As fans of Canadian football get set to watch the Edmonton Eskimos and Ottawa Redblacks battle in the 103rd Grey Cup Sunday evening, Global News takes a look back at six of the most memorable Grey Cup games including one game that featured a punt returned for a touchdown and “the catch.”
1. 1989 Saskatchewan 43, Hamilton 40 (in Toronto)
It was a David vs. Goliath showdown in the 77th edition of the Grey Cup, as the contest featured a Saskatchewan Roughriders club that had finished with a .500 record vs. a heavily-favoured Hamilton Tiger-Cats side.
The underdog Saskatchewan Roughriders had barely squeaked into the playoffs before upsetting Alberta’s Calgary Stampeders and the high-powered Edmonton Eskimos. They would need to beat the Eastern Champion Ticats to finish off an unexpected run.
The teams seemed to score points at will but neither was able to establish an unsurmountable lead throughout the contest.
With just 44 seconds left to play, the game was deadlocked and Riders took over in their own end, with the game seemingly headed for overtime. But Saskatchewan quarterback completed three passes for 48 yards, giving kicker Dave Ridgeway an opportunity to win its first title in over two decades. Ridgway sent a 35-yarder through the uprights to give the Roughriders the title.
2. 1962, Winnipeg 28, Hamilton 27 (in Toronto)
The fog was so heavy in Toronto for the Grey Cup in 1962 that they were forced to postpone the matchup.
It was an exciting back-and-forth game from the get-go but fog began to roll in just before the halftime break. By the fourth quarter, things got so bad the referee decided to stop the contest. Twenty minutes later, CFL commissioner Syd Halter decided to postpone the final 5:31 until the following afternoon.
The Blue Bombers were leading at the break by a score 28-27 and would hold off the Ticats when play resumed the following day.
3. 2005 Edmonton 38, Montreal 35 (in Vancouver)
The 93rd Grey Cup got off to a slow start but ended with a bang.
Halfway through the contest the Eskimos led 10-1 so no one would have anticipated what was around the corner. After the snoozefest in the first half, the two offences heated up throughout the second half with the teams combining to score 45 points and finishing regulation in a 28-28 tie. It led to the first overtime in a Grey Cup final in 44 years.
And what an overtime it was. The team’s exchanged a pair of touchdowns before Sean Fleming booted a 36-yeard field goal to give Edmonton the edge.
The Alouettes battled back. Superstar QB Anthony Calvillo tried to throw the ball away on first down but the ball was batted back to him. He (illegally) threw the ball again to wide receiver Kerry Watkins who dropped the pass although it didn’t really matter as a penalty was called. On the next play, Calvillo was sacked, putting the Alouettes out of field goal range, and essentially putting an end to the game.
4. 1958 Winnipeg 35, Hamilton 28 (in Vancouver)
In true Grey Cup fashion, this game was another barnburner.
The Tiger-Cats came out firing, opening up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before the Bombers fought back, getting to within a point just prior to halftime.
But then Hamilton coach Jim Trimble elected to punt, rather than just downing the ball. The Bombers blocked the punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
Hamilton didn’t quit there though. They came back to tie the score. But the Bombers ran a trick play, a modified flea flicker when Bombers QB Jim Van Pelt pitched to running back Leo Lewis, who tossed a touchdown pass to Van Pelt. Game, set, match.
5. 1976 Ottawa 23, Saskatchewan 20 (in Toronto)
The 64th Grey Cup match proved to be a close one, coming down to the final minute in regulation and ending with ‘The Catch.’
Up 3-0 in the first quarter, Ottawa rookie Bill Hatanaka returned a punt from Saskatchewan for 70-yards, scoring a touchdown, the first punt return touchdown in Grey Cup history.
The score remained tight for most of the game. With Saskatchewan up 20-16 with less than a minute to go, Rough Riders quarterback Tom Clements ignored a play-call from the sidelines and found tight end Tony Gabriel for a 24-yard touchdown reception, clinching the Cup. The reception later became known as “The Catch.”
6. 2009 Montreal Alouettes 28, Saskatchewan Roughriders 27 (Calgary)
A game mostly dominated by one team boiled down to the final seconds, one kick and the 13th Man.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders dominated much the 97th Grey Cup until late in the fourth quarter when Anthony Calvillo and the Alouettes came stomping down the field in an attempt to erase a 16-point deficit—and they did.
With less than two minutes left in the game, still trailing, Calvillo hit Ben Cahoon for an 11-yard score, however, the Als failed on a two-point conversion. Saskatchewan remained two points up on Montreal.
Montreal got the ball back and marched back down the field. With seconds left Alouettes attempted a game winning 43-yard field goal but Damon Duval’s kick sailed right, missing the uprights.
Game over, right? Nope, the Roughriders had too many men on the field when they attempted to block Montreal’s kick. The Als got a second shot and Duval made good on the second attempt, clinching the Cup for Montreal 28-27.
Adam Frisk contributed to this report.