The Toronto Argonauts are celebrating their 150th anniversary season in 2023. In celebration of this milestone, a committee of five members selected their Top 150 Moments in Argos history. A look at how the list was selected and who did the selecting is linked here. After a quick description of each play, additional comments about some of the moments from members of the selection committee are added. They are featured in italic type.
Each week we will unveil additional entries from the list and feature a play from the selection through social media channels in anticipation of our anniversary on October 4th.
150 – BOAT LOGO INTRODUCED: While, for the most part, the Argonauts logo has featured some sort of boat, the popular insignia featuring a football as the boat was introduced in 1956. It was updated in 1976 before owner Harry Ornest sank the boat in 1988. An updated version of the 1976 version was re-introduced in 2021 and very warmly received.
149 – 48-0 WIN OVER HAMILTON: There’s nothing better that beating your biggest rival, unless of course it’s a complete demolition of your biggest rival. The Argos trounced the Ticats 48-0 on September 10, 2005 at the Rogers Centre. The Ticats had upset the Argos five days earlier in the Labour Day Classic in Hamilton. The Argos have not shutout an opponent since.
“Reactions to this game were rather more positive than after the Argos’ 2–0 shutout win over the Tigers on September 20, 1947, which Annis Stukus famously called “A game as dull as the wrong side of a butter knife.” – James Fraser
148 – ALLEN BREAKS RECORD: During the 2006 Labour Day Classic in Hamilton, Damon Allen set the record for the most career passing yards in pro football history. He’d finish his career with 72,381 yards. He is still second all-time after being passed by Anthony Calvillo. He is third all-time on the Argos passing list, trailing just Ricky Ray and Condredge Holloway.
147 – BIG ZEE’S BIG PUNT: Zenon Andrusyshyn set a league record on September 14 ,1977 that still stands today, though tied by Chris Milo in 2011. In a game at Calgary, he unleashed a 108-yard punt. Not just a strong punter, three years later in Regina the “Big Zee” would connect on a 57-yard field goal, still the team record 43 years later.
146 – BARRETT’S ’87 GREY CUP SCRAMBLE: In a game filled with big plays this may have been the most unexpected. With the Argos trailing 35-30 and facing a second-and-seven from the Edmonton 25-yard line, quarterback Danny Barrett took one step back, then sprinted in a straight line and was untouched on his way to the end zone. It gave the Argos a late lead they would ultimately relinquish.
“One of the most exciting Grey Cup games ended with the Argonauts on the losing side, but they were within three minutes of victory thanks to an audacious play call and execution. Barrett, the backup QB, shocked everyone by bursting up the middle untouched for a 25-yard touchdown.” – Paul Woods
145 – MASOTTI’S CROTCH CATCH: It came on the Argos first possession of the 1997 Grey Cup game. Doug Flutie was scrambling, looking for an open receiver when he spotted Paul Masotti down the right sideline. The receiver was going to the ground as the ball arrived, and when the Rider defender hit Masotti and the ball popped up in the air. The receiver landed on the ground in a sitting position, legs fully extended in front of him when the ball landed in his lap. Before the nose of the ball hit the ground, he squeezed his thighs together so it wouldn’t touch the ground. It was the most unique catch of Masotti’s career.
“It’s not memorable because of its tremendous athleticism or its impact on the outcome of the game. The awareness of Masotti to make that catch the way he did will always be remembered, and in a way, it personifies the way he approached the game.” – Mike Hogan
144 – 1987 EASTERN FINAL: Two fantastic defences would be the focus on a cold day in Winnipeg, with the Bombers being the heavy favourites in the ’87 Eastern Final. The key play was a Bomber fumble on a Hank Ilesic punt with five minutes left in the fourth with the Argos up 12-3. Tony Johns would score on the ensuing drive and the Argos would advance to the Grey Cup with a 19-3 win.
143 – MATTHEWS SETS RECORD: Don Matthews was the head coach of the Argos on three different occasions. He wore Double Blue in 1990 in his second head coaching job, and he’d make his final head coaching stop with the Argos as a mid-season replacement in 2008. His most memorable stint in Toronto was 1996-1998. He’d lead the team to back-to-back Grey Cup wins, and in 1997 he set the all-time CFL record with his 147th win, surpassing the mark set by Frank Clair. He finished with 231 wins, a record that would subsequently be broken by Wally Buono.
142 – CLEMONS’ BIG HIT: In a July 1995 game against Ottawa at the Dome, a bad snap led to punter Terry Baker throwing the ball to Remi Trudel. He needed 24 yards for the first down but only got 23. The reason? Michael Clemons sprinted from his spot as the returner and launched his body at Trudel, stopping him just shy of the first down. He almost knocked himself out while making the tackle.
“I remember that moment so clearly. The jolt of excitement it sent through the stands. By that time, you wouldn’t have thought Argo fans could possibly love Pinball Clemons any more than they already did. But they could and they did after that. Because Pinball showed there was absolutely nothing he wouldn’t do for their team.” – Don Landry
141 – CANDY RAISES THE HELMET: John Candy became one of the Argos’ most beloved personalities. His tremendous passion for the team was evident from the day he was introduced – along with Wayne Gretzky – as a member of the Bruce McNall ownership group. As time wound down in the ’91 Eastern Final and it was obvious the team was headed to the Grey Cup, a picture was snapped as Candy held a helmet over his head. It’s perhaps the image most closely associated with Candy’s tenure with the team
“The place had been rocking from the get-go, as 50,000 screaming fans watched the Boatmen jump out to an insurmountable 22-0 lead in the first quarter. But when co-owner John Candy lifted Kevin Smellie’s helmet into the air with just minutes remaining in the Eastern Final, the SkyDome roof nearly blew off its moorings.” – Woods
140 – A MAJOR HAUL OF U.S. IMPORTS: When the CFL season ended in 1995, so did the league’s American experiment. The Baltimore Stallions moved to Montreal, while the rest of the teams folded. It led to a dispersal draft of players from the now defunct teams, as well as creating a lot of free agents. The Argos did an exceptional job bolstering their roster, adding players like Adrion Smith, Donald Smith, Rob Waldrop, Ed Berry and Tim Cofield from Memphis. Lester Smith, Ken Benson, Reggie Givens and Robert Drummond arrived from Baltimore, while Mike Kiselak headed north from San Antonio.
“We went from 4-14 in ’95 to 15-3 in ’96. Don Matthews came up here and brought some guys who played with him in Baltimore. We had Doug Flutie join the team as well. In ’96 and ’97 we were 30-6 plus 4-0 in the post-season.” – Danny Webb
139 – BEDE BEATS HAMILTON: Boris Bede kicked a 51-yard field goal on the game’s final play in Hamilton on October 11, 2021 to give the Argos a 24-23 win. What made it so memorable? Not only did it cap a huge comeback as the Ticats led 20-8 in the fourth quarter, but when the kick was made, Bede held up his kicking block, which had the number 58 written on the bottom to honour long snapper Jake Reinhart who had suffered a gruesome, season-ending elbow injury in a game the week before.
“With the rough results the Argos had experienced in Hamilton, the comeback, the game-winning drive and the Bede kick were memorable enough. When Boris lifted up the block and we saw the 58 on the bottom, it turned a great moment into an iconic one.” – Hogan
138 – CANADIAN CAPTAINS: It was an iconic photo when the Argos won the 1983 Grey Cup, ending a 31-year drought. When the team was handed the Grey Cup, it was raised by two young Canadian captains, Dan Ferrone and Jan Carinci.
“As Ferrone said when he was handed the Grey Cup and then a microphone at B.C. Place, Toronto had waited a long time for this. Who better to bring the trophy home (after showing it off to fans in the stadium) than two Toronto lads: Oakville’s Ferrone and Agincourt’s Carinci?” – Woods
137 – BALL WITH TWO INTERCEPTIONS: The Argos were heavy underdogs when they travelled to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium for the 2012 Eastern Final. The Alouettes jumped into a 10-point lead but the Argos never quit. Marcus Ball had a pair of second half interceptions at key times to lead the Boatmen to a 27-20 win.
“Ball’s interceptions came at critical points. His first kept the Argos second half momentum rolling. His second pick came late and could have sealed the win had the offence been able to pick up a first down or two on the ensuing drive.” – Hogan
136 – WEBB’S GREY CUP MAGIC: Danny Webb has been the Argos equipment manager for 38 of the Argos 150 years. His skill has been instrumental in three Grey Cup wins; ensuring the correct footwear was worn in the snowy games of 1996 and 2017. He also devised a system using thermal blankets and the sideline heater to keep benches warm in the 2022 game, while Winnipeg players were forced to either stand, or sit on frozen metal benches.
“They probably have strict rules about things like this, but if it were up to me? Danny’s name would be up there on the All-Time Argos banner. He doesn’t wear a uniform, but for nearly forty years he’s been absolutely indispensable to those who have.” – Landry
135 – WHEATON’S INTERCEPTION RETURN: On November 5, 2004 the Argos hosted Hamilton in the Eastern Semi-Final. With the Ticats threatening to score, Kenny Wheaton intercepted a Danny McManus pass and returned it 116 yards for a touchdown. The Argos won the game 24-6. It is the second-longest post-season play in CFL history.
134 – VANDERJAGT’S PERFECT GREY CUP GAME: Mike Vanderjagt’s performance in the 1996 Grey Cup was remarkable. Despite the game being played in blizzard conditions in Hamilton, he was able to connect on all five of his field goal attempts as the Argos defeated Edmonton 43-37. He connected on field goals of 38, 33, 17, 29 and 27 yards.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but even with all that snow Vandy didn’t kick with a block (tee). I remember Doug (Flutie, the holder) clearing the spot for him. Keep in mind, Edmonton missed three of their field goal attempts.” – Webb
133 – LEVINGSTON AND DORSEY’S RETURNS: Under the current field configuration, the longest a CFL player can return a missed field goal is 129 yards. Two Argos have done that, and astonishingly they did it in a span of five weeks. On June 28th, 2007, Bashir Levingston did it against the B.C. Lions in Toronto. On August 2nd, Dominique Dorsey did it in Montreal against the Alouettes. Only two returns in CFL history were longer, both done when the end zones were 25 yards deep.
132 – END RUN DEVELOPED: In what may have been the only time the Argos have been responsible for developing an iconic formation, the team introduced the end run. It became the dominant formation of the 1930s.
“From the moment he plucked Art West from the football field of North Toronto CI in 1936 and dubbed him ‘Whippet’, Lew Hayman worked on getting him the football with space to run. His playbook included a rugby-style end run which got the ball wide through a sequence of laterals, but he considered it a trick play. In 1937 he decided to use it more frequently with Ted Morris, Bob Isbister and West in sequence, and the ‘famed Argos’ end run’ was born. It became the Argos’ main weapon for the next five seasons; the trademark play that powered them to back-to-back Grey Cup wins.” – Fraser
131 – CLEMONS’ OPENING KICKOFF RETURN: The 1996 Eastern Final against Montreal was supposed to be close; it wasn’t. The tone was set when Michael “Pinball” Clemons caught the opening kickoff on his own 20-yard line and sprinted 90 yards in a straight line – untouched aside from an attempted arm tackle by kicker Terry Baker – to open the scoring. The Argos would roll to a 43-7 win and go on to beat Edmonton a week later in the Grey Cup.
“Michael caught the ball and was almost untouched throughout the return. Michael O’Shea and Jimmy ‘The Jet’ Cunningham were the closest to him, escorting him down the field. Not everyone was in their seats yet, and those who were in their seats were quickly out of their seats.” – Webb
130 – ARGOS WIN SEVEN CONSECUTIVE GREY CUP APPEARANCES: In 2022 the Argos defeated Winnipeg 24-23 for the franchise’s 18th Grey Cup. Remarkably, it was the seventh consecutive time the Argos won a Grey Cup appearance. No other team has accomplished that feat.
“It’s more than a bit mind-boggling that a team could achieve something like that, especially when you consider they were pretty big underdogs in the last two. And to think, Toronto lost a razor-thin close one to Edmonton in 1987. It could’ve been nine in a row.” – Landry
129 – DEKDEBRUN’S THUMBTACKS: The 1950 Grey Cup was essentially played in a swamp. The field was almost unplayable, with the game given the moniker “The Mud Bowl.” The Argos quarterback used his brain to give him a bit of an advantage. Al Dekdebrun filed down thumbtacks and then taped them to his fingers, allowing him to get a better grip on the football. The Argos won the game 13-0.
“’Dek’ scored the only touchdown of the Mud Bowl after the Argos blocked a Winnipeg punt and recovered it on the Bombers’ 20-yard line. Carries by Billy Bass, Dek and Ted Toogood took the ball to the one-yard line. From there Dek slipped and fell running off tackle but managed to reach the ball inches over the goal line before being downed. His ‘faultless ball handling’ was praised by Hall-of-Fame reporter Hal Walker, who coined the name ‘Mud Bowl’.” – Fraser
128 – MURPHY’S MVP SEASON: In 1914, William Ewart Gladstone “Glad” Murphy was named the Argos captain. After being named a finalist for the league’s best player in 1913, Murphy would lead the Argos to their first Grey Cup championship in 1914 and was named the league’s top player – the first Boatman to be so recognized. He would take home the Harper-Presnail Award in recognition.
