The Winnipeg Blue Bombers win their first Grey Cup in 29 years
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
After 29 years of frustration, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers finally won the Grey Cup, ending the longest championship drought in the Canadian Football League (CFL)—going back to 1990—with a 33 to 12 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary.
On paper, Winnipeg was the underdog in this contest, as Hamilton entered the game with the best record in the league at 15 to 3, while Winnipeg entered with an 11 to 7 record good for third place in the Western Division. Winnipeg’s record meant that they had a tougher road to get to the championship, as they had to take down the defending champion Calgary Stampeders in the Western Semi-Final, and then defeat the Saskatchewan Rough Riders in the Western Final.
Winnipeg stepped up on game day, dominating the game from beginning to end. Leading the charge was Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris was a highly noticeable presence in the game with 134 rushing yards, and one touchdown. His performance garnered him the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Player and the Dick Suderman Trophy for Most Valuable Canadian award for the Winnipeg born player. Harris is the first person to ever win both awards in the same game. However, his presence in the game was controversial, as earlier in the season, he tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for two games. It was this suspension that procured him from an all but sure nomination for Most Valuable Player in the CFL for the 2019 season, as the Winnipeg press felt they could not nominate him due to the suspension.
For Hamilton, this was a game to forget. They were only able to muster one touchdown, and turned over the ball eight times including three times in third and one situations. They also lost their best player, Most Outstanding Player winner for the season Brandon Banks, in the third quarter. Hamilton becomes only the third team in CFL history to lose the Grey Cup despite finishing the season with 15 wins. To add to the heartache, Hamilton now takes over the mantle of having the longest standing Grey Cup drought in the league from Winnipeg, as they have not won the Grey Cup since 1999.
Winnipeg’s dominance may not end with this year’s contest as their dominance may continue into next year. The Calgary Stampeders, who went to the big game the last three years, were unable to make it past the Western Semi-Final, and the BC Lions and Edmonton Eskimos may be in a rebuilding mode for next year after firing both their head coaches. In the CFL, rebuilding can often be short due to the small size of the league, but with so many teams in a state of flux going into the next season, the Bombers could be consistently putting the win in Winnipeg for seasons to come.