108th Grey Cup
2021 Grey Cup.png
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hamilton Tiger-Cats
(11–3) (8–6)
33 25
Head coach: 
Head coach: 
1234OT Total
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 433158 33
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 010960 25
DateDecember 12, 2021[1]
StadiumTim Hortons Field
LocationHamilton, Ontario
Most Valuable PlayerZach Collaros
Most Valuable CanadianNic Demski
FavouriteBlue Bombers by 4[2]
National anthemSavannah Ré
Coin tossRandy Ambrosie
RefereeAndré Proulx[3]
Halftime showArkells with The Lumineers and K.Flay[4]
Attendance26,324
Broadcasters
NetworkEnglish: TSN
French: RDS
United States: ESPN2
UK/Ireland: BT Sport
AnnouncersRod Smith (play-by-play)
Glen Suitor (analyst)
Sara Orlesky (sideline reporter)
Matthew Scianitti (sideline reporter)[5]

The 108th Grey Cup decided the Canadian Football League (CFL) championship for the 2021 season.[6] The game was played on December 12 between the defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.[1][7] The Blue Bombers defeated the Tiger-Cats 33–25 in overtime for their second straight title, making them the first team in 11 years to do so. This game was also the fourth Grey Cup to go into overtime, with the other three instances coming in 1961, 2005 and 2016.[8]

Date

It was speculated with the 108th Grey Cup that the date for this game could come at least one week sooner than in previous years.[9][10] Currently, the Grey Cup is played on the fourth or fifth Sunday of November, as has been the case since 2007. During the CFL's State of the League address on November 24, 2017, League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie suggested that the league could potentially move the date to the third week of October.[11] On November 23, 2018, Commissioner Ambrosie confirmed that the league schedule would start one week earlier, suggesting that the 108th Grey Cup game would be on November 15, 2020.[9][10] However, in the dual 2020 and 2021 announcement, it was revealed that the earlier start meant that it would be played on the third Sunday of November, which is still the earliest start since the November 19 game in 2006.[7]

Due to the delayed start of the season, the Grey Cup was pushed back from November 21 to December 12.[1][7] This was the first time that the Grey Cup game was played in December since the 1972 Grey Cup (also in Hamilton) and it was the latest that a Grey Cup game has ever been played by a day (the previous latest in a calendar year was on December 11, 1937).

Host city

This was the 11th time that the city of Hamilton hosted the Grey Cup, with the previous coming in 1996, and the first to be played at the new Tim Hortons Field.[7] The game was announced as a sell-out on December 5, shortly after the Tiger-Cats won the East Final.[12]

Selection process

The 108th (2020) and 109th (2021) Grey Cup were awarded to Regina, Saskatchewan, and Hamilton, Ontario, respectively on February 21, 2019.[13] Litigation over the construction of Tim Hortons Field was settled on May 31, 2018, which had prevented the Tiger-Cats from bidding on a Grey Cup game prior to then.[14]

The game was originally awarded as the 109th Grey Cup;[a] the 2020 CFL season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, marking the first time the Grey Cup was not awarded since 1919. As a result, Regina's hosting of the Grey Cup was deferred to 2022.[15]

Capacity

Under Ontario public health orders, Tim Hortons Field could operate at full capacity, but all attendees aged 12 and over were required to present proof of vaccination for COVID-19. In addition, on October 14 it was announced that due to restrictions on indoor, non-seated events in effect at the time (these restrictions, however, were lifted on October 28), there would be no public entertainment festivities prior to the Grey Cup.[16] Hamilton was therefore awarded the 110th Grey Cup in 2023 as compensation, allowing Hamilton to host the game and its associated festivities as originally planned.[17]

Background

This game was a rematch of the 2019 Grey Cup, and was the first rematch Grey Cup game since 2010.[18] This was also the first game since 2013 where a team played a Grey Cup in its home stadium. The Tiger-Cats entered the game with the league's longest active Grey Cup championship drought, having last won in 1999, after Winnipeg ended their own 29-year drought following the previous season's victory.[18]

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Main article: 2021 Hamilton Tiger-Cats season

The Tiger-Cats finished in second place in the East Division with a regular season record of 8–6 after beginning the season with two losses.[19] The team entered the season with two capable starting quarterbacks, with head coach Orlondo Steinauer choosing the more experienced Jeremiah Masoli as the team's opening day starter.[20] After suffering a rib injury in the second game, Masoli was replaced with Dane Evans, who went 2–1 as a starter before being injured himself and being replaced with third-string quarterback, David Watford.[20] Watford was 2–0 as a starter when Masoli became healthy enough to play and started the remaining seven games of the season, finishing with a 4–5 record as the team's starter.[21]