“Earning this honour playing flying wing, a position which Murphy helped to pioneer, was like a defensive player being named Most Outstanding Player today. He was a tremendous athlete – a hockey star, football star, and rowing Olympian – and the best player on the Argo teams that played in three Grey Cup games in four years from 1911–14.” – Fraser
127 – HANLAN’S POINT FIRE: In 1909 a theatre caught fire on Hanlan’s Point on Toronto Island, destroying a hotel and amusement park. Seven members of the Argonauts happened to be at their clubhouse at the foot of York St. They jumped in a boat and furiously rowed to help evacuate guests who were staying at the hotel. Among those Argos in attendance was Glad Murphy, who crossed from Hanlan’s Point to Muggs Island by swimming behind the boat, pushing some luggage through the water. Tragically, one woman died in the fire.
“The Hanlan’s Point episode was tailor-made to demonstrate the truth of the prevalent idea in those days that participation in amateur sports like football, for higher things than money, could play an important part in teaching boys how to be good men.” – Fraser
126 – CHOMYC’S CATCH: During the 1990 season the Argos pulled a masterful trick play. Kicker Lance Chomyc appeared to forget his kicking block. As he ran toward the bench screaming for it, the ball was snapped to the holder as Chomyc turned and raced down the sideline. He was wide open and caught a pass for a 22-yard gain.
125 – PARKER’S FOUR PICK SIXES: The 2006 season was very good to Byron Parker. “Hops” had four interception returns for touchdowns that season, setting a team record and falling just one short of the league mark. His returns were 48, 75, 79 and 87 yards. He would finish his career with nine “pick sixes,” the CFL’s all-time record.
124 – DROP THE KARPUK: In the final game of the 1951 season, Argo star Ulysses Curtis intercepted a pass and ran toward the end zone for what was certain to be a touchdown. In mid-play, Ottawa’s Pete Karpuk left the bench and attempted to make a tackle. Karpuk didn’t bring Curtis down, but was able to knock him off balance enough that a teammate caught up and made the tackle. The game was stopped as officials tried to figure out what to do since there was nothing in the rule book about such a situation. They finally gave the Argos the ball at Ottawa’s one-yard line, and later a rule was written to prohibit players from leaving the bench to enter a play.
“It later emerged that former Rough Rider coach Wally Masters had pointed out to Karpuk and teammates years earlier that there was no rule covering a tackle made from off the bench, and had instructed players to do it if the moment ever seemed right. The facts that Ted Toogood scored an Argo touchdown after the officials’ ruling, and the Argos went on to win the game, prevented the incident from causing more uproar than it did. But for years afterwards, the phrase ‘pulling a Karpuk’ was part of the football lexicon.” – Fraser
123 – SWEET SIXTEENS: Twice in club history a receiver has caught 16 passes in a game. Terry Greer became the first CFL player to accomplish that on August 19, 1983, in a game in Ottawa. Fifteen years later Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell tied the record in a game in Edmonton. Only two other players in CFL history have caught 16 passes in a game.
“Five catches in a single game is pretty good. Ten is sensational. What adjective could you possibly come up with to describe sixteen? And neither of these performances came prior to opponents knowing who these guys were and what they could accomplish. Greer and Mitchell pulled in sixteen apiece even with the other guys paying special attention to them.” – Landry
122 – BETHEL-THOMPSON’S BIG GAME: On August 1, 2018, at BMO Field, the Argos found themselves down 38-14 with three minutes left in the third quarter. McLeod Bethel-Thompson, making his first pro start at quarterback after years of trying out for an assortment of teams, went to work. MBT threw four TD passes, the last a 23-yarder to Armanti Edwards with one-second left for a 42-41 victory.
“That was huge for Mac. There was always pressure that he was the starter this week, but they weren’t sold on him yet kind of thing. From then on it seemed to be his team and he could relax.” – Webb
121 – HURRAH FOR HAJRULLAHU: It almost gets forgotten because there were so many amazing plays in the 2017 Grey Cup. After a late Argo rally tied the game at 24-24, kicker Lirim Hajrullahu booted a 32-yard field goal on a snowy night in Ottawa to give the team a 27-24 lead that held up as the final score. The clutch kick came with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
“Because the Argos went for two-point conversion attempts after scoring their final two touchdowns, Hajrullahu hadn’t kicked – aside from kickoffs – since the Argos scored on the first play of the second quarter. He missed that kick, then was called upon in the most pressure-filled scenario imaginable. It was a great kick in the toughest of circumstances in far from ideal conditions.” – Hogan
120 – THE POET BIDS ADIEU: Ronnie Knox could throw the ball like the dickens and fancied himself a wordsmith akin to Charles Dickens. A self-styled poet from California, Knox came to the Argos in 1958 and threw for 522 yards in a game against Ottawa, a team record at the time and still the second-best passing game ever by an Argo QB. In 1959 he retired at the age of 24, leaving with a parting shot: “Football is a game for animals, I’d like to think I’m above that.”
119 – A TASTE OF CURRY: In 1984, James Curry set an Argos record with 22 quarterback sacks, still the seventh highest single-season total in league history. He did not, however, finish first in the league that year as BC’s James Parker recorded 26.5 sacks, still the CFL record.
118 – THE CROWE’S NEST: Muriel Crowe might not be a household name for Argo fans, but “Mom” Crowe was an important part of the Argos for decades. She opened up her Springhurst Avenue house for young players to live in, primarily those on the practice roster. Perhaps her most famous tenant was Pinball Clemons, who even lived there for a year with his new wife, Dianne.
“She did so much more than just house them. She taught them where to go and where not to go in Toronto. She taught them how to take the King streetcar down to Yonge street. She’d even give the boys rides if they needed one.” – Webb
117 – PLEASANT’S PLENTIFUL PICKS: Reggie Pleasant set a team record in 1992 with his 42nd career interception. He broke Jim Rountree’s mark of 41. Pleasant would finish with 47 as an Argo, adding one more in his final CFL season with Edmonton.
“Smooth and silky in every move he made: Reggie Pleasant. He just seemed to glide over the field with the greatest of ease and when you coupled that athletic ability with his obvious football smarts, you got one of the greatest defensive backs in team history. He probably should not have had as many interceptions as he did because quarterbacks just shouldn’t have thrown his way that often.” – Landry
116 – CASTELLO’S HEROICS: There was an unlikely hero in the 1991 Grey Cup game, played in frigid Winnipeg. Keith Castello was able to recover two fumbled kickoffs in Toronto’s 36-21 win over Calgary. Only five players have ever recovered two fumbles in a Grey Cup game, and nobody since Castello.
“Backup linebacker Keith Castello did something that has never been done before or since: he recovered two fumbled kickoffs in a Grey Cup game. His first recovery resulted in a rouge early in the game. After Rocket Ismail’s memorable fourth-quarter touchdown, the Argos opted for a short ‘pooch’ kickoff into the wind. ‘Castello will get the ball,’ coach Adam Rita predicted confidently. He did, and two plays later Paul Masotti scored the TD that cemented Toronto’s victory.” – Woods
115 – SELKIRK WINS IT: Earl Selkirk filled in for the hospitalized Annis Stukus as Toronto’s kicker in the 1937 Grey Cup. In cold, windy conditions, Selkirk’s three-pointer in the first quarter stood up as the game’s biggest scoring play in a 4-3 win over Winnipeg.
“Rosters were too small for teams to carry separate offensive and defensive players, much less kicking specialists. A phenomenal kicker by the day’s standards, Stukus kicked three field goals of 30-plus yards in 1937 and a 42-yarder in the Eastern Final before being carried off the field with broken vertebrae. His understudy Selkirk had kicked just one 15-yarder that season, and his career best was 27 yards. In the Grey Cup game, Selkirk split the uprights from 31 yards: quite an achievement, under the circumstances.” – Fraser
114 – DYNAMIC DEBUT: It was a cold, rainy, miserable day as the upstart Argos tried to end Edmonton’s streak of four consecutive Grey Cup wins. The Argos scored the first TD of the game on a quick pass to Emanuel Tolbert, who broke Dan Kepley’s attempted tackle and took it 84 yards for the score. It was Tolbert’s first game, and first catch, as an Argonaut.
“Argo president Ralph Sazio pounced when Saskatchewan put Emanuel Tolbert on waivers for a second time in 1982. The Roughriders had hoped to sneak the seldom-used receiver through the waiver process, but Sazio knew there were no mulligans. Tolbert spent a few weeks learning the Run and Shoot offence, then made his debut in the biggest game of the year. His first reception as an Argo, on a short hitch-screen pass, went for an electrifying 84-yard touchdown.” – Woods
113 – MARVIN’S MOMENT: On October 2, 1994, the Argos came back from 25 points down to beat Hamilton 39-36 at SkyDome. The biggest comeback in team history was made possible mainly because of the play of rookie quarterback Marvin Graves. The former Syracuse star threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter for the win.
“Head Coach Bob O’Billovich called it one of the greatest performances he’d ever seen by a quarterback in one quarter of football. It’s all the more amazing because Graves did not start the game due to back troubles, jumping into action late in the third quarter.” –Landry
112 – DURIE DOES IT: On July 12, 2007, Andre Durie carried the ball for the first time as an Argo. That in itself was a major accomplishment after a major knee injury, suffered while at York University, led to prognoses that he’d never walk without a limp again, let alone play football. On his first offensive touch as a pro, Durie raced away for a 33-yard touchdown that electrified SkyDome.
“Getting emotional while calling a game is not ideal. On this play, knowing Durie’s story, it was impossible to not choke up. For those who know the backstory, this is a moment they’ll never forget. It was pure Hollywood.” – Hogan
111 – HAND IT TO CHAD: Chad Owens made a remarkable catch to win a game in Ottawa in 2015. With 25 seconds left and the Argos trailing by four points, Trevor Harris lofted a pass to the end zone. Everyone in the stadium thought it was overthrown, but Owens somehow caught up to it, dove, reached out while airborne, and hauled in the ball with one hand to give the Argos a dramatic win.
“What a catch that was. For him to get free like that in the end zone and to stretch out and bring that one down, that was big time. It looked like an uncatchable ball – especially with his size. All of a sudden, he came down with it. What a catch!” – Webb
110 – BIG MONEY, BIGGER BUST: The Argos made a major splash in 1976 by signing an NCAA superstar. USC’s Anthony Davis, who once scored six touchdowns in a game against Notre Dame, signed with the Argos because the New York Jets wouldn’t pay him what he wanted. He signed a five-year, $1-million contract when the league’s average salary was $22,000. AD lasted only one year in Toronto, rushing for 417 yards and adding another 408 through the air. It was, to say the least, an underwhelming career.
“It’s hard to overstate how stunning this move was. He led USC to two national championships in football and three more in baseball; he was a genuine college superstar. Everybody expected him to sign in the NFL, but the Argos dug deep, very deep, to bring him north. He had amazing talent but ended up being a major bust.” – Hogan
109 – THE “MOUSE” THAT ROARED: Darrel “Mouse” Davis had coached at Portland State and Cal before taking his first pro job with the Argos as offensive coordinator in 1982. He installed his own “Run and Shoot” offence and it was absolutely perfect for quarterback Condredge Holloway. The Argos got to the Grey Cup in Davis’s one year in Toronto, and kept using his offence the next year when they won their first Grey Cup in 31 years.
“Much of how offence is played in football today can be traced back to the high-powered Run and Shoot brought to Canada in 1982 by its mastermind, Mouse Davis. Choice routes (where the receiver decides what pattern to run based on how defenders line up), the “waggle” head start, and the emergence of slotbacks to replace tight ends are all innovations that started with or were perfected by the Mighty Mouse.” – Woods
108 – SONSHINE CLEANS HOUSE: Harry Sonshine, a fan who had been elevated to the team’s top management position, made news on both sides of the border in 1955 when he released all of the team’s import players and signed 10 players who were under NFL contracts, including Detroit Lions quarterback Tom Dublinski. The other teams in the Big Four ganged up to insist that teams be limited to four ex-NFLers, and the Argos were forced to relinquish six of their recruits.
“There had been numerous instances of NFL players signing with Big Four teams in violation of their contracts. Argo head coach Frank Clair refused to follow suit but in 1955, Harry Sonshine decided it was time for a level playing field against his team’s three rivals. He mainly succeeded in enraging NFL commissioner Bert Bell. Sonshine later changed his mind about some of the original cuts and welcomed back one of the players he had fired, star import Dick Shatto.” – Fraser
107 – BUCKING THE TREND: Canadian teams were loading up on American players by the mid-1930s, but the Argos implemented a “no imports” rule in 1936. In 1935, the team had faded down the stretch, with the club’s American players underachieving. Chairman Tommy Alison announced that imports would be banned and the team would go all-Canadian the following season. The move resulted in Grey Cup wins in 1937 and 1938 and three consecutive championships from 1945 to ’47, all with exclusively Canadian rosters.
