1873 – The Toronto Argonauts Football Club was formed as part of the Argonaut Rowing Club using the double blue colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities for club members who were rugby football enthusiasts. The game was a form of rugby and scoring consisted of placing the ball over the goal line (a try) thus allowing the attacking team a chance to kick over the uprights (a goal). U of T defeated the Argonauts Rowing Club 1 try & 1 goal to nil on Oct. 11. Against Hamilton on Oct. 18, Toronto won 1 try 1 goal to nil. H.T. Glazebrook, an Englishman by birth, was appointed team captain and by tradition, the club’s first head coach.
1874 – The Rowing Club executive permitted non-members to play on the rugby football team for the first time at the rate of $1.00 a season. Two back-to-back games with Hamilton ended in scoreless ties, but against the Toronto Lacrosse club the Argos won 5 tries and 3 goals to nil.
1875 – H. Lambe became the second head coach and the Argos played two games. U of T defeated the Boatmen on a goal from a free kick, 1 -0. Varsity’s average age was 18 years while Toronto’s was 23.
1876 – Four games were played under new head coach W.H. Perram.
1877 – Toronto scheduled only one game that year, against Hamilton on Nov. 22. It was a tight contest but Hamilton won 2 tries 1 goal to I try.
1878 – Captain Bedford became the 4th head coach of the Argonauts and 2 games were played. Trinity College was a scoreless tie but the Argos lost against to the U of T boys.
1879 – Too many injuries to the members during the competitive rowing season forced the Argonaut Football Club to cease operation for the year.
1880 – The first change in Canadian football was noted on the playing fields. The first principle of possession was introduced in that the forwards no longer bunched-up to kick the ball out of the “scrum,” but rather lined up side-by-side and across from one another, thus creating the first linemen of the game. Under the “open formation” the Argos, with new coach Orville Murphy, played Upper Canada College, Trinity College and the Guelph Football Club.
1881 – With the open formation being more readily accepted, Toronto played 4 games this year against Upper Canada College, the Britannia Football Club of Montreal, Trinity College and the Trinity College School of Port Hope.
1882 – Hume Blake became the new head coach and Toronto traveled to Montreal to take on the Britannia Club. Then, on the return trip home Bruce MacLaren kicked 2 goals and Blake another as the Argonauts defeated Hamilton 3-0.
1883 – The oldest organized league in North America was founded by the formation of the Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU) and with it a new scoring system. Tries (touchdowns) were now worth 4 points, goals (converts) increased to 4 points, goals from the field (field goals) were 6 points, safety touches 2 points and rouge (singles) 1 point. A.H. Campbell was the head coach and Toronto won its first game from Varsity 23-1. In the return match, the Scullers lost 3-0 but, captured the series. Britannia Football Club lost 23-7 and in the first ORFU Championship game the Argonauts defeated Ottawa City 9-7.
1884 – Captain Blake returned to the coaching helm of the good ship Argonaut. Toronto finished the second season of ORFU Football with a 3-1 record. Toronto was shutout by Montreal 30-0 in the title contest.
1885 – Rupert Muntz became the eighth Argo head coach. Playing a five-game schedule, the Argonauts finished the season 3-2-0 and were eliminated from the playoffs.
1886 – Playing better football, Toronto won their first four games, finishing in first place. In the championship match, Toronto lost to Ottawa College 13-1. In a contest against Peterborough, the Argonauts set a team record, scoring 12 touchdowns in a 68-6 win.
1887 – The field goal dropped from 6 to 5 points and Hugh Smith began his four-year tenure as the Argonauts Head Coach. In a home-and-home series with Hamilton, the Argos won the first game 9-5, but dropped the second 10-8. Toronto was eliminated from further play when they were defeated by Trinity College.
1888 – Toronto had only three wins in five games, defeating Upper Canada College 35-1, Stratford Rugby Club 20-4 and U of T’s Varsity side 10-0.
1889 – In a revised schedule, the Argonauts trounced Stratford 45-0 and then clobbered Hamilton Tigers 46-0 a week later. Ottawa College stopped Toronto in the championship game winning 17-2.
1890 – Playing only two games, Toronto was eliminated from further play losing 8-5 to Hamilton and 17-6 to Varsity.
1891 – Goals from tries (converts) were now 2 points and R. Bayley became captain of the Argonaut Football Club and the Argonauts’ new head coach. The Boatmen had problems as a porous defence gave up 91 points and the Argos lost all three of its seasonal games to Osgoode Hall and Hamilton.
1892 – In an exhibition game, Toronto blasted London Rugby Football Club 94-0 and when the season started the Argonauts were undefeated. The playoff match with Hamilton proved to be a tight contest as by halftime the teams were scoreless. In the second half, Hamilton won the game 5-1.
1893 – Under newly-appointed head coach Billy Wood, the Argos played some inspired football. Queen’s University won the playoff series over Toronto 28-3 and 27-7.
1894 – Joe Wright Sr., a popular football personality, was appointed Argo head coach. In play, Hamilton limited the Argos to just two TDs and won both series games 25-10 and 29-5.
1895 – For the next three years, the Argonauts failed to field an official team because of a dispute over the rules and professionalism between executives of the Argonaut Rowing Club and the ORFU Officials. Argo members were allowed to play for a football team under TAC Lornes’ banner.
1898 – Another change in Canadian football was made in 1897, the second principle of possession was introduced. Teams in control of the ball now had to gain 5 yards (or lose 20) in 3 downs in order to maintain possession. Back playing regulation games under Joe Wright Sr., the Argonauts were in for a very hard time competitively. The Argos scored only 19 points and gave up 140 while losing all six scheduled games including a 48-6 defeat by the ORFU champs, Ottawa Rough Riders.
1899 – R.C. Ripley was elected as the Argonauts captain. The Argonauts were 3-3-0 and finished in third place.
1900 – Entering a new century, it took Toronto until the last game of the season to capture first place with a 4-2 record. The Ottawa Rough Riders proved too powerful and the Argos lost 20-12 in playoff action.
1901 – Pud Kent became the Double Blue’s fourteenth mentor. Toronto, now known as the Argonaut Rugby Football Club, lost only one game and finished in first spot with a 5-1 record. Their only defeat was 2-0 by the Kingston Granites. In the playoffs, Ottawa College defeated Toronto in a two game series to capture the ORFU title.
1902 – The Argonauts made the playoffs but lost their twogame series to Ottawa.
1903 – Playing only exhibition games, Toronto finished with only one win in five starts, a 40-1 triumph over the Torontos for the city championship.
1904 – Another change was noted in the scoring system. Tries were now 5 points and Goals from tries (converts) 1 point. Under newly-appointed playing head coach Fred Thompson, in league competition, Toronto won two games and lost three finishing in second place behind the powerful Hamilton Tigers.
1905 – The Toronto Victorias defeated the Argos 28-8 and 22-3. In their next two games, Hamilton hammered Toronto 41-7, and 22-10, eliminating the Argonauts from further play.
1906 – Two changes occurred in Canadian football. Teams now had to gain only 10 yards in 3 downs and the value of the field goal changed to 4 points. In the final year of the ORFU, the Argonauts, under head coach Chaucer Elliott, finished in second spot with a 3-2 record.
