It will be an unprecedented Gray Cup on Sunday at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. The Montreal Alouettes and Winnipeg Blue Bombers will meet in the championship game of the Canadian Football League (CFL), something that has never happened before in the history of the Canadian circuit. And on Monday, the organizing committee announced that the match will be played in front of full halls.
The Alouettes will be participating in a Gray Cup game for the first time since 2010, when they defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 21-18 at Commonwealth Stadium. It was the second championship in a row for the birds.
The Blue Bombers are regulars
For their part, the Bombers will be participating in the Gray Cup game for the fourth year in a row, and will be looking for a third victory. After beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2019 and 2021, the Bombers lost 23-24 to the Toronto Argonauts last year – after Argos linebacker Robbie Smith blocked Marco Liegghi’s 47-yard field goal attempt with 54 seconds left the end. .
Alouettes quarterback Cody Fajardo will play in his first Gray Cup game, even though he won a championship as a backup quarterback with the Argonauts in 2017.
Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros is one of a handful of players on the team who will participate in the CFL Championship Game for the fourth consecutive year. He will participate in the finals for the fifth time in his career, since he also triumphed with the Argonauts in 2012.
However, on Sunday, Collaros will become the first CFL running back to start four consecutive Gray Cup games.
The two head coaches are equally experienced.
Montreal head coach Jason Maas was the Argos’ running backs coach in 2012 and has appeared in three Gray Cup games at running back — notably wins with Edmonton in 2003 and 2005. However, this will be his first involvement as a head coach.
For his part, Mike O’Shea will be looking for a third title in four appearances as head coach of the Blue Bombers. He won the prized trophy three times as a player for the Argos (1996, 1997 and 2004), as well as in 2012 as a special teams coordinator for the Toronto team.
Despite recent success in the Gray Cup, the Blue Bombers are 12-15 in the CFL Championship Game. The Alouettes have won 7 times in 18 appearances.
The Blue Bombers (14-4) won two games played this season against the Alouettes (11-7), en route to winning the West division title. The Birds finished in second place in the Eastern Division, and have not recorded 11 wins in the same season since 2012.