106 – ROWING CLUB BOWS OUT: The Argonaut Rowing Club owned the team from 1873 to 1956, when a group led by businessmen Eric Cradock and John Bassett bought a majority stake. Cradock left the group the following year, and Bassett eventually became sole owner. The team went without a Grey Cup during Bassett’s tenure, which lasted until 1974, when he sold it to William Hodgson.
“Once the football Argos became a fully professional organization in 1950, it was only a matter of time before the ARC, an amateur sports club, walked away. Cradock made several offers in the years before the sale finally took place. The deal included the three senior ARC officers as members of the ownership group and left the ARC in place as a minority shareholder.” – Fraser
105 – LONG-TERM HOME: Varsity Stadium was a part-time home for the nomadic Argonauts until they moved into the stadium full time in the 1930s. They remained there until the end of the 1958 season, winning nine Grey Cups on Canadian football’s most hallowed ground.
“The Argos of the early 20th century played home games at Rosedale Park, Scarborough Beach and Maple Leaf Stadium. They also played on occasion at U of T’s Varsity Stadium, which their fans preferred. Finally, in 1931 the university was persuaded to sign a 10-year agreement giving the Argos priority in using Varsity Stadium as their home field. This arrangement continued until the Argos moved to CNE Stadium in 1959.” – Fraser
104 – “PULL TOGETHER” COINED: At the 20th annual meeting of the Argonaut Rowing Club in March 1891, club president George Sweny urged members to adopt an official club motto. His suggestion was “Pull Together.” The membership approved, and the Argonaut rowing and football clubs have been pulling together ever since.
“George Sweny was the ARC’s second president. His tenure in office wasn’t the club’s finest hour, ending in 1893 with the Double Blue in serious financial difficulty. However, the targets he set for the rowing program succeeded in making it world-class, and ‘Pull Together’ was pure genius.” – Fraser
103 – SHEER DOMINANCE: In terms of excitement, the 1945 championship game wasn’t exactly a nail biter. The Argos won their sixth Grey Cup – and first of three straight – with a 35-0 win over Winnipeg at Varsity Stadium. It’s the largest margin of victory by an Argo team in a Grey Cup win.
“Although the Argos were led by legendary pass-and-catch duo Joe Krol and Royal Copeland, the most lopsided Grey Cup since 1923 wasn’t a passing extravaganza. Argo coach Ted Morris, wanting to make a statement against what he saw as the Americanization of football, sent out an offence geared toward end runs, reverses and ‘hot potato’ laterals – a stereotypically ‘Canadian’ style of play. His all-Canadian squad gained 437 yards on the ground and scored six touchdowns.” – Fraser
102 – MITCHELL’S HAT TRICK: It’s a CFL record that will be tough to match, let alone break. Defensive back Vernon Mitchell turned three interceptions into touchdowns on October 7, 2000, against Hamilton at SkyDome. He scored touchdowns of 22 and 23 yards after his interceptions and took a lateral after a Donnavan Carter pick for a third TD.
101 – BIG COUNTRY: In 1975, Jim “Country” Corrigall became the first and still only Argo to be named the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Sadly, tackles and sacks weren’t tracked in that era, so it’s impossible to appreciate his great season using numbers. Oddly, only five Argos have ever been named the East finalist for the MODP.
“It is such a shame that we don’t have detailed defensive stats from that era because Corrigall’s would have been eye-popping. At least we’ll always have memories of his signature sack celebration, the Corrigall cartwheel, as iconic as anything else that can be associated with that era of Argos football.” – Landry
100 – DOUBLE BLUE DEBUT: Rugby clubs were founded at Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto in 1877. UCC teacher John Martland bought a set of jerseys in the school’s blue and white colours. With rugby-rules games against UCC a possibility, the Argos obtained their own set of jerseys in the Argonaut Rowing Club’s colours. They made their first appearance on a football field as the Double Blue in the fall of 1877.
“Before 1877, UCC and U of T played a version of football invented and developed at these two schools. It had some similarities to Australian and Gaelic football, permitting players to catch a kicked ball for a free kick (before it bounced), and to cuff it with their hand (after it bounced), but players were not permitted to pick up the ball or carry it. This Toronto-rules form of football seems to have died out rapidly after the two schools took up rugby football in 1877. A bit of a shame, if you ask me.” – Fraser
99 – TURNING INTERCEPTIONS INTO ART: On October 7, 1961, Art Johnson set an Argo record with four interceptions in one game, a 33-27 win in Montreal. It is one shy of the CFL record and he is one of just seven players to have recorded a 4-pick game.
“It was 10-0 for Als after a quarter and despite having a backfield of Tobin Rote, Dick Shatto and ‘Cookie’ Gilchrist, the Argos didn’t get rolling until the second quarter when one of Johnson’s picks set up a Rote to Shatto TD pass. Johnson almost had another pick as he got both hands on a pass intended for George Dixon but couldn’t make the catch.” – Hogan
98 – FIFTH TIME WAS THE CHARM: The Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy was first handed out in 1928 to the player best exemplifying skill, courage and sportsmanship. In 1929 “Red” Wilson became the first Argo to win the award. In 1937 Teddy Morris became the fourth Argo to win the award, finally being recognized after previously being nominated for it four times.
“Back-to-back Russel nominations by a player’s teammates were rare. Few players have led a team in any sport as ably as Morris led the Argos in the Thirties or have been as popular a teammate.” – Fraser
97 – RAY DAYS: Ricky Ray threw for 505 yards in a 2012 game against Winnipeg at the Rogers Centre, then bettered it by a yard five seasons later. He threw for 506 yards against the Ticats in Toronto on June 25, 2017. It is the third-highest single game total in Argo history.
“As statement games go, Toronto’s 2017 season opener was a doozy. Coming off a miserable 5-13 season, the Argos had a new head coach in Marc Trestman and a number of new players, including star receiver S.J. Green. But they still had Ricky Ray, and the veteran QB went off for an astonishing 506 yards to lead Toronto to victory over their arch-rivals, the first step on what became a Grey Cup journey.” – Woods
96 – GREY CUP MIRACULOUSLY SURVIVES FIRE: In 1947 there was a major fire at the Argonaut Rowing Club, where the Grey Cup was being kept after yet another Argo championship. The fire caused extensive damage to the clubhouse. Joe Wright, who won a Grey Cup in 1933 and multiple Olympic rowing medals before becoming an ARC executive, saved the Cup from the fire, though it was singed. It may have been totally destroyed, but when the display case collapsed, the Grey Cup was caught on a hook on the wall. The other trophies in the case melted down.
“Considering what seems to have been lost, the Cup’s survival really was extraordinary. Give Wright credit for grabbing a firefighter and stumbling around the smouldering ruins and locating it in time. The jeweler who restored it did not send the ARC a bill.” – Fraser
95 – TRICKY DICK’S PICK: With just over three minutes left in the 1971 Grey Cup game and the Argos training by three points, defensive back “Tricky” Dick Thornton picked off a Jerry Keeling pass and ran it back 54-yards to the Calgary 11-yard line. It’s still the third longest interception return in Grey Cup history. After a Leon McQuay four-yard gain, McQuay would fumble the ball on the subsequent play and turn it over to Calgary, sealing a Stampeder win.
“‘Tricky’ was one the most versatile players in CFL history, capable of excelling at defensive back, receiver and even, if need be, quarterback. Unfortunately, the man who threw the pass he picked off in the 1971 Grey Cup was almost as versatile. Calgary quarterback Jerry Keeling was also an accomplished defensive back, and he managed to tackle Thornton just short of a potential game-winning touchdown.” – Woods
94 – WILLIAMS SIGNS: Ricky Williams was a star running back in the NFL, but the league suspended him for the 2006 season after violating the league’s drug policy for a fourth time. He surprised everyone when he signed a one-year deal with the Argos to play for $340,000. In an injury-plagued year he carried the ball for 526 yards, adding 127 more through the air.
“I didn’t really believe it until he walked in the door. The biggest surprise for me was that we had put number 34 aside for him and he said, ‘How about I wear number 27?’ He wanted a fresh start. Coming here made football fun for him again. He offered to play special teams; he said he felt like a kid again running down on special teams because he wasn’t allowed to do that in the NFL.” – Webb
93 – PEE-WEE’S PLAY TO THE HOUSE: The Argos were heavy favourites to beat Saskatchewan in the 1997 Grey Cup. They led 20-9 at halftime and put any thought of a comeback to rest on the opening play of the second half as Adrion “Pee-Wee” Smith returned the kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. It remains the second-longest kickoff return TD in Grey Cup history.
“The Roughriders were closer at halftime than many thought they’d be and had picked up some momentum with a late first half touchdown. Adrion Smith’s kick-off return to open the second half absolutely crushed the Saskatchewan sideline, obliterating any hopes the Riders had for an upset, ensuring Toronto was on its way to a romp and a second straight Grey Cup win.” – Don Landry
92 – STUPENDOUS STUKUSES: Quarterback Annis Stukus, his brothers Bill, a fullback, and Frank, a halfback, were all members of the Argos offensive backfield in 1938. In a game in Toronto against Montreal the brothers all scored touchdowns and combined for five majors. In the 1937 Grey Cup game Annis and Bill platooned at quarterback. While the offensive output was far from explosive, the Boatmen scored enough to come up with a 4-3 win over Winnipeg at Varsity Stadium.
“Middle brother Bill, the finest passer and runner of the trio, was the Argos’ number one QB for five years. Big brother Annis was the number two, the league’s best kicker, and the club’s most colourful personality. Frank played tight end until a nagging high-school knee injury forced him to hang ’em up.” – Fraser
91 – QUITE THE QUARTER: To many, the Argos were home underdogs to Edmonton in the 2012 Eastern Semi-Final. Edmonton led 7-0 after 15 minutes before the Argos put together the most lopsided quarter in CFL playoff history. They outscored the visitors 31-0 in the second quarter; highlighted by a Chad Owens punt return touchdown and punctuated by a Ricky Ray TD on a QB draw. The Argos went on to win 42-26.
“The Argos were flat in the first quarter; a turnover and a key penalty hurt them early. After Chad Kackert caught a TD pass from Ricky Ray, Chad Owens exploded for a 59-yard punt return and the team never looked back. After Ricky scored near the end of the half on the most unexpected of plays, a QB draw, he jumped up and spiked the ball back between his legs. It was the most in-game emotion he ever showed as an Argo.” – Hogan
90 – A HALF-DOZEN FOR DUNIGAN: The Argos acquired quarterback Matt Dunigan from B.C. in a 1990 trade that sent six players to the Lions: Willie Pless, Jearld Baylis, Emanuel Tolbert, Tony Visco, Todd Wiseman and Rick Johnson. Although he faced a plethora of injury problems in his two years as an Argo, Dunigan was a superb fit for coach Adam Rita’s “shoot the lights out” offence, which set a CFL record by scoring 689 points in 1990.
“Dunigan had the aggressive mentality of a linebacker and the swagger of a Joe Namath. He was so highly regarded around the CFL that his trade to Toronto was the second time a team had seen fit to give up a half-dozen players for him. B.C. had made a six-for-one deal for Dunigan two years earlier.” – Woods
89 – IRONMAN MOEN: Linebacker Don Moen had an incredible streak of 198 consecutive games played, which still ranks sixth in CFL history among non-kickers. Moen’s streak began when he was a rookie in 1982, and continued until 1993. He also holds the team record for total games played with 222.
“It’s no surprise that Donnie, who came into the CFL as a safety and later played all those years as linebacker, went on to be a team captain and Ironman. He worked exceptionally hard and was a true professional on and off the field. We missed his presence in the lineup after the injury.” – Webb
88- KING WINS THE CROWN: Joe “King” Krol lived up to his nickname in the 1946 Grey Cup game. He not only threw three touchdown passes – as well as a 58-yard bomb to Leo Deadey – but he also caught a TD pass in Toronto’s 28-6 win over Winnipeg at Varsity Stadium.
“Following this first full season in Double Blue, Krol became the first athlete from a team sport to be named Canada’s outstanding male athlete of the year (today’s Lionel Conacher Award) after turning in a performance against Winnipeg that might have been the finest of his career. To this day, no Argonaut has improved on his three TD passes in a Grey Cup game.” – Fraser
87 – SCORING MACHINE: 1991 was the best year in a great career for place-kicker Lance Chomyc. He set a single-season high with 236 points, and surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career, becoming the first of just two Argos to reach that milestone. The life-long Argonaut finished his career with a team record 1,498 points, 270 more than Noel Prefontaine. Chomyc’s 236 points in 1991 set a CFL record that stood for 18 years before Montreal’s Damon Duval bested it by six points.
“Chomyc hit on all 64 of his convert attempts in 1991, and you’d maybe expect that on a team like that, with an offence like that, he’d have very few chances to kick threes. But incredibly, he connected on 55 field goals that season as well, on the way to the scoring record. It was a great season, but beyond that, Chomyc gave the Argos something every football team craves: a player they could depend on year after year.” – Landry
86 – BIRTH OF THE ARGO BOUNCE: In the 1938 Grey Cup game, the Argos played Winnipeg. With Toronto trailing by a point in the third quarter, the Bombers blocked a punt deep in Argo territory. Two Winnipeg players raced to recover the ball, but it took a fortuitous bounce into the hands of Toronto’s Teddy Morris, preserving Toronto’s 7-6 deficit. The Double Blue would go on to score 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 30-7 victory.