1907 – Toronto’s inaugural season of play in the new Interprovincial Rugby Football Union league wasn’t one of the best for the Boatmen as they finished in last under the coaching duo of Fred Russell and Art Kent. Peter Flett’s individual performance was one of the brighter spots as he won the IRFU scoring title with 29 points including four four-point field goals.
1908 – The value of the field goal reached its present level of 3 points and the second year of the IRFU didn’t start off well for the Argos, finishing 1-5-0. Mert Kent kicked an Argonaut record 20 singles during the season.
1909 – Ottawa won the lRFU title and Toronto finished the year with at 1-5-0. Their only victory was against the Montreal Football Club, 22-4.
1910 – Under returning head coach Elliott, the Argonauts finished the season 3-3-0 and tied Ottawa for second place in the IRFU standings. Ross Binkley won the scoring title with 34 points, including setting a club record with six field goals.
1911 – The Argonauts move into Varsity Stadium with Billy Foulds at the coaching helm. Binkley again winning the overall scoring title (20 points). Toronto finished the season in first place at 5-1-0. Unfortunately, the Argos lost their first Grey Cup game to U of T 14-7. A highlight of the season was Billy Mallett kicking eight singles in one game against Montreal.
1912 – A change in head coach with Jack Newton at the controls again, Toronto finished in first place with an identical 5-1 record. The Argos defeated U of T 22-16 in an IRFU playoff game, but lost the Grey Cup to the Hamilton Alerts 11-4.
1913 – Toronto finished with an even split; 3-3-0, good for third place. Player/Coach Binkley set a club record with 10 field goals and 54 career singles.
1914 – The First World War had begun, and the Boatmen finished 5-1-0 scoring a record setting 47 points against Ottawa and 145 points on the season. Since both Toronto and Hamilton had identical win-loss records, they played off, but the game ended 9-9 and was called due to darkness. In the second
contest, Toronto won decisively, then went on to defeat the U of T 14-2 for the Grey Cup win. Foulds was back as the Argonauts Head Coach and Jack O’Connor won the scoring title with a record 44 points, including an individual record 21 points in the last game of the season against Montreal. In a playoff game with the Hamilton Rowing Club, Everett Smith and Clad Murphy combined for a touchdown on a 130-yard punt return. The first two-man kick return for a score.
1915 – With the head coaching duties split between Foulds and Warren Coryell and many players off to fight for the armed services, Toronto slipped to second place with a 4-2 record. O’Connor set a Big Four record with 21 career converts, while Argonaut teammate Doug Garrett won the scoring title with 42 points.
1916 to 1918 – No games played due to the Great War.
1919 – With the First World War finally over, the IRFU resumed full operation, and the surprise of the year was the unexpected first place finish of the Montreal Football Club. Under new Head Coach Sinc McEvenue, the Argonauts finished 3-3-0 and a second place tie in the standings with Hamilton. Argos’ Garrett again won the scoring title with 25 points.
1920 – Toronto, coached by Mike Rodden, rallied to a first place finish and a 5-1-0 record. The Argos played a semi-final game against the Toronto Rowing Club which the Boatmen won, but a disputed call resulted in the rescheduling of the game with the second-half being replayed. The Argonauts eventually won that game 5-2, but lost the Grey Cup to the U of T 16-3.
1921 – LIONEL CONACHER! By the time the regular season was over, “Big Train,” as he was nicknamed, had set an IRFU scoring record of 85 points on 14 touchdowns, including 12 rushing. The Argos posted a perfect first place 6-0-0 record with McEvenue back as head coach and a record 167 scoring points. Toronto defeated first the U of T Varsity team and Toronto Parkdale in the playoffs, then shutout the Edmonton Eskimos 23-0 in the first East-West Grey Cup finale.
1922 – With his backfield partner Harry Batstone gone, Conacher still won the scoring title with 56 points and set another IRFU record of 33 singles for new Argo head coach Jack O’Connor. Although scoring fewer touchdowns, Conacher rushed for 950 yards and powered Toronto to an unbeaten 5-0-1 record. In their first playoff game, the Argonauts defeated Toronto Parkdale. In the second game against Queen’s, Conacher was the entire Argo attack rushing a record 35 times for 232 yards. However, it was not enough as Toronto lost the tight game 12-11.
1923 – Both Hamilton and Toronto lost only one game all season long but Toronto ended up in second spot with a 3-1-2 win-losstie record due to a final regular schedule contest loss to the Tigers. Toronto led in points scored with 71, and Dunc Monro won the scoring title with 23.
1924 – All season Toronto trailed the Hamilton Tigers eventually finishing second place in the standings and a 4-2-0 record. For the second time in Argonauts history two players combined on a punt return for a score. Against Ottawa, Archie Thomas and Gord Thom ran 125 yards for the major.
1925 – The Argonauts completely reversed their record and finished 2-4-0. Ottawa, now called the Senators, finished in first place, and went on to win the Grey Cup.
1926 – Although Rodden returned to the Argonauts coaching helm, Ottawa again finished in first place, with their only loss of the season coming at the hands of the Argonauts 24-0. Hank Sinclair scored the final touchdown of the game. The win gave Toronto a tie for second place with Hamilton as each club had a 3-3, win-loss record.
1927 – The Boatmen, coached by Frank Knight, settled for third place with a 2-3-1 record. Dunc Monro led the Argos with 24 points, almost half of the team’s total scoring output.
1928 – Toronto went from bad to worse ending up in a dead last tie with Montreal. Both teams posted disappointing 1-4-1 marks. Against Ottawa, Frank Turville scored 18 points, equaling a club record of eight singles in one game and rushing for 177 yards.
1929 – Under Head Coach Buck McKenna Toronto finished third with a 3-3-0. Frank Turville won the scoring title with 34 points, including 16 singles.
1930 – The Depression was in full swing and so were the Hamilton Tigers. They finished the season with a 4-0-2 mark, while Toronto had to settle for second place with a 4-1-1 mark.
1931 – Frank Turville won the scoring title with 26 points. The first completed Argonaut forward pass was successfully thrown: A 25-yard effort from Teddy Morris to Bill Darling against Hamilton on October 10. In a contest against Ottawa on October 31st, Toronto’s Moe Charney made Argo history by intercepting an enemy forward pass. It was the first official pass interception.
1932 – With the Toronto coaching duties split between McKenna and Lew Hayman it was another break-even year for the Boatmen, as they finished in third place again with three wins against three losses.
1933 – In his first season as Head Coach Lew Hayman’s Argos started off the year by losing two games in a row, but ended up by winning their last four to tie Montreal for first place. In the playoffs, the Argos knocked off Montreal and Winnipeg and then won the Grey Cup against the Sarnia lmperials. During the season, Argo history was made on October 21 when Andy Mullan threw Toronto’s first touchdown pass going 15 yards to Jack Taylor for the score.
1934 – In a see-saw battle all season with Montreal and Hamilton, Toronto finished the schedule tied for second place with Montreal at 3-2-1.
