If the Calgary Stampeders hoist the Grey Cup on Sunday night in Toronto, their 2016 season will be widely considered the greatest in CFL history.
The Stampeders went 15-2-1 in the regular season, including a stretch of 14 successive wins, which set a CFL single-season record. They dominated countless team and individual stats categories and won five of the seven major CFL awards, including the unanimous selection of star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell as the season’s most-outstanding player.
The Stamps fell just shy of earning the best CFL regular-season record. The 1989 Edmonton Eskimos, 16-2, still hold that honour, but that team was eliminated in the West Division final by the 9-9 Saskatchewan Roughriders. These Stampeders don’t want to be remembered as another special team that didn’t get it done.
Despite the dominant record, Calgary’s season was not without some significant challenges, from injuries to a tough personnel decision that led to the streak-breaking loss. Most significantly though, the team was faced with the shooting death of popular practice squad defensive back Mylan Hicks.
“We’re not going to take nothing less, trust me, not after all we’ve overcome this season,” said Stampeder Derek Dennis, who was chosen the CFL’s top offensive lineman of the year. “I spent time with the New England Patriots in my career, so I know what a locker room with that special feeling is like. From being around [Patriots] like Tom Brady and Devin McCourty, I know, and this team has the same feeling.”
The Stampeders opened the season with a loss – 20-18 to B.C. Then they played to a tie with Ottawa on July 8 after the game remained unsettled after two overtimes – the first CFL contest to end in a tie since 2009.
There was a white-knuckled overtime win over the Lions in Week 6 and then a shelling of those same Lions in Week 9.Report Typo/Error