The Greatest Grey Cup Games of the Modern Era!

While Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans were understandably delighted with the 2019 Grey Cup Game, I wouldn’t say it was among the best Grey Cup Games I’ve ever seen because the winning team was apparent well before the last few plays of the game.

Here in chronological order is therefore a baker’s dozen of the Grey Cup Games I consider to be the greatest of the “modern” era which I’d say began with the first televised game in 1952:

1954 - Edmonton 26Montréal 23
1961 - Winnipeg 21 Hamilton 14 (OT)
1976 - Ottawa 23 Saskatchewan 20
1983 - Toronto 18 British Columbia 17
1987 - Edmonton 38 Toronto 36
1988 - Winnipeg 22 British Columbia 21
1989 - Saskatchewan 43 Hamilton 40
1994 - British Columbia 26 Baltimore 23
1998 - Calgary 26 Hamilton 24
2005 - Edmonton 38 Montréal 35 (OT)
2009 - Montréal 28 Saskatchewan 27
2016 - Ottawa 39 Calgary 33 (OT)
2017 - Toronto 27 Calgary 24

Hey… what about 1972 - Cats 13 - Riders 10?

  • last Cup played in December
  • wily veteran QB Lancaster vs. newbie Ealey
  • first Cup on Astroturf (okay… who cares? ?)
  • each team’s top offensive threats are iconic to their clubs: George Reed running for 93 yards and Garney Henley receiving for 98
  • super tight game with major defensive plays: interceptions, blocked punts
  • Hamilton up 10 in the 1st, Sask. counters with 10 in the 2nd., no further scoring until Sunter’s field goal at 0.00 on the clock
  • Continuing controversy to this day. Old time Rider fans still fume at the fact that later replays clearly showed that Hamilton’s only TD was for a reception out of bounds

Oh… and I was 18 and watched it through a hole in the fence. Sight line perfectly aligned with that last second field goal.

Yes, that’s a really good one alright! I clearly remember watching that game at a house off Springbank Drive in London where I had taken my father to visit one of his drinking buddies. We didn’t have a colour TV so I stayed and watched the game on the colour TV upstairs while they quaffed 50 Ale in the rec room downstairs.

I must admit I used higher game scores as a tiebreaker in paring my list down from just over twenty candidates to thirteen. More scoring meant more big plays and more lead changes creating more excitement.



Oh yeah. What a game! High scoring and not a little controversy.

You mean there was a little controversy. Or have you forgotten the fumble that wasn’t? As an Argo fan I just chalked it up to the football gods making up for the non fumble that was a fumble in ,71. ;D

One of the worst calls in history. Not only was the fumble missed, but somehow they gave a first down when no yardage was gained. Even if they missed the fumble, don’t give them added yardage, but I guess as you say the gods made up for 71’

I’d arrived the previous Friday evening to celebrate the festivities with an old buddy of mine from London. Our seats were at about the ten yard line on that snowy Sunday evening.

The game didn’t make my final list because it was decided with a whopping 1:37 to go when the Argos pick six made it 43-30. The Eskimos final TD came at the 14:51 mark. But the fact that the refs missed calling Doug Flutie’s late game fumble may indeed have been crucial to the final outcome.

These were my final cuts and thus honourable mentions:

1962 - Winnipeg 28 Hamilton 27
1971 - Calgary 14 Toronto 11
1972 - Hamilton 13 Saskatchewan 10
1975 - Edmonton 9 Montréal 8
1996 - Toronto 43 Edmonton 37
2007 - Saskatchewan 23 Winnipeg 18
2014 - Calgary 20 Hamilton 16


And '72.
Fumble And Objectionable conduct. ?

That was definitely a fumble in 1971. Leon McQuay had not been tackled. He just slipped and fell on his own trying to make a cut and the ball came out when he hit the ground. That’s a live ball under the rules.


Whoops, I’m sorry! I’ve got so many years with question marks and scratched out on my writing pad that I missed adding it onto my “Honourable Mentions” list. It’s there now.


It was a horrible thing to be sure.


Upon further review the Command Centre has overturned the call on the field.

'71 has been debated to death, but even Doug Flutie has admitted he fumbled the ball in '96.

I know the 5-11 record is an embarrassment but some has to mention 1981. Still a great game. Shocking first half and stunning comeback.

It was well played I admit but it exposed the CFL especially in the East to ridicule that lingers .

Thankfully the Riders did not win the championship .

For me I wish it never happened as it came very close to infamy .

Better forgotten and all tapes burned .

The ridicule lingers because of the idiotic playoff system and seeding that rewards geography over quality.

That doesn’t change the fact it was a classic game.

Always remember Tony Gabriel and Ottawa getting shafted with that crazy dual pass interference call late in that 1981 game! Really detested the Esks at that time, would have been the choke of the century! :wink:

In the 72 game Sask fans are right. Dave Fleming caught the td pass with his foot on the line. Was right in front of me and remember to this day. Pleased however with the non call. There is a photo of the play somewhere.

1972 Hamilton vs Saskatchewan Highlights