Location: Vancouver, BC
Date: November 28
Winning Coach: Jim Duncan
Most Valuable Player: Wayne Harris, LB, Calgary
Most Valuable Canadian: Dick Suderman, DE, Calgary
Two teams looking to end Grey Cup droughts met at a soggy Empire Stadium in Vancouver to determine the 1971 champion.
The Calgary Stampeders had not sipped from the coveted trophy since their perfect season in 1948. The Stampeders were making their second straight appearance at the game, and their third in four years. On the other side of the field were the Toronto Argonauts who had not won the Grey Cup since 1952, the last time they played in the championship game.
It was a defensive struggle right from the outset. Stampeders began the scoring in the first quarter when Jerry Keeling threw a 14-yard pass to Herman Harrison.
Toronto had a chance to tie it up when Mel Profit caught a pass for a 55-yard gain, setting up the Argonauts on the Calgary 11. The Stampeders defence forced the Argonauts to settle for an Ivan MacMillan field goal.
Calgary took a 14-3 lead into halftime when Jesse Mims scored on a six-yard draw. Rudy Linterman played a big role in setting up both of Calgary’s touchdowns, a combined 68 yards on two catches. Linterman was kicked out of the game in the fourth quarter for punching Gene Mack.
The Argonauts scored their only touchdown on special teams in the third quarter. Calgary’s Jim Silye fumbled on a punt return, and Toronto’s Joe Vijuk recovered the ball. He threw a lateral pass to Roger Scales and he ran 33 yards to the Calgary end zone.
Dick Thornton made an outstanding catch later in the quarter, which was followed by Jim Henderson’s catch on the Calgary 27. MacMillan sailed his field goal attempt wide (although he argued it did split the uprights), giving the Argonauts just a single point.
That proved to be all the scoring, but not all the drama. In the late stages of the fourth quarter, Dick Thornton intercepted a pass by Keeling and returned the ball 54 yards to the Calgary 11. But running back Leon McQuay slipped and fell on the wet turf, losing the football which the Stampeders recovered with 1:53 remaining.
The Stampeders went two-and-out on their next possession, giving the Argonauts one last chance to pull out a win. But Toronto’s Harry Abofs kicked the punted ball out of bounds, an error in judgement as it returned possession to Calgary. The Stampeders ran out the clock for the win.