' a 1984 Tiger Cat huddle... Dieter Brock in
his only season in Hamilton and last season in the
CFL as a player gives out the orders.'
-- 1980 --
Edmonton continued to dominate the league with a 13-3 record in front of 43,164 on average at Commonwealth Stadium. Dieter Brock led Winnipeg to a strong 2nd place finish in the West and was named the League’s Most Outstanding Player but the Ray Jauch led club would fall to Edmonton in the West Final. Calgary drew an impressive 32,377 for a 9 win season. Roy Dewalt arrived in BC abd showed promise while Saskatchewan limped to a 2-14 season that saw Ron Lancaster’s conclude 18 seasons as a Roughrider. Hamilton was the class of the East edging out Montreal who had strong play from Canadian pivot Gerry Datilio. Hamilton would make it all the way to the Grey Cup only to fall to the 3 in-a-row champions Edmonton Eskimos. Ottawa overcame the league’s worst defence to finish 7-9 while in Toronto the Forest Gregg, Tony Adams experiment ended in failure.
-- 1981 --
With a flurry in 1981 Nelson Skalbania arrived in Montreal and turned the football world on its ear. The Alouettes raided the NFL bringing aboard star pivot Vince Ferragamo, receiver James Scott and highly touted Miami 1st round running back David Overstreet. Media in the U.S. certainly took notice of Skalbania and his tactics, the airlift was a total failure Montreal managed just 3 wins as the immobile Ferragamo struggled to adjust to the Canadian game. Only Toronto was worse managing just 2 wins under coach Willie Wood. Ottawa finished the season with 5 wins as Oklahoma star J.C. Watts led a late season resurgence past first place Hamilton in the East final to almost an upset of Edmonton in the Grey Cup having jumped out to a 21 point lead Ottawa ended up losing as a late Dave Cutler field goal sealed Edmonton’s 4th straight championship. Edmonton lost 1 game the entire season as they continued their dominance. The Blue Bombers led by repeat Outstanding Player Dieter Brock (pictured) were upset by B.C. in the West semi-final. Joe Paopao led B.C. to a 10 win season, Saskatchewan had a strong season with 9 wins with Joe ‘747” Adams posting strong totals at QB. Calgary struggled to a last place finish.
-- 1982 --
Ralph Sazio did the unthinkable leaving the Tiger Cats to join the hated Toronto Argonauts front office. He brought along a new coach Bob O’Billovich and changed the losing culture in Toronto. The move worked as Toronto finished 1st and made it all the way to the Grey Cup at home. Condredge Holloway captured Leage Outstanding Player honors. Hamilton led by Outstanding Canadian Rocky Dipietro finished second in the East. QB phenom J.C. Watts took a year off of football and the Rough Riders struggled to just 5 wins, while Montreal languished with a Nelson Skalbania hangover finishing last. Edmonton showed some signs of vulnerability but again finished tied for 1st and captured a record 5 straight Grey Cup over Toronto. Winnipeg was strong equalling Edmonton in the regular season only to again fall to the Eskimos in the West final. Gerry Datilio was not the answer in Calgary with 22 interceptions. The Lions finished above .500 in their last season at Empire Stadium while Saskatchewan could not escape last place.
-- 1983 --
With Hugh Campbell leaving the Eskimos in 1983, Jackie Parker took over as coach and the Eskimos suffered finishing in 3rd. Warren Moon was outstanding in his final season in the CFL throwing for a then record 5,648 yards. Paul Bennet led the Winnipeg defensive backfield as Winnipeg assumed their regular position in 2nd place. B.C. enjoyed the confines of their new stadium B.C. Place and finished 1st advancing to the Grey Cup in front of an average 45.551 home fans. Calgary matched their provincial rivals at 8-8 while Saskatchewan dealt with the departure of star receiver Joey Walters to the USFL. Toronto exorcised 52 years of frustration to capture the 1983 Grey Cup, Bob O’Billovich worked his quarterback platoon of Condredge Holloway and Joe Barnes to perfection with Barnes delivering the key pass to Cedric Minter to clinch the championship. J.C. Watts returned to Ottawa to lead the Rough Riders to a 2nd place finish. Hamilton’s porous defence resulted in just a 5 win season while Montreal as the Concordes could not escape last place.
-- 1984 --
Tom Clements and Willard Reaves (pictured) were dominant for Winnipeg as they edged B.C. to advance to the Grey Cup where they handily defeated former bomber Dieter Brock and the Tiger Cats. Don Matthews continued to work his magic with the B.C. Lions as Roy Dewalt and Mervyn Fernandez led the offence. Edmonton managed 9 wins in the post Warren Moon era with fresh faced Matt Dunigan leading the offence. Saskatchewan escaped the cellar with Joe Paopao at the helm. Calgary struggled to score points with hometown Greg Vavra under center as a rookie and finished last. Toronto survived any Grey Cup hangover with a 1st place finish only to be edged out by Dieter Brock and the Tiger Cats in the East final. Turner Gill at quarterback and Nick Arakgi receiving the ball led Montreal to 6 victories while Ottawa allowed the most points in the league on the way to finishing last.