1935 – After winning their first six contests, the Boatmen fell apart for the last three contests and ultimately finished in second. Hamilton took top spot completing the regular schedule 7-2.
1936 – The Boatmen finished in first place with a record of four wins against two losses. Both Hamilton and Ottawa tied for second with a 3-3 record. Hamilton and Ottawa competed in playoff with Ottawa winning and subsequently knocking off the Argonauts 22-6 in two-games. On October 3, Art West became the first Argo to return an INT for a TD, travelling 65 yards.
1937 – Once again, the Argonauts finished in first place with only one loss during the regular season. ln the playoffs, Toronto defeated Ottawa in a two-game total points series 21-16 and went on to knock off the ORFU champion, the Sarnia lmperials. The Argos, behind the superb punting performance of Bob Isbister, then edged the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 4-3 to take the Grey Cup.
1938 – Ottawa was a lot stronger this year as they led the Boatmen for top spot with identical 5-1, win-loss records. In the playoffs, the Argos defeated Ottawa and Sarnia and again won the Grey Cup defeating Winnipeg 3O-7. Highlights of the season were Toronto’s Annis Stukus, Art West and Buster “Red” Storey finishing one, two and three in the scoring race. Toronto set an IRFU scoring record with a 58-13 win over Montreal.
1939 – Storey won the scoring title with 25 points including five touchdowns, four on passes. Ottawa took first place and Toronto finished in second spot with a 4-1-1 record. In the playoffs Toronto lost both its games to Ottawa 39-6.
1940 – Bill Stukus set an Argonaut record, scoring 11 career touchdown passes. The Double Blue ended up second to Ottawa. In the playoffs, Ottawa defeated Toronto 20-2 in total points over two games.
1941 – Due to the Second World War, Hamilton was replaced by Toronto Balmy Beach and the Eastern Rugby Union was formed. The Argonauts finished in first place tied with Ottawa as both clubs posted identical records 5-1-0. The Argos were eliminated in the playoffs losing to Ottawa 18-17 over two games.
1942 to 1944 – Play cancelled due to WWII.
1945 – With the second World War over, the Big Four resumed operation and both Ottawa and the Ted Morris coached Argos finished in a tie for first place, both 5-1-0. In the playoffs, Toronto defeated Ottawa, Balmy Beach and then Winnipeg 35-0 for the Grey Cup title. The highlight of the season was the last game in which the Argonauts’ Royal Copeland caught 10 passes for 147 yards including four of Joe Krol’s strikes for TDs.
1946 – A rebirth of the Montreal Football Club resulted in a tie with Toronto for first place at the end of the new 12-game regular schedule. Both Krol and Montreal’s Wagner finished in a tie for the scoring title with 65 points each. In the playoffs, Toronto defeated the Alouettes, Balmy Beach and finally Winnipeg 28-7 for the Grey Cup crown.
1947 – Again, Ottawa struggled with the Argonauts for the Big Four title and finished in first place ahead of Toronto with a 7-4-1 record. However, in the playoffs, the Boatmen defeated Ottawa and then the Ottawa Troians. In the Grey Cup classic, Winnipeg was defeated for the third consecutive year 10-9 by the Argos.
1948 – After the first three games Toronto was riding along in first place a perfect 3-0-0. However, Ottawa was dominant all season and finished 10-2-0. The Argos, slipped to third place with a 5-6-1 mark.
1949 – Toronto did no better than the year before as they lost all four regular season games to Ottawa, who finished with 11-1-0 record. The Double Blue had to settle for a 5-7-0 record and third spot again. The only highlight for Toronto was Joe Krol setting an Argonaut and IRFU scoring record of 22 career TD passes.
1950 – Prior to the start of the season, Frank Clair (who arrived from the University of Cincinnati) replaced Teddy Morris as the Argos’ Head Coach. The Argonauts started the season with three overwhelming wins. In the playoffs, the Argos trounced the Ticats and then defeated Balmy Beach of the OBFU. Toronto went on to blank Winnipeg 13-0 for Earl Grey’s Cup in the infamous Mud Bowl. During the week, Toronto was hit with a powerful snowstorm and the day prior to the game grounds keepers at Varsity Stadium decided to bulldoze the field. The result was a slippery mess that was dubbed the Mud Bowl. The Argonauts wore the longest cleats they could find and QB Al Dekdebrun (who replaced Krol) taped thumb tacks to his fingers to help his grip on the ball.
1951 – In the early part of the season, the Argonauts started to flounder, but a QB change resulted in the Boatmen in three-way tie for first place. In the semi-finals, the Tiger-Cats ousted the Argos in the two game-total-points series.
1952 – At the halfway mark of the season the Argonauts rolled to first place. Toronto then lost the next three contests, but rallied and completed the season in second place. In the playoffs, Toronto defeated Hamilton, Sarnia and finally Edmonton to win their 10th Grey Cup Championship. During the season, Ulysses Curtis set both an IRFU and club record scoring 16 TDs and rushing for an Argo record 985 yards. The team was led by such noteables as QB Nobby Wirkowski and receivers Royal Copeland, Bill Bass, Rod Smylie and Zeke O’Connor.
1953 – The magic was gone after Argos’ tenth Grey Cup win. The Double Blue ended the season at the bottom of the East. Both Hamilton and Montreal (with Sam Etcheverry) were too strong and the Argos scored only 172 points all season, their lowest output since 1948 and over an expanded 14 game schedule.
1954 – Toronto improved, but had to settle for third place and finished out of the playoffs. With the introduction of individual statistics QB Norbert Wirkowski set a career mark striking 62 TD passes and Al Pfeifer won the reception title with 68 catches and 1,142 yards. University of Kentucky RB Dick Shatto joined the Boatmen and quickly established himself as a great runner, receiver and kicker.
1955 – With Bill Swiacki at the Argo coaching reins during a 12 game schedule, Toronto finished third. Under a new playoff system, the Argos defeated second place Hamilton and then dropped a thrilling final to Montreal, a game that saw Tom “Corky” Tharp rush for over 200 yards. Al Pfeifer won the regular season scoring title notching 98 points.
1956 – The touchdown was increased from 5 to 6 points and the Argonauts finished in last place, with a record 413 points against. Al Pfeifer caught a season-high 78 passes and QB Arnie Galiffa threw 32 touchdown passes.
1957 – Prior to the start of the season, the Argonaut Rowing C|ub sold the football team to a group of local Toronto personalities including media mogul John Bassett. Hampton Pool took over as Head Coach and Toronto scored more points than the first place Hamilton Tiger-Cats yet still ended up in the cellar losing 10 games. Dick Shatto, on his way to becoming the Argos’ “Mr. Everything”, rushed for 875 yards.
1958 – The Argos finished in last for the third consecutive season, but a few players stood out. Shatto ran wild for 969 yards. Dave Mann had a single touchdown run of 86 yards and combined with Boyd Carter to return a punt 131 yards for a touchdown. It was just the third time that two players had returned a kick for a score in Argonauts and CFL history.
