Friday Conversation: Favourite Game You Ever Attended

crop_1998759Last week’s Friday Conversation about the greatest player in CFL history generated a ton of great back and forth in the comment section. It was exactly what I was hoping for when I hatched this idea. I hope this week’s will live up to that, but I am going to take a little different approach this time out. Instead of debating something, I want us to share something. Namely, what was your favourite game that you ever had the pleasure of attending.

As a fan of the Tiger-Cats for about 25 years, I have had the pleasure of attending more games than I can remember. Being a season-seat holder since 2010 has allowed me to witness many of the great games during this, dare I say, resurgent golden age of Tiger-Cat football (maybe silver age is more appropriate, seeing as the team has lost the last two Grey Cups).

Anyway, what is my favourite game that I attended? The easy answer for me, and for most Tiger-Cat fans my age, is the 1998 East Division Final. It had everything a great game could ask for, and ended with one of the most iconic plays, if not the most iconic play, in Hamilton Tiger-Cats history: Paul Osbaldiston’s game-winning field goal:

Just watch that video. Reliving that moment all these years after and I still get the same feeling I did when I watched it happen in person.

Being in the crowd on that windy November day at Ivor Wynne Stadium is something I will never forget. I still have vivid memories of Osbaldiston’s field goal sailing through the uprights. The jubilation in the crowd is something I will never forget. I hugged and high-fived more strangers in the immediate aftermath of Ozzy’s game winner than I have during the rest of my life.

However, I am not going to pick that game. While it is hard not to say the ’98 East Final, a game that occurred not too long ago recently replaced the ’98 East Final, and it was a game that took place in Toronto of all places, not Hamilton.

The 2013 East Division Final.

It was the Argos and Ticats, the biggest and best rivalry in the CFL, duking it out for the right to go to the Grey Cup. It was the first Argos-Ticats East Final since 1986 and the energy at the stadium formerly known as the SkyDome was insane.

Tiger-Cat fans, myself among them, converged en masse in the hopes of seeing the Ticats finally get back to the Grey Cup. Walking around the area outside the stadium that day, you could tell it was something special. It was a sea of black and gold both inside and outside the Rogers Centre that day. I will not go so far as to say that there were more Tiger-Cat fans in the stadium, but there were more than enough to eliminate the Argos’ home-field advantage. The atmosphere was electric and the game did not disappoint.

It was a thrilling matchup, with the teams trading blows early until the Argos started to pull away midway through the second quarter. A late first half touchdown pass got the Ticats within one score and they would tie the game up early in the third quarter. From then on, the Ticats dominated, not allowing the Argos to get any momentum going on offense, while methodically marching up and down the field when the Ticats had the bal. Eventually, Hamilton would vanquish their most-hated rival and reclaim the CFL’s East Division. Just thinking about that game gives me goosebumps.

There is something about winning an away game that make it feel a little more special. And as a Tiger-Cat fan, it is hard to find a much sweeter win than beating the Argos in Toronto with a berth in the Grey Cup on the line.

So while it would be very easy for me to say that the 1998 East Final is my favourite (and I am sure some, if not many, Tiger-Cats fans who comment will pick that game), I am going with the 2013 East Final.

So what is your favourite? Which game do you say, “Man, I am glad I was there,” when talking to family and friends about it? I look forward to seeing what other games people pick and I hope the discussion is just as fruitful as it was last week.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.
Josh Smith

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Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.

14 Comments on Friday Conversation: Favourite Game You Ever Attended

  1. 2010 season opener in Regina. A fired up Rider Nation came to support their team after a heartbreaking loss in the 2009 Grey Cup. The game was an all-out classic! Riders were down 3 TD’s in the 4th quarter and came all the way back to tie it. Then in OT SJ Green makes the catch of the century to keep the game going. But Rider Nation went home happy…Durant to Dressler in 2OT for the game winning Td

  2. Glen Schut // May 22, 2015 at 12:20 pm //

    I remember the end of the 2013 East Final. We watched it at home and I am pretty sure the whole street knew the Ticats won the East Final. I know I lose some man points but I cried when I saw how happy the cats were, and my voice hurt the next day from all the yelling.

    Definately a memorable game.

  3. Lindsay Wilcox // May 22, 2015 at 2:16 pm //

    Being a fan and follower of Ticats since early 50s, often going to games in ’60s and a season ticket holder since 72, it’s very hard for me too. I was at the home games mentioned above,and they were all great. To me I remember great individual plays or great games by 1 player. Greatest all-time play :’61 Total point ED Final vs. Argos – Argos had gone into the game leading by 17 or 18 points and the Ticats tied it. Argos tried to punt for winning single, Mann’s kick didn’t go through the end zone, Sutherin picked it up and punted it back away from Mann, who did grab it and kicked towards coffin corner of front of Ticats’ end zone. Faloney picked it up about 5 yards deep, evaded 2 Argo tacklers in the end zone then ran the length of the field (with the help of then-illegal blocking) to score a TD, but for naught. Game went into 20 minutes OT where Ticats destroyed Argos 28-0. Dave Fleming’s 108 yard catch and run TD pass ’68. Earl Winfield’s 3 TDs and about 400 yds total yards vs Argos on Labour Day. Troy Davis’ record-setting rushes in 1 game. Jesse Lumsden’s spectacular runs. Speedy Banks TD returns vs. Als in last year’s playoff game. Whew !!!

  4. Wow… this is a hard one. Favourite game ever I’m going to have to say the 47th Vanier Cup which saw the underdog McMaster Mauraders over come the highly favoured Laval Rouge et Or in double overtime 41-38. Went to that game expecting to see a shellacking but saw history being made.

    Other than that I’ve got to say the Riders’ 2010 home opener, 2013 West Final win in Calgary and the 2013 Grey Cup (obviously going with my home team bias) as my favourite CFL regular season, play off and championship games that I’ve attended.

  5. I’ve had Stamps season’s tickets since 2002, and have been to 10 Grey Cups to boot…my best memory would have to be the 2008 West Final in Calgary where the Stamps beat the Lions. Sold-out stadium, first time back to the Grey Cup after some awfully dark years, a good game, Mike Labinjo came up huge…it was just a great atmosphere. Watching the Stamps beat the Als in Montreal for the Grey Cup was also very special for obvious reasons (first time I’d ever seen “my” team win a championship in person).

  6. Mark Fulton Mark Fulton // May 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm //

    Agree with others. This is a tough one. So many to choose from. In no particular order;

    2014 LDC @ THF. Home opener for new stadium. Rival Argos in town. There Jet Fly-Over at kick-off was one of the most blood-pumping-hairs-standing-on-end experiences ever. The CF-18 came from the north went vertical hitting the afterburners right at midfield, right at kick-off! I’m surprised Toronto didn’t protest. It was spectacular.

    2009 ESF. I know, I know … Not the result that TiCat fans want to remember, but that OT was so enthralling. You could hear a pin drop when the TiCats had the ball in the shootout. Standing on edge with nerves all twisted & stomach churning. Bad result but great experience.

    Any game with a Jet FlyOver … Nothing else beats it! Especially at night when they hit the afterburners & light up the sky with that hot-blue flame! Just getting chills thinking about it!

  7. The 2013 East Final is my favourite game too. I live in Nova Scotia, so I haven’t had a ton of opportunities to see live games. I’ve seen them twice in Moncton for Touchdown Atlantic (both those games were awesome) and 3 times in Ontario (twice in Hamilton). But in 2013, even before the Ticats made the playoffs officially, I bought a ticket to the East Final, as I knew I had to be there and hey, the Ticats have never lost when I’ve been in attendance, so as long as they made it, twas a sure bet! Nova Scotia luck I guess.

    I watched the game against Montreal the week before like it was a life or death scenario. People watching NFL at the bar were more interested in my pained reactions to a CFL game than their own, thats how intense it was. The East Final was even better. I was in the first row of the end zone. I was right on top of the action, surrounded by Argo fans, but overlooking our incredible collection of Ticat fans. Half the stadium was black and gold! That atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever experienced before (and I had been to the Grey Cup there the year before). I remember when the game ended, I just broke down crying. I had been watching football since 2000 and I had never seen the Ticats make the Grey Cup, so this was the greatest thing ever and I couldn’t even contain myself. The VP of the league asked me if I was alright, it was so intense hahaha. Anyway, the trophy presentation happened right in front of me, I high fived all the captains as they took the stage, shook Hanks hand, it was just awesome. My iphone had been stolen the day before (evil Torontonians) but I got a new one an hour before the game. It had 4% battery, but its wallpaper is still a photo I took of that trophy celebration.

  8. "HAWKS" // May 23, 2015 at 8:26 am //

    I was 14 in 1998 and I don’t think ill ever forget Ozzy’s kick going through the uprights to send us to the Grey Cup. If I remember correctly, the previous two seasons (1996, 1997) were complete disasters. It was nice to be winning for a change.

    Have to agree, 2013 Eastern Final was amazing! Not just because we beat Toronto in Toronto but because of the atmosphere before, during and after the game. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is how much fun I had. Even the train ride down was full of loud tiger-cat fans. The whole day was one big party, and we won.

    Good times.

  9. Russell Moon // May 24, 2015 at 12:28 am //

    1996 Grey Cup at Ivor Wynne. Great game, falling snow that stuck on the ground, and Doug Flutie’s fumble happened right in front of me!

  10. Alex Szoke // May 24, 2015 at 9:44 am //

    Edmonton vs Hamilton in Hamilton
    Frank Kush era 37 34. He went to the NFL to coach and said his Hamilton team was a much better football team

  11. In ascending order, these are the 3 BEST games I have attended:

    1996 Grey Cup @ IWS (Flutie vs Gizmo vs the snow);
    1998 EDF @ IWS (Ozzy vs the blew team vs “the wind”); and
    1989 GC @ Sky Dump (Kerrigan and Champion vs Austin and Elgaard).

    Nor other football games, on either side of the border, even come close (for me). Some honourable mentions, however, include Earl’s Big Night on LD vs the blew team (as mentioned, 3 TDs, a kick, punt, and reception – adding up to over 400-yds), the 2013 EDF (in keeping RR off the field for the entire second half)and the 1986 GC (we were supposed to be destroyed by EDM, but look what happened).

  12. oskieeddie // May 24, 2015 at 5:44 pm //

    I would have to say the 1996 Grey Cup. Just the fact that the game was played in a snow storm and the overall atmosphere was off the charts. The game had so many big plays and is considered one of the best Grey Cups ever played.

  13. For me..
    Greatest game has to be the 86 Grey Cup.
    Cats went into Edmonton “heavy underdogs” and crushed them 39 to 15.
    Ballard got his Cup..a fitting end for a man that saved our Cats from being “folded” many years before our CareTaker of today’s time.
    Will never forget Big Ben kissing Ballard on the cheek as the Cup was being held overhead..priceless.
    This was the game I would rewatch during our “dark” 2 and 16 years to stay positive.

  14. A lesser known game that I liked attending was the Chris Williams FG return where he got stopped on the 1 vs Montreal. Montreal was still the beast of the east that year and I believe we were close to a TD underdogs but we took it to Calvillo and Williams has a couple of explosive plays. Not close to being the greatest but it was a fun game to attend

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