Back to top

CFL Grey Cup — more than just a football game

Fans play it up for the cameras on Robson Street before the Fan Parade prior to the playing of the 2014 Grey Cup in Vancouver. — Bruce Fuhr photos

Was it, or wasn’t it?

Was it or wasn’t it a bad call, or was it or wasn’t it a great game.

The 2014 Grey Cup delivered it’s share of glitz and glimmer and, at the same time, some controversy as the Calgary Stampeders hung on to clip the Hamilton Tiger Cats 20-16 Sunday before 52,000 plus fans of Canadian Football at BC Place in Vancouver.

This time your’s truly got to experience the game from the fans point of view, sitting at the 50-yard line behind the Stamp bench after getting the media treatment during previous Grey Cups in Vancouver.

But even before fans watching on television saw crazy spectators in action in the stands, those, including myself, witnessed craziness on the streets outside BC Place.

Fans from throughout the CFL lined up to attend the tailgate party next to the Terry Fox statue and the Plaza of Nations.

Cheerleaders from Calgary, Hamilton and BC, along with live bands, entertained the fans who began streaming into the stadium the moment the doors opened.

Dressed in their favourite team colours, and yes there were even Lions faithful donning the painted faces and kooky costumes, fans joined in with the traditional “Fan Parade” complete with the Grey Cup, on Robson Street.

The scene was reminiscent of what I experienced in 2010 during the Winter Olympics.

"Bought our tickets back in December," a dressed up Hans from Saskatchewan in Rider garb said from the Plaza of Nations tailgate party.

"I've been to the last four Cups. I enjoy meeting the people and having fun," Hans said when asked about if he's disappointed the Riders didn't make it back to defend the Cup won in 2013 in Regina.

Inside the game was, well, a little boring as Calgary toyed with the Tiger Cats through the first half.

And whoever organized the halftime show had better give their heads a shake.

While the Imagine Dragons, an American Indie rock band from Las Vegas, rocked BC Place, only a third of the fans — not including me — got a chance to see the act live as the stage blocked out most of the people in the seats.

Gotta love organizers catering to the television audience instead of the people who paid big bucks to see the game live.

Back to the game, Hamilton somehow made it a game, moving the ball down the field and rallying from a 17-7 halftime deficit.

However, instead of touchdowns all the Cats could materialize were field goals.

Then with time running out, and Calgary punting the ball to the Tiger Cats spark plug Brandon Banks, the unthinkable happened.

Like he did in the Eastern Final to Montreal, Banks took the ball from deep in his territory, first broke to his left before reversing the field and running the ball some 90-plus yards into the end zone.

However, it was all for not as Hamilton’s Taylor Reed was whistled for a holding penalty on the play.

Hamilton fans experienced first hand what Roughrider fans felt in 2009 when an Illegal substitution resulted in too many men on the field, for Saskatchewan.

David Duval had missed his field goal attempt on the play but got another chance, and nailed it, to give Montreal the championship.

The game, at that point, was for all intense and purpose, over.

Zach Collaros tried to initiate a late-game rally, but the Hamilton quarterback was a sacks twice, the final play resulting his “Hail-Mary” pass being deflected out of his hands.

“We left too many points on the field,” said a Hamilton fan during a Global TV interview from outside BC Place. “Too many points.”

And one too many holding calls.