The Poser’s Guide to the Grey Cup: everything you need to know but are too embarrassed to ask
The Toronto Argonauts are playing in the 100th Grey Cup at the Rogers Centre this Sunday, which means plenty of Torontonians are hopping on the CFL bandwagon. For anyone who thinks spending Sunday drinking, yelling and wearing facepaint in public sounds great, but is afraid of being called a fair-weather fan, we offer a guide to faking it through the game. No prior knowledge of football required.
The Toronto Argonauts (a.k.a the good guys) are up against the Calgary Stampeders (a.k.a. the other guys).
Who’s supposed to win?
Hard to say. The Argos and the Stamps both finished second in their divisions and pulled off dramatic upset wins over the Montreal Alouettes and BC Lions, respectively, to make it to the big game. Oddsmakers are giving Calgary a slight edge, but it could come down to one or two legendary, forever-remembered plays.
Whose name should I be chanting?
Both teams’ standout players are offensive superstars, though Argos wide receiver Chad Owens (a.k.a. The Flyin’ Hawaiian) beat Calgary running back Jon Cornish for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award last night. Owens led the league in receiving and is widely considered to be a major reason why the Argos have made it this far. (For extra credit, mention the 2011 season opener, which the Argos won despite a bruising hit by Cornish that knocked Owens out of the game.)
Isn’t there another Argo named Chad?
Very good. While Owens is the superstar, running back Chad Kackert, at five feet eight inches and 200 pounds, is the team’s Rudy Ruettiger. Kackert was told that he was too small to play football in high school, but his explosiveness has made him a weapon.
Any bad blood between the two teams?
Mostly between the teams’ management. The Argos were busted for snatching Stamps defensive coordinator Chris Jones without going through the proper procedure—the Stamps still contend that Jones was stolen. The narrative is complex, so if it comes up on Sunday, you’re probably best sticking with some well-timed nods.
Real fans know trivia, don’t they?
They do. Here’s a nugget to drop into the conversation: Stephen Harper claims to have cried during the 1971 Grey Cup, another face-off between the Argos and the Stamps. Argos running back Leon McQuay fumbled the ball within scoring distance of the Stamps’ end zone, costing Toronto the game. Then, the man-tears started flowing.
Wait, Harper is an Argos fan?
He was, but he switched sides and cheers for Calgary now that his home riding is there.
Trivia is fun; what else have you got?
After the Stamps made it into the Grey Cup, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi and Rob Ford bet on the game. The loser has to wear the opposing team’s jersey to a council meeting and donate his weight in food to the winning city’s food bank.
What if I get bored?
Then just wait for the halftime show. The lineup is legitimately big-name: Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Marianas Trench and Gordon Lightfoot are all taking the stage. We can provide a crash course on some of them, too.