Doug Flutie, QB, Toronto
With the advent of domed stadiums in the 1980s, it was thought that memorable Grey Cups like the Mud Bowl, Fog Bowl and Ice Bowl were a thing of the past. But in 1996, the game went back to its roots as the Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos battled in the Snow Bowl.
This time the Doug Flutie-led Argos beat the Eskimos in a 43-37 thriller in the cold and snow at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton. It was a game that featured big play after big play as the lead see-sawed back and forth.
The Eskimos dominated in the opening quarter. With the Argos on their own 19-yard line, a direct snap to Robert Drummond sailed between him and Flutie. The ball was recovered by the Argo quarterback in the end zone, but Leroy Blugh made the tackle for the safety.
One of the more memorable plays in Grey Cup history happened later in the quarter when Edmonton quarterback Danny McManus threw downfield to a streaking Eddie Brown. The ball bounced off Brown’s foot and into his hands as he ran unimpeded for a 64-yard touchdown.
But with the Eskimos up 9-3 early in the second quarter, Toronto’s Jimmy ‘The Jet’ Cunningham fielded a punt and returned it 80 yards for a major, giving the Argos the lead. With the Boatmen in front 13-9, McManus threw a perfect strike to Jim Sandusky, who split a pair of defenders for a 75-yard touchdown reception. After Toronto running back Robert Drummond scored on a one-yard plunge, Edmonton’s Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, the longest kickoff return in Grey Cup history. But Flutie capped off the eventful quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run as Toronto led 27-23 at the half.
Early in the fourth, Edmonton’s Eric Blount scored on a five-yard run, cutting the Toronto lead to 33-30. Then a controversial call went against the Eskimos near the end of the game. With the Argonauts gambling on a third down and inches, Flutie called his own number, but appeared to lose grip of the ball before he was down. The Eskimos recovered, but the play had been ruled dead by the officials. Toronto was given a first down, and eventually got a field goal on the drive.
The Argos put the game on ice when Edmonton’s Darren Flutie had a ball tip off his hands and into the arms of Adrion Smith, who ran the ball back 49 yards for a clinching touchdown. The Eskimos responded with one more major, but they ran out of time. Toronto’s Mike Vanderjagt was a perfect five for five on field goals. Edmonton’s Sean Fleming missed on all three of his attempts.