1959 – Again, the Boatmen finished in last with 4-10-0 record. Shatto rushed for 950 yards and led the team with 46 receptions whiIe newcomer Chester “Cookie’’ Gilchrist won the team’s scoring title with 75 Points. At the start of the season, the Argonauts moved from the hollowed grounds of Varsity Stadium to the legendary CNE Stadium. The NFL’s Chicago Cardinals were invited to battle the Argonauts in an exhibition game. Despite an early lead, the Argonauts fell 55-26 to the Cardinals.
1960 – The Argos made a big off-season signing by acquiring QB Tobin Rote and Head Coach Lou Agase who inspired the Boatmen to a first place, tied with Ottawa. But there was no Grey Cup for Toronto as Ottawa won both playoff games in tight competition. Mann won the reception title, Rote captured the passing crown and Gilchrist took scoring honours with 115 points. The highlight of the year was Rote’s seven TD passes against Montreal in a 63-27 win.
1961 – Hamilton, who were last the year before, finished in first place while Argos took third. In the playoffs, the Argonauts’ “Rote-to-Ron (Morris)” shotgun formation over-powered second place then moved on to Hamilton. The Double Blue then defeated the Tiger-Cats in the first game of the Division Final. In the second game, Hamilton had to win in overtime to tie the series. Hamilton finally defeated the Argonauts and won the Division series.
1962 – Again, the Argonauts were back in the cellar with a dismal record. Shatto was the Eastern Football Conference receiving leader with 47 catches and 12 touchdowns. Lou Agase started the season as Head Coach, but gave way to Nobby Wirkowski before the campaign ended.
1963 – This season was Toronto’s worst, counting only three wins. Shatto was the scoring leader with 81 points, the team’s top rusher with 570 yards and the Eastern Football Conference receiving leader with 67 catches and 945 yards.
1964 – A slight improvement but the Double Blue were still in last. Again, Shatto led the Eastern Football Conference in receptions the third consecutive year with 53 catches and 859 yards.
1965 – Even behind new Head Coach Bob Shaw, the Argonauts finished in last place yet again. The whole year was Shatto’s, upon his retirement that season, he held the CFL record for most career touchdowns (91), was second in career total yardage (15,938) gained and second in most consecutive games catching passes (45).
1966 – Although Toronto was still in last place, they finished with a more respectable record of 5-9-0.
1967 – Under Argonauts new coach Leo Cahill, the Double Blue finished low in the standings but for the first time since 1961 they were third and into the playoffs. The Double Blue lost to Ottawa 38-22 in the opening round. At the start of the season, Cahill pulled off a block buster deal with Winnipeg dealing Argos’ receiver Bobby Taylor who won the reception title in the Eastern Football Conference for the second consecutive season.
1968 – A much improved Argonaut team finished in second place behind Ottawa, but lost to Ottawa in the playoffs in two games. Bill Symons, a BC Lions’ castoff, was the first Argo to rush over 1,000 yards including a spectacular 100-yard run against Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He then became the first Double Blue player to win the Schenley Award.
1969 – Toronto finished in second, behind Ottawa once again, and again, the Boatmen lost their playoff series to the Rough Riders. Symons ran for 905 yards and Bobby Taylor had his best season ever with 59 receptions for 1,183 yards. The Boatmen were known as a long-haired group of Renegades led by Mel Profit, “Tricky” Dick Thornton, and Dave Raimey.
1970 – The Argonauts signed college star Jim Corrigall to start the promising season. Toronto finished in second spot in a tight East Division. In the Semi-Final Toronto finished on the short side losing to Montreal 16-7. Symons gained another 908 yards on the ground and Dave Mann “Mr. Legs” retired. At his retirement, Mann held the CFL records for most career punts (1,261) and yards punted (55,745).
1971 – During the off-season, the Argonauts were purchased outright by John Bassett of Baton Broadcasting Limited. For the first time since 1960, the Double Blue captured first place. Argos new QB Joe Theismann won the Eastern Football Conference passing title and Argos’ Leon McQuay rushed for 977 yards. Also part of the Argos arsenal that season were newcomers Jim Stillwagon, Tim Anderson and Gene Mack. In the playoffs, the Boatmen were supreme as they moved into the Grey Cup after a 19-year absence. The Double Blue lost a tight game to Calgary. As a consolation, Leo Cahill became the Argonauts first Coach of the Year recipient.
1972 – Too many injuries put Toronto in last place with a 3-11-0 record. Toronto ended up just a win away from third place and a playoff position.
1973 – The Argonauts celebrated their centennial year, existing as a team for 100 years. Under new Head Coach John Rauch the club rebounded from their previous year’s problems and injuries. It was an extremely tight race in the Eastern Football Conference finished in second. In Toronto’s playoff game against Montreal, both teams were tied 10- 10 at the end of regulation time, but the Alouettes won it in overtime 32-10.
1974 – The Argonauts again had a new owner. William Hodgson, then President of the Skyline Hotel chain had purchased the team in the off-season. A new 16 game schedule was introduced and Assistant Coach Joe Moss was promoted to acting Head Coach when Rauch was dismissed. The Argonauts finished in fourth spot. Kicker Zenon Andrusyshyn, “The Big Z” set an Argo scoring record with 134 points, including 32 field goals.
1975 – The 2-point convert attempt was introduced to Canadian football and by winning the last game of the season by 16 points over the Argonauts, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats took third place and the last playoff spot in the Eastern Football Conference. Zenon Andrusyshyn finished second in scoring and punting. Doyle Orange became the second Argonaut to rush over 1,000 yards.
1976 – A last game defeat at the hands of the Hamilton Tiger- Cats gave Toronto a tie with Montreal for third spot and no playoff berth. Zenon Andrusyshyn took second spot on the all-time Argo scoring chart with 501 points and an Argo record 100 career converts. Chuck Ealey had the longest run by a QB (86 yards) and Anthony Davis set an Argonauts records for most kickoff returns and yards.
1977 – The Toronto Argonauts introduced “football burnt orange” into the club’s double blue colour uniform scheme. With the return of Leo Cahill as Head Coach, the Argonauts finished in the playoff picture, ending up in 3rd place in the East. In their semi-final playoff, Toronto was defeated 21-16 by Ottawa. Andrusyshyn set a CFL record with a 108-yard punt and became the Argos all-time scoring leader with 607 career points.
1978 – The Boatmen hit a mid-season slide and lost 8 consecutive games. Again, Toronto came out on the losing end in the first playoff round. Head coach Leo Cahill was replaced by Bud Riley at mid-season.
1979 – Carling O’Keefe Breweries purchased the Toronto Argonauts Football Club. Former NFL player and coach Forrest Gregg became the Argonauts new Head Coach. In the early stages of the season, Toronto slowly climbed through the standings and after six games the Boatmen were in first place at 4-2-0. However, they finished the season in fourth place and out of the playoffs.
1980 – Willie Wood became the Argos Head Coach and the first black coach in the CFL. The Argonauts were in the playoff hunt until the Hamilton Tiger-Cats eliminated their chances. Bob Gaddis caught 68 passes (the most since 1956) and Billy Hardee equaled an Argo record by returning two punts for touchdowns in one season.
