SPIKE ROGAN'S Warped World of Sports

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are you Hosers ready for some football, eh!?!

Well this Sunday will mark a nearly century old tradition to our north. While us hosers here in the states watch the New York Jets and Brett Farve. Those peace loving, higher alcohol drinking, naked sporting event streaking Canadians enjoy THEIR version of Football.

Back on December 4th, 1909 then Governor General of Canada, Lord Earl Grey donated what became the “Grey Cup”. A tradition much like the Stanley Cup began. The early days the Grey Cup was battled for between the best Collegiate and Pro clubs. (Many early clubs like the NFL for Pro were more like todays corporate softball teams)

On that December in 1909 at Rosedale Field in Toronto the Toronto Parkdale Canoe Club, lost to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 26-6. A new tradition was born in the great white north,eh. The University of Toronto would win the first three Grey Cups. The “Pros” did not win until Hamilton Alerts won. The Alerts were members of the Canadian Rugby union. The game was a mutant of rugby, but by the return of the Grey cup after WWI it would be more like American football. With many obvious differences.

During the 1920’s the Amateur teams would vanish from the Grey Cup meetings for the “Canadian Rugby” champions. The sanctioning body would not become the “Canadian Football League” until several Rugby organizations merged in the 1950’s. However the Rugby rules had vanished decades early.

Some of the amateur teams that appeared in the Grey Cup included the Toronto Rowing Club (0-1), Toronto Parkdale Canoe Club(0-2), the winnings' team University of Toronto(4-2), and the teams with a perfect Grey cup record Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (AAA)(1-0), and Queen’s University(3-0). Queen’s would be the last school champions in 1924, while University of Toronto would be the last appearance of a College.

Amateur clubs would also win in 1931 (Montreal AAA), 1942 Toronto Royal Canadian Air Force Hurricanes, and 1944 the Montreal HMCS Donnacona (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship, a unit of the Canadian Naval Reserve.) would be the final non professional club to win the Grey Cup.

While the Grey Cup started in 1909, this will be only the 96th Grey Cup. No game was held 1916 through 1918 due to WWI. 1919 saw no game due to a rule dispute with the Canadian Rugby Union and the International Rugby Board. Apparently the forward pass was at issue. Thus the game would become Football as North America knows it.

The game has long been played on a field 110 yards long not 100 yards like in America. 100 yards are for pussies. The field is wider in Canada as well at 65 yards across, because shorter is for pussies! They have 12 men on the field not 11 like the AMerican outdoor version because, less men is for pussies! The goal posts still are in front of the Canadian end-zone because, moving it out of the players way is for pussies! And of-course the ball is larger in the CFL because little balls,.... are for pussies! The CFL for years in the 1990’s sold shirts that said “CFL, Our balls are bigger!” Hence the macho jokes.

Also you have just three downs not four to move ten yards for a first down. The clock rarely stops, and they have the three minute warning not the two minute warning of the NFL, or 1 minute warning of the AFL.

Many names famous to us hosers who watch the NFL have won a Grey Cup. While we may re-call a few years ago Rickey Williams was a member of the Toronto Argonauts that team did not go to the championship with the then banned NFL player. However Toronto does have a pair of famous Grey Cup MVPs for us down here. The 1991 MVP was Raghib “rocket” Ismail (who passed being drafted by the Raiders for the CFL), and 1996 and 1997 Toronto’s Doug Flutie would be MVP. Flutie also won the 1992 award with the Calgary Stampeders.

Other NFL bound MVP’s include 1980 & 1982’s Offensive MVP Warren Moon (from 1974-1990 they awarded a Offensive and defensive MVP award). Current Green Bay QB coach Tom Clements won it for 1976. And current NFL QB Jeff Garcia was the 1998 MVP for the Calgary Stampeders.

This year the Calgary Stampeders go to Montreal (the neutral site that was picked in advance.) where they will face the Montreal Alouettes who won the East to play on their home turf. The Alouette name comes from a old song “Alouette” about a lark bird. Considered a symbol of Quebecois (native born residents of Quebec ). T

The team started as the “Baltimore Colts” to Canadian TV viewers in 1994. The first CFL team in America they played in Baltimore. In America they had to be called the “Baltimore CFLers”. They would win the 1994 Grey Cup becoming the first Non-Canadian team to do so. In 1995 they returned as the “Baltimore Stallions” and would win the Grey Cup again.

However days before the 1995 Grey Cup Art Modell announced he would move the Browns to Baltimore. While all the other CFL teams in America were in financial ruin. Baltimore had great ticket sales, and TV viewers in charm city. But the writing was on the wall. The team moved to Montreal and took back the old Alouette name much like a few years later would happen in Cleveland Ohio for the Browns. The Baltimore Franchise also appeared on a episode of the NBC drama “Homicide: Life on the Streets” in 1995. They were called the “Colts” in the episode.

The next few days I will post more CFL/Grey Cup info along with more videos. Below is the CFL highlights of the divisional Championship games that decided the teams for the 96th Grey Cup.

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