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Canada’s Game

Written By Guest Blogger: Josh Smith
blogskeeweewee.blogspot.com

Following the 2009 CFL season, fans were treated to an excellent documentary-style retrospective about that season’s Grey Cup champions, the Montreal Alouettes. The show was titled Journey to the Grey Cup and was produced by TSN. The show was done again following the 2010 season, once again highlighting the Als as they won their second-consecutive championship. The programs were engaging and entertaining, and it is highly likely that a third installment will be produced following the 2011 CFL season.

But why stop there? Why not produce episodes of the program that highlight past Grey Cup champions?

A retrospective about past champions is not a new idea. NFL Films and NFL Network partnered together to bring us the fabulous America’s Game series, which began in 2006. Every Super Bowl champion from the 1967 Green Bay Packers to the 2009 New Orleans Saints has had the story of their championship season retold in hour-long increments. America’s Game was immensely popular with fans of the National Football League, and it would no doubt be a huge hit if the series were ported over by TSN to showcase past Grey Cup champions.

In both America’s Game and Journey to Grey Cup, players and coaches tell their stories about the season in which they won the championship. The format works tremendously for the simple fact that members of the team are the ones chronicling the season. This type of all-access pass allows the viewers to get first-hand accounts of what the team went through to achieve their ultimate goal.

While it would be impossible to cover every Grey Cup champion with this format – the Grey Cup is almost 100 years old – TSN could easily produce shows going as far back as the 1960s or 1970s. Fans would be thrilled to hear the stories of Russ Jackson, Ken Ploen and Angelo Mosca as they detail what it took to win the Grey Cup and what it felt like to win. The story of Angelo Mosca winning the Grey Cup in his last game in 1972 as a member of Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and doing so in front of the home crowd at Ivor Wynne Stadium, would be a captivating story, especially when told by the man himself.

To keep the series going after having covered all the champions of the past 40 or 50 years, do what America’s Game did and have an offshoot series about great teams that failed to win the Grey Cup. Teams like:

  • the 1989 Hamilton Tiger-Cats: the Cats were heavy favourites after going 12-6, but lost the greatest Grey Cup game ever played to a 9-9 Saskatchewan Roughriders team,
  • the 2001 Winnipeg Blue Bombers: the Bombers were the best team in the CFL in 2001, finishing the regular season at 14-4; however, they lost the Grey Cup to an under .500 Calgary Stampeders team,
  • the 1995 Calgary Stampeders: the ’95 Stamps are the only team to lose the Grey Cup to an American franchise, the Baltimore Stallions.

If TSN and the CFL made this series a reality, there is no way that it would not be a massive success. Any and every fan of the CFL would be glued to their TV sets when it aired. The show, which should be titled Canada’s Game, would be another superb addition to CFL history.

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