Just a friendly reminder that it’s Grey Cup Week.
The Toronto Argonauts face the Calgary Stampeders for all the Canadian Football League marbles at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2 on Sunday.
Have your snacks and beverages in place. Invite your friends. And remember that even though it’s a 110-yard field, your squares sheet should still only have 100 boxes.
Before you scoff, this is the 105th Grey Cup. Put that in your Roman numerals and smoke it.
I have to admit, though, that the Argos-Stamps matchup is a bit of a disappointment.
Toronto took out the Saskatchewan Rough Riders last week in the East final, and we had adopted the Riders here in Chicago for two reasons: For one, they always seem to have three scouts at area games.
Iowa-Northwestern? A stretch. Toledo-Northern Illinois? I don’t understand it at all. But if Saskatchewan cares that much about us, we’ll care about them.
For two, if you consider Chicago's Bears unwatchable but still crave some occasional pro football, ``Let’s go, Riders!’’
I was also disappointed by the outcome of the West final, in which Calgary defeated the Edmonton Eskimos. I am partial to the Eskimos because they stole the Green Bay Packers’ color scheme.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
That 79-yard punt return by former Alabama wideout Christion Jones that gave the Riders a late lead was a thriller, even if the Argos' game-winning drive was a Saskatchewan heart-breaker.
I won’t spoil this Grey Cup by telling you how the Stamps, a 7-point favorite, and the underdog Argos match up. I will say this: Calgary’s star QB, Bo Levi Mitchell, is from Katy, Texas, by way of SMU and Eastern Washington.
The Stamps will be matching wits with first-year Toronto coach Marc Trestman, who struggled mightily in two years as Bears coach, incurring the wrath of Chicago. Trestman is no stranger to the Grey Cup. He won it back-to-back at Montreal in 2009 and 2010.
Important stat I: CFL teams dress 44 players, but no more than 20 from the United States.
Important stat II: There are only three downs in Canadian football, so it’s pretty wide-open. Reminds me of the early days of the AFL, when I adopted the Dallas Texans (Len Dawson! Abner Haynes! Fred Arbanas!) on Sundays when the Bears were blacked out. Which, in the ‘60s, was every home game.
Things to watch for: I love the 55 yardline. More seats on the 50(s!). Smart marketing, eh?
Did you know? CFL teams can score one point—a ``single’’ or ``rouge’’—on balls that are kicked into their double-wide endzones. It’s complicated, but basically, balls kicked into the endzone are live, and must be returned.
My favorite part of Canadian football: When the announcers say things like: ``The Riders cannot afford another two-and-out.’’
We can all agree that we hate two-and-outs.