Masoli took every snap in the team's East Semi-Final win over the Montreal Alouettes, but struggled in the East Final against the Toronto Argonauts. He completed four of six passes for 22 yards before being replaced by Evans early in the second quarter.[20] Evans was a perfect 16-for-16 passing for 249 yards and a touchdown, ran six times for 14 yards and two touchdowns, and had a forced fumble and recovery following an Argonauts' fumble return into Tiger-Cats territory.[22] Evans was soon after named the starting quarterback for the Grey Cup, which was his second consecutive start in the championship game.[20]

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Main article: 2021 Winnipeg Blue Bombers season

The Blue Bombers finished a dominant season with the best record in the CFL at 11–3 with two of their losses occurring after already clinching first place in the West Division. The team won their first division title since 2011, and first West Division first-place finish since 1972, after they defeated the BC Lions on October 23.[23] The Blue Bombers then had 42 days until their next meaningful game with a West Final matchup, their third consecutive appearance in the Division Final, against the Saskatchewan Roughriders which was won 21–17.[24] The team was undefeated at IG Field, winning all seven regular season games and one playoff game there.[25]

The Blue Bombers defence in 2021 was among the best in CFL history, with just 13.4 points allowed per game, which was their lowest total allowed since 1958 when they had 11.4 points against per game.[24] The team also allowed just six total points scored in the fourth quarter in the first twelve games of the season.[24] The team's quarterback, Zach Collaros, started 13 games and was named the West Division's Most Outstanding Player after finishing the season with a 111.01 quarterback passer rating, which was the tenth best of all time.[26] The team had 15 Divisional All-Stars, the most in the league, with seven on offence, seven on defence, and one on special teams.[27] Despite perennial All-Star running back Andrew Harris missing half of the regular season due to injury, the Blue Bombers finished second in rushing offence in the league, led behind the team's four Division All-Stars on the offensive line.[24][27] With their appearance in this year's Grey Cup, the Blue Bombers surpassed Edmonton for the most Grey Cup appearances of all time with 26.[18]

Head-to-head

Due to the reduced 14 game schedule, Winnipeg and Hamilton met just once during the 2021 regular season, this being the traditional Grey Cup rematch in Week 1.[19] The Blue Bombers allowed a touchdown on Hamilton's opening drive, but shut out the Tiger-Cats for the rest of the game and won 19–6 at IG Field.[28]

This was the tenth meeting between the two teams in the championship game, and second consecutive, but just the third time since 1965.[18] The Blue Bombers and Tiger-Cats played each other seven times between 1953 and 1965 in the Grey Cup game.[18] The Blue Bombers entered the game with a 7–3 record in Grey Cups against the Tiger-Cats and had also won their first Grey Cup championship over the Tiger-Cats' predecessor, the Hamilton Tigers, in 1935.[18] With the Blue Bombers spending 22 years in the same division as the Tiger-Cats, the two teams had met seven times in the East Division playoffs with Winnipeg winning six of these match ups.

Uniforms

As the East Division representative in a Grey Cup held in an East Division city (and in their own stadium), the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were the designated home team for the game and elected to use their own dressing room.[29] The team wore their black jerseys with gold pants while the Blue Bombers wore their white jerseys with their gold pants.[29][30]

Game summary

Zach Collaros was the game's MVP.
Zach Collaros was the game's MVP.

The game was played in windy conditions, with gusts of nearly 50 km/h.[31] Winnipeg won the coin toss, but elected to defer, choosing to play with the wind at their backs in the first and the fourth quarters.[32] Winnipeg used the wind to their advantage in the first quarter, with two field goals and a single, while Hamilton was limited to seven net offensive yards, the lowest scoring opening quarter of a Grey Cup since 2008.[31] Hamilton replied in the second quarter with a field goal and a twelve-yard touchdown just before halftime, giving them a 10–7 lead.[31]

