The Montreal Alouettes long ago learned a tough lesson that the Saskatchewan Roughriders are now also forced to endure.
After winning just one Grey Cup in five tries through the early part of this decade, the Als were considered failures. Despite always posting a winning record and being an annual contender for the Grey Cup, getting there just wasn’t good enough.
The 2010 Grey Cup champs are now a legitimate CFL dynasty with back-to-back championships and three titles in the last decade, but getting the franchise to this stage was a long and painful growth process.
As for Riders, who suffered another heartbreaking Grey Cup loss on Sunday in Edmonton, that lesson the Als eventually learned is now staring the Roughies in the face. Getting to the big game is a significant accomplishment and certainly a point of pride for the faithful fans of the Rider Nation, but winding up on the losing end – especially in back-to-back years – is a humiliating blow to the franchise.
That cruel fate is what Anthony Calvillo and the Als endured a few years earlier when they capped successful seasons with losses in the Grey Cup or East final. Although Saskatchewan pulled off a championship in 2007, they’ll need to start turning Grey Cup appearances into Grey Cup rings to avoid the label of good team that can’t win the big game.
Grey Cup success
The well-attended and profitable 2010 Grey Cup game in Edmonton underlines the amazing resurgence the CFL is enjoying. Edmonton sold more than 62,000 Grey Cup tickets before the season even began, TV ratings on TSN are at an all-time high, the on-field product is very entertaining, and the league is buoyed by strong corporate sponsorship. Next up is the return of the Ottawa franchise and the possibility that an expansion team will eventually set sail in Atlantic Canada. The league has never been stronger.