1981 – With Condredge Holloway from Ottawa and rookie Cedric Minter to bolster the ground attack, 1981 promised an improved team. However, Toronto slumped badly forcing, Willie Wood to be replaced by Tommy Hudspeth as interim coach after 10 games. Under Hudspeth, the Boatmen won two games and took over 3rd spot from Montreal. But the Argos could not hold on and missed the post-season. In the first Hamilton game Terry Greer returned a kickoff for 109 yards and a score, finishing the match with 214 return yards; both Argo records, and Cedric Minter finished second in rushing in the East with 815 yards.
1982 – Ralph Sazio, choosing wisely, picked Bob O’Billovich from assistant ranks in Ottawa as the Argonauts Head Coach. Winning results were immediate. The Argos had their first winning season since 1973. They whacked Ottawa 44-7 in the Eastern Final. O’Billovich, answering to “Obie,” won Coach of the Year honours. The Argos, in their first Grey Cup appearance since 1971, lost at CNE Stadium, 32-16 to Edmonton.
1983 – Toronto won 12 league games, a team record. They beat Hamilton 41-36 in a rousing East Final. Terry Greer, became the 13th Argo to win the Jeff Russell Memorial Trophy as the East’s Outstanding Player. The Grey Cup was played indoors for the first time, in B.C. Place Stadium before 59,345 fans. 8,118,000 watched the Argos beat the Lions 18-17 with some last-ditch dramatics by QB Joe Barnes, who replaced QB Condredge Holloway.
1984 – The Argos reeled off six consecutive triumphs and finished 9-6-1, first in the East for the third year in a row. Dan Ferrone won the Leo Dandurand Memorial trophy as the East’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman. The Argos lost a lively East Final by a single point in overtime, 14-13 to Hamilton.
1985 – Leo Cahill rejoined the Argos as General Manager. Injuries reduced the Argos to fourth place. The team finished 6-10, struggling after QBs Holloway and Ricky Turner were injured.
1986 – The Argos were 10-8-0 in 18 games. The two-game total points East Final was a smashing affair which the Argos lost 59-56 to Hamilton. Heralded recruit Willie Pless, a linebacker, finished as runner-up to Harold Hallman of Calgary for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie award.
1987 – The Montreal Alouettes abandoned the CFL when owner Norman Kimball abruptly pulled the plug. The Argos finished 11- 6-1, one point behind Winnipeg. They beat Hamilton 29-13 in the Eastern Semi-Final and surprised Winnipeg 19-3 in Division Final. Gill (The Thrill) Fenerty was named rookie-of-the-year. Eight Argos made All-Canadian. Coach Bob O’Billovich won the Annis Stukus Trophy for the second time as Coach of the Year.
1988 – The Argos enjoyed an outstanding season again in 1988, setting team records for wins with a 14-4-0 record, which included a seven-game winning streak. The Double Blue suffered the ultimate disappointment, however, when they lost the Eastern Final 27-11 to Winnipeg in the last game ever played at Exhibition Stadium.
1989 – On December 12, Harry Ornest purchased the team from Carling O’Keefe as the Argos were about to move into their new home in downtown Toronto. The new facility, named SkyDome, was the first of its kind, with a retractable roof and an ideal metropolitan location. To accompany the move, the Argonautschanged both their helmets and uniforms. Leo Cahill was dismissed as General Manager and replaced by Mike McCarthy. Fenerty rushed for 1,247 yards and his eventual replacement Michael “Pinball” Clemons was a raw rookie.
1990 – Bob O’Billovich left following the 1989 season, Don Matthews took over the Head Coaching reins, and new Director of Player Personnel, Mike McCarthy, rebuilt the franchise around star pivot Matt Dunigan. The Argos put up a record 689 points during the regular season, but had trouble handling the Winnipeg Blue Bombers all season long, and ended up losing the Eastern Final to Winnipeg 20-17 on a last-minute field goal. Michael “Pinball” Clemons set a pro football record with 3,300 all-purpose yards, and became the third Argo to win the CFL’s Outstanding Player award.
1991 – Harry Ornest sold the Toronto Argonauts to a group spearheaded by L.A. Kings owner Bruce McNall, NHL great Wayne Gretzky and legendary comedian/actor John Candy. Their acquisition of the team spawned immediate success. The team snatched Heisman Trophy winner Raghib “Rocket” Ismail from the NFL draft and coach Don Mathews was replaced by Adam Rita. The 1991 Argo squad was one of the most electrifying teams that Toronto had ever seen. A 13-5-0 regular season record earned the Argos a home playoff game at SkyDome. In front of a club record crowd of over 50,000, the Argos thumped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 42-3 en route to a Grey Cup birth. Led by a thrilling 87-yard kickoff return by Rocket Ismail, the Argos captured the 79th Grey Cup by defeating Calgary 36-21 in the coldest championship game on record at Winnipeg (minus-17 C at kickoff). Adam Rita would be named the CFL’s Coach of the Year.
1992 – The Cinderella story of 1991 would unfortunately only last one year as 1992 was the beginning of a rough couple of years for the Argos. Popular head coach Adam Rita was dismissed in September as the team struggled to find its way, eventually finishing with a 6-12-0 record. Assistant Coach Dennis Meyer took over from Rita after 11 games and finished the season 3-4-0 and out of the playoffs. The City of Toronto hosted the Grey Cup for the 45th time.
1993 – The CFL made its first venture into the United Sates with the addition of the Sacramento Gold Miners. Argonauts GM Mike McCarthy pulled off the biggest trade in CFL history that saw Tracy Ham come to Toronto in a blockbuster 16-player deal with the Edmonton Eskimos. However Ham’s presence and a great season by rookie receiver Manny Hazard didn’t stop the slide as the Argos dropped to 3-15-0, their worst record since 1981. Bob O’Billovich returned to the Boatmen and replaced Dennis Meyer as head Coach on September 10, 1993 and was later named GM.
1994 – Part owner John Candy passed away in March. McNall and Gretzky sold the club to TSN Enterprises. Toronto Blue Jays Vice President Paul Beeston was named the Argonauts new team CEO. Under Beeston and GM Bob O’Billovich, the Argonauts doubled their win total from the year previous and qualified for the CFL playoffs for the first time in three seasons. The Argos new found success was short lived, however, losing to the eventual Grey Cup Finalist Baltimore Stallions.
1995 – The season was a transition year for the Argos and change within the franchise, was evident. Bob O’Billovich remained as the clubs GM, however handed over his coaching whistle to Mike Faragelli. Veteran QB Kent Austin was introduced to lead the club and the familiar “A” logo was replaced by a bold shielded warrior. The off-field transformations did little for the club. O’Billovich returned to finish the season on the sidelines and the Argos finished a woeful 4-14-0. O’Billovich was dismissed at season’s end, and left as the club’s all-time winningest coach with 89 victories, 79 losses and three ties in 11 seasons.
1996 – The Argos went from basement dwellers to the class of the CFL. Don Matthews returned as Head Coach and he surrounded himself with free agent talent that would eventually win him a Grey Cup. Free agents Doug Flutie, Mike O’Shea and Reggie Givens were perfect complements for Michael Clemons, Robert Drummond and the electrifying Jimmy “The Jet” Cunningham. Flutie would lead the Argonauts to a 15-3-0 season and a berth in the 1996 Grey Cup Championship game. Flutie’s Argonauts defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 47-23 in a snowy Ivor Wynne Stadium.