In the third quarter, Winnipeg managed to kick a 15-yard field goal into the wind to tie the game. Hamilton then went for it on third down and was stopped, forcing a turnover on downs, but their aggression was rewarded with a 43-yard interception by Hamilton defensive back Kameron Kelly. Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli threw an 11-yard touchdown on that same drive to make the score 17–10. Winnipeg conceded a safety near the end of the quarter to fall behind 19–10, and early in the fourth quarter Hamilton kicked a 10-yard field goal to go up 22–10.[31] As Winnipeg receiver Rasheed Bailey stated after the game, "The wind was tough. It was tough, in the third quarter, we couldn't get anything going because of the wind."[31]

When Winnipeg got the wind back in the fourth quarter, the game began to turn around. Winnipeg kicker Sergio Castillo kicked a 20-yard field goal, and then Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros threw a 29-yard touchdown, followed by a kickoff single by Castillo to close the gap to 22–21.[31] With 1:52 left in the game, Castillo kicked his fifth field goal of the game, from 45 yards away, to give Winnipeg a 24–22 lead. He kicked a single on the following kickoff to make it a 25–22 lead. Hamilton responded by driving all the way down the field, nearly scoring a touchdown before settling for a 13-yard field goal with four seconds left in the game.[32]

In overtime, Winnipeg drove down the field and Collaros threw a 13-yard touchdown, and made the two-point conversion to make it 33–25. Then, on Hamilton's ensuing position, Winnipeg linebacker Kyrie Wilson intercepted a deflected pass from Masoli, ending the game.[32] Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros was named the most valuable player, while Winnipeg receiver Nic Demski was named the top Canadian.[31] Winnipeg became the first team to win back-to-back Grey Cups since the Montreal Alouettes in 2009–2010 (and the first West Division team to do so since the Edmonton Eskimos won five straight from 1978 to 1982), and Winnipeg won back-to-back Grey Cups for the first time since 1961–62.[32] Hamilton extended the longest active Grey Cup drought in the CFL to 22 years.[32]

Scoring summary

First quarter[33]

WPG – FG Castillo 38 yards (8:29) 3–0 WPG
WPG – Single Liegghio 70 yards (2:46) 4–0 WPG

Second quarter[33]

WPG – FG Castillo 34 yards (13:22) 7–0 WPG
HAM – FG Domagala 13 yards (2:41) 7–3 WPG
HAM – TD Dunbar 12-yard reception from Masoli (Domagala convert) (0:21) 10–7 HAM

Third quarter[33]

WPG – FG Castillo 15 yards (8:34) 10–10
HAM – TD Banks 11-yard reception from Masoli (Domagala convert) (4:10) 17–10 HAM
HAM – Safety conceded by Liegghio (0:51) 19–10 HAM

Fourth quarter[33]

HAM – FG Domagala 10 yards (12:03) 22–10 HAM
WPG – FG Castillo 20 yards (8:42) 22–13 HAM
WPG – TD Demski 29-yard reception from Collaros (Castillo convert) (6:09) 22–20 HAM
WPG – Single Castillo 79 yards (5:33) 22–21 HAM
WPG – FG Castillo 45 yards (2:05) 24–22 WPG
WPG – Single Castillo 76 yards (1:52) 25–22 WPG
HAM – FG Domagala 13 yards (0:06) 25–25

Overtime[33]

WPG – TD Adams 13-yard reception from Collaros (Bailey convert, pass from Collaros) 33–25 WPG

