- 1972 -
11 Wins 3 Losses - 1st Place East Division
- excerpt A Passing Game - Frank Cosentino -
Meanwhile, two of Montreal's long-established footballers, Red O'Quinn and Sam Etcheverry, parted ways with the Aloeuttes. O'Quinn was fired at the beginning of the season, replaced by J.I. Albrecht; Etcheverry, "tired of living in a pressure cooker" resigned at the end of the Montreal season. The team had ended the year in third place and was defeated by Ottawa by a 14-11 score in the sudden death play-off to determine who would go against first-place Hamilton. Etcheverry was the second coach to lose his job. Leo Cahill, his team dropping from the heights of Grey Cup finalists to last place in the East, was fired shortly after by John Bassett, and was serenaded by 35,217 fans in Hamilton singing: "Goodbye Leo ... So long Leo."
The Tiger Cats suffered a 12-point loss to Ottawa, 19-7 in game one (of the East final). It was time for the community to show it's support:
"Two nights before the second game, the city staged a pep rally for the team on King Street in the middle of downtown Hamilton. Police later estimated fifteen to twenty thousand people had jammed the street. By a quirk of fate - could it have been planned? - the whole pep rally, the band music, the cheers of the crowd, the whoel crazy scene, took place directly outside the Riders' hotel"
Riding on a quest of emotion supplied by their fans, the Tiger-Cats clawed their way to a 23-8 victory in the second game to win the round by three points and represent the East. For only the firs time in 28 years, the Grey Cup game was being held in Hamilton.
For five days, the Grey Cup festival took over the city. Events were held in the Armouries, gaily festooned for the occasion, in Jackson Square, named after former mayor Lloyd D. Jackson, the Connaught Hotel, holiday Inn, and of course the refurbished Ivor Wynne Stadium. Business meetings, the official opening of the Hall of Fame, the Miss Grey Cup pageant, the Schenley Awards, and a demonstration of hang gliding or "kite flying" as it was called and sky divers as part of the half-time entertainment were all part of a week-long celebration which was the focal point of the whole community.
The 1972 Grey Cup Game was played before 33,953 spectators and came down to the last play of the game, a 34-yard field goal kicked by 19-year-old first-year player Ian Sunter. It was only his third appearance in the game. He kicked an extra point and two field goals and earned the Canadian Player of the Game Award, renamed the Dick Suderman Award, after the player who lost his life in October. The game's Most Valuable Player was selected as Chuck Ealey.
"It was a glowing finish to an exceptional football year in Hamilton. With the addition of Astro-turf and a new east side stand, which converted shabby Civic Stadium into immaculate Ivor Wynne Staduim, the city was awarded the Grey Cup game, put on an amazingly successful show. The Cats ran up a 10 game winning streak, won the Schenley with Henley, and the Rookie award with Ealey and won two player award in the final game. All that and the Crey Cup too. It will be a hard act to follow."
Chuck Ealy scrambles in the 1972 Grey Cup
1972 Team Statistics
Avg Att: 32,091
Week 1 v Saskatchewan
Hamilton, beaten three times in pre-season on last-minute oppositions scores, turned around with their own late rally , as Ian Sunter's 38-yard FG with 37 seconds left broke a 17-17 tie.
Week 2 @ BC
Ted Gerela's 10-yard FG on the last play of the game gave British Columbia the win. B.C. charged back with the FG after completing a 100-yard drive with only 2:02 remaining
Week 2 @ Edmonton
Edmonton stunned Hamilton with an unbelievable fourth-quarter comeback, highlighted by two TDs in the last three minutes of play, and are off to their best start since 1965.
Week 3 v Montreal
A blocked conversion attempt by Dick Harris with 45 seconds remaining earned the Als a second victory in three games and the third consecutive loss after an opening triumph for Hamilton.
Week 4 @ Montreal
Dave Clarke ran the opening kickoff 102 yards for a TD, as Garney Henley, on a 42-yard pass from Chuck Ealey and Tony Gabriel, on a fumble recovery, scored the other Hamilton TD.
Week 5 v Ottawa
Ian Sunter hit a 42-yard FG with 10 seconds left to give Hamilton before a record Ivor Wynne Stadium crowd. He had previously missed FGs goals of 22, 41, 46 and 52 yards.
Week 6 @ Toronto
An alert Hamilton defense intercepted three Toronto passes in the fourth quarter. DT Bruce Smith started the string when he picked off a Wally Gabler pass midway through the final quarter.
Week 7 @ Ottawa
QB Chuck Ealey threw three TD passes, two to FL Garney Henley, while the Ti-Cat defense intercepted five attempted passes by Ottawa's Rick Cassata.
Week 8 v Toronto
John Williams intercepted two passes, scoring on his first with the go-ahead TD and setting up another score, as Hamilton moved back into a first-place tie.
Week 9 @ Ottawa
The Riders came to life in the fourth quarter with TDs by Terry Wellesley and Hugh Oldham. But a dying seconds interception by John Williams snuffed out Ottawa's chance.
Week 10 v Calgary
The Tiger-Cats scored 21 points in the first quarter and 22 in the final quarter, while Calgary scored all its points in the third. Dave Fleming and Garney Henley scored two TDs apiece.
Week 11 @ Montreal
RB Ike Brown, with 213 yards, and Moses Denson gave the Als a 309-to-114 rushing margin, but Don Sweet's inability to hit on a 32-yard FG attempt and two converts proved costly.
Week 12 v Winnipeg
Chuck Ealey established Hamilton's running game in the first half, while Dave Buchanan became the first Ticat since Gerry McDougal in 1959 to rush for 1,000 yards.
Week 13 Bye
Week 14 v Toronto
Hamilton won first place in the East, while knocking Toronto out of a possible playoff berth before a record crowd. The Ticats took first place by virtue of its three wins over the Riders.
Eastern Final Game #1
Ottawa held Hamilton to a net ground gain of five yards and piled up 436 yards on offense to take the lead in the two-point series.
Eastern Final Game #2
Ian Sunter booted five FGs and a total of 17 points as Hamilton won the two-game series on points. With winds gusting up to 35 MPH, Sunter hit from 45, 22, 42, 14 and 44 yards.
With just under two minutes to play in the game and Hamilton on their own 15 yard line Ealey passed to Tony Gabriel who had not been the target of any pass previously in the game. The pass was complete for 27 yards. Ealey immediately went back to Gabriel for 12 yards, and a play later passed to Gabriel for a third time to get to the Saskatchewan 41 yard line with 51 seconds left. Hamilton then ran the clock down while getting close enough for Ian Sunter to kick a 34 yard field goal on the last play of the game to win