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Today, the Toronto Argonauts celebrate what many believe to be one of the most important championships the city of Toronto has ever seen – the 1983 Grey Cup.
It was on this day (November 27th) in 1983 when the Toronto Argonauts ended a 31-year Grey Cup drought by upsetting the B.C. Lions on their own turf 18-17 in front of 59,345 spectators at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium.
After capturing first place in the CFL Eastern Division, the Argonauts edged out rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 1983 East Final 41-36 en route to their second consecutive Grey Cup appearance.
The Lions jumped out to an early first quarter lead and the Boatmen seemed like they were on their way to yet another Grey Cup loss. The Boatmen had been defeated one season earlier by the Edmonton Eskimos at Exhibition Stadium, and suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Calgary Stampeders in 1971.
The 1983 edition of the Argos were much different. With QB Condredge Holloway struggling, backup quarterback Joe Barnes came off the bench to take over the good-ship Argonaut. Toronto’s defence, led by DB Carl Brazley, shut out the Lions in the second half, allowing Barnes to get the club back into the game.
With the fourth quarter coming to a close, and the Argos down by 6, Barnes hit WR Paul Pearson over the middle to keep the game-winning drive alive. Barnes capped off the drive with a strike to RB Cedric Minter who burst in to the endzone to complete one of the most memorable plays in Toronto sports history.
Following the game, the Argos, led by Head Coach Bob O’Billovich, held the Grey Cup high for the first time since 1952. The curse was over and two days later over 60,000 fans flooded Bay Street in Toronto to celebrate the return of their heroes and the Grey Cup.