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Rick Zamperin: Tiger-Cats fans distraught after losing Grey Cup to Winnipeg

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans, centre, is comforted following the team's loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL Grey Cup in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans, centre, is comforted following the team's loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL Grey Cup in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

With hopes of partying like it was 1999, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and their frenzied fanbase are distraught.

And can you blame them?

At 20 years and still counting, the Ticats now own the longest Grey Cup drought in the Canadian Football League after they were upset 33-12 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Sunday night’s 107th championship game in Calgary.

The Blue Bombers wanted it more and deserve to be called champions.

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Fans who called, emailed, tweeted and messaged CHML’s 5th Quarter postgame show were not happy after the game.

Some said the Ticats choked, others said they were not prepared and outcoached, and a few congratulated the team on having a terrific season.

Winnipeg forced seven turnovers, including three in the first quarter alone that set the tone for the game, and dominated from start to finish. They won the battle in the trenches, sacking Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans six times, and opening holes for Grey Cup MVP Andrew Harris to rush for 134 yards and a touchdown.

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He also had a receiving TD to become the first Canadian to win the Most Valuable Player Award since Ottawa Rough Riders QB Russ Jackson in 1969.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Blue Bombers win Grey Cup after almost 30 years

The loss brings Hamilton’s dream season to an end, and now it all feels like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

Hamilton stormed the league with a franchise record 15 wins and they had an unblemished home record for the first time ever. The Cats were also the hottest team in the land as they entered the biggest game of the season on a seven-game winning streak.

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But the Tiger-Cats could not add a 16th title to their trophy case, preventing this year’s team from being considered as one of the best the Ticats have ever fielded.

1963, 1965, 1967, 1972 and 1999 are the best of the best Tiger-Cats clubs. Sadly, 2019 won’t be added to that list. They can’t be, not after losing like they did on Sunday.

20 years after they last won the Grey Cup, 16 years after the team went bankrupt and five years after they last went to the CFL final, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are still looking for that elusive championship.

Grey Cup: Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach says players played ‘very well’ in championship
Grey Cup: Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach says players played ‘very well’ in championship