“The Argo Bounce became so fixed in Canadian football lore that competing legends grew up about how it originated. One of my reasons for favouring this play is that it came on the heels of the Boatmen recovering six of their own eight fumbles in that year’s Eastern Final. A journalist wrote that ‘Sometimes they kept on running and the ball would bounce into their waiting arms.’” – Fraser
85 – TOOGOOD WAS TOO GOOD: Ted Toogood was a member of the Argos’ 1950 and 1952 Grey Cup championship teams. On September 16, 1950, in a home game against Hamilton, he returned two punts for touchdowns: one for 65 yards, the other for 70. It’s a feat made even more remarkable when you consider that blocking was not allowed on punt returns during that era. Entering the 2023 season, two punt-return TDs in the same game had happened only seven times in the CFL since Toogood’s accomplishment.
“Toogood was actually a rookie that season. He was recruited to replace Royal Copeland after ‘Copey’ signed in Calgary, but by then Canadian halfbacks were losing their places to U.S. imports, and Toogood spent most of his career as a defensive back and kick returner.” – Fraser
84 – LONGEST PLAY EVER: At 131 yards, it’s the longest play in CFL history. The Argos hosted Montreal on August 22, 1958, at Varsity Stadium. Boyd Carter caught a wide field-goal attempt 21 yards behind the goal-line when end zones were 25 yards deep. While still in the end zone, Carter threw a lateral pass to Dave Mann, who raced 116 additional yards for a touchdown.
“It’s a record that will never be broken, since CFL fields are now 130 yards from the back of one end zone to the far goal-line. Dave Mann, the recipient of Boyd Carter’s lateral, was one of the greatest Argonauts of all time, a versatile receiver/kicker who could run like the wind and boot the ball into the stratosphere.” – Woods
83 – KACK ATTACK: He was a backup until mid-season, but Chad Kackert’s 2012 post-season performance made head coach Scott Milanovich look like a genius for promoting him. Kackert earned game MVP honours with 195 all-purpose yards (133 rushing and 62 receiving) as the Argos defeated Calgary in the 100th Grey Cup. The 133-yard rushing performance ranks 10th in Grey Cup history.
“Fans were outraged when Cory Boyd was cut in mid-season while leading the league in rushing. Kackert was solid over the rest of the regular season, then had outstanding playoff games against Edmonton and Montreal before dominating the Stamps.” – Hogan
82 – A BERRY GOOD START: It was a spectacular way to start the 1991 Grey Cup. After the Argos went two-and-out on their initial series, Calgary’s first offensive play was a Danny Barrett sideline pass that was intercepted by cornerback Ed Berry. He took it back 50 yards for a touchdown and the game’s first points, setting a warm tone on a frigid day in Winnipeg.
“If 1991 was a storybook year for the Argonauts, Ed Berry made sure the final chapter began with a bang. That interception set the tone for the Toronto defence that day – indeed it did for the whole team – and exorcised the ghosts of a Grey Cup matchup with Calgary 20 years before, when a slip in the rain had cost Toronto the title.” – Landry
81 – CRAZY LEGS’ CRAZY GAME: On September 6, 1952, Ulysses Curtis set a team record by rushing for 208 yards against the Alouettes at Varsity Stadium. That total has been surpassed just once, when Gill Fenerty rushed for 215 yards in a 1988 game. Curtis also set the team’s single-season rushing record in 1952 with 994 yards (another record that has since been broken).
“It’s tough to find a highlight in a 43-0 game, but Uly Curtis was able to provide one. ‘Crazy Legs’ was one of the Argos’ first Black players and their first star player of colour. He was virtually unstoppable in his 208-yard game and is still fourth on the team’s all-time rushing list.” – Hogan
80 – GREY CUP-BOUND, FINALLY: It had been 11 years since the Argos had been in a Grey Cup game, and 30 since they’d won the title. On a rainy, foggy day at Exhibition Stadium in November 1982, Toronto thrashed the Ottawa Rough Riders 44-7. Condredge Holloway and the offence racked up more than 500 yards, with Terry Greer catching nine passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
“This was the first Argo game I attended in person. The weather was terrible, but it didn’t matter. Holloway hit Greer from midfield for a touchdown on their first possession and it was clear sailing after that; 29-0 at halftime. The rout of the Riders meant the Argos were going to the Grey Cup, unimaginable after a 2-14 season in 1981.” – Hogan
79 – JENKINS’ DOMINANCE: Michael Jenkins set the Argo rushing record in 2001 with 1,484 yards, breaking Gill Fenerty’s record set in 1989 by 237 yards. Jenkins also became the first Argo to have more than one 1,000-yard rushing season after he racked up 1,050 yards in 2000. Cory Boyd is the only other Argo with more than one 1,000-yard season.
“We were a pass-happy team in the first half of that season, and needed a more balanced attack. Michael was a wrecking ball in the second half of the season. Considering his size (five-foot-seven), it was something that he rushed for all those yards, and in just 16 games. He had five receiving TDs, too.” – Webb
78 – CATCHING THE BIG TRAIN: Lionel Conacher played in 1920 for the Toronto Rugby Club, which lost to the Argos in the semifinal leading to the Grey Cup. The Argos then secured the 21-year-old’s services for the 1921 season and the “Big Train” led them to an undefeated season and a Grey Cup title. The 1921 team became known as the “Invincibles” and would go down as one of the most dominant in franchise history.
“The Argos pursued Conacher for three years before finally convincing him to come aboard, and for good reason. In his two seasons in Double Blue, the team didn’t lose a single regular-season game. His 14 rushing TDs in the six-game 1921 season is a club record that has lasted a century. The record is now shared with James Franklin, who had 14 in 2018.” – Fraser
77 – HARDING’S BIG SACK ATTACK: Rodney Harding set a team record* with five quarterback sacks in one game. It happened on September 25, 1988, against Edmonton at Exhibition Stadium. Harding also holds the team record with 91 career sacks, a whopping 41 more than second-place Jonathan Brown. (*Statistics on sacks were not maintained by the league before 1987).
“That incredible game made Harding just the second player to record five sacks after the statistic started being tracked. The feat has been matched by seven others since, but never surpassed. Beyond that game, Harding gave the Argonauts a decade of dominant pass-rushing. He always seemed to come up with one at the most opportune of times. Little wonder he was named to the team’s all-time roster in 2007.” – Landry
76 – TEN PICKS: Bill McFarlane set an Argo record with 10 interceptions in 1954, his first season. He had joined the Argonauts that year from the University of Toronto as the first overall pick in the 1954 draft. McFarlane’s team record was later tied by Jim Rountree.
“There are many spectacular aspects to McFarlane’s record: he was a rookie, the 10 picks came in just 14 games, and he set a league record that stood for another seven seasons. Only four rookies in CFL history have had double-digit picks, and only one (Edmonton’s Darryl Hall, with 11 in 16 games in 1984) has had more than the 10 McFarlane had in a 14-game season.” – Hogan
75 – DARRELL K.’S DOMINANCE: Slotback Darrell K. Smith had a monster 1990 season. He caught 20 touchdown passes – still the team record, and third all-time in the CFL – while adding 1,826 receiving yards. That’s the third-most yards by an Argo receiver, and seventh in CFL history. Smith added 351 yards as a rusher and kick returner, and tallied an additional 191 receiving yards in two playoff games, including a 99-yard TD that is the longest in the past four decades.
“While Mookie Mitchell, Pinball Clemons, Terry Greer and S.J. Green all surpassed 100 receptions in a season, it’s arguable none was as dominant as ‘Stymie’ was in 1990 when he caught 93 passes, scored 20 TDs and averaged an incredible 19.6 yards per catch. With huge hands, a chiselled physique and unsurpassed intensity, D.K. was a matchup nightmare for even the top defensive backs of his era.” – Woods
74 – METCALF’S MASSIVE MOVE: The football world was stunned in 1978 when Terry Metcalf signed with the Argos. Nicknamed “the Franchise” while playing for the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals, Metcalf was a three-time Pro Bowl player, including 1977, the year before he signed with the Argos. His Toronto contract doubled his annual salary to $100,000 and added a potential $150,000 more in incentives.
“What a bombshell. An established NFL star, Metcalf signed a seven-year deal with the Argos that could have been worth as much as $1.4 million. The expectation was that he would dominate in the CFL, and that looked likely when he racked up 291 combined yards in a season-opening win over Hamilton. The domination did not continue, though, and Metcalf’s three seasons in Toronto are largely regarded as a bust – which is a tad unfair. He wasn’t half-bad, actually.” – Landry
73 – DANNY’S DOUBLE CENTURY: The Argos’ original “iron man,” Danny Nykoluk played 16 seasons in Double Blue, including 12 in a row without missing a game. In 1970 he became the first Argo to suit up for 200 career games, and he is still one of just four to do so. Nykoluk retired after the 1970 season, but returned to play four more games at offensive tackle after the team ran into injury trouble in 1971.
“Danny was the only Argonaut player to span the entire 1960s, from the flashy Tobin Rote years through the decade’s mushy middle and then the club’s resurgence under Leo Cahill. Nykoluk did the Boatmen a massive favour by coming out of retirement late in the 1971 season. He finally got to the Grey Cup he had longed for, only to fall a few yards short of victory. His uniform number, 60, is one of just four retired by the team.” – Woods
72 – TWENTY-FIVE GRAND: Michael “Pinball” Clemons hung up the cleats for good midway through the 2000 campaign, shortly after he was appointed head coach. In his final half-season as a player, he amassed 831 combined yards to push him to a career total of 25,438. It’s the highest total in pro football history.
“When Michael finished his playing days, he was our career leader in multiple categories. He also led in the unofficial category of yards gained after missed tackles. Michael played all over the offence and shined on special teams. Twenty-five thousand yards is a remarkable accomplishment and a record to boot. He truly was a Pinball Wizard.” – Webb
71 – HAYMAN’S HIRING: When Lew Hayman was named head coach in 1933, nobody could predict how long his association with the club would last. Hayman would coach until 1941, winning three Grey Cups in that period. He returned to the team in 1956 as an administrator and eventually became president. By the time he retired, he had spent almost 40 years in the Argos’ front office.
“In his first season as coach, Hayman — who was only 25 at the time — took a club that had been out of the playoffs for a decade to a Grey Cup victory. Dubbed ‘the Knute Rockne of Canada,’ Hayman spent nine years as head coach, the longest stint in club history. His winning percentage of .719 still ranks first among coaches with more than 18 games at the helm.” – Fraser
70 – THE FLYIN’ HAWAIIAN: In the 2012 Eastern Final, the Argos faced the tall task of beating the powerhouse Alouettes at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, and trailed 17-10 at the half. Sparked by Chad Owens’ 70-yard reception on their first drive of the second half, the Argos came back for a 27-20 victory. Owens finished the game with 207 receiving yards (a team playoff record and the CFL’s fourth most all-time) and 346 combined yards (second all-time in the CFL to Michael Clemons’ 364 set against Ottawa in 1990).
“One of the more remarkable things about Owens’ performance – indeed about his performance down the stretch that season as well as in the playoffs – is that he’d dislocated his left thumb during an October game against Saskatchewan, suffering ligament damage. Over the next few weeks, he played through the pain and had a series of different casts on that thumb. The Argos and Owens kept the injury a secret until after the Grey Cup game was over. — Landry
69 – SYMONS’ SPRINT: In the 1968 Eastern Semifinal against the Tiger-Cats in Toronto, running back Bill Symons took the ball wide to the right, found a hole, and sprinted for a 100-yard touchdown run. It led the Argos to a 33-21 win, and it remains the longest post-season running play in league history.
“Symons became the Argos’ first 1,000-yard rusher that year and was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player. Hamilton jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the Semifinal and was heading toward an upset, but Symons’ huge run turned the game around. For a man that big, ‘Sy’ could really move.” – Hogan
68 – INVINCIBLES’ PERFECTION: Though the undefeated 1921 Argonauts – known as “The Invincibles” – were one of the most dominant teams in franchise history, they almost lost a game in Hamilton. They trailed 12-1 after one quarter and 18-13 late in the fourth, when Jo-Jo Stirrett intercepted a lateral and took it to Hamilton’s 25-yard line. The Argos executed an onside punt on first down and recovered the ball at the Tigers’ five-yard line. Alex Romeril would score a touchdown – worth five points at that time – and Harry Batstone’s convert gave the Argos a 19-18 victory.
“This season has reminded us that it’s no easy thing to match the Invincibles’ 9-0 record. When the Tigers shut down Lionel Conacher and the Argos’ juggernaut offence, it was Stirrett, their hard-nosed defensive leader, who made the play that extended the streak.” – Fraser
67 – MORRIS HIRED: Teddy Morris starred as a player for the Argos from 1931 to ’39, winning three Grey Cups. In 1940 he was hired by the club as an assistant coach. Morris left in 1942 to coach HMCS York’s team before returning to the Boatmen as head coach in 1945. He’d win Grey Cups in each of his first three seasons in that capacity, retiring with six championships with the Double Blue. His three Grey Cup wins as head coach ties him for the franchise record with Lew Hayman.