Individual statistics

Sources: CFL 108th Grey Cup Boxscore

Tiger-Cats passing
Player CP/AT Pct Yards TD Int
United States Jeremiah Masoli 20/25 80.0% 185 2 1
United States Dane Evans 4/9 44.4% 24 0 1
Tiger-Cats rushing
Player Car Yards Avg Lg TD
United States Don Jackson 11 59 5.4 21 0
United States Jeremiah Masoli 6 35 5.8 12 0
United States Brandon Banks 2 7 3.5 7 0
United States Tim White 1 4 4.0 4 0
United States Jaelon Acklin 1 1 1.0 1 0
Tiger-Cats receiving
Player Rec Yards Avg Lg TD
United States Steven Dunbar 6 63 10.5 19 1
United States Don Jackson 6 48 8.0 36 0
United States Jaelon Acklin 4 33 8.2 13 0
United States Tim White 4 33 8.2 20 0
United States Brandon Banks 4 32 8.0 13 1
Tiger-Cats defence
Player DT–ST QS Int FR FF
United States Jovan Santos-Knox 8–0 0 0 0 0
United States Simoni Lawrence 6–0 0 0 0 0
Canada Stavros Katsantonis 5–0 0 0 0 0
United States Ciante Evans 4–0 0 0 0 0
United States Cariel Brooks 3–0 0 0 0 0
United States Julian Howsare 3–0 0 0 0 0
United States Dylan Wynn 2–0 0 0 0 0
United States Jumal Rolle 2–0 0 0 0 0
Canada Tunde Adeleke 2–0 0 0 0 0
United States Kameron Kelly 2–0 0 2 0 0
United States Malik Carney 1–0 0 0 0 0
United States Jaelon Acklin 1–0 0 0 0 0
United States Brandon Banks 1–0 0 0 0 0
United States Ja'Gared Davis 1–0 1 0 0 0
United States Chris Frey 0–3 0 0 0 0
Canada Bailey Feltmate 0–3 0 0 0 0
Canada Nic Cross 0–2 0 0 0 1
Canada Felix Garand-Gauthier 0–1 0 0 1 0
Canada Mike Daly 0–1 0 0 0 0
Tiger-Cats placekicking
Player FM–FA Lng Avg Sng CM-CA
Canada Michael Domagala 3–3 13 12.0 0 2–2
Tiger-Cats punting
Player No GAv NAv Sng Lng
Australia Joel Whitford 10 35.7 29.9 0 57
Blue Bombers passing
Player CP/AT Pct Yards TD Int
United States Zach Collaros 21/32 65.6% 240 2 2
Blue Bombers rushing
Player Car Yards Avg Lg TD
Canada Andrew Harris 18 80 4.4 14 0
Canada Nic Demski 2 −1 −0.5 0 0
Blue Bombers receiving
Player Rec Yards Avg Lg TD
United States Darvin Adams 5 61 12.2 21 1
United States Rasheed Bailey 3 60 20.0 34 0
Canada Drew Wolitarsky 4 48 12.0 19 0
United States Kenny Lawler 3 41 13.7 19 0
Canada Nic Demski 4 27 6.8 29 1
Canada Andrew Harris 2 3 1.5 3 0
Blue Bombers defence
Player DT–ST QS Int FR FF
United States Alden Darby 6–0 0 1 0 0
United States Adam Bighill 5–0 0 0 0 0
United States Kyrie Wilson 5–0 0 1 0 0
United States Deatrick Nichols 4–0 0 0 0 0
United States Nick Taylor 4–0 0 0 0 0
Canada Jake Thomas 4–0 1 0 0 0
United States Winston Rose 4–0 0 0 0 0
United States Steven Richardson 4–0 2 0 0 0
United States DeAundre Alford 3–0 0 0 0 0
United States Willie Jefferson 3–0 0 0 0 0
United States Brandon Alexander 2–0 0 0 0 0
United States Kenny Lawler 1–0 0 0 0 0
Canada Michael Couture 1–0 0 0 0 0
Canada Tanner Cadwallader 0–3 0 0 0 0
Canada Mike Miller 0–1 0 0 0 0
Canada Jesse Briggs 0–1 0 0 0 0
Canada Nick Hallett 0–1 0 0 0 0
Canada Johnny Augustine 0–1 0 0 0 0
Blue Bombers placekicking
Player FM–FA Lng Avg Sng CM-CA
United States Sergio Castillo 5–5 45 30.4 0 1–1
Blue Bombers punting
Player No GAv NAv Sng Lng
Canada Marc Liegghio 5 38.6 29.8 1 70

Depth charts

The following diagrams illustrate the teams' depth charts that were released one day prior to game day. Starters are listed in boxes in their respective positions with backups listed directly above or below. As per CFL rules, 45 of the 46 players for each team dressed in the game, with Hamilton's Travis Vornkahl and Winnipeg's Ricky Walker being the teams' game day scratches.[34]

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Broadcasting

The game was televised in Canada by TSN (English) and RDS (French), in the United States on ESPN2, in the United Kingdom by BT Sport, and in Mexico by MVS. Outside of North America, the Grey Cup was carried by ESPN International and its affiliated networks to 74 countries.[35]

The game was also available for online streaming for international viewers (outside of Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom) through the CFL's streaming platform.[35]

Officials

The highest rated officials during the 2021 CFL season from their respective positions were selected for the game and announced on December 9.[3] The numbers below indicate their uniform numbers.

Notes

  1. ^ In accordance with longstanding tradition, only Grey Cup games which are actually played are numbered – for years which there was no Grey Cup the affected number is not "skipped" but simply carried over to the next year in which there is a Grey Cup game. Prior to 2020 the only years since 1909 when there was no Grey Cup were during and immediately after the First World War.

