1) 92nd Grey Cup
Michael “Pinball” Clemons was reluctant about becoming Toronto Argonauts’ head coach in 2000; not because he did not consider it an honour, but because he wanted to spend more time with his family. In the end however, he agreed to take on the role and after a brief period as team President, he returned to the position in late 2002.
It was an understandable decision by the organization to want Clemons as their head coach. To this day, he is one of the most charismatic, inspirational and beloved figures in Toronto sporting history.
Clemons’ impact on the team helped the Argos finally vanquish the Montreal Alouettes in the 2004 playoffs, after two consecutive losses to their rivals in the East final. Next up was a trip to Ottawa, where Clemons became the first black head coach to ever appear in the Grey Cup.
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The Double Blue entered the game as underdogs to the B.C. Lions, who went 13-5-0 during the regular season. For what it was worth though, the Argos had split the season series 1-1, albeit they were dominated 31-10 when the two teams met in Vancouver.
Things looked bad for the Argonauts early on, as the Lions took the opening drive all the way down the field for a touchdown. B.C. dominated with essentially 75 percent of the possession during the first 15 minutes, but were unable to capitalize and only led 7-0 after one quarter.
Then it was time for Damon Allen and the Argos to get going, as they scored 17 of the next 20 points to take an intriguing 17-10 lead into the half. Allen was imposing his will on the game, by throwing and running for scores during the second quarter.
Allen added another rushing touchdown in the third, as the Argonauts appeared to take a stranglehold on the contest. However, Dave Dickenson led the Lions back and got them to within 24-19 with just under nine minutes remaining in the final quarter.
This led to one of the key moments in the game, as the Lions were penalised twice while setting up for the subsequent two-point attempt. As a result they were forced to go for the extra point, which they missed.
The Double Blue added a field goal to make it 27-19 with less than three minutes remaining, meaning the Lions still had one final chance. That chance was lost however, when Dickenson missed Geroy Simon with a long pass down the field and the Argos held on to win 27-19.
The game proved to be redemption for Allen, who was traded to Toronto by the Lions a year earlier, after they acquired Dickenson to take over as their new starting quarterback. Interestingly though, Dickenson only started in the Grey Cup, after 2004 Most Outstanding Player Casey Printers injured his shoulder in the West final.
In any event, Allen was named the game’s most valuable player, as the Argonauts won their 15th championship. However, Allen was fully appreciative of who put him in the position to succeed, as Clemons became the first black head coach to win the Grey Cup.
- Importance: 5
- Excitement: 4
- Popularity: 3
- Unpredictability: 4
- TOTAL – 16
How would you rank the Toronto Argonauts’ Grey Cup wins in the last 30 years? Which championship do you have at number one, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.