Dirty play: Last time Bombers met Argos in Grey Cup was infamous 1950 Mud Bowl

Who's who? During the 1950 Grey Cup game, better known as the Mud Bowl, it was difficult to distinguish between the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum - image credit)
Who's who? During the 1950 Grey Cup game, better known as the Mud Bowl, it was difficult to distinguish between the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum - image credit)

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were top of the class in the CFL's regular season but if history holds any weight, the Blue and Gold would be well-advised to do some extra studying.

The Bombers will meet the Toronto Argonauts in the 109th Grey Cup championship on Sunday at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

The Argos have never lost to the Bombers in the CFL's big game. They are 6-0 against Winnipeg.

You need to go back to 1950 to find the last time those two teams squared off in the Grey Cup. That year the Bombers were also the cream of the CFL crop before finding themselves knee-deep in mud and on the losing end of a CFL classic.

The 38th Grey Cup, played at Toronto's Varsity Stadium on Nov. 25, 1950, is infamously known as the Mud Bowl.

A substantial snowfall the day before the game led to league officials bringing in heavy equipment to clear the field. But the machinery chewed up the grass. Temperatures climbed the next morning, turning the snow to water and the field to soup.

The Argos won 13-0 in a contest that looked more like pig wrestling than football and made it difficult to differentiate between players as all uniforms were uniformly grey.

Toronto also bettered the Bombers in the 1945, 1946 and 1947 Grey Cup games, as well as the 1937 and 1938 championships.

Winnipeg has the most appearances in the Grey Cup with 26, but Toronto has won the most championships, with 17.

Toronto's Grey Cup record is a league-best 17-6. The Bombers own a 12-14 record in the big game.

The Argos have won the last six Grey Cups they've played, most recently beating Calgary in 2017. They punched their ticket to this year's championship game after beating the Montreal Alouettes 34-27 in the east division final on Sunday.

Hours later the Bombers dropped the B.C. Lions 28-20 in the west final.

In their only meeting this season, the Bombers beat the Argos by a single point — and only because Argos kicker Boris Bede missed a TD convert with 25 seconds left in the game.

The Bombers are now gunning for their third straight Grey Cup title, which would be the most consecutive championships since Edmonton notched five from 1978-1982.

But one of the biggest storylines for Sunday is the return of Argos running back Andrew Harris, a Winnipegger and former Bomber star.

Mark Blinch/Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press
Mark Blinch/Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

After suffering a torn pectoral muscle in August, it was expected Harris' season was over. But he was back in Double Blue for the east final and scored the game's first touchdown while leading the team with 42 yards rushing

Harris is also returning to the Grey Cup game for the third straight time, but this time facing the team that let him go.

During five years with the Bombers, Harris led the CFL in rushing three times. He helped the Bombers dig themselves out of the CFL's basement, where they had struggled for years with losing records and owned a 29-year Grey Cup championship drought.

The Bombers snapped that skid in 2019 and after the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bombers defended their title in 2021. Both victories came against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The first title came when the Bombers went in as underdogs with an 11-7 regular season record against the 15-3 Tiger-Cats. This season, the Bombers had a 15-3 season and Toronto was 11-7.

Harris led the CFL in rushing for three of his five seasons with Winnipeg and in that 2019 championship became the first player in Grey Cup history to win both the Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian trophies.

He signed with Toronto in free agency following the 2021 season, saying he wanted to stay in Winnipeg but "felt I was unwanted" after little communication from the Bombers' brass regarding a new contract during the off-season.

Now he returns with a chip on his shoulder. But Harris won't say so.

When asked by TSN reporter Claire Hanna after his team's win — and before the Bombers-Lions game started — which team he'd like to face in the Grey Cup, Harris said, "It don't matter to me. Whoever's coming to us."

It's not the first time he has faced the Bombers in the championship game. He was named the Most Outstanding Canadian at the 2011 Grey Cup as his B.C. Lions downed the Bombers 34-23.

The Argos have another connection with Winnipeg. Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie spent three seasons as a backup quarterback with the Bombers, from 2006-08.

His first-ever CFL start came in his second year, but it was unexpected and just happened to be the Grey Cup game, after Bombers starting QB Kevin Glenn broke his arm in the east final. (Winnipeg had a brief stint in the east division.)

Dinwiddie came in to finish that game, ending Toronto's season, but lost the Grey Cup to Saskatchewan.