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Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and running back Jon Cornish celebrate their win over the Hamilton Tiger-CatsNATHAN DENETTE/The Canadian Press

This is why the Canadian Football League exists – because its championship game is sensational more often than not; because when one Grey Cup ends the way Sunday's did, there are those who can't wait for the next.

What happened in the 102nd Grey Cup game was one for the memory banks. The Calgary Stampeders built an early 17-0 lead, watched in horror as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter and then celebrated in relief as the punt return scoring run by Hamilton's Brandon Banks was wiped out by a penalty.

Final score: Calgary 20, Hamilton 16.

What was supposed to be a determining matchup between Calgary's offence and Hamilton's defence was a bit of that and lot to do with the Stampeders' defence. What we saw was a Calgary coronation: The top team in the land going wire to wire with the best regular-season record, plus a beat-down showing in the West Final and finally a coronation in the Cup.

We got to see Calgary's defenders make the plays that mattered. "It was our defence that won the championship," Calgary running back Jon Cornish told TSN after the game. We got to see the mastery of Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, who completed 14 of 17 passes for 220 yards in the first half alone. The 14 completions went to seven different receivers. Call it a clinic in how to pick a defence to pieces.

There are those who don't care for the CFL and think it is nowhere near as professional as the four-down game played in the United States. But the Grey Cup has become a marquee event as well as the barometer of a season, and that was entirely true for 2014.

This past regular season was a mixed bag of some things good, some things in need of fixing. For too many weeks, the games lacked excitement. Scoring was down to a 30-year low as defences dominated and television ratings dipped slightly.

The West was the better division – again – while three East teams made sure they properly welcomed the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks by walloping them every opportunity they had.

It wasn't until late in the schedule that the games became interesting, but even then it was largely a battle of 9-9 teams trying to sink the other guy's boat. As for the division playoff games, the winners' combined score was 162-29. We're talking Harlem Globetrotters taking out the Washington Generals.

The beauty of the Grey Cup is that it often works to the league's advantage. Take 1998 as an example. Regular season attendance was up in Calgary and Edmonton, but down by more than 3,600 a game in Hamilton and Toronto, the twin sore spots.

Then along came Calgary versus Hamilton in the Cup, a give-and-take affair that ended with the Stampeders' Mark McLoughlin kicking the winning field goal with no time on the clock. McLoughlin spoke afterward of how he had dedicated that kick to his dad, who had died earlier in the year.

It was an emotional, memorable moment. The levity came when 280-pound Calgary offensive lineman Rocco Romano climbed atop the team's touchdown horse and rode around as if he were Roy Rogers – only bigger. You had to see it to get it.

Other Grey Cups have left their mark on history – the B.C. Lions winning the Grey Cup on their home field twice (1994, 2011), the Saskatchewan Roughriders claiming the 2007 Cup with Kent Austin as their head coach, then the Riders winning the 2013 Cup on their home field, a victory that soothed the enduring sting of losing the 2009 title game for having 13 men on the field.

Hamilton losing a winning touchdown on an illegal block has already found its niche in time.

The CFL always has lots of work to do. As soon as it can, it has to hire a new commissioner, one who can build on Mark Cohon's legacy. Cohon negotiated new deals for the league's broadcast rights and with its players' association. That guarantees stability on two important fronts.

One CFL team official was asked what the league wanted in its new leader: The response was someone savvy in new media who can see opportunities for growth and who can work with David Braley in helping him find an owner for the Toronto Argonauts. Think of the new commissioner as an upgraded model of the last one, a Cohon 2.0.

Of course, as long as the two teams in the Grey Cup can put on a show, the better the chance there is for a compelling game, one that stays with people for a long time. All the way to next November.

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