1997 – Repeating as champions is one of the most difficult accomplishments in professional sports. The season saw the emergence of SB Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell. The speedy receiver helped lead the Argos to another 15-3-0 season. At the East Final in Toronto Michael “Pinball” Clemons was the hero catching the game-winning TD with just 40 seconds on the clock. The Argonauts easily defeated the Saskatchewan Rough Riders 47-23 in the Grey Cup. The team finished the year with 11 players named to the All-Star team and four CFL awards. Doug Flutie won the Most Outstanding Player award, Mike Kiselak as Most Outstanding Lineman, Derrell Mitchell as Most Outstanding Rookie and Don Matthews as Coach of the Year.
1998 – The Argos looked to “three-peat” in 1998, however, roster changes and numerous rookies entering camp, the task was going to be difficult. Star QB Doug Flutie and kicker Mike Vanderjagt left for the NFL and RB Robert Drummond became a member of the B.C. Lions. After starting the year slow, the
Argonauts starting pivot Kerwin Bell returned to lead the club to an 8-3-0 mid-season run. The team crept into the playoffs and lost to Montreal East Semi-Final. Derrell Mitchell emerged as one of the best receivers in Argo history following his CFL record 160 reception season and all-star honour. Paul Masotti passed Darrell K. Smith as the team’s all-time leading receiver after 11 seasons of play.
1999 – Eric Tillman was appointed to GM and Offensive Coordinator Jim Barker replaced Don Matthews as Head Coach. Injuries riddled the Argonauts early, but the league’s best defence helped lift the club to a 9-9 record. The team would qualify for the playoffs but lost tp the eventual champions Hamilton Tiger-Cats 27-6. Linebacker Mike O’Shea became the first Argo player to win the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian Award.
2000 – Just months prior to training camp, New York businessman Sherwood Schwarz became the ninth owner in the history of the franchise. J.I. Albrecht was named as the teams Managing Director and John Huard was named Head Coach. Argo great Paul Masotti retired as the team’s all-time leading receiver. After a 1-6-1 start, legendary Argo Mike “Pinball” Clemons traded in his cleats for a head set and replaced Huard as Head Coach. Clemons played two games as a player/coach before retiring from the CFL to become the Argos full-time Head Coach. The team finished just shy of the playoffs with a 7-11-1 record.
2001 – With Clemons entering his first full season as a Head Coach, the Argos went about the business of getting the team back into the post-season. After a difficult 2-7 start to the season, which wasn’t helped with injuries to starting QB Kerwin Bell, the Argos, led by veteran players Derrell Mitchell, Mike O’Shea and Adrion Smith, won 4 of the last 6 games to narrowly miss out on the playoffs again, finishing with a 7-11-0 mark.
2002 – Clemons stepped down as Head Coach to make way for Gary Etcheverry, whose defensive philosophy was to be complemented by newly acquired DE Joe Montford. After a 4-8 start, Etcheverry was replaced by Clemons, who returned to the sidelines after being appointed team President. Clemons’ presence by the bench would sparked the club. First, they defeated the Calgary Stampeders 33-32 to clinch a playoff birth, then they hosted their first playoff game in five years defeating the Saskatchewan Roughriders 24-14. The Argos then headed down the 401 to face the league-leading Montreal Alouettes in the East Championship, losing to the eventual Grey Cup champions 35-18 in front of a boisterous sell-out crowd at Olympic Stadium.
2003 – CFL legend Damon Allen was acquired to give the team veteran leadership at the pivot position, DE Joe Montford was traded to Hamilton for speedy receiver Tony Miles and Noel Prefontaine, Bashir Levingston and Michael Jenkins returned after short absences. The Argonauts finished the season 9-9 -0 and advanced to the playoffs. Because of the cross-over playoff rule, the Argos hosted, and defeated, BC in the East Semi-Final then traveled to Montreal. Unfortunately, the Double Blue came up short in a controversial to end a controversial season. The CFL League Office acquired control of the club from Sherwood Schwarz in September. Local businessmen David Cynamon & Howard Sokolowski took control of the historical franchise in December and immediately appointed Keith Pelley the new President of the Toronto Argonauts.
2004 – Under new ownership and leadership former Argonaut QB Kent Austin was brought aboard as the Offensive Coordinator. The ageless wonder, QB Damon Allen earned Grey Cup MVP honours, but more importantly helped the Argos capture their 15th Grey Cup in a 27-19 win over the B.C. Lions. The Argonauts realized 10-year attendance highs during the regular-season and a resurgence occurred within the city of Toronto as Boatmen returned to glory.
2005 – The Argos posted their best record since 1997, finishing 11-7 sitting atop the East Division. In turn, they also hosted the East Championship for the first time in eight years in front of 44,211 raucous fans at Rogers Centre. QB Damon Allen generated his best numbers in his illustrious 21-year CFL career, earning the CFL Most Outstanding Player Award. For the first time since 1997, the Boatmen boasted three 1000-yards receivers (Arland Bruce lll, Robert Baker and Tony Miles). On the defensive side of the ball, linebackers Kevin Eiben and Michael Fletcher received East Division awards for Outstanding Canadian and Defensive Player respectively. P/K Noel Prefontaine added East Division Special Teams Player of the Year to the Argos’ long list of accolades, along with a league-high 12 Division All-Stars.
2006 – As training camp opened, the Argos made a splash when they lured former Heisman Trophy winner RB Ricky Williams to Canada. Quarterback Damon Allen became professional football’s all-time leading passer, moving ahead of Warren Moon on Labour Day in Hamilton. The team, however, was decimated by injuries at almost every position and the Argonauts stumbled out of the gate to a 2-5 record. Mid-season health bred new promise, combined with the stellar play of a dominant defence, the Double Blue won 8 of their remaining 11 regular season games and finished in second place. The Argos hosted the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a thrilling East Semi-Final at Rogers Centre that saw QB Michael Bishop and LB Chuck Winters team up to lead the Boatmen to one of the greatest come-from-behind- victories in Argo history. The Argos fell to Montreal a week later in the East Championship. The Boatmen finished the season with 11 East Division All-Stars and three CFL All-Stars. CB Byron Parker, who re- joined the Boatmen in mid-season, set a CFL record with 348 interception return yards and 4 touchdowns while LB Mike O’Shea became just the third player, and first Canadian, in CFL history to record 1,000 or more defensive tackles in a career.
