It remains a Canadian tradition although one can argue that interest is fading.
The 109th Grey Cup championship game will be played in Regina on Sunday (kickoff just after 3:00 PT).
The two-time defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 4.5 point favourites over the Toronto Argonauts.
Canada Day (July 1st) and Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October) are other notable traditions in our great country.
Sure, there are other prominent customary festivities, but the three aforementioned traditions have had a way of rallying Canadians together regardless of whether they live in a city such as Prince George or a province such as Prince Edward Island.
The Grey Cup has been known as a party, a gala, a special event, and yes one big bash.
It is for the young and old, healthy and ill, rich and poor, and football and non-football fans.
Grey Cup is also about the Best of the West battling the Beasts of the East.
Throughout the years, my interest in the CFL has declined and I know I am not alone.
I’m not sure there is one specific reason why I watch fewer Canadian Football games than 20 or 25 years ago, but the lure of the NFL contributes to the change.
If the average Canadian was asked to pick one, watching the Grey Cup or Super Bowl, I think we know what the answer would be and the response would be overwhelming.
In fact, are you going to watch the Blue Bombers and the Argos Sunday afternoon or the (6-3) Dallas Cowboys against the (8-1) Vikings in Minnesota?
Fans in Manitoba and perhaps a small section of Southern Ontario may be glued to the CFL title game but for most of the country, the Cowboys-Vikes game is more compelling.
The Dallas-Minnesota game should be over by the second quarter or halftime of the Winnipeg-Toronto contest so perhaps there is a chance to catch at least part of both.
This doesn’t mean the CFL isn’t a great game or doesn’t fill a need, but the NFL glitz has grabbed our attention.
Let’s be honest, how many people do you know that participate in a CFL pool compared to one in the NFL?
In addition, how many people can name more CFL than NFL players?
Outside of Manitoba or perhaps parts of Toronto, how many fans really care about who wins this weekend?
Yes, the CFL seems to have become more regional.
Once the B.C. Lions lost the Western Final to Winnipeg, most fans in British Columbia felt like the season was over and the one league game left, even for a championship, was an afterthought.
Toronto Argonauts’ Andrew Harris contemplating ‘riding off into the sunset’ following Grey Cup: Toronto Argonauts’ running back Andrew Harris is considering writing his final chapter on the game’s biggest stage. The 35-year-old will… https://t.co/8j1PFFX6WD via @TheJCAbbott pic.twitter.com/P969YjU7XW
— CFL Headlines (@CFL_Headlines) November 16, 2022
Not surprisingly, television ratings for the Grey Cup have taken a major hit over the last several years.
Viewership on TSN has looked like this:
- 2015: Ottawa/Edmonton 4.079M
- 2016: Calgary/Ottawa 3.6M
- 2017: Toronto/Calgary 4.072M
- 2018: Ottawa/Calgary 3.1M
- 2019: Hamilton/Winnipeg 3.6M
- 2020: No game due to the pandemic
- 2021: Hamilton/Winnipeg 2.873M
Last year’s game was watched by less than half the amount of people that tuned in for the 2009 Grey Cup when the average was 6.1 million in Montreal’s 28-27 victory over Saskatchewan.
(The 2009 Grey Cup was the 13th-man game that cost the Riders the title).
The game itself is usually thrilling and full of suspense.
A whopping 21 of the previous 23 Grey Cup games have been decided by 13 points or less.
The 2021 championship game at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton was the fourth Grey Cup to go into overtime.
The Blue Bombers beat the Ticats 33–25 making them the first team in 11 years to capture back-to-back titles.
Grey Cup Guarantee: Somebody 3 Peats, But Whom? It is not very often that in the CFL that we can guarantee that somebody is going to 3 peat as a Grey Cup champion. However, in 2022 this is a solid guarantee. https://t.co/NZDCPZNRgg via @DonCruickshank1
— CFL Headlines (@CFL_Headlines) November 16, 2022
Winnipeg (15-3) has been the best team from the start of the season and should become the first team in some 40 years to win three in a row.
The last team to do it was the Edmonton Eskimos who won five straight from 1978 to 1982.
In a much weaker East Division, Toronto was first but with just an 11-7 record.
I admit I haven’t followed the CFL very closely this year, but if Winnipeg can beat B.C. by eight (28-20) in the Western Final, they should be able to outscore Toronto by at least 11.
Football fan or not, the Grey Cup gives an excuse to party.
And for some that is enough of a reason to at least watch part of the game.
Cat Scan podcast:
In this week’s Cat Scan #podcast @PGCougars coach-gm Mark Lamb talks about the team’s record, offensive success, inconsistent play, acquisition of Cole Dubinsky, his scouting report on top-10 scorers Koehn Ziemmer & Riley Heidt plus the addition of coach Jim Playfair. https://t.co/hZRPCSQUNA
— Hartley Miller (@Hartley_Miller) November 16, 2022
Hurricanes make room for Thomson’s return in goal . . . Americans add depth in Picklyk . . . Savoie’s six-pack leads Ice past Pats https://t.co/rQsGZGRWJC
— Gregg Drinnan (@gdrinnan) November 18, 2022
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
The Indianapolis Colts fired Frank Reich and immediately named ex-Indy center Jeff Saturday — who has no college or pro coaching experience — as their interim head coach. Guess they didn’t have time for ZipRecruiter.com.
*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/
Golden State Warriors are now 0-8 on the road. Well, many playoff teams figure games in the regular season don’t count. But the ticket prices are the same…
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
In the US Election, the Nevada Senate race was decided when Adam Laxalt–after leading most of the way, was edged out by Catherine Cortez Masto. It is fitting since this happened in the home state of the Las Vegas Raiders, who have blown leads all year.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
In Case You Missed It:
University of Cambridge scientists found a worm that turns its mouth inside out and walks on its teeth — literally put its feet in its mouth. They called it Kyrie Irving.
*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He is in his 10th season as the radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).