Venue: Winnipeg Stadium
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Date: November 22
Winning Coach: Wally Buono
Most Valuable Player: Jeff Garcia, QB, Calgary
Most Valuable Canadian: Vince Danielsen, SB, Calgary
The Calgary Stampeders had proven to be one of the most dominant teams in the CFL during the 1990s, but had only one Grey Cup title to show for it.
The Stampeders had another opportunity after near misses in the playoffs the previous two seasons. Their opponent was the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a club that was in the middle of a remarkable turnaround. After just two wins in 1997, the Ticats had a dozen in the regular season under new head coach Ron Lancaster.
The place kickers were front and centre in the opening 15 minutes. Calgary took a 1-0 lead when Mark McLoughlin missed on a 48-yard field goal. Paul Osbaldiston put the Ticats in front with a successful 24-yard field goal attempt, but McLoughlin responded, splitting the uprights from 34 yards out.
The Stampeders finally reached the end zone on the opening play of the second quarter. Running back Kelvin Anderson scored on a three-yard carry, giving Calgary a 10-3 advantage.
Hamilton restored its lead before the end of the quarter. Osbaldiston was successful on a 20-yard field goal, and then Danny McManus hit Ron Williams on a 34-yard touchdown pass. Osbaldiston ended the half with a 40-yard field goal as the Ticats led 16-10.
Osbaldiston’s perfect game ended in the third quarter when his 32-yard field goal attempt sailed wide for a single point. The Ticats improved their lead to a game-high eight points when Osbaldiston booted a 66-yard single on a punt.
But the Stampeders would not go away. Jeff Garcia drove the offence on a 75-yard touchdown drive, culminating on the quarterback’s one-yard run. Hamilton led 18-17 after three quarters.
It set up a dramatic fourth quarter. A costly turnover by McManus gave the Stampeders the lead when he was intercepted by Aldi Henry, helping set up a 22-yard field goal by McLoughlin. The kicker added another from 32 yards out, putting Calgary in front 23-18.
It stayed that way until the 12-minute mark of the fourth quarter when McManus hit Archie Amerson on a 47-yard passing play to the Calgary two-yard line. Williams rushed the ball in on a third down gamble, but the Ticats failed on the two-point convert attempt.
The Ticats rallied as Williams rushed for his second touchdown of the game on a goal-line carry. Hamilton failed on a two-point conversion attempt as the Ticats led by the slimmest of margins.
Trailing 24-23, the Stampeders put together a winning drive. With no time remaining in regulation, McLoughlin kicked a 35-yard field goal to clinch the game and the Grey Cup.