2007 – The Grey Cup was set to return to Toronto for the first time in 15 years and the Argos’ focus was being in the game. The Boatmen seemed destined to sail atop the East Division when they began the season 2-1 and outscored opponents 97-44 in their first three games. However, the injury bug bit the Argos and the team was forced to start four different quarterbacks (Damon Allen, Michael Bishop, Mike McMahon and Ian Butler) in the first eight games. QB Michael Bishop, who looked overpowering early, broke his wrist in game three and missed most of the first half of the season. He was joined on the injured list by host of other starters but, despite a 2-5 start, the team rallied together behind East Division Outstanding Defensive Player DE Jonathan Brown and East Division Outstanding Special Teams Player Dominique Dorsey. Bashir Levingston and Dominique Dorsey set a pro football record with 129-yard kick return touchdowns. Fan favourite Derrell ‘Mookie’ Mitchell signed on as a free agent and surpassed Paul Masotti as the club’s all-time leading receiver and Bishop returned from the IR and the Argos reeled off nine wins in 10 games to secure first place. The Argos hosted the Blue Bombers in the East Final at Rogers Centre but could not punch a ticket to the Grey Cup, falling 19-9. The Argos put nine players on the East All-Star squad, and six on the CFL All-Star team – the most for an Argos team since 2003. In addition, the Argos led a season-long initiative to determine an All-Time Argos depth chart, post-WWII, which saw alumni such as Carl Brazley, Mel Profit, Reggie Pleasant, Jim Stillwagon and many more greats return to Toronto. Following the wildly-successful 2007 Grey Cup festival, President & CEO Keith Pelley departed the Argos and on December 4, the Argos ushered in an exciting new era by introducing an executive team that included new CEO Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons and COO Brad Watters. Two days later, Rich Stubler was named the club’s 39th Head Coach.
2008 – A blockbuster off-season trade in March saw the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player QB Kerry Joseph join the Boatmen. This move was followed by the announcement that the most profilic passer in the history of professional football, QB Damon Allen, decided to retire after 23 seasons in the CFL. Training camp opened with another trade that sent K/P Noel Prefontaine to the Edmonton Eskimos. This was followed by the signing of former Argo Mike Vanderjagt, the most accurate kicker in NFL history. But the 2008 ship did not sail smoothly. Many personnel moves were made including the release of veteran S Orlondo Steinauer and QB Michael Bishop was traded to Saskatchewan. After beginning the season 4-6, Head Coach Rich Stubler was replaced mid-season by the winningest coach in CFL history Don Matthews. Unfortunately, The Don did not add any wins to his record in 2008 as he went 0-8 with the team missing the playoffs for the first time in 7 years as they finished 3rd in the East Division with a 4-14 record allowing Edmonton to cross over. One on-field highlight was the dynamic play of RB/KR Dominique Dorsey who, despite missing 5 games due to injury, became the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.
2009 – The Argonauts continued to struggle under new Head Coach Bart Andrus, who was hired on January 16, and did not make the playoffs for a second straight year, finishing the season a dismal 3-15. With a rotating line-up of starters, one of the few bright spots was RB Jamal Robertson who was the first Argos rusher to put up more than 1000 yards on the season since Michael Jenkins in 2001. LB Kevin Eiben continued his strong play in a defensive unit that held its own. Off the field, Bob Nicholson re-joined the team in May as President and CEO. Under his leadership, the club launched the Level The Playing Field program, in conjunction with The Argos Foundation, TDSB and TFSS. The program helped return football teams to four Toronto-area high schools with a $10,000 donation to each school. More than funding, Level The Playing Field featured mentorship, education and events. At the beginning of December, the Argos announced that Bart Andrus would not continue as the team’s head coach.
2010 – The 2010 off-season brought a renewed sense of optimism for the Boatmen. David Braley bought the team in February and Jim Barker returned for his second stint as Argonauts head coach. Barker immediately installed leadership in the coaching ranks and into the roster. Barker did not waste any time making several personnel moves while welcoming an entirely new coaching staff including former players Mike O’Shea (Special Teams Coordinator) and Orlondo Steinauer (Defensive Backs Coach). He overhauled the team’s roster starting with Canadian receiver Andre Talbot, by trading him to the Edmonton Eskimos for defensive tackle Eric Taylor in February. Argonauts later acquired CFL All-Star Jeremaine Copeland from Calgary. Barker continued to make headlines in February when he released all three of the club’s quarterbacks: Kerry Joseph, Cody Pickett, and Steven Reaves. After trading with Saskatchewan for QB Dalton Bell, the team announced the free agent additions of former NFL QBs Gibran Hamdan, Cleo Lemon and Ken Dorsey in March. The club later signed Queen’s University star and Vanier Cup champion, Danny Brannagan who, at season’s end, became the first Canadian QB to dress in a game for the Argos since 1994 (Eric Ursic) and the first to enter a game since 1969 (Frank Cosentino). With the departure of 1,000- yard rusher Jamal Robertson to B.C., rookie RB sensation Cory Boyd was signed and achieved the second-most prolific rushing season in team history. The Argos completed their off-season by sending a draft pick to Montreal for dynamic KR/WR Chad Owens on the last day of training camp. Owens went on to lead all kick return categories and was named CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. With a new and improved roster, the Argos got off to a quick 5-2 start. QB Cleo Lemon won the starting quarterback job as well as 10 games (including playoff game). Midway through the season, the Argonauts announced the signing of the former Outstanding Canadian and CFL sack leader Ricky Foley who returned from an NFL tryout. The Argonauts also welcomed back all-star K/P Noel Prefontaine in a trade. The Double Blue finished the season in third place with a 9-9 record and a berth in the East-Semi Final against Hamilton. After defeating the Ticats 16-13 at Ivor Wynne, the Argonauts moved on to play the Montreal Alouettes in the East Final. Barker was awarded the CFL’s Coach of the Year (Annis Stukus) award for his efforts and, after the season, was named the club’s General Manager & Head Coach as Adam Rita’s contract was not renewed by the team. The Double Blue boasted 4 CFL All-Stars and 7 East All-Stars. The Boatman celebrated their 10-year anniversary of the Huddle Up Bullying Prevention Program, presented by Tim Hortons.
2011 – Expectations were high as the Argos tried to build on where they’d left off in 2010. A slow start, however, saw the club go 2-7-0 into Labour Day and finish 6-12-0 on the year, which put them out of playoff contention for the third time in four seasons. But there were a few bright spots on the field. Star RB Cory Boyd became the second player (RB Michael Jenkins) in Argos history to compile 1,000 rushing yards in back-to-back seasons, and WR/KR Chad Owens became the first player in pro-football history to achieve back-to-back seasons with at least 3,000 combined yards while also setting a number of club records. CB Byron Parker established a new CFL record by returning his ninth career interception for a touchdown. Finally, veteran WR Jeremaine Copeland reached 10,000 career receiving yards in 2011 and then announced his retirement from football following the season. QB Steven Jyles came to Toronto in an off-season trade with Winnipeg, but was added to the nine-game injured list for the start of the season. Instead, Argos’ incumbents QB Cleo Lemon and QB Dalton Bell battled for the starting position. Ultimately, Lemon opened the season as the team’s starter and was released in the days following the club’s Labour Day contest at Rogers Centre. The athletic Jyles took over but another injury sustained in the second-last game of the year in Winnipeg prevented him from finishing the season. Dalton Bell started team’s final game of the year. Changes and turmoil continued throughout the season and with the team coming off its fifth consecutive loss, the Argonauts parted ways with Defensive Coordinator Chip Garber and Defensive Backs coach Orlondo Steinauer was promoted in his place. Star LB Kevin Eiben sustained a season-ending injury which forced him to play his final game as an Argonaut. Despite the team’s on field challenges, they finished with seven CFL East All-Stars and two CFL All-Stars. The Double Blue was also the focus of a documentary entitled, The Extra Yard. Financed by TSN, camera crews were given access to team meetings, coaches meetings, practice, the players’ personal lives and more. In all, there were four episodes aired online, on TSN and on CTV, which were met with positive reviews. Before the end of the calendar year, Jim Barker relinquished his Head Coach title and became the club’s General Manager. His first order of business was to appoint Scott Milanovich, who had been the Offensive Coordinator in Montreal, as the teams 42nd head coach in December. Barker then continued the momentum, and just days later shocked the CFL by pulling off a blockbuster trade with Edmonton. The Boatmen sent QB Steven Jyles, K Grant Shaw and the Argonauts’ first round pick in the 2012 CFL Canadian Draft to the Esks in return for QB Ricky Ray. Off the field, the team officially announced in the spring that the city of Toronto would be host to the 100th Grey Cup championship in November 2012.
