Inside the CFL: Putting a stamp on the Grey Cup
By Ted Michaels, CFL Columnist
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - It's a brilliant way to promote a big year and it's a history lesson.
The 100th Grey Cup Game will be commemorated on a new set of stamps that will celebrate the big game. On Monday, a news conference to unveil the stamps was held at Varsity Stadium, the site of numerous Grey Cup games.
"Having the Grey Cup recognized and celebrated on our country's stamps really is a tremendous tribute," CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said. "It's a salute to the teams and athletes that have played this game for generations and generations. But more than that, I think it is an honor for every Canadian who loves, cherishes and really supports the Grey Cup."
The Grey Cup was donated in 1909 by Earl Grey, former Governor-General of Canada, to the Rugby Football Champions of Canada. Since 1954, only teams in the Canadian Football League have played for the Grey Cup. The trophy has been awarded every year since 1909, with the exception of a three-year span during World War I.
The set includes nine stamps, eight that will feature an iconic moment or game chosen by each CFL team, plus one depicting the storied Cup itself. Each stamp booklet includes 10 stamps and will be available in post offices across the country starting Aug. 16.
The BC Lions will highlight the 82nd Grey Cup game, played in 1994 at BC Place Stadium, featuring the hometown Lions and Baltimore. Before the game, there was one question: Would the Grey Cup leave Canada for the first time? With time running out, and the game tied 23-23, Vancouver native Lui Passaglia became the hero with a 39-yard field goal. Current BC Lion Geroy Simon will have a prominent place on the stamp.
The Edmonton Eskimos still hold the CFL record for longest consecutive string of Grey Cup victories, with five from 1978 to 1982; a record many feel will never be broken. The dynasty was led by the duo of Tom Wilkinson, who is featured on the stamp, and Warren Moon at quarterback, linebacker Dan Kepley and defensive tackle Dave Fennell.
The Calgary Stampeders are responsible for making the Grey Cup celebrations what they are today. For the 36th Grey Cup, in 1948, Calgary fans descended upon Toronto by the trainload and celebrated as never before. They flipped flapjacks on the City Hall steps, someone rode a horse through the lobby of the staid Royal York Hotel and impromptu parties erupted all over downtown Toronto.
From that weekend on, the Grey Cup would be a Canadian cultural event. Calgary fans also celebrated the results of the game, a 12-7 win over the Ottawa Rough Riders. Wayne Harris, former middle linebacker and member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, will be the featured player.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders played in what many call the greatest Grey Cup game ever. In 1989, Toronto's brand new SkyDome welcomed the Roughriders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the 77th Grey Cup, and what a game it was. Fifteen Grey Cup records were either tied or set.
With the game tied 40-40 and less than a minute left in regulation time, Roughriders kicker Dave Ridgway connected on a 35-yard field goal for the win. Longtime running back George Reed will adorn the front of the stamp.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats faced each other in the 50th Grey Cup at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto in 1962. During the second quarter, fog began to roll in off Lake Ontario and settled on the field. Visibility worsened for both players and fans, and with just over nine minutes left, the game was suspended with Winnipeg leading, 28-27.
Play resumed the next afternoon with no further scoring. The game became known as the Fog Bowl. The Bombers quarterback in that game, Kenny Ploen, is the featured player.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats hosted their first ever Grey Cup game, the 60th edition, in 1972. The visitors at Ivor Wynne Stadium were the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In a defensive struggle, and with the game tied late in the fourth quarter, Hamilton's 19-year-old kicker Ian Sunter hit a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the Tiger-Cats a 13-10 win.
The 1972 Grey Cup also featured performances by two future Canadian Football Hall of Famers: Angelo Mosca in the final game of his career and Garney Henley, winner of the 1972 Schenley Award for the CFL's most valuable player. Quarterback Danny McManus also is shown on the stamp.
The Toronto Argonauts participated in the 38th Grey Cup at Varsity Stadium in 1950, when they met the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It was immediately dubbed the Mud Bowl due to the sloppy rain-soaked conditions the players faced on the field.
Field conditions continued to worsen under the cold heavy rain throughout the game. The Argos won the game, 13-0, to claim their ninth Grey Cup. The stamp also will include former Argo Michael�"Pinball" Clemons.
The Montreal Alouettes will always be remembered for the Ice Bowl. The 65th Grey Cup played in 1977 between the Alouettes and Eskimos was outdoors at Montreal's Olympic Stadium before a Grey Cup record crowd of 68,318 fans.
The game followed a major blizzard. Attempts to melt snow on the field backfired as the temperature dipped, turning the field into a sheet of ice, which made traction impossible.
Alouettes defensive back Tony Proudfoot came up with the idea of putting staples on the soles of his and his teammates' shoes. The result: a lopsided 41-6 triumph by the Alouettes thanks in part to their secret weapon - a staple gun. Current Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo is featured on the stamp.
Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML.
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08/15 09:38:42 ET