where Ray's Edmonton Eskimos edged Calvillo's Alouettes 38-35 in overtime, and both of them have a habit of putting up great passing numbers in the playoffs. They're also both having impressive seasons, and both will have to play well Sunday to give their team a shot. How much support will each have, though? To find out, let's get to the matchups.Read More »from Playoff Preview: Will Ray and Calvillo get into an East Final shootout in Montreal?
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Sat, 17 Nov, 2012 9:12 PM EST
Okay, so the Mitchell and Uteck Bowls didn't exactly present us with even one compelling game. Laval thumped Acadia 42-7 in the Uteck, as expected, but it was the Mitchell Bowl that really underwhelmed; the #3 Calgary Dinos came out absolutely flat against the top-ranked McMaster Marauders and were demolished 45-6. That could be concerning for the state of CIS football, especially considering that last week's conference games were also lopsided and that (as Neate Sager pointed out) the margin of victory in the last 10 national semifinals has been 25.3 points overall, 29.9 points if you remove the Ontario-Quebec matchups seen in the 2009 Mitchell Bowl and the 2010 Uteck Bowl. However, this sets up a rare rematch of last year's Vanier Cup between McMaster and Laval, and given how remarkable that game was, it's hard to complain there.Read More »from CIS Corner: Mitchell and Uteck Bowls feature blowouts, but set up a great Vanier matchup
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Sat, 17 Nov, 2012 8:54 AM EST
What stands out most about Saturday's Canadian university football national semifinals is that although it's the same four teams as last year (the first time that's happened in CIS history), we have different matchups, and while one looks like a potential blowout along the lines of those we saw last year, the other looks like perhaps one of the best CIS matchups of the year. Of course, anything can and frequently does happen in CIS football, so the expected blowout might not materialize and the predicted good game might turn into a dud. The way this looks right now, though, there's likely to be at least one impressive CIS game today. Let's break them down (rankings from the final Football Reporters of Canada-CIS poll Oct. 30, spreads from Rob Pettapiece of The CIS Blog):Read More »from CIS Corner: Uteck and Mitchell Bowls could present us with at least one compelling game
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Sat, 17 Nov, 2012 7:08 AM EST
One of the most intriguing, and least well-known, stories portrayed in TSN's Engraved On A Nation documentary series came from Charles Officer's film on Chuck Ealey, who went from a poor upbringing where he trained his arm by throwing rocks at passing trains to a legendary college career at the University of Toledo and a remarkable stint as a CFL quarterback that included him one-upping Riders' legend Ron Lancaster to win the Grey Cup with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in his first CFL season. Many players have gone from horrible struggle to astounding success, but Ealey's story stood out; not only was it a tale of a remarkable man, but there were so many dimensions to it, from his involvement in civil-rights protests such as a sit-in at a whites-only pool following the drowning death of a cousin to how he cleaned the floors to be able to afford to go to a Catholic school to how he was passed over in the NFL draft despite a still-standing NCAA-record 35 straight wins as a starting quarterback. Only so much fit in to that one-hour film, though, and there's so much more to Ealey's story. Fortunately, that's where the new book The Stone Thrower (written by Ealey's daughter, Jael Ealey Richardson) comes in, and it's a remarkable read; not only does it effectively detail Ealey's past and his remarkable football career, it also shows the impact he's had on his family and raises some interesting questions about race in Canadian and American society.Read More »from “The Stone Thrower” looks at Ticats’ legend Chuck Ealey’s past and his impact on his family
- Don Landry | 55 Yard Line – Sat, 17 Nov, 2012 12:58 AM EST
When the Grey Cup enters a room for a public function, it's usually a very big deal and that's why it's appearance is almost always shadowed by an accompanying colour guard of impressive men or women in uniform of some description.
When the grand old mug was ushered in to Toronto's city council chambers on Friday to help officially launch the festivities of the 100th Grey Cup Game, a line of seven police officers and two fire fighters stood dutifully behind it. All nine with something more in common than just the opportunity to appear in full dress and smile for the cameras as the dignitaries took to the podium.
All nine invited on this day are former CFL players with more than a dozen Grey Cup rings between them.
They're not the only ones who might have been at the reception. "There are lots more we could have invited," a CFL spokesperson said.
Lots more. Makes you wonder what it is about life as a pro football player might that leads so many of these past Grey Cup champions to step
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Fri, 16 Nov, 2012 7:17 AM EST
Western Swagger director Barry Greenwald fuses politics and football in the film.The Engraved On A Nation series of documentaries has been producing strong results thus far, and that trend continues in "Western Swagger," which first aired Thursday night and will be shown multiple times this weekend. The film examines the connections between the 1981 Edmonton Eskimos' run to the Grey Cup and eventual triumph over Ottawa and the West-East political negotiations between Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and premiers (including Alberta's Peter Lougheed, a former Eskimos' player himself) over the National Energy Program and the Constitution Act, two subjects that seem rather diverse at first but prove to have plenty of common elements. Director Barry Greenwald took the time to speak with me about the film just before it aired Thursday, and he had some notable comments about how this project came together and what he tried to achieve. He said politics can often be perceived as an isolated subject, but political events like those of the early 1980s can have a notable impact on everyday people.Read More »from Interview: Barry Greenwald talks Western Swagger, the latest Engraved On A Nation entry
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Thu, 15 Nov, 2012 10:32 PM EST
We've already had plenty of crazy storylines heading into the West Final, including Drew Tate's head, Nik Lewis' bulletin-board material, Lewis' tweets, the team's Twitter ban and Tate's wrist. Now there's another one, involving Jon Cornish's...rear end? From the notes of this Canadian Press story filed Thursday by Monte Stewart:
Read More »from Khalif Mitchell on Jon Cornish: “I just want to want to tackle him and go squeeze his bum”
Lions defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell mocked Calgary running back Jon Cornish for mooning fans on a couple of occasions earlier this season. "I just wanna grab Cornish's butt," said Mitchell. "I just look at what he does, right? He just runs, and every time he runs, he's mooning people, and he has his butt out. So I just want to grab his butt. I just want to want to tackle him and go squeeze his bum and just knock the football out, hopefully. Hopefully, he doesn't enjoy it too much."
- Andrew Bucholtz | 55 Yard Line – Thu, 15 Nov, 2012 3:51 PM EST
Previously on The Days Of Our Stampeders, Drew Tate was facing concussion questions despite passing tests, Nik Lewis was writing O.J. Simpson-referencing tweets and getting fined for it (when he wasn't delivering bulletin-board material for their opponents), and the team was banning its players from Twitter. Now, we have the weirdest twist of any so far. Tate is going to miss Sunday's West Final (and the Grey Cup if the Stampeders advance to it), but thanks to a just-diagnosed fractured right wrist (on his throwing arm), not any concerns about his head. It's unusual to see this caught this late in the week, but it's good for Tate's health that it was caught. However, this game was always going to be tough for the Stampeders to win, and it gets even more difficult without their top-choice quarterback.Read More »from Drew Tate out for West Final with fractured wrist, paving the way for Kevin Glenn