Toronto Argonauts: What made the 1991 Grey Cup championship team special

The Toronto Argonauts will look back to a treasured time in their history as they will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Grey Cup championship team.

Over their 148-year history, there aren’t many Toronto Argonauts teams that get talked about more than the one that captured the 1991 Grey Cup.

Not only did the team feature many superstar players but they also had a prestigious ownership group in John Candy, Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall. They finished that 1991 season with a 13-5 record and made sure to take care of business at home, which was SkyDome at the time, with a 36-21 win over the Calgary Stampeders.

As the Toronto Sun’s Frank Zicarelli explained, this team was dominant at home going undefeated averaging 39.5 points a game. This was because the star power of the team made them a force to be reckoned with.

The team had seven Canadian Football Hall-of-Famers including Michael “Pinball” Clemons, Matt Dunigan, D.K. Smith, Don Wilson, head coach Adam Rita and of course, their star player Raghib “Rocket” Ismail.

At the time, the Argos actually made the biggest splash in professional football when they signed Ismail to a a four-year, $26.2 million contract. This kept him out of the NFL where he would have been a top pick which would never happen today.

If you want to do a deep dive into that Argos team, take a look at Paul Woods new book “Year Of The Rocket: John Candy, Wayne Gretzky, a Crooked Tycoon, and the Craziest Season in Football History,” which documents everything you need to know about the team.

“I did this book because I believe, fervently, that 1991 was the most magical, electrifying and crazy year in a century-and-a-half of Argonauts football,” Woods told CFL.ca. “It’s a story that I don’t think could ever be duplicated, again.”

Of course, what is unfortunate about this team was that they couldn’t sustain the success from that season considering they reached a level of popularity in Toronto that the team would love to have now.

Many probably don’t know how McNail played a part in the downfall of the powerhouse ownership group in which Candy was a central figure during the height of his popularity as an actor. The Canadian actor passed away in 1994 and his absence continues to be felt considering his passion for the team is something many around the organization always remember him for.

Do you have any memories from the 1991 Argos team? Let us know in the comments below.