While America will spend its Sunday making leftover turkey sandwiches, saying goodbyes to visiting family, and maybe sneaking in a nap or two, Canada's big party will just be getting started. What party is that?
The Grey Cup!
This year, Canadian Football League (CFL) supremacy will come down to a match between the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts. Who's going to come out on top? Let's take a look!
West was best
Coming into this match, there was a big imbalance between the league's Western and Eastern teams. How much so? Though the Argonauts were the Eastern Conference's best team, their record was only 9 wins and 9 losses. If they were playing in the Western Conference, that record wouldn't have even been good enough to get them into the playoffs!
Meanwhile, Calgary had the best record in the whole league, going 13 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie. In addition, Calgary beat Toronto twice in the regular season without much difficulty at all. So Calgary is a lock to win, right?
You'd be forgiven for thinking so, but you can bet that one group is not taking a Grey Cup victory for granted: the Calgary Stampeders.
That's because last year, the situation was almost the same for them. The same dominant regular season. The same West-East imbalance. And yet, in 2016, an underdog Eastern team, the Ottawa Redblacks came back to stun Calgary and win the game. Many people called it one of the greatest CFL matches of all time. But Calgary will only remember it for one thing: a loss that they want to avenge badly this Sunday.
The student and the teacher
So who holds fate in their hands? As on most football teams, the quarterback is going to be one of the most important players in the game. Each game has a great player at this position who is worth watching.
Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell is only in his sixth CFL season and he is already looking like one of the team's best-ever quarterbacks. He won the 2014 Grey Cup, was last year's league MVP, holds the record for the best rookie season in Stampeders' history...and came oh-so-close to winning the Grey Cup last year, too. The 27 year-old Texan is quick, smart, and has the chance to be the first Calgary quarterback to win two Grey Cups. He just has to get past one of the best QBs ever.
Toronto's Ricky Ray has very little left to do in the league. In 15 seasons in the CFL, the 38 year-old has won 3 Grey Cups, holds tons of passing records, and is a living legend of the sport. (Even Mitchell himself recently called Ray one of the league's all-time best.) In big games, Ray knows how to win, so Calgary will need to be wary of him. After all, last year, it was another older, experienced QB, Henry Burris, who led Ottawa to their surprise victory. When the championship comes down to a single game, truly anything can happen.
Our Super Cup?
While Canada's answer to the Super Bowl isn't exactly, well, the Super Bowl, the annual CFL championship match is still a big deal here. Every year, the game is one of the most watched programs in Canada. Last year, around 10 million people watched it — that's nearly a third of the country.
In other words, we hope that The Stamps and Argos don't suffer from stage fright! It may not have its own special commercials, but the Grey Cup definitely has a place in Canada's heart. And why not? It's the biggest sports league that is exclusively Canadian. That's pretty cool.
Will you be watching the big game? Pass the chips and have fun!