References

  1. ^ a b c "CFL Announces Plans To Return-to-play For 2021 Season". cfl.ca. April 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "Grey Cup odds: Hamilton Tiger-Cats open as 4-point underdogs against Winnipeg Blue Bombers". insauga.com. December 6, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Proulx leads crew of officials named for Grey Cup game". CFL.ca. Canadian Football League. December 9, 2021.
  4. ^ "Arkells to take centre stage at Twisted Tea Grey Cup Halftime Show". Canadian Football League. November 12, 2021.
  5. ^ "TSN Delivers Canada's Biggest Party: the 108th GREY CUP, Touching Down in Hamilton this Sunday, December 12". bellmedia.ca. December 8, 2021. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  6. ^ "Shaw, CFL announce Grey Cup sponsorship deal". Global News. Shaw Media. May 8, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d "Going for Two: CFL awards 2020 and 2021 Grey Cups". Canadian Football League. February 21, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "Blue Bombers defeat Tiger-Cats 33–25 in OT to repeat as Grey Cup champions". CBC. December 12, 2021. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Eight things you need to know from Randy Ambrosie's state of the league address". November 23, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "State of CFL: Randy Ambrosie on Mexico, Halifax, realignment and more". November 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "Grey Cup in October? NFL Network TV deal could follow for CFL". Ottawa Sun. November 24, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  12. ^ "The 108th Grey Cup game in Hamilton is sold out". Canadian Football League. December 5, 2021.
  13. ^ Taekema, Dan (Feb 21, 2019). "'Holy cow, we did it': The 2021 Grey Cup is coming to Hamilton". CBC News. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  14. ^ "Tim Hortons Field stadium lawsuit officially settled, says Hamilton mayor". Global News. May 31, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  15. ^ "CFL cancels 2020 season, 'committed' to 2021". Canadian Press. 2020-08-17. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  16. ^ Friend, David (2021-10-28). "Ontario music venues get clearance to hold standing shows, operate at full capacity". CTV News Toronto. Archived from the original on 2021-10-28. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  17. ^ "Hamilton to host 2 of next 3 Grey Cups as CFL reveals 'modified' championship week | Globalnews.ca". Global News. 2021-10-14. Archived from the original on 2021-10-14. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats to vie for the 108th Grey Cup". Canadian Football League. December 5, 2021.
  19. ^ a b "2021 schedule". Canadian Football League. December 8, 2021.
  20. ^ a b c d "Dane Evans to start at QB for Ticats in GC108". Canadian Football League. December 8, 2021.
  21. ^ "East Final Game Notes" (PDF). Canadian Football League. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  22. ^ "Tiger-Town bound: Ticats down Argos in Eastern Final". Canadian Football League. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  23. ^ "BC Lions vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers". Canadian Football League. October 23, 2021.
  24. ^ a b c d "West Final Game Notes" (PDF). Canadian Football League. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  25. ^ "Blue Bombers defeat Alouettes for 9th straight victory, finish undefeated at home". Global News. November 6, 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Collaros, Stanback headline 2021 CFL Award finalists". Canadian Football League. November 25, 2021.
  27. ^ a b "2021 CFL Division All-Stars unveiled". Canadian Football League. 24 November 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  28. ^ "No place like home: Bombers top Ticats in season opener". Canadian Football League. August 5, 2021.
  29. ^ a b @Markonfootball (December 6, 2021). "As per CFL" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  30. ^ @Ticats (December 8, 2021). "It's only right we rep the Black & Gold at home for Grey Cup Sunday!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g Ralph, Dan (December 12, 2021). "Blue Bombers defeat Tiger-Cats 33–25 in OT to repeat as Grey Cup champions". CBC. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  32. ^ a b c d e Koreen, Mike (December 12, 2021). "With Blue Bombers' thrilling Grey Cup title defence, the CFL saved its best for last". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  33. ^ a b c d e "Play-by-Play, 108th Grey Cup". Canadian Football League. December 12, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  34. ^ "CFL Game Details | Winnipeg Blue Bombers @Hamilton Tiger-Cats" (PDF). Canadian Football League. December 12, 2021.
  35. ^ a b "Where to Watch: 2021 Broadcast Schedule". Canadian Football League. Retrieved December 8, 2021.