December 18, 2023

Then and Now: Top 3 Sunday Night games of ’23 and ’24

Matt Smith/

TORONTO — Sunday Night Football offered several memorable moments in 2023 for fans of all shapes and sizes.

CFL fans got to enjoy a lot of great football on Sundays, from an overtime REDBLACKS win over the Stampeders in Week 7, to a couple of nail biter Roughriders triumphs over Ottawa in Week 9 and the Lions in Week 11.

What could be more exciting than that? Ball is in your court, 2024.

 CFL reveals list of 2024 pending free agents
 Top 10 Canadian performers of 2023
 Watch: Top 10 touchdowns of 2023

Calgary (41) at Ottawa (43)
Sunday, July 23, 2023


The REDBLACKS could not help but play close games throughout most of their 2023 schedule. Ottawa was part of 10 one-score games this past season that included several close finishes like this 43-41 overtime win over the Stampeders. The highest scoring game of the year featured both teams scoring five touchdowns, with Ottawa going for four on offence and one on defence with a pick six by Brandin Dandridge.

Rookie Dustin Crum finished 23 of 29 for 257 yards and two majors while adding 63 more rushing yards while Jake Maier exploded for 450 yards on a 28-of-38 performance with four touchdowns and two picks.

Calgary got the ball first in overtime and Maier completed four of five passes to guide the Stamps to the end zone, but the two-point conversion failed and gave Crum and the REDBLACKS a chance to win the game. That’s exactly what the did when Ante Milanovic-Litre took an outside zone run to the right into the end zone followed by a quick pass from Crum to wide receiver Nate Behar for the two points and the win.

Ottawa (24) at Saskatchewan (26)
Sunday, August 6, 2023


The REDBLACKS are featured again here albeit this time on the losing side. Trailing 20-8 to the Roughriders, Ottawa put together a comeback effort that saw them take a 24-23 with a little over a minute left in the fourth quarter. That was when Mario Alford got things going for Saskatchewan with a return that set up their final drive near midfield. Mason Fine and the offence took over, positioned the team for a 54-yard try and Brett Lauther split the uprights to make it 26-24.

Crum and the REDBLACKS still had a chance for a late field goal of their own, but the Riders fierce defensive line put things to bed when Micah Johnson got to the quarterback to all but end the game for the home team.

BC (29) at Saskatchewan (34)
Sunday, August 20, 2023


The Riders had a successful run of Sunday games in 2023, winning all three of their matchups in Weeks 1, 9 and 11. The last of them was a 34-29 triumph over the Lions in Regina. It was Jake Dolegala‘s second career start and the young quarterback delivered a three-touchdown performance on a back-and-forth against an explosive BC offence.

An early strip sack by the Riders defence set the tone for the afternoon with Dolegala and the offence quickly turning it into seven points. The Lions would mount a late comeback in the fourth quarter, getting as close as two points after a field goal by veteran Sean Whyte, but Anthony Lanier II netted another sack for the home team to all but clinch the win for the Roughriders.


Looking towards the future, there are three games on the 2024 Sunday Night Football schedule that immediately jump to mind.

BC at Toronto
Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Sunday Night Football sled starts with one of the most intriguing matchups of the season with the Lions and Toronto Argonauts going head to head at BMO Field.

Lions and Argos were two of the best teams in the CFL for the better part of 2023 and will return quarterbacks Vernon Adams Jr. and Chad Kelly. Adams Jr. is coming off a career year in BC that saw him lead the league in passing yards with 4,729 to go alongside 31 passing touchdowns. The veteran also added 324 yards and a major on the ground to go over 5,000 yards from scrimmage.

On the other sideline will be what is expected to be a highly motivated Kelly coming off the Most Outstanding Player award coupled with a disappointing exit in the Eastern Final to the Montreal Alouettes.

Hamilton at Ottawa
Sunday, June 30, 2024

The REDBLACKS have to feature on a list of Sunday games to keep an eye on after offering plenty of intrigue in 2023. Ottawa is trying to gain ground in the East Division after watching their rivals make the post-season over the past four seasons. It starts with beating last season’s third-place finisher Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ottawa has a bye in Week 1 before facing the two teams that made the Grey Cup in Weeks 2 (Blue Bombers) and 3 (Alouettes). That makes this Week 4 bout against the Tabbies even more important for a young REDBLACKS squad that is looking to take the next step.

Hamilton meanwhile will have new head coach Scott Milanovich guiding a team that opens the season with three games against West Division opponents before opening their East Division schedule against Ottawa. The Ticats swept the REDBLACKS in 2023 but all three games were within one possession, a trend we expect to continue when these two teams meet again.

Winnipeg at BC
Sunday, August 18, 2024

The Blue Bombers have been a thorn on the Lions side over the last two seasons. Winnipeg has triumphed over BC in the Western Final with back-to-back wins at IG Field. If Rick Campbell’s team wants to avoid having to be on the road once again when the playoffs come around, they’ll have to finish ahead in the West Division standings and winning this game goes a long way.

It’s also the last meeting between the two in the regular season, paving the way for the winner to have an edge heading into September and October. Last year the Bombers won an exciting come-from-behind at the BC Place in Week 18 to secure another first-place finish. Can the Leos finally overcome the Blue and Gold?

The comment system on this website is now powered by the Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!