The Calgary Stampeders and the Ottawa Redblacks are both eagerly awaiting kick off to the 104th Grey Cup on Sunday. Each team has earned their spot, and each has a chance to win. The Stampeders are slightly favoured to win, but there’s no guarantee. There are other aspects at play. In fact, a Calgary Stampeders Grey Cup win won’t be easy when factors other than statistics are considered.
Calgary Stampeders Grey Cup Win Won’t Be Easy
It’s all comes down to this: the Grey Cup. The Calgary Stampeders played an almost perfect season and ended up with a 15-2-1 record. The Ottawa Redblacks finished with 8-9-1. From that statistic alone, the Calgary Stampeders are favoured to win.
Certainly, analysts and CFL fans are betting on Calgary. Scrutinizing every single statistic of both teams and how each offence and defence has performed previously is important. But what about the factors that statistics don’t cover? What about the intangible components or influences that come up in big games like this? When these factors are considered, a Stampeders Grey Cup win won’t necessarily be easy.
It’s Not Their First Rodeo
The Stampeders and the Redblacks have been in this situation before. Ottawa and the Edmonton Eskimos played for the Cup just last year. And in 2014 Calgary won the Grey Cup by beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ottawa’s veteran quarterback Henry Burris has played in a few Grey Cup games before. Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell is facing his second. It’s not to say that Mitchell doesn’t have the experience; Burris just has more.
It’s no secret that Burris’s career, as exceptional as it is, may be coming to an end. He is constantly being compared to younger, stronger quarterbacks. Many analysts and critics comment on Burris’ past inconsistencies. When Burris is good, he’s good. But when he’s bad, he can be really bad. Is it a fair criticism? Perhaps not, but this certainly motivates him. Burris has something to prove – a powerful motivation. And the Stampeders can’t ignore this.
Superheroes Vs. Underdogs
Given Calgary’s 2016 record and a sweep at Thursday’s Shaw CFL Awards, the Redblacks are labelled the underdog for the game. Ottawa is a talented team. They aren’t in the Grey Cup by chance. Their team is stacked with incredible talent and veteran players that know their way around Calgary’s offence.
But there’s no denying Calgary has an edge with a determined and strong-willed Mitchell and Jerome Messam ripping through defences. Calgary has been the team to beat all season.
But let’s look at this from the other side of the coin. Regardless of Ottawa’s capability of winning just on talent alone, Ottawa has an advantage. They lost the Grey Cup last year. They know the feeling of losing and this valuable experience can fuel Ottawa’s determination and affect the outcome of the game.
The Redblacks have another advantage. As underdog, a win for them is a heart-warming story. The 2008 Calgary Stampeders team, led by Burris, was the underdog against a stealthy Montreal Alouettes, but the Stampeders won that year. The 2007 NFL New England Patriots had a perfect season, yet the New York Giants stripped them of the Superbowl. It’s not uncommon. Calgary’s overconfidence could affect their performance on the most important game of the year.
Statistically, Calgary is a stronger team. Calgary has the record, the players and the coaching staff to win the game. But Ottawa has the same determination and talent to win and has a couple of demons that drive their motivation.
In the CFL, whoever plays better football that day wins. Both Calgary and Ottawa can win. But the Stampeders will have to fight for a Grey Cup win. It won’t be as easy as some people suggest.