The road to an unprecedented fifth straight Grey Cup appearance and fifth consecutive title wasn’t easy for the Edmonton Eskimos.
The Eskimos began the 1982 regular season 3-5 and were in jeopardy of missing the playoffs altogether. But the greatest dynasty in Canadian football history continued as the Eskimos reeled off 10 straight wins, including a historic 32-16 victory over the upstart Toronto Argonauts in the national final.
Despite the Argos having home field advantage, it was Edmonton who struck first when Dave Cutler booted the first of his four field goals. But the Exhibition Stadium crowd got in a frenzy minutes later when Toronto’s Emanuel Tolbert took a short swing pass and turned it into an 84-yard touchdown.
The defending champs regained the lead on the opening play of the second quarter when Warren Moon rolled to his left and hit Brian Kelly with a 16-yard touchdown pass. But Toronto struck again when Terry Greer made a 10-yard score of his own.
The savvy Eskimos erased this deficit and took control of the game late in the second quarter. Moon connected with Kelly again, this time for a 41-yard touchdown. Edmonton added another field goal to take a 20-14 advantage into halftime.
The Argos avoided disaster, at least temporarily, in the third quarter when Edmonton’s Jim Germany fumbled the ball on the Toronto seven-yard line. But on the following play, Condredge Holloway passed to Cedric Minter who reached the Toronto 33 only to get stripped of the ball by Gary Hayes. Dan Kepley recovered the ball for Edmonton.
Nine plays later, Neil Lumsden scored on a one-yard touchdown run which gave the Eskimos a 26-14 lead. It proved to be too much for the Argos to overcome.
Edmonton added two field goals in the final quarter, while Toronto recorded a safety.
Moon was named the game’s top player. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 319 yards despite having to throw in the freezing rain.
Even though they lost, the season was an overwhelming success for the Argos, who finished with just two wins the previous year. They had a 9-6 record during the 1982 regular season.
It marked Hugh Campbell’s final game as head coach of the Eskimos. Campbell accepted a job with the Los Angeles Express of the new United States Football League.
The Eskimos were not well rested heading into the game, as alarms at their Toronto hotel rang all night long.