“Morris was asked to coach the Argos at the last minute, after contract talks with Hayman broke down. His success stemmed from building strong bonds with his players, most of whom rejected rich contract offers from other clubs out of loyalty to him.” – Fraser
66 – THE SCRAMBLE: In the 2022 Grey Cup game, starting quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson was forced out in the fourth quarter due to a thumb injury. He was replaced by rookie Chad Kelly. Facing third-and-15 with just under six minutes remaining, Kelly scrambled for 20 yards and a first down. Three plays later, A.J. Ouellette scored the game-winning touchdown in a 24-23 victory.
“Perhaps the most impressive thing about Kelly’s fourth-quarter performance was the tremendous poise he showed; the moment was not too big for him. When he was flushed out of the pocket to the right on ‘the play,’ it looked as if he was dead in the water. Somehow, he was able to keep his wits about him and head back to the left, where there was considerable running room. It kept alive the drive that would lead to A.J. Ouellette’s Grey Cup winning touchdown.” – Hogan
65 – ONE FOGGIE EVENING: On September 29, 1990, Rickey Foggie had a game for the ages. He threw seven touchdown passes (still tied for the team record) in a 60-39 win over Hamilton at SkyDome. Remarkably, Foggie also ran for 112 yards that night.
“It’s stunning to realize that Rickey Foggie was ‘only’ the Argos’ backup quarterback, and had begun the year being converted to slotback by the B.C. Lions. He had a cannon for an arm, and could move his spindly legs about as fast as any quarterback ever to wear the Double Blue. Best of all, ‘Fogdog’ couldn’t stop smiling, regardless of whether he had just thrown a TD pass (something he did a lot of in 1990), run past defenders for a huge gain, or been clobbered by a fierce linebacker.” – Woods
64 – CASOLA’S COURAGEOUS BATTLE: Norm Casola was diagnosed with cancer in 1996, but didn’t tell anyone. He battled through it, undergoing radiation treatments while still playing. He was named the Argos’ special-teams captain and was a member of the 1996 and 1997 Grey Cup teams. Casola passed away in 1998 at the age of 29.
“Nobody – and I mean absolutely nobody – knew he was sick. He hid it from everybody and fought through it on his own. When we found out about it, we were devastated. He was in pretty rough shape at that point.” – Webb
63 – DAVID SLAYS GOLIATH: The Argos’ home game on August 7, 1982, might have been remembered as the first game in which beer could be purchased at Exhibition Stadium – except that bit of important news was overshadowed by what happened on the field. Edmonton came in riding a four-year streak as Grey Cup champions, and having beaten the Argonauts nine consecutive times dating back to 1974. On this night, though, the Argos emerged as the better team. They looked fantastic in a 30-22 win, highlighted by a huge game from receiver Terry Greer. Thousands rushed the field to hail their heroes when the game was over.
“After three decades of failure and misery, including an all-time worst record of 2-14 in 1981, the Argos got off to a promising start early the following season. Promising starts usually didn’t amount to much back then, especially when mighty Edmonton came to town. This time, though, was different. Mouse Davis’s Run and Shoot offence started to click, Condredge Holloway and Terry Greer were on fire, and the Argos proved they were finally a force to be reckoned with. It was so stunning, and so much fun, that piles of fans – including me – just had to swarm the field afterwards to celebrate.” – Woods
62 – TERRIFIC TURVILLE: Frank Turville was an Argo for four seasons, 1928-31, and was named an all-star each year. His biggest impact came in a 1928 game against Ottawa when he rushed for 177 yards and scored 18 points, eight of them on rouges. That helped the Argos to their only win of the season.
“There are no one-man football teams, but the Argos in 1928-30 came pretty close. For three years Turville scored almost all the team’s points with consistent kicking and an uncanny knack for evading tacklers.” – Fraser
61 – YO, ADRION: The Argos led the 1996 Grey Cup 36-30 late in the fourth quarter in snowy Hamilton. Adrion Smith clinched the victory when he intercepted an errant Danny McManus pass and returned it 49 yards for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.
“In a game absolutely jammed with incredible plays, Adrion Smith came up with one of the most memorable. Edmonton quarterback Danny McManus threw a little behind and low to a sliding Darren Flutie, who tipped the ball up and into Smith’s hands. Adrion’s sprint to the end zone, arm raised with index finger pointing to the heavens, seemed like mere icing on the Argo cake until Edmonton finished the game with a last-minute touchdown drive in a 43-37 Toronto win. Smith actually scored the winning points in both the 1996 and 1997 Grey Cups (see moment No. 93).” – Landry
60 – BLUE BOMBERS GET THE ROYAL TREATMENT: Only two players have scored three career Grey Cup touchdowns for the Argos. Red Storey was efficient, scoring all three in the same game (in 1938), but Royal Copeland did something no one else has managed: he scored majors in three consecutive Grey Cup games (1945-47), all against Winnipeg. The Argos won all three games.
“Joe Krol’s wizardry in clutch situations had most people thinking of ‘Copey’ as the lesser member of the Gold Dust Twins. However, he was the Argos’ fastest, fittest and most consistent player; superb on both sides of the ball, and the undisputed leader of that remarkable squad.” – Fraser
59 – FLUTIE’S FORTY-SEVEN: Doug Flutie spent just two seasons in Toronto, but left behind a lifetime of memories. In 1997, he passed for 47 touchdowns. It’s a team record that still stands, and it remains second-best all-time in CFL history, one behind the 48 Flutie threw with Calgary in 1994. Flutie’s dominance was a huge factor in the Argos going 15-and-3 winning their second consecutive Grey Cup.
“I’d wager that Flutie had just about every type of touchdown pass possible that season: long bomb, short route, shovel pass in the backfield. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if he threw one left-handed. In 1996, Flutie threw 29 touchdown passes for the Argonauts, out of 434 completions. He set his team record a year later on four fewer completions. Now, that’s upping your productivity.” – Landry
58 – OBIE OH MY: The Argos raised eyebrows in 1982 by hiring relatively unknown Ottawa assistant coach Bob O’Billovich as head coach. “Obie” led the team from a 2-14 record in 1981 to a Grey Cup appearance in ‘82, then the championship a year later – Toronto’s first title in 31 years. O’Billovich coached eight seasons in his first stint as Argo head coach, finishing first five times, advancing to the Grey Cup three times and winning it once. He still holds team records for games coached, wins, first-place finishes and playoff appearances.
“Argo fans in 1982 would have been forgiven for muttering ‘who IS this guy?’ under their breath. After years of misery, and coming off a season in which the team had won just two games, most fans were expecting some kind of big, splashy hiring for head coach. Many demanded it, really. While Obie’s hiring might have been seen by many as underwhelming, he would quickly quiet the doubters by guiding the team out of the murk and charting a course for one of its greatest victories. Quite simply, Bob O’Billovich stands as one of the most important personalities in team history.” – Landry
57 – RAY GETS WILDER: The Argos trailed Saskatchewan 21-18 late in the 2017 Eastern Final. Moving into a strong wind, the Argos faced a critical third-and-five from the Riders’ 40-yard line with just over a minute left. Because of the wind, kicking a game-tying field goal seemed next to impossible. The Argos instead went for it on third down. Ricky Ray found James Wilder for a pass completion and a first down that put Toronto into field-goal range. Instead of settling for a possible tie, Ray then connected with Armanti Edwards to the one-yard line. Cody Fajardo would sneak into the end zone with 23 seconds left, sending the Argos to the Grey Cup.
“It was a spectacular atmosphere with 25,000 at BMO Field that day. Ray was masterful on the final drive, which started with just over two minutes left. His third-down strike to Wilder was the highlight – a tough touch pass into a strong wind. After that, Ray hit Edwards down to the one and then Fajardo scored. Of all the great things Ricky Ray did in Double Blue – including two Grey Cup wins – that drive is what I most remember him for. They don’t advance to, and win, the 2017 Grey Cup without the Ray-to-Wilder play.” – Hogan
56 – HEROIC HENOC: Late in the 2022 Grey Cup, linebacker Henoc Muamba intercepted a Zach Collaros pass to give Toronto the ball at a crucial juncture of the game. The Argos went on to defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 24-23 to win their 18th Grey Cup, and afterwards Muamba was announced as the game’s Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian – just the second man in CFL history to win both awards. He was joined onstage for the presentation by his daughter, Thea, in an incredibly emotional moment.
“It was great to see him finally get a Grey Cup. It was redemption for him after he dropped a sure interception earlier, but that pick he had was huge. Knowing what his journey’s been like to get to that stage, how fitting was it that he’d win both awards?” – Webb
55 – ALL THE WAY WITH HOLLOWAY: One year after being at the controls for the worst season in team history, quarterback Condredge Holloway became just the second Argo to be named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player. Holloway threw for 4,661 yards and 31 touchdowns, second in both categories behind Edmonton’s Warren Moon. He led all QBs with 448 rushing yards and led the Argos to their first first-place finish and Grey Cup appearance in 11 years.
“Condredge Holloway arrived in a 1981 trade from Ottawa as the latest in a long line of Argo ‘saviours.’ He and the team failed miserably that year, losing all but two games. But Holloway was not the type to back away from a challenge, and when Mouse Davis introduced his ‘Run and Shoot’ offence in 1982, Holloway eagerly embraced it even though it left him vulnerable to a lot of hits. Once he and his receivers figured it all out, Holloway and the Argos became almost unstoppable.” – Woods
54 – SCORING RAMPAGE: The Argos opened the month of September in 1990 by defeating the B.C. Lions 68-43 at SkyDome. At 111 combined points, it was – and remains – the highest-scoring game in CFL history. The Argos scored six touchdowns on offence, and added TDs on defence (a 62-yard Ed Berry interception return) and special teams (Keith Castello’s 34-yard fumble return right after Berry scored). The 68 points scored by the Argos is tied for the third-highest single-game total in league history. Incredibly, the two teams combined for 50 points in the fourth quarter alone (27 by Toronto).
“Four days after scoring 36 points in Edmonton (while surrendering 56), the Argos got Matt Dunigan back into the lineup after an injury that had sidelined him for five games. Dunigan threw three touchdown passes before giving way to newly acquired backup Rickey Foggie, who threw a single pass (a 47-yard TD) and carried the ball once (a 28-yard TD). This was the start of an unprecedented scoring blitz by the Argos, who averaged nearly 60 points over the next five games.” – Woods
“This was the first Argo game I attended after ten years as a fan. I was hooked for life – and who wouldn’t be?” – Fraser
53 – BOXED IN: The Argos travelled to Davis Field in Sarnia to play the hometown Imperials for the 1933 Grey Cup. Ab Box not only punted for a fourth-quarter rouge that gave the Argos the winning margin in a 4-3 win; he also made a game-saving defensive play in the final minute. Sarnia broke a long play to Toronto’s five-yard line, but an official ruled that Box had forced the Imperial player out of bounds back at the 45, and Toronto hung on for the win. Box had turned field position in Toronto’s favour all game long with a series of booming punts.
“Box was not only the Argos’ main punter; he was also their main passer of the ball. When his jaw was shattered in the 1933 season opener, he was declared finished for the season. However, he worked his way back from this devastating injury and returned for the playoffs wearing a ‘mask’ designed for him by trainer George Stockwell.” – Fraser
52 – THE JET TAKES OFF: Edmonton led the 1996 Grey Cup 9-3 early in the second quarter in Hamilton. After the Argo defence forced a two-and-out, Edmonton’s Sean Fleming launched a punt into Toronto’s end of the field. Jimmy Cunningham, the speedy returner known as “The Jet,” took it 80 yards for a touchdown that gave Toronto the lead on a snowy night in Hamilton. He found a running lane along the right hashmark, which had been shovelled, and capped his run with an epic, celebratory slide in the snow.
“The guys at Ivor Wynne Stadium actually helped him out by clearing a path in the snow down the hashmarks. He caught the punt on the bench side and was able to get through traffic to the far stripe. When he hit that clear patch, nobody was going to catch him. Or, it might have been the shoes (laughs).” – Webb
51 – 27 COOKIES: The Argos hosted Montreal at Exhibition Stadium on October 30, 1960. Carlton Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist, a punishing runner who could also kick, set a team record by scoring 27 points as the Argos won 63-27. Gilchrist scored three touchdowns, eight converts and a rouge. It remains the second-highest single-game total in league history, one behind Dave Ridgway’s 28-point game (all on kicks) for Saskatchewan in 1984.
“Lookie, lookie, here comes Cookie. That was the cry around Canadian football when Cookie Gilchrist got the ball into his hands. One of the most powerful individuals ever to suit up, Gilchrist spent three years with the Argonauts (1959-61) before moving to the AFL, where he became that league’s first 1,000-yard rusher. In 1960, Cookie was runner-up as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player, and an all-star at both running back and linebacker. His Argo statistics show his versatility: 1,867 rushing yards, 563 receiving yards, seven interceptions, 41 field goals and 64 converts.” – Woods
50 – O’SHEA’S 1,000TH: In an October 2006 game against Saskatchewan at the Rogers Centre, linebacker Michael O’Shea racked up his 1,000th career tackle. He became the first Canadian, and just the third CFL player ever, to record 1,000 career tackles – a statistic the league started recording in 1987. O’Shea became an Argo fan favourite, not only for his intense, physical style of play, but also because he left Hamilton on two different occasions to sign free-agent deals with Toronto.
