November 8, 2005

Grey Cup Memories: 1947

1947 – Toronto Argonauts 10, Winnipeg Blue Bombers 9

For the first time in Grey Cup history, the same two teams challenged for the trophy for the third consecutive year. But unlike the previous two years, the Toronto Argonauts needed some late game heroics to win their third consecutive title.

With the score tied 9-9 and less than a minute remaining, Winnipeg faced a punting situation on their own 52-yard line. By pinning the Argos deep, the Blue Bombers would be able to hold on until overtime.

With 10 men on the line of scrimmage, the Argos were expecting a kick, and attempted to block the punt. But Bob Sandberg had another idea, and called for a trick play. The ball was snapped back not to the punter, but another player, and was bobbled. A pileup ensued, and when the bodies were cleared, Toronto was awarded the ball on a loss of downs.

Needing to beat the clock, the Argos had a quick huddle, and Joe Krol, a Grey Cup hero for many seasons, angled a kick away from the Winnipeg safety, over the goal line and into touch for the winning point as time expired.

Sandberg, who had played a fine game despite the gamble, knew it was all or nothing. “I gambled. If it had worked, I'd be a genius. As it is I'm a bum. That's football.&rdquo

The feeling was that the Bombers were living on borrowed time, and that they would be too drained to hold the Argos back in a 10 minute overtime session. Had the ball not been fumbled, there was a good chance the play would have worked, as there was nothing but daylight to the Toronto end zone. At the very least, the play may have set up a winning kick if time permitted.

The Bombers jumped out to a 9-0 lead on a converted touchdown by Sandberg and a field goal by Don Hiney. The Argos then chipped away at their deficit. Krol booted four rouges in the game, and Royal Copeland scored a converted touchdown in the third quarter.

The teams almost didn't have a trophy to play for. Earlier in the year a blaze gutted the Toronto Argonauts Rowing Club. All the trophies in the building were either melted or burnt by the flames, except for one. The Grey Cup got caught on a large nail, and never fell to the floor. Although it received from minor damage, the mug survived.

The 1947 Argonauts were the last all-Canadian team to win the Grey Cup.