-- 1985 --
Mervyn Fernandez (pictured) was the League’ Most Outstanding Player as Don Matthews inventive offence got the best out of the big athletic receiver. An injury to Fernandez kept him out of the Grey Cup game but Dewalt found his replacement Ned Armour twice in a convincing win over Hamilton. Winnipeg behind the league’s best offence and best defence finished with 12 wins only to fall to the Lions in the West final. Edmonton battled to a 3rd place finish while Saskatchewan’s defence let them down. Calgary had one of the worst seasons in team history and struggled mightily at the gate. Hamilton and Montreal finished atop the East with .500 records, with Hamilton getting the upper hand in the East final. Ottawa rode the legs of J.C. Watts to 710 yards and 7 wins. Toronto slid to last as Condredge Holloway missed time due to injuries.
-- 1986 --
Matt Dunigan had the Edmonton Eskimo offence firing as the club finished with 13 wins. The Eskimos would advance all the way to the Grey Cup only to be upset by Hamilton. In B.C. an average of 46,526 watched James Parker (pictured) patrol linebacker to capture his 3rd Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award. Winnipeg was led my Most Outstanding Player in receiver James Murphy in the leagues top offence. Calgary rebounded from the bring with a ‘Save the Stamps” rally to post strong attendance totals and 11 wins. In Saskatchewan 6 wins was not enough to escape last place. Obie had the Argos back in first in Condredge Holloway’s final season with the club. Al Bruno led Hamilton to 2nd place in the season and an upset Grey Cup victory over Edmonton. It was sad to see Montreal limp to 4 wins and just over 10,000 fans and Ottawa struggled mightily and dealt J.C. Watts to Toronto midseason.
-- 1987 --
For the 1st time as the CFL the league had just 8 teams as Montreal folded days before the start of the season. Tom Clements concluded his hall of fame career with his finest season and was named the league’s Most Outstanding leading Winnipeg to a 12-6 record. The Argonauts unearthed a gem from little known Holy Cross College In running back Gil Fenerty (pictured) who burst onto the scene scoring 15 touchdowns to lead the Argonauts to a 11-6-1 2nd place record. A speed demon in Earl Winfield arrived in Steeltown and would delight fans for over a decade. Ottawa with the worst offence and worst defence finished last. B.C. rode a suffocating defence to 1st place in the West. Edmonton had a strong season as Matt Dunigan and Damon Allen teamed up at quarterback including the Grey Cup on a last second field goal win over Toronto. Calgary and Saskatchewan proved the West’s dominance in a tie for 3rd with 11 win seasons.
-- 1988 --
The Argonauts had finished 14-4 the clubs most wins in a season in franchise history as Gilbert Renfroe and Gil Fenerty led the way. Mike Riley led Winnipeg to a 9 win season – and then to a surprise upset of Toronto and a Grey Cup Championship over Edmonton. Hamilton only drew 14,756 on average to watch Grover Covington terrorize opposing quarterbacks. Ottawa had an outstanding season from rookie Canadian running back Orville Lee but managed just 2 wins. Matt Dunigan moved to the Lions in a multi-player trade and had a big impact leading B.C. to 10 wins and receiver David Williams to a MOP award. The Lions came within a tipped pass away from a Grey Cup championship as Winnipeg pulled out a late victory in Ottawa. Edmonton moved forward. Edmonton found their way to 11 victories with Damon Allen and Tracy Ham sharing quarterbacking duties. Saskatchewan finished strong with 11 victories led by the quarterback tandem of Kent Austin and Tom Burgess (pictured). Calgary had just 6 wins with the league’s worst offence.
-- 1989 --
The 1989 CFL season will always carry the moniker ‘Riders 89’. Saskatchewan had a magical playoff run culminating in a last second victory on a Dave Ridgway field goal in widely regarded as the greatest CFL game ever. With just 9 wins Saskatchewan upset first Calgary and then the 16-2 Edmonton Eskimos to advance to the Grey Cup. Tracy Ham (pictured) was all-world for Edmonton and captured the Most Outstanding Player Award. Calgary had a strong season with 10 wins as Danny Barrett solidified the quarterbacking role. The Lions slumped from a near Grey Cup victory to just 7 wins. Hamilton under Al Bruno dominated the East division and fought Saskatchewan to the final seconds in the Grey Cup. Toronto adjusted to life in the Skydome with 7 victories as Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons was added to Gil Fenerty in the Argo backfield. Winnipeg had just 7 victories to follow their Grey Cup championship in 1988. Ottawa had the league’s worst defence and finished with the league’s worst record.
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