“He was always around the ball. Those are just his defensive tackles, he’s also top ten all-time in special teams tackles. His teammates went to him for advice as much as they went to the coaches.” – Webb
49 – FIRST OF MANY: The Grey Cup wasn’t awarded until 1909, but the Argos won the team’s first championship eight years earlier. In their fourth season playing in the Ontario Rugby Football Union, the 1901 Argos posted a 5-1 regular-season record and won the league title. They also won the Toronto city championship with two wins over the University of Toronto. The Boatmen would lose the Dominion championship to Ottawa.
“In 1901 the Dominion title was similar to the Memorial Cup in junior hockey today – icing on the cake after a championship season at league level. The Argos lost money travelling to Montreal for the title game against the University of Ottawa, and after beating the University of Toronto for the city championship four days later, making a bucketload of money in the process, their hearts (and wallets) weren’t in the replay against the Gee Gees. Quarterback Russell Britton, kicker George Langton, and others who’d played hurt in the first game and the Varsity game stayed home, and the loss was a foregone conclusion.” – Fraser
48 – SUCH A THRILL: Gill “The Thrill” Fenerty, a dynamic running back from New Orleans who played briefly in Italy before joining the Argonauts, burst through the Calgary Stampeders’ defensive line repeatedly on August 31, 1988, at Exhibition Stadium. By game’s end, Fenerty had rushed for 215 yards, a single-game team record that still stands.
“I remember Fenerty’s signing well. He’d played the previous year for the Bolzano Jets of the Italian Football League, which made some of us immediately skeptical as to whether he could be any good. What a laugh that is now. Powerful and fast, with great moves and hands, Fenerty was a sensation. All of that talent was on full display in this one performance, when he broke a club record that had stood for 36 years (see moment 81). His record has now stood for 35.” – Landry
47 – HOLLYWOOD PREMIERE: Fired up by celebrity owners and the big-bucks signing of college superstar Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, more than 41,000 spectators showed up at SkyDome for the 1991 home opener. With owners John Candy, Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall watching from the sideline, the Rocket lifted fans out of their seats with a spectacular punt return. The halftime show featured Candy, Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi singing, accompanied by the legendary Blues Brothers band. Oh yeah, the Argos also won, 41-18 over Hamilton.
“There might not have been a more-anticipated event in Argo history than the night the McNall-Gretzky-Candy group introduced itself to Argo fans in 1991. The opener lived up to months of hype. The Rocket – perhaps the fastest player in CFL history – launched successfully, and the halftime and post-game shows brought Hollywood to Toronto. Candy danced, Aykroyd wailed on blues harp, Mariel Hemingway danced; even Super Dave was there. It was all the sizzle the new ownership group had promised.” – Woods
46 – NOBBY TO ZEKE: The 1952 Grey Cup game saw the Argos play Edmonton at Varsity Stadium. Toronto led 15-11 after three quarters and put the game away with the only scoring play of the fourth quarter, a 36-yard play-action pass from quarterback Norbert “Nobby” Wirkowski to a wide-open Zeke O’Connor. It was the last offensive touchdown the Argos would score in a Grey Cup game for 30 years.
“A section of the fans refused to be won over by Wirkowski after he won the quarterback job from the popular Al Dekdebrun in 1951. His performance in the 1952 Grey Cup, including that bomb to O’Connor to clinch the victory, went a long way towards vindicating him with his critics.” – Fraser
45 – SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER: Over a five-game span in September 1990, the Argos scored an incredible 286 points, an average of 57 points per game. They won all five by scores of 68-43, 49-19, 39-16, 70-18 and 60-39. Adam Rita’s potent “shoot out the lights” offence, directed by quarterbacks Matt Dunigan and Rickey Foggie, lit up the CFL for a record 689 points that year. It remains the second-highest points total in CFL history.
“Head coach Don Matthews urged offensive co-ordinator Adam Rita to develop a uniquely creative offence in 1990, and to give it a name. ‘Shoot the lights out’ was born, and the Argos almost fulfilled Matthews’ audacious prediction of 40 points a game. The five-game stretch in September will likely never be matched. The Argos hit 70 points once, 60 twice, and ‘only’ 49 and 39 in the other games.” – Woods
44 – TOBIN ROTE THE BOOK: Argo quarterback Tobin Rote exploded for 524 passing yards in a 1960 game against Montreal at Exhibition Stadium. More than six decades later, it remains the highest single-game total in Argo history, and 17th on the CFL’s all-time list. He is sixth on the team’s all-time passing list despite playing just three seasons, and also threw the longest and third-longest passes in team history: 108 yards to Jim Rountree and 103 yards to Dave Mann.
“Rote is an almost forgotten star in Argo history. He arrived in Toronto after seven seasons in Green Bay and leading the Packers to an NFL championship. A tremendous passer and rusher, Rote was only 32 when he first donned Double Blue, and had great success here. He twice threw seven touchdown passes in a game, and in 1960 he threw a CFL record 38 passes leading the Argos to first place in the East – but they lost a two-game playoff series to Ottawa. After the 1962 season, Rote left Toronto for San Diego and led the Chargers to the AFL championship.” – Hogan
43 – ALL-PURPOSE OWENS: In a spectacular 2012 season, Chad Owens broke a league record held by Pinball Clemons. Owens finished the season with 3,863 combined yards, breaking Clemons’ record of 3,840 set 15 years earlier. Owens had 1,328 yards on receptions, 1,588 on kickoff returns, 828 on punt returns, 94 on missed field goals, and 25 rushing. His total remains the CFL record, and Owens has three of the top eight seasons in this category.
“Owens started his rise to prominence with a good season in 2011, but nobody expected him to explode like he did in 2012. Having Ricky Ray join the team was obviously huge for him, and he became more than a great returner and above-average receiver; he became great at every aspect of the game. He was so good you anticipated he would score every time he touched the ball.” – Hogan
42 – SY WAS GRAND: In 1968, Bill Symons became the first Argo to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season. He also became the first Argonaut to win the league’s Most Outstanding Player award. Symons finished the year with 1,107 yards, which still ranks sixth on the team’s all-time single-season rushing list.
“Bill Symons was super-talented, of course, and quite the team player, too. Following up on his 1,000-yard season, he came achingly close to doing it two more times in succession, with 905 yards in 1969 and then 908 in 1970. And those two totals came with him sharing the backfield with Dave Raimey. In 1971, Symons dutifully switched from featured ball carrier to bulldozer, when he blocked for rookie running back Leon McQuay.” – Landry
41 – GOLD DUST TWINS DEBUT: The Argos lured Joe Krol away from his hometown Hamilton Wildcats in October 1945 after he tried out for the Detroit Lions. In his first game as an Argo, the ‘45 season finale in Montreal, Krol gave an indication of what the future would hold: he threw four touchdown passes to Royal Copeland in the second half. Copeland’s feat established a team record that has been tied, but never broken. The pair went on to became known as the “Gold Dust Twins.”
“Copeland never seemed to take a down off, Krol seemed to coast until the chips were down, but their personality differences didn’t prevent them from meshing from Day One into one of the game’s great offensive partnerships.” – Fraser
40 – MATT WASN’T DONE AGAIN: There was no way Matt Dunigan should have been able to play in the 1991 Grey Cup. After two injury-plagued seasons, the Argo quarterback had suffered yet another injury in the 1991 Eastern Final: a fractured clavicle in his right (throwing) shoulder. He couldn’t throw and didn’t practise all week. But Dunigan had the shoulder injected with numbing painkillers, and somehow was able to play and lead the Argos to a memorable win over Calgary. He managed to throw two long TD passes, but intangibles he brought that day – leadership, toughness, refusal to surrender – were a big reason for the victory.
“Matt didn’t practice all week. The day before the game there were about five or six of us in the hotel ballroom to see if he could throw. I was the one catching his passes. After some soft tosses to warm up, he threw some balls that were skimming off the tables and breaking glasses. At the end of the session when Matty said, ‘Yeah, I’ll give it a go,’ I knew we were in good shape.” – Webb
39 – THE PERFECT SNOWBALL: The first quarter of the 2017 Grey Cup went as expected, considering it was played in a raging blizzard. Both offences struggled, with Calgary leading 6-0 after 15 minutes. The Argos showed no signs of offensive life, but that changed on the first play of the second quarter. Ricky Ray hit DeVier Posey on a long pass up the left sideline at midfield, and the receiver sprinted the remaining 55 yards for the touchdown that would tie the game. At an even 100 yards, it stands as the longest offensive play in Grey Cup history. Posey finished the game with seven catches for 175 yards and was named the game’s MVP in a 27-24 Argos win.
“The Argos couldn’t get anything going in the first quarter, then boom! It was vintage Ricky Ray, dropping a perfect pass over Tommie Campbell and hitting DeVier in full stride. Ricky also had to account for Posey slipping on the snow and almost falling down at the beginning of his route. DeVier also should receive style points for his dive into the end zone.” – Hogan
38 – NAIL-BITING FINISH: The heavily favoured Argonauts had trailed Hamilton all through the 1983 Eastern Final, and were still down by two points and facing third down at the Ticats’ four-yard-line with just 53 seconds left on the clock. After considering a short field-goal attempt, head coach Bob O’Billovich opted to gamble on third down. With 54,000 fans holding their breath, Cedric Minter took a handoff from Condredge Holloway and ran two yards for a first down. Minter then plunged into the end zone on the next play, giving the Argos a 41-36 win that sent them to their second straight Grey Cup.
“After the best season in franchise history, the Argos had seemed destined to return to the Grey Cup. But the underdog Ticats were a minute away from aborting that mission, and it all came down to an all-or-nothing play. Holloway pleaded with O’Billovich to go for it rather than try a field goal, and the coach finally – reluctantly, it seemed – relented. I’ve witnessed a lot of plays where the tension was almost unbearable, but this was the all-timer. Minter’s two plunges, getting the first down and then the touchdown, created a massive, joyous exhalation in the stands and are seminal in the history of the Argonauts.” — Woods
37 – THE BIG TRAIN ROLLED: In 1921, the Argos hosted Edmonton in the first East-West Grey Cup game. The star was 21-year-old Lionel Conacher, who rushed for 211 yards and scored 15 points in Toronto’s 23-0 win. He scored two touchdowns, kicked a field goal and booted two rouges. The 211 yards would still be the Grey Cup record if statistics from that era were recognized. Named Canada’s top male athlete of the half-century in 1950, Conacher might have had an even bigger day, but with the game well in hand, he left after the third quarter so he could play a senior hockey game that night.
“The Argos had virtually no advance knowledge about Edmonton’s team, which proved to be strong up the middle and weak on the wings, enabling Conacher to destroy them with end runs. It was to avoid running up the score and to give their backups time in the spotlight that Sinc McEvenue took Conacher and Harry Batstone out of the game in the third quarter. That being said, the Big Train did play defence for the Aura Lees that evening, scoring a goal in a 4–2 loss in the city championship game, paving the way for legend to link his substitution with the hockey game.” – Fraser
36 – SAZIO’S HEEL TURN: Ralph Sazio was a Tiger-Cats legend as a player, Grey Cup-winning head coach, general manager and president. The entire CFL was stunned when he left Hamilton early in the 1981 season to become Argo president. Tasked with turning around a perennial loser, Sazio hired Bob O’Billovich as head coach and the team immediately went to consecutive Grey Cups, winning in 1983. Before Sazio retired after the 1989 season, he led the Argos to three Grey Cup appearances, one championship and five first-place finishes.
“There’s almost nothing to compare it to in sports history – a guy who had been closely identified with a franchise for three decades suddenly jumping to its biggest rival in mid-season. ‘How could you go to the Argos?’ Ralph Sazio’s daughter demanded. ‘We hate the Argos!’ But Sazio had indeed joined the enemy just down the highway. His arrival ended a decade of on-field failure and launched a decade of success (although all the games and titles Toronto won under Sazio’s leadership failed to increase attendance).” — Woods
35 – PINBALL’S ASCENSION: Following a humiliating 51-4 loss to B.C. on August 24, 2000, and a 1-6-1 start to the season, the Argos parted ways with controversial head coach John Huard. Rather than elevating an assistant coach to the top spot, club owner Sherwood Schwarz called on a man with no coaching experience: veteran slotback Michael Clemons. Still an active player at the time, “Pinball” coached on Labour Day in Hamilton from the sideline, then suited up for two more games. His last game as a player – billed as “Pinball’s final run” – came on September 15 at home against Saskatchewan. Clemons then devoted himself full-time to coaching, leading the Argos to six wins in their final nine games.
