Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

100th Grey Cup a 50-50 proposition

History tells a tidy story of parity in big game

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The numbers jump off the page and tell a story of parity that almost seems too tidy to be true.

Consider: There have been 67 Grey Cups held since the CFL returned to its traditional East-West format following the Second World War.

In that time, the East has won 33 times, the West has won 33 times and the South (specifically the Baltimore Stallions) has won once.

And the remarkable symmetry doesn't end there. The teams in this year's 100th Grey Cup -- the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts -- have met 85 times during the regular season and playoffs over the years. Their record? You guessed it -- the Argos have won 42 times, the Stamps have won 42 times and there's been one tie.

And in the Grey Cup? The two teams on Sunday have met twice before in the big game and, naturally, each team has won once -- the Stampeders in 1971 and the Argos in 1991.

It's all just coincidence, of course. Just like it's a coincidence that a team from Toronto will play in the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto, just like a team from Toronto -- two teams from Toronto, actually -- played in the very first Grey Cup, also in Toronto.

So sure, yeah, coincidence. But it's still hard not to admire how all those disparate facts and statistics lined up so perfectly for this truly historic game, isn't it?

Here's some other interesting facts and figures about Sunday's big game:

-- This will be the 13th time there will be a true home team in the Grey Cup. But if you think playing at Rogers Centre gives the Argos the edge, think again -- home teams are 6-6 at the Grey Cup over the years. Still, it did happen just last year, when the B.C. Lions were winners at BC Place over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

-- Toronto has the clear statistical edge in games between the two teams. The Argos beat Calgary in both their regular-season games this season, have a five-game winning streak going against Calgary and are 10-2 against the Stamps at Rogers Centre since 2001.

-- Toronto has historically been money in the big game, going 15-6 in 21 appearances in the Grey Cup and winning their last four appearances in a row. (In case you were wondering, the Bombers are 10-14 in the Grey Cup and have lost their last five in a row. Calgary is 6-6).

-- Head referee Glen Johnson will be officiating his 10th Grey Cup and 400th CFL game.

-- Argos QB Ricky Ray will join just 10 other players to have started at quarterback in four Grey Cups. Calgary QB Kevin Glenn, meanwhile, will be making his Grey Cup debut with what is his fourth CFL team. That's only happened two other times in CFL history -- Reggie Slack with Saskatchewan in 1997 (the Riders were actually his fifth team) and Danny McManus with Hamilton the very next year.

-- The two placekickers -- Toronto's Swayze Waters and Calgary's Rene Paredes -- will both be making their Grey Cup debut, the first time that's happened in 25 years.

-- If Calgary running back Jon Cornish has a big game and is named Grey Cup MVP, it would be the first time that honour has gone to a non-import player since Russ Jackson won it in 1969.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 24, 2012 0

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