This Sunday, the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks clash in the 104th Grey Cup from Toronto, Canada. After a long 18 game season and two playoff games, the first place teams from the Western and Eastern Conferences face each other.
This will be only the third time that Calgary has played Ottawa in the history of the Grey Cup.
Calgary won the first time in 1948 beating the Ottawa Rough Riders. Ottawa returned the favor in 1968 downing the Stampeders 24-21 in Toronto.
Watch 104th Grey Cup live
Now football fans from around the world can watch this game, the Canadian Football League’s championship game, the Grey Cup game. Single game fee for the Grey Cup is $9.95.
CFL rules slightly different
International audiences may be puzzled watching a CFL game at first. The field is 110 yards long, 65 yards wide and has end zones 20 yards deep. The Canadian game, which is roughly as old as the American game, is played with three downs instead of four, 12 men on the field instead of 11 , full motion in the offensive backfield prior to the snap and one yard separating the teams on the line of scrimmage. There are a few more wrinkles but otherwise the strategies are the same. But expect to see plenty of passing.
Road to the Grey Cup
The Calgary Stampeders enter the 104th Grey Cup as favorites, if not heavy then decided. The Stampeders finished the regular season with a 15-2-1 record while Ottawa limped into the playoffs with an 8-9-1 record. Although that one tie was to Calgary in week 3, the Stamps exacted revenge later in the season delivering a 48-23 drubbing to the Redblacks.
The Redblacks finished the regular season losing four of their last six games including the final game of the year against Winnipeg. Calgary did lose their last game before the playoffs but they had already clinched first and a bye and rested many of their starters in dropping a 17-8 decision to the Montreal Alouettes.
Both teams finished first in their respective conferences had then won their Conference finals. Calgary had a waltz over the BC Lions handing them a 42-15 whipping while Ottawa had a tougher time of it in a snowstorm finally downing the Edmonton Eskimos 35-23.
This is the second straight Grey Cup appearance by the Ottawa Redblacks and quarterback Henry Burris. But this is the fourth trip to the final for Burris. He only played in eight games in the regular season due to injury but still threw for 2,419 yards and 12 touchdowns. He won his first Grey Cup with the Stampeders in 2008 in his first appearance in the game. He then led Hamilton to the Grey Cup in 2013 only to lose to Calgary. Then in 2015 he took the surprising Redblacks to the final losing ultimately to the Edmonton Eskimos.
Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is playing in his second Grey Cup in three years. In the 2014 Grey Cup game against Burris and the Hamilton Tiger Cats, Mitchell led the Stampeders to a 20-14 victory and was named Grey Cup MVP. During the 2016 regular season he threw for threw for 5,385 yards and a league-leading 32 touchdowns during the 18 game regular season.
Ottawa boasted the top-rated passing attack in the CFL in the regular season with 343.9 passing yards per game while possessing the second-ranked offence overall (414.8 yards per game, behind only Edmonton) and the fourth-best defense (371.1 yards per game).
Ottawa has achieved balance over the second half of the season: running back Mossis Madu has averaged 15 carries since becoming the starter midway through the season to pace an effective ground game. Although he was replaced in the conference final win over Edmonton by Kienan La France who rushed for 157 yards and a game-sealing touchdown, expect Madu to start.
The RedBlacks led the CFL with the most offensive plays at 61.0 per game, while their play frequency was at one every 29.8 seconds; easily No. 1 in the CFL ahead of second-place Edmonton at one per 31.0 seconds.
Against Edmonton, Henry Burris threw first-half touchdown passes to Khalil Paden and Greg Ellingson while Ray Early kicked two field goals in place of the injured Chris Milo. Burris also threw an interception, finishing with 246 yards on 15-of-26 passing.
Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 5,385 yards and a league-leading 32 touchdowns during the 18 game regular season. In the conference final against the BC Lions he was superb throwing for 365 yards and three touchdowns on 29 of 35 passing.
Calgary running back Jerome Messam led the Canadian Football League in rushing with 1,198 yards rushing on 206 carries scoring 11 touchdowns. In the conference final win over BC, Messam gained a modest 84 yards on 14 carries as Calgary’s passing offense ruled the day in that game.
Defensively, Calgary has the advantage. The Stampeders allowed a league best 369 points overall or 20.5 points per game. The Redblacks on the other hand finished sixth in the nine team league giving up 498 points or an average of 27.6 points per contest.
Dave Dickenson, is in his first year as a head coach and his team not only recorded a 15-2-1 season, but broke the club record in points with 586. As a quarterback, Dickenson won Grey Cups with both Calgary (1998) and B.C. (2006) in an outstanding playing career.
Ottawa’s Rick Campbell is in his third season as a head coach and third with Ottawa. After taking the reins in 2014 as the first head coach in the Redblacks history and suffering through a 2-16 season, he has led his team to the Grey Cup final two years in a row.