“We were all hoping for it (the firing) as we were on the road to nowhere both on and off the field. There were people on staff that could have, should have taken over, but thankfully we had Michael, who had command and respect not only from fans but the locker room as well. He was not only the best choice; he was the only choice to take over to try to salvage some part of the season. When Michael walked into the room after it was announced, the players all started jumping up and down in celebration; the floorboards were bouncing. It was a sense of relief and joy.” – Webb
34 – MOOKIE MADNESS: Much like Terry Greer’s three consecutive 200-yard games (coming up later in this list), Derrell Mitchell’s 160 receptions in a season, set in 1998, is a record that will be tough to top. The next highest total in CFL history is far behind (126). In just his second season, “Mookie” also became the second Argo and third CFL player to hit the 2k mark, recording an even 2,000 receiving yards.
“Mookie Mitchell’s first season, in 1997, was sensational: he racked up nearly 1,500 yards and was named the CFL’s rookie of the year. It was expected that Year 2 would be something less, considering that quarterback Doug Flutie had left for the NFL, with Kerwin Bell coming in as the starter. But it is a testament to Mitchell’s talent that he could blend so well and so quickly with a new pivot to come up with a season for the ages. Mitchell was a terrific receiver when it came to yards after catch, which speaks to his raw abilities. One hundred-sixty catches in a season speaks to his pattern-running smarts and his ability to just get open time and time again. Averaging almost nine catches a game for an entire season is absolutely ludicrous. How on earth will anyone ever break that record?” – Landry
33 – LUCKY SEVENS: October 1960 was an amazing month for Argo quarterback Tobin Rote. After a decade in the NFL with the Packers and Lions, Rote came to Canada and had a tremendous start to his CFL career. After setting a still-standing club record with 524 yards passing in an August game, he threw for seven touchdowns on October 1, then did that again four weeks later on October 30. The seven-TD mark has been achieved just one other time in team history, by Rickey Foggie in 1990 (#65 on this list).
“Great things were expected from Rote when he arrived 3 years after leading Detroit to an NFL championship, and he certainly delivered. He led the Argos from worst to first in the East and surpassed the other three starting QBs in the division – all future Hall of Famers – in passer rating, touchdown passes, passing yards and almost every other statistical category related to passing. That the voters denied him Eastern All-Star recognition was, and still is, unfathomable.” – Fraser
32 – HONOURING AN ALL-TIME ARGO: Dick Shatto was named the Argos’ most valuable player seven times in his 12 seasons as a prototypical all-purpose back. His number 22 is one of just four that have been retired by the team. When the star announced that 1965 would be his final season, Mayor Philip Givens declared October 16 – the day of Toronto’s final home game of the season – “Dick Shatto Day” in Toronto. At Shatto’s request, proceeds from the game were donated to the building fund for the Hospital for Sick Children. Shatto played 159 games in Double Blue; his 6,958 rushing yards, 16 100-yard rushing games, and 91 touchdowns all remain Argo records.
“Shatto was a quarterback when Frank Clair recruited him from the University of Kentucky, but his hands and feet proved better suited for Canadian football than his arm. In 12 seasons he won 2 Jeff Russel trophies and set new club benchmarks for career scoring, rushing, receiving and kick returning, and he is still the Argos’ all-time leader in touchdowns and rushing yards. Proceeds from testimonial games ordinarily were gifted to the player in question, but Shatto opted to donate the money to Sick Kids, a charity he supported vigorously for fifty years.” – Fraser
31 – BOMBS AWAY: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have always been the Argos’ biggest rivals, but from 1987 to 1991 it was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers who were Toronto’s biggest nemesis. The Argonauts upset the first-place Bombers in the 1987 Eastern Final, then lost playoff games to Winnipeg in each of the next three years. Toronto turned the tables emphatically in 1991 with a 42-3 thrashing in front of 50,380 SkyDome spectators at the Eastern Final. The game was all but over before the first quarter ended, with the Argos up 22-3. Toronto ended the year with a perfect 10-0 record at home.
“Mouthy linebackers James West and Tyrone Jones of the defending champion Bombers assured everyone all week that Winnipeg would knock off Toronto’s pampered ‘fat cats.’ As game time approached, the normally boisterous Argo locker room fell silent, the intensity level off the charts. Then two quick touchdown passes were followed by a breathtaking Rocket Ismail punt-return TD. For the game’s final three quarters – for the first time in five years, really – Jones and West had to shut up. It was the ‘fat cats’ who were Grey Cup-bound.” — Woods
30 – FLUTIE SIGNS: It was huge news when the free-agent quarterback signed with the Argos on March 16, 1996. In his two seasons in Double Blue, he would lead the team to two 15-3 seasons, a pair of Grey Cup wins, and would be named the league’s M.O.P in both of his years here. Flutie still holds the team records for passing yards in a season with 5,720 and for touchdown passes in a year with 47.
“What a huge gift it was to have him fall into our lap. He lifted everybody up. We’d go into games knowing we were going to win; it was just a question of by how much.” – Webb
29 – GLAD MURPHY DAY: In 1914, William Ewart Gladstone Murphy, better known as Glad, was the first Argo to be named a league MVP. In the opening game of 1915, Murphy fell awkwardly and suffered a fractured neck. Seven weeks later, on November 27, with Murphy still in hospital, “Glad Murphy Day” was held at Rosedale Field. Some 10,000 fans showed up to help raise money for his care. He would pass away some two months later.
“The Argos wanted to abandon the season after Murphy’s injury but decided to continue and to transfer all profits from ticket sales to his family. Even though the season was over, Hamilton brought their full squad to the Glad Murphy benefit game, and several Tigers officers made large donations. It was a unique and bittersweet coming together in honour of a magnificent player who was universally admired, and deeply mourned at his death.” – Fraser
28 – LEO’S REIGN BEGINS: After a decade and a half of failure, Argonauts management handed the head coaching job in 1967 to a guy who had guided the Continental Football League’s Toronto Rifles. Leo Cahill quickly became one of Toronto’s most beloved figures by building an entertaining team filled with characters; a band of long-haired renegades who had more style and swagger than the rest of the CFL combined. Cahill lured a number of high-profile college stars away from the NFL, and became known as “Leo the Lip” for outrageous quotes that kept the Argos in the news.
“There has never been a coach who was as much of a promoter as Leo Cahill. He loved making headlines, and during his first of two stints as head coach (from 1967 to ’72), the Argos were constantly the talk of the town. Convincing big-name players like Joe Theismann, Jim Corrigall and Jim Stillwagon to sign here was part of his charm; so was his loquaciousness. From “It will take an act of God to beat us” to “when Leon slipped, I fell,” Leo was never at a loss for words. — Woods
27 – ARGOS WIN ’96 GREY CUP: Arguably, it’s the most exciting Grey Cup of them all. Playing in a snowstorm, the Argos beat Edmonton 43-37 in a game that featured six lead changes in the first half, touchdowns of 49, 64, 75, 80 and 91 yards, a controversial non-fumble call, and a remarkable catch by Eddie Brown. To put a cherry on top of an already delicious sundae, the Argos hoisted the Grey Cup at Ivor Wynne Stadium, the home of their archrivals.
“This was the most exciting football game I’ve ever seen. It really had everything; star power, several lead changes, and more big plays than you would expect in a month of games. That it was played in an unexpected snowstorm added to the drama and gave it an added dose of Canadiana. The picture of Flutie, Pinball and company hoisting the Grey Cup amid the snowflakes – at Ivor Wynne Stadium no less – remains one of my favourite sports photos.” – Hogan
26 – BLACK’S INTERCEPTION: In the 2017 Grey Cup the Argos had taken a 3-point lead on a last-minute field goal. The Stampeders drove down the field for the tying points, but instead of settling for a field goal they went for the win. Bo Levi Mitchell launched a ball down the sideline and into the end zone. Matt Black – filling in at safety for Jermaine Gabriel, who had been moved to the corner – sprinted from the middle of the field and was able to pick off the deep pass to clinch the championship.
“The talk on the bench was for everyone to get ready for overtime. To see Bo drop back and throw, and to see Matt go over and get the pick – euphoria. To see Matt come back from getting cut earlier in the year and make that play, it’s a great story.” – Webb
25 – FIRST GREY CUP WIN: The Argos won their first of 18 Grey Cups on December 5, 1914. It was the sixth time the trophy had been awarded. The Boatmen defeated the U-of-T Blues 14-2 at Varsity Stadium in front of 10,500 fans. In the game’s opening minute, team captain and league MVP Glad Murphy recovered a fumble and ran it back for an Argo touchdown. In the second quarter Freddie Mills took another fumble recovery back for a touchdown.
“After heartache in the 1911 and 1912 Grey Cup games, the third time was the charm for the outstanding squad led in these years by flying wing Glad Murphy (scored 2 of the team’s 4 playoff TDs) and halfback Jack O’Connor (kicked 5 playoff FGs) and coached by Jack Newton and Billy Foulds. Sadly, some of the players surrounding captain Murphy in the iconic photograph of this first Argo team to win the trophy never played another down of football, losing their lives in the First World War.” – Fraser
24 – TERRY’S TRIPLE: This might be the CFL’s most unbreakable record. In 1983, Terry Greer caught passes totalling more than 200 yards in three consecutive games. The numbers are staggering: 230 yards, then 203, then 243. No one else has ever had three 200-yard games in a single season, and only eight players in history have even managed it twice in the same year. Three games in a row is simply unfathomable.
“After four consecutive 100-yard games, Greer was well-established as the league’s most dangerous pass-catcher. Opponents knew that stopping him was key to taming Toronto’s powerful Run and Shoot offence. But first Ottawa, then Saskatchewan, then B.C. failed miserably in that mission. Over those three games, Condredge Holloway’s favourite target racked up 32 receptions for 676 yards – a productive season for most receivers. Simply put, Terry Greer was the greatest receiver in Argonauts history.” — Woods
23 – PINBALL’S M.O.P. SEASON: Michael Clemons exploded in his second CFL season, winning the league M.O.P for the only time in his career. He amassed 3,300 combined yards, establishing a CFL record that lasted for 7 seasons until he broke it himself.
“It’s funny. I remember Hamilton’s Rufus Crawford setting the all-time mark for single-season combined yards, in 1984, with 2,895. And I thought “that’s just incredible. Maybe no one ever breaks that one.” Not only did Pinball break the record in his MOP season of 1990, he absolutely shattered it and his being the first player to cross the 3,000 yard barrier felt a lot like it did when Terry Greer became the first receiver to break the 2,000 yard mark. It was mind-boggling.” – Landry
22 – THEISMANN SIGNS: Joe Theismann was a high-profile quarterback at Notre Dame and a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Instead of signing with the Miami Dolphins, the NFL team that drafted him, he stunned observers by signing with the Argos. It was another instance of Leo Cahill stealing headlines. Theismann would play in Toronto for 3 years, helping the team reach the ’71 Grey Cup, before heading to Washington, where he would win a Super Bowl.
“I was just 7-years-old when this historic signing happened so I can’t say I could grasp the enormity of it at the time. But I have some memory of my dad – a huge Argonauts fan – being very excited about how his team stole a star quarterback away from the NFL. While Theismann was unsuccessful in bringing the Grey Cup to Toronto, he was the ringleader of a massively popular team, one that rivalled the Maple Leafs – maybe even outstripped them – in fan interest. His talent and his charisma were catalysts in setting the tone for one of the most memorable eras in Toronto sports history.” – Landry
21 – KROL’s ROUGE: The Argonauts completed their Grey Cup threepeat in 1947 in the most Canadian way imaginable – with a rouge. Joe Krol’s punt single on the game’s final play broke a 9-9 tie and gave the Argos the championship. He angled the punt out of bounds, just after Winnipeg had turned the ball over on a botched fake kick.
“Losing so narrowly after being outscored 63–6 by the Argos in the previous two title games left several Winnipeg players in tears. It was a fitting climax of another clutch fourth-quarter performance by a player who was famous for them. Down 9–7 with five minutes left, Krol kicked singles from 35 and 58 yards to tie the score. With four seconds on the clock after defensive tackle Frankie Morris broke up Winnipeg’s punt-fake, he looped a punt from the 38-yard line to drop in front of the returners. That it did, a yard over the goal line, before bouncing out of bounds.” – Fraser
20 – CASSIUS’ PLAY: With time running out in the fourth quarter of the 2017 Grey Cup, Calgary was on the verge of a score that would increase its lead to at least nine points. Instead, the Argo defence converged on a receiver to force a fumble, which Cassius Vaughn scooped up and returned 109 yards for a stunning touchdown that (after a two-point conversion) tied the game. A few minutes later, a Lirim Hajrullahu field goal and a Matt Black interception gave Toronto a 27-24 win. Vaughn’s touchdown is the second longest play, and the longest defensive play, in Grey Cup history.
“What impressed me the most was that Cassius was in the end zone when the ball was completed to Kamar Jorden on the far side. He was deep behind the goal post in the end zone yet had the wherewithal to read the play and rally to the ball. How that whole play developed was the big part; it was huge.” – Webb
“Most people don’t realize that when Cassius was recruited out of high school it was primarily as a running back. He attacked the fumble rather than just fall on it. He made a nice move as soon as he picked it up, made a fake on Bo Levi Mitchell, then was patient waiting for blocks to develop at around the 15-yard line. I don’t know how many DBs would have had the instincts to do what Cassius did.” – Hogan
19 – FLUTIE TO PINBALL: The Argos and Alouettes were tied 30-30 in the final minute of a tense 1997 Eastern Final when Doug Flutie hit Pinball Clemons with a short pass over the middle. When two Montreal defenders fell to the turf while trying to tackle him at the Als’ 40-yard line, Clemons seized the opportunity to race to the end zone for a 58-yard, game winning TD. The Argos would blow out Saskatchewan a week later to win their second consecutive Grey Cup.
