Argos add 18th Grey Cup to win list
Winnipeg made for a worthy match, but Toronto topped yet again
The 109th Grey Cup was hosted in Regina at Mosaic Stadium on November 20, 2022. The game was between the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Blue Bombers were looking to win more than two consecutive Grey Cups. This Grey Cup drew a larger television audience than last year, with a seven per cent increase. TSN had an average audience of 3,121,00 viewers while over 8 million Canadians watched the full game. The peak audience count came in the last quarter, with 4.7 million viewers.
The first half seemed rather dull, and saw the Blue Bombers take the lead 10-7 going into the second half. However, the game changed when Janarion Grant set a Grey Cup record with a 102-yard punt return for a touchdown to start the fourth quarter. Later into the fourth quarter, Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson was pulled from the game due to a dislocated thumb which impeded his ability to grip the football properly. The backup Argonauts quarterback, Chad Kelly, would take the place of Bethel-Thompson for the rest of the game.
It just so happens that Kelly is the nephew of NFL legend Jim Kelly, who played eleven seasons for the Buffalo Bills. Therefore, not a bad option to have Chad Kelly as the Argonauts backup. Kelly would go on to complete four of six passing attempts for forty-three yards.
Winnipeg then blocked a field goal attempt by the Argonauts. This meant that the Bombers had a chance to try and get a field goal in order to win the game. However, in the last moments of the game, the Argonauts blocked the Bombers’ field goal attempt, making the Argonauts the Grey Cup champions with a final score of 24-23.
In response to the loss, Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros spoke at a press conference after the game, saying “I don’t think that we got into a good rhythm at any point in the game offensively. We were able to put together a few good drives here and there, but we weren’t efficient enough on first down, running, or passing the football, and that starts with me. I have to do a better job to help the team win.”
When asked about the lofty expectation placed on the Bombers going into the game, Collaros said “I’m not sure that ever truly puts pressure on any team and we certainly have a very mature group, a veteran laden team. We just care a lot, so we put pressure on ourselves no matter what. The guys worked their tails off all week long preparing for this football game.” He also stated that “somebody’s got to win.”
When asked about the Argonauts’ performance, Collaros had this to say: “they never gave up. For Chad to come in and do what he did, that was impressive. They had a good game plan. They pressured a little bit more on second-downs situations. They were able to get home a couple of times. They kind of did what we were anticipating they were going to do for most of the football game, and they did a better job than us.”
After the game, Argonauts quarterback Bethel-Thompson spoke to reporters regarding the expectations of the Bombers winning: “we heard all the noise. We heard they’re a better team, better position by position across the board. We played them 14 weeks ago and we gave that one away. We know we compare with them. We have the talent in this room. Like this, we can beat anybody. We can beat anybody, and we took the crap all year. We know we didn’t play up to our potential and people decided to throw the hammer down on us, and we decided to not listen to it.”
In a post-game interview, Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie spoke mainly of Bethel-Thompson, but said that Kelly’s entrance into the game helped to change the game. Dinwiddie also explained that “now you see why Chad’s so darn confident. He wasn’t fazed at all. He was ready for that stage.” Kelly’s substitution into the game showcases the importance of having a backup quarterback who is confident and valued as a key member of the team, as you never know when a backup will be needed, especially in big moments of key games such as the Grey Cup.
The game’s Most Valuable Player and Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Canadian (the Canadian player who performs best) awards were given to Argonauts linebacker Henoc Muamba. He ended up recording three tackles and an important interception in the fourth quarter for the Argonauts. However, going into the Grey Cup, Muamba had only three sacks and two interceptions. When asked about a previous drop before his interception, Muamba said “Who am I not to have confidence in myself when I have people around me that believe in me so much, so deeply, so greatly? I feel like I was letting my teammates down after the first drop, but they had my back. When a second one came, there was no way I was letting that drop.”
The Argonauts solidified their spot as the CFL team with the most Grey Cup wins at 18. The Edmonton Elks hold second place with 14 Grey Cups, and the Winnipeg Blue Bloomers are in third with 12 Grey Cups. The celebration in Toronto was held Thursday, November 24. The 110th Grey Cup is scheduled to be played in Hamilton, Ontario, home to the Tiger-Cats.