Never thought I'd see a season end within the first few minutes of the game.
The Division Finals kicked off with the Toronto Argonauts hosting the Montréal Alouettes back East, and for the Argos, the opening drive was moving very smoothly. Everything was going right. It was going to be smooth sailing for the Boatmen.
And then, Chad Kelly threw a Pick Six. That ended up being the proverbial iceberg.
From that point on, nothing went right for the Argos. Turnover after turnover after turnover was committed by Toronto, and Montréal pounced on it big time. It was over at halftime, to be honest. The final score ended up being 38-17 in favor of the Alouettes, who are off to the Grey Cup for the first time since winning the 98th game back in 2010. I said last year that the Alouettes would be that team who would give the Argos fits in the East. While they were unsuccessful in beating the Boatmen during the regular season, they managed to do it when it counted the most, and it results in the team being one win away from hoisting the Grey Cup.
As for Toronto, a historic 16-2 campaign has turned into heartbreak when it counted the most. No repeat will take place, and for runningback Andrew Harris, the 2023 Eastern Final could have been his last game of his storied CFL career.
In the West, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosted the BC Lions for the second straight year, and this one was a lot closer than the game in the East. It was 7-3 in favor of the Bombers, but from the 2nd quarter on, they would start to take over and not look back. The Lions did make it close, but in the end, the Bombers took the Western Final, 24-13 over the BC Lions, advancing to the Grey Cup for the fourth straight year. The Bombers became the first team to make it to four straight Grey Cups since the then-named Edmonton Eskimos played in six straight between 1977 and 1982. As for the BC Lions, they keep getting closer and closer. Vancouver has a lot to be proud of in sports; the Lions keep getting better, and the Canucks are kicking ass.
So for the first time ever, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Montréal Alouettes will face each other in the Grey Cup, doing so on the 110th game taking place on Sunday, November 19 in Hamilton, Ontario. The Als are looking to win their eighth Grey Cup and their first since 2010, but for the Bombers, they are one win away from reclaiming the throne and becoming a dynasty. The rules regarding what determines an actual dynasty seem to differ, but many say that three championships in no more than five years will do it. A win on Sunday will definitely make the Bombers a dynasty; the CFL's first since Edmonton won five straight over four decades ago.
For Hamilton, this will be their 12th time hosting the Grey Cup, and the second time in three years; the 108th saw the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeat the hometown Hamilton Tiger-Cats in overtime. The Bombers won both meetings over the Alouettes this season, doing so by a combined score of 64-20. The 110th Grey Cup will are on TSN in Canada, while CFL+ will carry the game in the U.S. and elsewhere. I do hope CBS Sports Network rectifies this next year; their current deal with the CFL last through the 2026 season, and it's quite abnormal for the Grey Cup to not air on an actual network here in the States.
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