“The Argos were 17-point favourites but should have lost the game. Terry Baker missed three makeable field goals for the Als, which gave Toronto life. As Flutie and Pinball ran onto the field before the final possession, Doug said, ‘Pinner, it’s you and me all the way down the field.’ A couple of Flutie runs, a 15-yard penalty for a late hit, a short Robert Drummond run, and then the magical play. There might have been louder moments in SkyDome, but that play sent the building into a state of euphoria I never experienced at any other time there.” – Hogan
18 – MAKING HISTORY: When Forrest Gregg left the Argos after the 1979 season to take an NFL job, his assistant Willie Wood was promoted to head coach. Wood became the first Black man to lead a CFL team, and predated Art Shell in the NFL’s modern era by a decade. Fritz Pollard had been pro football’s first Black head coach, running the Akron Pros (in the league that served as forerunner to the NFL) in 1921; it took more than 50 years before Wood became the next Black head coach in pro football.
“Willie was a sensational player, a star defensive back with the Green Bay Packers, playing under the legendary Vince Lombardi. If it could be said that Wood shared some of Lombardi’s sensibilities, it could not be said that he also shared Lombardi’s success, unfortunately. In less than two seasons as head coach of the Argos, Wood compiled a record of six wins and 20 defeats. However, as a trailblazer for the second time – he was also the first African-American head coach in modern pro football when he helmed the Philadelphia Bell of the World League in 1975 – Willie Wood left a number of gifts for the Argos. He was the man who recruited and signed Terry Greer, after all.” – Landry
17 – FRANCHISE-ALTERING TRADE: The Argos stunned the CFL in December of 2011 by acquiring quarterback Ricky Ray from Edmonton in exchange for Steven Jyles, Grant Shaw and a first-round draft pick. The deal paid major dividends as Ray, one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, led the Argos to Grey Cup wins in 2012 and 2017. He set multiple team records along the way.
“This one was a stunner because nobody saw it coming. It’s been more than a decade since the trade and it’s still hard to believe Jim Barker pulled this off. Scott Milanovich needed a quarterback in his first season as a head coach, but there’s no way he could have even dreamed he’d get someone that good. It’s hard to imagine someone so quiet and reserved being such an influential leader, but that was Ricky. His impact was immediate and long-lasting both on and off the field.” – Hogan
16 – HOLLYWOOD NORTH: The sale of a CFL team rarely makes international headlines, but it did in 1991. It wasn’t solely because Bruce McNall, owner of the Los Angeles Kings, headed up the purchase (although that was a pretty big deal). What elevated this to major news were the other two members of McNall’s ownership group: comic legend John Candy and hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky. Their arrival sparked perhaps the most memorable season in team history. Though Candy was co-owner for just three years before his untimely death, his unmatched passion for the team he grew up cheering for makes him one of the most beloved figures in Argo history.
“Bruce McNall, we all learned later, built himself into a sports tycoon by bilking investors. But in 1991 McNall was seen as charming and garrulous, the kind of guy you couldn’t help but like. Wayne Gretzky certainly liked the man who’d introduced him to Tinseltown, and John Candy was thrilled to serve as honourary captain of McNall’s L.A. Kings. By bringing two legends in Gretzky and Candy in as partners in his new venture, McNall elevated the Argos – at least for one memorable season – into a major story that attracted attention across North America.” – Woods
15 – BLOCKING THE BOMBERS: Just a couple of plays after taking a roughing-the-passer penalty that extended a Winnipeg drive, defensive end Robbie Smith blocked a potential game-winning field-goal attempt in the final minute to preserve a 24-23 Argo win in the 2022 Grey Cup game. Smith’s block, the first of his entire football career, came less than a minute after the Bombers had blocked a Boris Bede field-goal attempt, making the feat all the more unusual and unexpected.
“He had a good game going and had a big sack near the end, but then took a facemask penalty that gave them a breath of fresh air and a new set of downs. For Robbie to make amends and make the block; he went from the goat to the G.O.A.T. in a hurry. For him to persevere and come through and get that block became a ‘Did that just happen?’ moment.” – Webb
14 – THE THREEPEAT: The Argos were a force in the 1940s. The 1947 team found rarified air as it won the franchise’s third consecutive championship, 10-9 over Winnipeg on a last-second rouge by Joe Krol. It was the third straight time the Argos beat the Bombers for the title. A Grey Cup threepeat has been accomplished only four other times: University of Toronto 1909-11, Queen’s University 1922-24, Edmonton 1954-56, and Edmonton again 1978-82 (five straight).
“How special were the 1945-47 Argos? Twenty times since the trophy was first awarded in 1909 has any club made three straight appearances in the Grey Cup game; of these, just five have threepeated as Cup winners, and it last happened over forty years ago. But what made the feat even more special, and gave head coach Teddy Morris the most pride, was the fact that it was performed by the only – and the last – all-Canadian squad and coaching staff left in senior football.” – Fraser
13 – ACT OF GOD: The Argos were on the verge of going to the Grey Cup for the first time in 17 years heading into the 1969 Eastern Final, which in those days was a two-game, total-points series. The Boatmen upset favoured Ottawa 22-14 in the first game in Toronto. Before the second game, Argo head coach Leo Cahill boldly stated it would take “an act of God” to keep his boys from advancing. Seeming to need no help from above, the Rough Riders easily won the second game 32-3 and the series 46-25. Leo’s quote lives in CFL lore.
“Of all the things Leo said over the years – some of them crazy, some of them smart, some of them silly, all of them attention-getting – no statement had the instant notoriety, and the seemingly unlimited shelf life, of ‘It will take an act of God to beat us.’ One commentator subsequently wrote that Ottawa quarterback Russ Jackson must have parted the Rideau Canal to get to the game in which Leo the Lip’s prognostication went so horribly awry.” – Woods
12 – BREAKING A BARRIER: In 2004, Michael Clemons became the first Black man to lead his team to a pro football championship as its head coach. The accomplishment will live forever via a video that captured his inspiring pre-game speech in the Argo locker room. Pinball tore the paint off the walls with his fiery remarks: “You’ve got to hit somebody in this game!”
“The Speech. That’s it, just The Speech. Say that to an Argo fan and they will know exactly what you’re referring to. The first time I saw and heard The Speech, I felt I could run out into my driveway and lift my car over my head. Watching it again, almost 20 years later, I had the exact same feeling. All those yards, all those spins, all those cuts and inexplicably broken tackles. All those touchdowns. Yet to many, The Speech might well be the greatest Pinball highlight of them all.” – Landry
11 – PENT-UP ECSTASY: After the Argos finally ended a seemingly interminable 31-year Grey Cup drought, the city of Toronto exploded with unadulterated joy in 1983. Tens of thousands jammed the Bay Street parade route to Nathan Phillips Square a couple of days after the Boatmen defeated the B.C. Lions to win their first Grey Cup since 1952. Tickertape and streamers rained down on a motorcade, which at times couldn’t budge amidst the throngs of fans lining the route.
“I skipped my classes at Humber College for the day in order to take in that parade. I had a sense it could be something very, very special. I was wrong. It was more than that. The sense of collective, ongoing euphoria that energized that celebration is not something I can adequately describe here. It just seemed other-worldly. I’ll never forget that.” – Landry
10 – THE ROCKET DELIVERS: The 1991 Grey Cup in Winnipeg remains the coldest of the 109 championship games played. The highest-paid player in football history at that time, Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, made the biggest possible play at the biggest possible moment. After Calgary had scored to cut the Argos’ lead to a single point in the fourth quarter, Ismail caught the ensuing kickoff and raced for an 87-yard touchdown that essentially sealed Toronto’s 36-21 victory. The play was punctuated by a frozen beer can that was tossed from the stands and almost hit the Rocket – an image etched in CFL history.
“Indelible. For so many reasons. The beer can, yes. Ismail’s speed, too. And the eye-popping cut he made early in the return to spring himself free. What many had termed a ‘storybook’ season was in jeopardy of ending in bitter, frigid disappointment. How could the Hollywood team not have its Hollywood ending? At that moment – the moment when the Calgary Stampeders had climbed to within a point of Toronto and sown the seeds of doubt – Ismail answered emphatically, and in superstar fashion. It must have been, personally, an immensely gratifying moment for a young player who was expected to put an entire team on his shoulders. In the larger sense, it is simply and obviously one of the most electrifying individual efforts in Toronto sports history, a moment that stands among the very greatest in this team’s vast and storied history.” – Landry
9 – GREER 2K: Terry Greer’s 1983 season was one for the ages. He became the first receiver in pro football history to surpass 2,000 receiving yards in a season, finishing the year with 2,003. The feat has since been accomplished only two other times in the CFL, but those players (Calgary’s Allen Pitts and Toronto’s Derrell Mitchell) needed 18 games to do it; Greer racked up 2,000 in a 16-game schedule. He still holds the second-highest yards-per-game average (125.2) in league history. The 2,000-yard plateau has never been achieved in the NFL.
“The game in which Greer set the record was blacked out in Toronto, and this was at a time that pre-dated any kind of cable TV in the little town I grew up in, Nobleton, Ontario. I remember doing my best to adjust the aerial on our family’s television set in order to pull in some very grainy, ghostly images of that game from a station in Peterborough, which was outside the blackout range. When Greer caught the pass that put him over 2,000 yards, his teammates raised him up on their shoulders. The picture was fading in and out at that moment, making it tough to see all the details, but that just serves to make the recollection all the more romantic. The images may have been fuzzy, but my memory of Terry Greer and the greatest feat I’d ever seen a receiver achieve, remains crystal clear.” – Landry
8 – 100th GREY CUP: The venerable trophy, first presented in 1909 by Governor General Lord Earl Grey for the “Canadian dominion football championship,” had its centennial celebration in 2012 (it was not awarded between 1916 and 1919). The event capped a memorable season, a memorable week and a memorable game. At a sold-out Rogers Centre with an electric atmosphere and halftime musical acts including Justin Bieber and Gordon Lightfoot, the Argonauts dominated the Calgary Stampeders to win their 16th Grey Cup by a final score of 35-22. Running back Chad Kackert was named the game’s MVP after rushing for 133 yards and adding 62 receiving yards. Toronto’s defence held the CFL’s leading rusher, Jon Cornish, to 57 yards on 15 carries. It marked the first time the Argos had won a Grey Cup in Toronto since 1952.
“It took a thrilling cliffhanger win in Montreal to get to the Grey Cup. I remember getting to the stadium with a full house and all the hype of the 100th Grey Cup. We got out of the gate pretty quickly, scored some points, and as it turned out we were never really threatened the whole game, we were in command. As for the full house, it was something else to walk out there. You could feel the pressure as soon as you walked out of the tunnel; it hit you in the chest and you don’t get that feeling very often. Thank god we pulled that one out.”- Webb
7 – STOREY’S HAT TRICK: Never considered a star player, Red Storey came to define the concept of “making the most of his opportunity.” Just 20 years old, Storey began the 1938 Grey Cup game sitting on the bench, but came off it to score three touchdowns and set up a fourth – all in the fourth quarter. That led Toronto to a 30-7 victory over Winnipeg, the second of back-to-back championships for the Boatmen.
“No player that he coached in Toronto puzzled Lew Hayman more than Red Storey. Was he an end? Hayman thought so at first, and Storey wore an end’s number – 64 – for the rest of his career. Or was he a back? Or a flying wing? These questions persisted for three seasons, with Storey moving in and out of the starting line-up, before the 1938 Grey Cup game solved the puzzle.” – Fraser
6 – BREAKING THE COLOUR BARRIER: In 1948, Ken Whitlock became the first Black player to suit up for the Argos. He broke the team’s colour barrier, one year after Jackie Robinson had become the first Black player in major league baseball. Whitlock’s career didn’t last long, but his signing opened the door for hundreds of Black players who followed, that included Ulysses “Crazy Legs” Curtis, who arrived in 1950 and was the first star Black player in Argo history.
“Brief though it was, Ken Whitlock’s time as an Argo was a huge moment in club history. By 1950 the Double Blue were actively recruiting African-Americans, but in 1948 certain club directors were dead set against signing Black players. Teddy Morris had to sneak Whitlock up from Virginia. He doctored the accounts to hide the cost from the directors. He had his mother Nellie put Whitlock up at her home. He got the press to report that the player had simply turned up at practice on his own initiative. The minutes show that “a good deal of discussion” about Whitlock took place at the next directors’ meeting, and that one of them “agreed to speak to Mr. Morris about this matter”. But the coach stood firm until Whitlock – according to his own memoir – asked to be released. His valiant attempt to become an Argo shines a light on a critical chapter in club – and Toronto – history, illuminating the clash of attitudes and actions, whether virtuous or disgraceful, which shook the club after winning the 1947 Grey Cup, without which the 1950 title would not have been possible.” – Fraser