The last time the Argos and Ticats squared off in the Eastern Final was eight years ago. In 2013, Hamilton thwarted Toronto’s attempt to defend their 2012 Grey Cup by upending the Boatmen at the Rogers Centre 36-24.
It seems like a lifetime ago by now. The day when Henry Burris and Tiger-Cats outdueled and upset Ricky Ray and the Argonauts in the six. Some Double Blue fans still blame former embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for that loss.
But that’s ancient history. Something that the Argos and Ticats share. Like Batman and Joker, these two rivals are destined to battle each other forever.
Argos-Ticats Eastern Final Will Be One For The Ages
Sunday’s Eastern Final between Toronto and Hamilton will be the seventh time both football clubs have stood directly in each other’s path towards a Grey Cup in a finals game.
The Tiger-Cats have won four of the six finals clashes with the Argos. Hamilton has won the last three. (84, 86 & 2013). The last time Toronto defeated Hamilton in a win, and you are in the Grey Cup scenario, was back in 1983. It’s been a while.
But make no mistake, none of the previous Finals meetings between Toronto and Hamilton carries the weight or significance of Sunday’s game at BMO Field. Not only is a trip to the 108th Grey Cup at stake, but the victor will have ultimate bragging rights. Simply because the championship game is in Hamilton at Tim Horton’s Field on Sunday, December 12th.
The Ticats can beat their rival Argos on their home field at BMO this Sunday. By doing so, not only will Hamilton have the opportunity to win a Grey Cup at home, but vanquishing Toronto in the six, would negate the Argos claim to the East in 2021.
On the flip side, An Argonauts’ victory over the Tiger-Cats this Sunday would be a bitter pill for the Hamilton faithful to swallow. Not only would Toronto have beaten them four times in five tries this year, but the Ticats fans would then have to sit back and watch the Boatmen attempt to hoist their 18th Grey Cup trophy on their field.
It would be the ultimate indignity for the Ticats to have the Argos deny them a chance to get back to the Grey Cup and then potentially witness Toronto win it all at Tim Horton’s Field instead of them.
The rarest of sports rivalries will be entering rarefied air in Toronto this Sunday. You’d be hard-pressed to find another scenario in the history of sports that has higher stake ramifications between two longtime rivals in a playoff setting like this game will have.
No matter what the outcome ends up being. The result will be one that Toronto and Hamilton won’t ever forget.
Will The Argos and Ticats Be At Their Best This Sunday?
Toronto certainly hopes that their extended time off from play doesn’t work against them this weekend.
It will be 19 days since the Argos have played a game. But in reality, because 19 Toronto starters didn’t play their regular-season finale against Edmonton. It will be 23 days since the team’s regulars have played a meaningful game.
The last meaningful game for Double Blue was against Hamilton when the Argos clinched the East division on November 12th.
The Boatmen’s battle in this game with Hamilton will be rest outweighing rust.
Superstar slotback Eric Rogers is back for Toronto this week. Rookie sensation C Peter Nicastro is gearing up for a potential return from injury on Sunday, as is defensive player of the year nominee Dexter McCoil.
Hamilton week always provides a cloud of secrecy and a healthy amount of paranoia for Toronto in the week leading in. The team is practicing at Lamport Stadium this week. With the stakes being as high as they are, in a do-or-die situation. Could the Argos have some additional aces up their sleeves for Sunday?
RT Jamal Campbell looks like a long shot to return from a strained quad, but you know the longtime Argos would love to get back in the trenches for this one. Perhaps DT Drake Nevis, who has only played one game this season due to multiple injuries, could make a surprise Finals cameo. The practice reports for Toronto should be fascinating to monitor this week.
From Hamilton’s side of the spectrum. Despite facing the Argos four times this year. The Ticats offence hasn’t had their full complement of weapons against Toronto yet. RB Don Jackson missed the last meeting with the Boatmen due to a groin injury. Jackson is coming off a solid performance against the Alouettes in the Semi-Final. He brings excellent balance to Hamilton’s rushing and passing attack.
WR Bralon Addison just missed the cut for the Montreal game. You have to figure that he will be ready to go on Sunday, barring a setback. Considering the war of attrition that a long football season entails. The Ticats terrific defence is fully healthy and raring to go.
In a game of this magnitude. You want both Toronto and Hamilton at their absolute best. Both rivals are going to bring the best out of each other at BMO Field. The finality in the Final will produce that.