The history of 4 - 1 or better starts to the season .

Hey folks , with this being the team’s first bye and no game to talk about all week , I thought it might be fun and interesting to look into our history of fast starts to the season . Believe me they have been few and far between with this seasons 4 - 1 mark only being the 13th time in franchise history that they have achieved this lofty goal five games into the season . So anyway I thought it might be fun to do a little research project on just exactly how the team made out each of those seasons after opening the season with fast starts .

Here’s just a few observations right off the top .

  • in 8 of those seasons the team went on to finish 1rst in the East .

  • also in those same 8 seasons the team went on to play in the Grey Cup

  • The team won the Cup 3 times and lost it 5 times in those seasons .

  • In 8 of the 12 seasons the team went on to have double digit win seasons .

  • Only once did the team fail to achieve a .500 record on the season after starting out at 4 - 1 .

Here is the 13 W/L records and seasons of those teams :

1951…4 - 1…final record…7 - 5…2nd…lost East Final to Ottawa
1957…4 - 1…final record…10- 4…1rst…won Grey Cup over Winnipeg
1958…5 - 0…final record…10- 3 -1…1rst…lost Grey Cup to Winnipeg
1959…4 - 1…final record…10 - 4…1rst…lost Grey Cup to Winnipeg
1961…5 - 0…final record…10 - 4…1rst…lost Grey Cup to Winnipeg
1965…4 - 1…final record…10 - 4…1rst…won Grey cup over Winnipeg
1966…4 - 1…final record…9 - 5…2nd…lost East Final to Ottawa
1967…4 - 1…final record…10 - 4…1rst…won Grey Cup over Saskatchewan
1969…4 - 0 -1…final record…8 - 5 - 1…3rd…lost East Semi to Toronto
1989…4 - 1…,final record…12 - 6…1rst…lost Grey Cup to Saskatchewan
1996…4 - 1…final record…8 - 10…3rd…lost East Semi to Montreal
1998…4 - 1…final record…12 - 5 - 1…1rst…lost Grey Cup to Calgary
2019…4 - 1…final record…TBD

Recall in 93 we went three and 0.

Steve Simmons said not to buy it because Macpherson wasn’t a legit QB.

Looking back he might have had a point.

Yup that 93 start was definitely a mirage . The team followed up that 3 - 0 start by losing their next 6 in a row . Everyone of those 6 losses was by a blow out margin as the scores were in order…

Winnipeg…40 - 11 (-29)
Saskatchewan…37 - 10 (-27)
Sacramento…46 - 10 (-36)
Calgary…31 - 12 (-19)
Edmonton…46 - 8 (-38 )
Winnipeg…35 - 11 (-24 )

The team only managed 3 more wins the rest of the season going 3 - 12 the last 15 games to end up at a final record of 6 - 12 .

The team scored 76 pts total in those 3 opening victories then managed only 62 pts scored total in the next six games combined while allowing 235 pts against . MacPherson is easily in my top 3 for all time worst starting QB’s in franchise history , the guy was absolutely brutal .

The irony of that 93 season though was that as brutal as the team was that they actually came within a 1 pt loss 20-19 in the Eastern final to the Bombers from going to the Grey Cup that year . :o

I was four years old last time this happened … I’m not sure what to do with my hands? Hold the dirty thoughts you filthy animals ?

But really I think they should find a way to do this more often, it’s kinda fun eh?

Thanks for all the insight Bobo. Cool stuff.

And then you don’t have to have a great start in order to finish well:


The only way we don’t win the east is if we implode - which is not completely an anomaly.

But the goal is the GC, can we compete against the better teams?

Or is this like last year, where we beat up the weak teams (or teams with their back up Qb) and absolutely got blown out by the best teams in the league?

I am so confused…

Interesting. If nothing else, our 4-11 record for the first 5 weeks of the season in your 12 year time period shows that it pretty well guaranteed a playoff spot and a Grey Cup appearance. And 3 Grey Cups in 12 years was not too bad.

However that snapshot based on a 4-1 start to a season really doesn’t relate to much, given where we are today. The last Grey Cup we won was 20 years ago!

So I came at things from a different direction when I started wondering what relevance a 4-1 start has to winning a Grey Cup these days.

If we go back to that glorious 1999 season we started off with a 3-2 record in the first 5 games. We finished the regular season 11-7 which put us in 2nd place in the East behind Montreal. Then we ended up beating Calgary in the Grey Cup. So what can we learn from that season to help us win another Grey Cup? The answer is…I dunno.

Does 4-1 mean anything at all in the big picture when the Grey Cup is the real measure of success?

Nope. Based on what has happened in the East since we last won a Grey Cup, anywhere from 9 to 15 wins in the regular season gets you into the big game.

So the only conclusion I can draw is that we likely need to wait until at least week 9 before we are in informed-prediction range. Then again…anything can happen at playoff time.

So I put no faith in any kind of statistics or how they are used…including mine.

It’s easier on the ticker to just go game by game and enjoy the ride. That’s why I love the CFL.

Good starts or slow starts, it doesn’t really matter. The first goal for each season is to end up in first place, no matter what the win-loss record is. Then host a one game playoff, with home field advantage, win that and you’re off to the Grey Cup. Hopefully have the best game of the season and you come home a champion.

Must have been an exciting 2 game total point final against Ottawa. ‘Cats winning it 30-27. Should remember it ( remember the Cup win ) but can’t seem to recall it. Though I do remember liking the total point format.

However we get to the Cats winning on November 24, 2019.

Yes, the two-game total points series was exciting. The first game in Ottawa, which the Rough Riders dominated (held the 'Cats to a total of 5 yards rushing in the game), came down to a very important play late in the game. With Ottawa holding a 19-0 lead, Garney Henley caught a TD pass with 1:30 remaining in the game, to bring the deficit to 12 points. The day before the second game, a huge pep rally was held downtown in front of the Royal Connaught Hotel with a massive crowd in attendance. It spurred the 'Cats on to victory with Ian Sunter kicking five field goals to give the 'Cats a 23-8 victory and a 30-27 total score in the two games played.

I was at the second game. Some fans in my area were getting perturbed by all of the FG attempts. I yelled out loud and clear “We’ll field goal them to death”. Sure enough we did. And then at the Grey Cup game (also at Ivor Wynne) Sunter kicked the winning FG after Ealey marshalled a last minute drive with (I think) 3 straight tosses to Gabriel and then the FG set up catch to Henley. IIRC (?) Henley was also the holder for Sunter. We won 13 to 10 Sunter had an earlier FG and Dave Fleming (aka The Flea) caught a disputed TD pass in the north corner of the West endzone. Me in my “Bob Uecker” seat in Section 21 (or thereabouts) definitely thought it was in-bounds. As there was no video review at the time, the point is moot now.

Yup- my 2 buddies and I swore to meet again at the same spot where we were part of the rally exactly 25 years from the date of the rally at 7 pm. No show. After we graduated that year I never saw either of them again. :frowning: