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Steve Berthiaume: Must Watch Game ... The Grey Cup

11/27/2009
Steve Berthiaume

I guarantee you'll find a way to get into this, on Sunday. Just give it an open mind for the initial fifteen minutes or so and I promise you'll be on your way to buying in: at least enough for a quick one-night commitment. Don't laugh or shrug ( remember: open mind! ) It's the CFL's Grey Cup on Sunday.

Look, we just had three less-than-thrilling Thanksgiving Day games. In fact, we've had an NFL season that has produced a full NINE franchises that so far, have won 3 or fewer games. Not to mention, the big Pats/Saints showdown isn't until Monday Night on ESPN. Face it, you're out of excuses. It's time to check out the Grey Cup. You can watch it on ESPN360 at 7pm ET. You won't be sorry. Here's all you need to know...

Big picture: tradition. You think 43 Super Bowls is impressive? Sunday will be the 97th Grey Cup. That's right, the CFL has been around long enough for 97 championship games, now THAT'S some history, so who's playing? ( See, you're buying in already. )

Eastern winner: Montreal Alouettes, 15-3. The Alouettes are led by the CFL's Most Outstanding Player, QB Anthony Calvillo, who just won the award for the third time They call Calvillo the Canadian Kurt Warner. This season, he threw for more than 4,600 hundred yards and his 72% completion percentage was the second-highest mark in CFL history.

Western winner: Saskatchewan Roughriders., 10-7-1. All you have to remember is that the Roughriders are the CFL's version of the Green Bay Packers. They are one of North America's few publicly-owned sports companies, just like the Packers. They wear green, they represent a Province of very cold farmers who LOVE their team. They are Rider Nation and they're all about Rider Pride.

Worried about the NFL/CFL rules differences? Chill, it's not as different as you think. Just remember it's 12 to a side, not 11. The field is 110 yards long with 3 downs to go 10 yards instead of 4. The defense has to line up a full one yard off the ball at the line of scrimmage and everyone in the offensive backfield can move as much as they want before the snap, creating a wide open game. Other than that, it's good 'ole football and they've played this particular game for nearly 100 years. There's your passion, your tradition and your football, just give it a try.