Greatest Grey Cup Champion: 1981 Edmonton Football Team crowned the winner
The 1981 Edmonton Football Team has been crowned The Greatest Grey Cup Champion by the CFL on TSN experts.
Led by Canadian Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon, the 1981 version of Edmonton highlighted the club’s run of dominance from 1978-1982.
A statistical look at what helped make the 1981 Edmonton Football Team the best of the best when it comes to Grey Cup champions (stats via Jon Perlberg):
- Edmonton finished the 1981 season first in the West Division with a 14-1-1 record, their .906 win percentage still the highest ever in a season of 16 games or more.
- All 14 of the team’s wins were by 10 or more points that season as well, which is also still a Canadian Football League record.
- Edmonton was a perfect 9-0 at home, including playoffs. Their dominance with home field advantage was emphasized by two wins of 50 points or more at a then just three-year-old Commonwealth Stadium that season.
- Edmonton also finished the season with a CFL best +41 turnover difference, a record that still stands today.
Behind centre, Moon also set a number of team records in 1981. He threw for 3,959 yards with his 10.5 yards per play first in the CFL. He also threw 27 touchdown passes, with his 2.25 touchdown/interception ratio first in the CFL, and a league-leading 62.7 completion percentage.
Moon was 5-0 in fourth quarter comeback attempts, including the West Final and Grey Cup.
The 1981 Edmonton Football Team featured 12 Canadian Football Hall of Famers: Moon, head coach Hugh Campbell, Dave Cutler, Ron Estay, Dave Fennell, Larry Highbaugh, Hank Ilesic, Brian Kelly, Dan Kepley, James Parker, Tom Scott, and Tom Wilkinson.
And 11 members of The Greatest Grey Cup Champion team would earn a spot on Edmonton’s Wall of Honour: Cutler, Estay, Fennell, Highbaugh, Kelly, Kepley, Moon, Hector Pothier, Scott, Bill Stevenson, and Wilkinson.
Edmonton beat out a Toronto Argonauts team that was extremely impressive statistically as well.
- The Argos finished the 1997 season 15-3 with 10 straight regular season wins.
- The 1997 Argos also had both the top offensive and defensive units in the league. On average the Double Blue averaged 414.4 net yards, 317.1 passing yards, and 36.7 points per game. Defensively, Toronto averaged 266.3 net yards against and 18.2 point against per game, while also finishing with 49 quarterback sacks.
The Argos also cleaned up the year-end honours in 1997, winning four major awards and having nine players named CFL All-Stars.
- Most Outstanding Player – Doug Flutie
- Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman – Mike Kiselak
- Most Outstanding Rookie – Derrell ‘Mookie’ Mitchell
- Coach of the Year – Don Matthews
The 1997 Argos featured six Canadian Hall of Famers: Flutie, Mitchell, Matthews, Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, Mike O’Shea, and Pierre Vercheval. Pinball Clemons has also had his number retired by the club.