Edmonton

 

38

 

Toronto 36

 Grey Cup - 1987 - B.C. Place - Edmoton 38 - Toronto 36

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1987: Arguably the greatest Cup ever - Terry Jones - Edmonton Sun - 25-11-2005

VANCOUVER -- It was, arguably, the greatest Grey Cup game ever played. And, at the time, there wasn't much argument.
If it wasn't the greatest Grey Cup game ever played, the nod goes to the one two years later when the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But to me, it was the greatest. And it will always be The Game for Brian Kelly and most of the Edmonton Eskimos who were in B.C. Place on Nov. 29, 1987, as the Eskimos won 38-36 over the Toronto Argos.


"The last Grey Cup game I played will always be the one for me," said Kelly.


"The 1987 Grey Cup was an incredible experience. It was the most exciting game I ever played in during my entire football career. It was a thrill to be in the middle of that. It happened that we won it, too. Even better."
It was a game both teams deserved to win. And in a way they did.


"We did something today," said Eskimos' Bill Stevenson after it was over. "And by 'we' I mean the Eskimos and the Argos. We proved something. Canadians can't walk away from this league."


The CFL was as troubled that year as at any point in its history and some believe that Grey Cup game saved the league.
For the Eskimos, it saved their reputation.


After winning five Grey Cups in a row from 1978 to 1982, the Eskimos -- while managing not to fall under .500, or break their remarkable record for consecutive years making the playoffs -- had managed to get back to the big game, also here, in 1986 and lose 39-15 to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
As was the case a few years earlier when the team got to the Ice Bowl or Staples Game in Montreal and lost 41-6 to the Alouettes, the Eskimos almost wished they hadn't made it to the final that year. The Eskimos in that game set records for shooting themselves in the foot. Two interceptions. Ten sacks. A punt blocked for a touchdown.


"They kicked our royal ass," said defensive coach Don Sutherin after the disaster.


Once again the Eskimos would be a team with revenge in mind when they got back the next year for the 75th Grey Cup game.
It was an incredible game. Back and forth all the way. The Eskimos led 7-0 before they had a first down. Henry 'Gizmo' Williams had a 115-yard field goal return. Eskimos starting quarterback Matt Dunigan was knocked out of the game and Damon Allen came on to win in relief.
"I know everybody on our bench was doing it and I'm sure everybody on their bench was doing it. I'm sure every single player was begging to every power on the planet to let him win," said Hector Pothier.


Turning point? Pick one. There were 101.


"Nobody gave up, nobody," said Esks' John Mandarich. "And to win it with a second-string quarterback and a rookie kicker. Unbelievable!
"Damon Allen's a winner. He came through. Jerry Kauric's a winner. He came through!"


The moment that will always be remembered was when kicker Kauric was brought in to kick a 49-yard field goal, his longest of the year, in the final minute.


"Dwayne Mandrusiak, our equipment manager, had painted the Grey Cup on my kicking tee," said Kauric.
"He'd been painting something different every week. But this was perfect. The Grey Cup ...
"I dreamed I'd be the hero the night before. I did. I dreamed I kicked the winning field goal.
"I just walked out ... and kicked it," said Kauric.
"It's a dream for every kicker. You just never believe it'll happen to you."


It was a dream for Edmonton as well. The Oilers were in the National Hockey League and a championship team after five seasons. The Grey Cup and the Stanley Cup, both owned by Edmonton at the same time, were brought to Commonwealth Stadium one Sunday afternoon so fans could have their pictures taken with both. And the signs erected at every entrance to the Edmonton said it all: "City Of Champions."

 

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