The CFL is in love with Grey Cup – even the meteorological mishaps that have occasionally turned the national title match into hand-to-hand trench warfare.
As part of the build-up to the landmark 100th Grey Cup game, at Rogers Centre this fall, the CFL will try to create the infamous Mud Bowl of 1950.
"We'll strip off the grass from two or three fields and try to recapture what was," Chris Rudge said Wednesday as historic CFL stars and Ontario's Lieutenant-Governor David Onley gathered at the site of the first championship – Toronto's Rosedale Field.
"It's one of those games that made the CFL engaging and fun," said Rudge, who is executive chairman and CEO of the hometown Toronto Argonauts and chairman and CEO of the 100th Grey Cup Festival. "Afterwards, we'll re-sod the field. We're also thinking what we can do the recreate the Fog Bowl."
That two-day debacle is best left alone, but the Mud Bowl, still in the planning stages, will likely be played by juniors and college players said Mike Morreale, president of the CFL Players' Association.
The NFL might be the big-money league, but the lore, traditions and quirky stories live north of the border, Morreale said.
"The Grey Cup is synonymous with Canadian culture and unity, and this is where it all began," said CFL commissioner Mark Cohon. "Just as Canada has come so very far as a country, the Grey Cup has grown into something bigger than sport: it's a symbol of our ability to come together to celebrate who and what we are as Canadians."
The first Grey Cup game, played on Dec. 4, 1909, saw the University of Toronto claim the trophy that had been donated by the Right Honourable Lord Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada, by defeating the Parkdale Canoe Club of Toronto (now the Boulevard Club) by a score of 26-6 in what was then known as the Dominion Championship of Canadian Amateur Rugby Football. The first Grey Cup was actually more than a century ago, in 1909. But the national championship was not contested for three years during the First World War, so the 100th Grey Cup game will be played Nov. 25 at Rogers Centre in Toronto. The Grey Cup festival lasts 11 nights from Nov. 15.
CFL sponsor RONA will have several legacy projects to mark the 100th Grey Cup game, including improvements at Rosedale Field and the refurbishment of another yet-to-be-determined football field in the GTA. "A team from Toronto won the very first Grey Cup and it is our goal to complete the circle and both host and hoist the 100th Grey Cup here in Toronto this November," Rudge said.
Toronto has played host to more Grey Cups than any other city – 45 of the 99 played so far. The hometown Argonauts have won 15 Grey Cup titles, more than any other team.
The 1909 game was attended by 3,807 fans. The 2012 game is sure to be played before a sellout crowd of more than 52,000.
The final public sale of tickets will take place in June.