The Grey Cup (French: La Coupe Grey) is the name of both the championship game of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the trophy awarded to the victorious team. It is contested between the winners of the CFL's East and West Divisional playoffs and is one of Canadian television's largest annual sporting events. The Toronto Argonauts have 16 championships, more than any other team, and are the defending champions. The 2012 game that was played in Toronto, was the 100th Grey Cup.
The trophy was commissioned in 1909 by the Earl Grey, then Canada's governor general, who originally hoped to donate it for the country's senior amateur hockey championship. After the Allan Cup was donated for that purpose, Grey instead made his trophy available as the national championship of Canadian football. The trophy has a silver chalice attached to a large base on which the names of all winning teams, players and executives are engraved. The Grey Cup has been broken on several occasions, stolen twice and held for ransom. It survived a 1947 fire that destroyed numerous artifacts housed in the same building.
The Grey Cup was first won by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Play was suspended from 1916 to 1918 due to the First World War and in 1919 due to a rules dispute. The game has typically been contested in an east versus west format since the 1920s. Traditionally held on a Sunday at the end of November, the Grey Cup has been played in inclement weather at times, including the 1950 "Mud Bowl," in which a player reportedly came close to drowning in a puddle, the 1962 "Fog Bowl," when the final nine minutes of the game had to be postponed to the following day due to a heavy fog, and the 1977 "Ice Bowl," contested on the frozen-over artificial turf at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The Edmonton Eskimos formed the Grey Cup's longest dynasty, winning five consecutive championships from 1978 to 1982. Competition for the trophy has been exclusively between Canadian teams, except for a three-year period from 1993 to 1995 when a brief expansion into the United States resulted in the Baltimore Stallions winning the 1995 championship.
Famous quotes containing the words grey and/or cup:
“Sir, a man who cannot get to heaven in a green coat, will not find his way thither the sooner in a grey one.”
—Samuel Johnson (17091784)
“I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man: wine is not so noble a liquor; and think of dashing the hopes of a morning with a cup of warm coffee, or of an evening with a dish of tea! Ah, how low I fall when I am tempted by them! Even music may be intoxicating. Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome, and will destroy England and America.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)