How many times does a favourite have to lose before it becomes the underdog?
Let's just say that the Calgary Stampeders are not interested in finding out in this Sunday's Grey Cup against the Ottawa Redblacks.
For years now, they have been the best team in the Canadian Football League (CFL). And it really hasn't been close. They finished with a stellar 13 wins and 5 losses this year. You have to go back to 2012 to find the last time they didn't have the best win-loss record in the regular season—and even then they had the second-best record in the league and made it to the Grey Cup, the CFL's championship match. But yeah, about that Grey Cup...
For all of their dominance during the year, lately it has all come undone at the very end for the Stamps. In 2016, they were heavily favoured against the Ottawa Redblacks to win their second Grey Cup in three years. Instead, Ottawa led most of the match, holding off a furious rally by Calgary to win 39–33 in overtime.
Then in 2017, Calgary once again went in as favourites, this time against the Toronto Argonauts. And again Calgary lost, 27–24.
Two back-to-back shots at the title with the league's best club. Two years without a championship. Will this third time be a charm?
No more Bo?
As much as revenge is on the mind of Calgary, there's an extra reason for the Stampeders to come through. This might be the last season that they have their best player, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell.
This 28 year-old Texan has won two CFL Most Outstanding Player awards (including this year's) and has been a huge part of guiding the team to the league's best record for five years running. And he did win a Grey Cup in 2014—so despite losing the last two times, he can do this!
But many experts are saying that Mitchell will likely aim to play in the NFL next year. And if that's the case, this could be Calgary's last shot with Bo.
Uh, isn't someone else playing?
Haha, of course! Calgary may be the big storyline here, but this is a really good Ottawa team. They had a strong 11–7 record for the year and steamrolled over Hamilton in the Eastern final, 46–27.
Now, they did lose both times that they played Calgary this season (in fact, they were outscored in those games by an ugly 51–17). But we're pretty sure that everyone has learned their lesson by now. In a one-game, winner-take-all match, anything can happen.
So is it finally Calgary's time? Or will they continue to be the best team to somehow keep losing in the end?