GREY CUP LIVE
J. Donald Crump was appointed the eighth Commissioner of the CFL on January 5. The CFL Annual Meetings-Canadian College Draft were held in Hamilton for the third consecutive year. Rosters were increased to 37 players including 20 non-imports, 14 imports and three quarterbacks. The reserve list remained at two players. Toronto and B C. set a record for most points in a game when they combined to score 111 on September 1 at Toronto Argonauts won 68-43. B.C. added silver to its colors. Vancouver played host to the Grey Cup Game for the 11th time.
The Toronto Argonauts were sold by Harry Ornest to Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky and John Candy on February 25. Ottawa Rough Riders Board of Directors resigned on July 24 and two days later the CFL assumed ownership of the club. On October 19, Bernie and Lonnie Glieberman purchased the club from the CFL. Five days later, Larry Ryckman purchased the Calgary Stampeders from the Stampeder Football Club Limited. The eight clubs combined for a record 64.2 points per game and attendance figures broke two million (2,001,858) for the 10th time. Winnipeg played host to the Grey Cup Game for the first time on November 24. Toronto defeated Calgary 36-21 before a crowd of 51,985 fans. The Game was the most-watched Canadian TV show with an audience of 3,531,000 viewers. J. Donald Crump resigned as Commissioner on December 31.
Larry Smith, former running back and tight end with Montreal Alouettes was named the ninth Commissioner of the CFL on February 27. CFL celebrated 100 years of football in Canada, commemorating the formation of the Canadian Rugby Union in 1892, the forerunner of Football Canada and the CFL. Calgary Stampeders signed free agent quarterback Doug Flutie in March, 1992. On August 27, the League revoked the franchise of B.C. Lions owner Murray Pezim and assumed control after his refusal to pay club bills. Bill Comrie purchased the B.C. franchise on September 23 from the CFL. At CFL's Outstanding Player Awards during Grey Cup Week, Flutie is named the Most Outstanding Player for the second consecutive year, only the third player in League history to win back-to-back awards. Toronto hosted the Grey Cup for the 45th time, more than any other city. The 80th Grey Cup was played at SkyDome as Calgary defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 24-10 for their third Grey Cup win and first since 1971, ending the longest drought of any CFL team.
At the League's Annual Meetings on February 23 in Hamilton, the Sacramento Gold Miners are admitted as the CFL's ninth franchise, to begin play in 1993 in the Western Division. Sacramento became the League's first franchise based in the United States and the first addition since the B.C. Lions in 1954. The Annual Canadian College Draft was held in Calgary on March 6, the first time it was held in a Western Division city since 1971 in Winnipeg. Calgary's McMahon Stadium was the site of the Grey Cup for the second time in history with the 81st Grey Cup Championship played on November 28. The Eskimos defeated the Blue Bombers 33-23.
The Las Vegas Posse, Shreveport Pirates and Baltimore Football Club became the CFL's tenth, eleventh and twelfth members respectively, and all beginning play in the 1994 season. Las Vegas joined the Western Division while Baltimore and Shreveport participated in the Eastern Division, bringing the number of teams in each Division to six. Bruce M. Firestone purchased the Ottawa Rough Riders Football Club from former owner Bernie Glieberman in February, 1994. In May, the JLL Broadcast Group purchased the Toronto Argonauts. B.C. Place Stadium played host to the 82nd Grey Cup Championship on November 27. It marked the twelfth time the game has been played in Vancouver. The first Grey Cup championship between a Canadian team and an American team was played on November 27 when the B.C. Lions defeated the Baltimore Club by a score of 26-23 on the last play of the game.
The 1995 season began with two more U.S.-based teams becoming part of the CFL family while during the off-season, the Sacramento Gold Miners were moved. In 1995, the San Antonio Texans (formerly the Gold Miners) played at the Alomodome in San Antonio, Texas. The Las Vegas Posse, after a slow inaugural season in 1994, ceased operations. However, the Memphis Mad Dogs and the Birmingham Barracudas brought to five the number of teams in the newly-created "South Division", while the "North Division" was comprised of the eight Canadian-based teams. The Grey Cup went south of the border for the first time ever as the Baltimore Stallions defeated the Calgary Stampeders 37-20 in Regina, Saskatchewan.
At the League's Board of Governors Meetings in February 1996, it was decided that the League would revert to its original All-Canadian team format. The Baltimore Stallions relocated to Montreal, a city which has been without the Alouettes for nine years. With the new configuration, the League also realigned the divisions to the original East-West format, which included moving Winnipeg back to the Western Division. A dispersal draft was held in March for the players from San Antonio, Shreveport, Memphis, and Birmingham. The B.C. Lions and Calgary Stampeders underwent ownership changes.
The League entered into the 1997 season with eight teams due to the non-participation of the Ottawa Rough Riders who folded after the completion of the 1996 season. The Montreal franchise began operations under new ownership headed by Robert C. Wetenhall and retained the Alouette name and logo. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers returned to the Eastern Division after a one year stint in the Western Division. A Dispersal Draft was held in February to distribute those players who were under contract to the Ottawa Club.
For the second time in its 86-year history, the Grey Cup game was awarded to the City of Winnipeg. TSN (The Sports Network) signed a five-year television contract giving them the rights to all CFL television broadcasts. The League also struck a sponsorship agreement with adidas that saw them become the "Official" footwear, practice wear and sport glove provider to the League.
The League enters the final season of the millennium on the heels of increased attendance and larger television audiences. Figures from the 1998 season show an increase in attendance of 6.1% as well as a 26.6% increase in TSN television viewers aged 2+. The 1998 Grey Cup game drew 3.06 million viewers, up 20.5% over 1997.