6) 85th Grey Cup
Argonauts fans didn’t realise it at the time, but when their beloved team took the field for the 85th Grey Cup, it would represent the final act of two years of dominance. The following six seasons would see Toronto finish no better than .500 during the regular season, albeit they still made two appearances in the East final.
Arguably the biggest reason for the Argos’ period of dominance was Doug Flutie. After destroying opposing defences during six seasons combined in Vancouver and Calgary, he continued to excel with Toronto.
Interestingly though, regardless of how great Flutie was with the Lions and Stampeders, he still had his critics. No matter how many passing records he broke, he only had one Grey Cup championship to his name.
Flutie finally won a second championship in his first season in Toronto — more on this shortly — but the 85th Grey Cup offered him the opportunity to strengthen his claim as the best player in CFL history. Fortunately for the Argonauts, he didn’t disappoint.
The Argos entered the contest as heavy favourites, because of how much they dominated the CFL in 1997, but also due to the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ pedestrian 8-10 regular season record. However, the Roughriders managed to keep the game close early on, even opening the scoring with a field goal.
While it was still tough to imagine the Roughriders pulling off the upset, it wasn’t until the third quarter when the Argonauts finally turned it on. Adrion Smith returned the second half kickoff 95 yards for a score, and it was all but over after this point.
Flutie then took over the game, throwing and running for touchdowns in the third quarter, to make the score 41-9 with 15 minutes remaining. The Argos consolidated their lead in the final quarter with two field goals, and it was only a late touchdown by Roughriders quarterback Reggie Slack which made the score seem even remotely respectable.
When it was all said and done, Flutie had led the Argonauts to a 47-23 victory, as they won consecutive championships for the first time in 50 years. As a result, he clinched his second straight Grey Cup most outstanding player award.
(In a nice touch, Flutie gave the brand new Dodge Daota he won to Paul Masotti, who was named the most valuable Canadian of the game. As the QB said at the time, he had won a truck the previous year.)
Due to his play in Toronto, Flutie finally got another chance in the NFL, signing with the Buffalo Bills for the 1998 season and going on to be named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. However, his legacy was set in the CFL, with him going on to become the first non-Canadian to be elected to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, in 2007.
- Importance: 3
- Excitement: 2
- Popularity: 5
- Unpredictability: 1
- TOTAL – 11