2012 – The 2012 off-season brought a sense of buzz to the Argonauts that had not been present in some time. Scott Milanovich was entering his first season as a head coach after coming to Toronto from Montreal’s staff, and QB Ricky Ray was preparing to play for the Argos after 10 seasons with the Eskimos. Milanovich added former Stampeders defensive coordinator, Chris Jones who was named Toronto’s Assistant GM/Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator prior to the 2012 season. The rest of the off-season was spent gathering pieces to help Ray shine, as his long-time receiving partner from Edmonton, Jason Barnes, was added to the receiving group. With new coaches, new players, and re engineered jerseys, confidence was high going into the season, but so were expectations. The Argonauts started 3-3, with RB Cory Boyd leading the league in rushing before the decision was made to release the running back during the club’s bye-week. Second-year running back Chad Kackert was promoted to the starting position. The Argos also brought in import K/P Swayze Waters to handle the team’s kicking duties after veteran non-import K/P Noel Prefontaine went down with a hip injury. Prefontaine returned in the final weeks of the season and handled punting duties while Waters was the place kicker. The Argonauts would go 6-6 down the stretch, finishing an even 9-9, and securing a home playoff game for the first time in five years. Ricky Ray was injured on September 23 in Montreal and missed four games as backup Jarious Jackson took over. Ray returned for the Argonauts’ stretch run and finished the season setting a new club record for completion percentage in a single season (68.6%). Chad Owens broke Michael “Pinball” Clemons’ pro football record of 3,840 Combined Yards set in 1997, finishing the season with 3,863 combined yards 1,328 of which were receiving yards and 1,588 of which were kick return yards. Both were tops in the CFL and marked the first time any CFL player had led the league in both receiving and kick return yards in the same season. Owens also became the first Argo since Derrell Mitchell in 1998 to lead the CFL in receiving yards. The record-breaking season for Owens would become complete when he was awarded 2012 CFL Most Outstanding Player – the first Argos player since Damon Allen in 2005. Owens, along with DT Armond Armstead and CB Patrick Watkins would also be named East Division and CFL All-Stars for their spectacular 2012 campaigns. The Argonauts were red hot heading into the playoffs as they trampled over the Edmonton Eskimos at home during the Eastern Semi-Final matchup with a 42-26 victory, sending them to Montreal for the Eastern Finals. While at the “Big-O”, the Boatmen were able to secure their place in the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto after mounting a second half comeback behind a 139 yard rushing performance from Chad Kackert and two clutch interceptions by rookie LB Marcus Ball. A date with the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup game at home at the Rogers Centre was next. It would be the first time the Argos had played in a Grey Cup game at home since 1982 and the first time the Argos won the Grey Cup at home since 1952. This game saw the Double Blue develop an early lead and never look back, securing their place in Double Blue history and a 35-22 win. This marked the team’s 16th Grey Cup victory, the most out of any other team in the CFL. Chad Kackert received 100th Grey Cup Most Valuable Player honours while DE Ricky Foley, a native of Courtice, Ontario, won 100th Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian. Head Coach Scott Milanovich eventually secured the Annis Stukus trophy as the 2012 CFL Coach of the Year. In addition, the 100th Grey Cup Festival has gone down as one of the greatest in history. It was an Invitation to Our Nation that transcended “beer and football” uniting Canadians from coast-to coast in Toronto for a nine-day, ten-night festival which encompassed more than 50 events ranging from traditional team parties, galas and player awards to the Rushes Football Film Festival, presented by Nolitours, and family fun zone at great venues including the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Nissan Family Zone at Yonge-Dundas Square and mbna Adrenaline Zone at Nathan Phillips Square. Complete with street closures, extensive free-to-the-public entertainment and activities and youth programs, the 100th Grey Cup was a sport and cultural celebration that attracted in excess of 300,000 people and produced an economic impact value of $133.1 million for the province. The year finished off on an extreme high note as the Argonauts’ Huddle-Up Bullying Prevention Program, presented by Tim Hortons, in its 12th season, kept its promise to all participating schools by bringing the Grey Cup trophy to each school. Argo-cise Recess, presented by Goodlife, experienced another successful season and the club hosted a player safety seminar for coaches as part of the Level the Playing Field program, presented by Tim Hortons.
2013 – The 2013 Toronto Argonauts entered the season in a position they had not known since 2005: as champions. Offseason efforts concluded with new faces including WR John Chiles and LBs Shane Horton and James Yurichuk. Add into the mix the acquisition of all-star DT Khalif Mitchell (via trade with BC), to replace all-star Armond Armstead who had left for the NFL, and the selection of S Jermaine Gabriel in the 2013 CFL Draft, and the club was on its way to another successful campaign. By season’s end the Argos had won 11 games and finished on top of the East Division for the first time since 2007. The offence, under newly hired Offensive Coordinator Marcus Brady who had been serving in the same position in Montreal, put up more than 500 points for first time since 1997 and Ricky Ray earned East Division All-Star and East Division Most Outstanding Player accolades despite only playing in 10 regular season games. Ray was remarkable when he did play, setting and surpassing several club and league records. Centre Jeff Keeping was also honoured as the East Division’s Outstanding Lineman, it was the first time an Argos lineman had earned the award since Mike Kiselak in 1997. In all, the Argos earned five CFL all-star nominations and eight division all-stars. Chad Owens continued his incredible play and led the league in receptions (94) for the first time in his career. Ray was injured for seven games, with a rare shoulder injury suffered on August 23 at home against Calgary, and backup QB Zach Collaros took the reins. The Boatmen also welcomed back K/P Noel Prefontaine after K/P Swayze Waters injured his groin in week 1 against Hamilton. Collaros won 5 games for Toronto in a year that turned out to be an emergence of backup quarterbacks throughout the CFL. The Argonauts helped christen brand new Investors Group Field in Winnipeg by becoming the first visiting team to play in the new facility. Later in the season, on the back of Collaros, the Double Blue went on the road in September and became the first CFL team in history to play four consecutive road matches and win all of them. Perhaps most impressive is that the Argos trailed in every single game prior to mounting comebacks in each victory. The Argonauts went on to host the Eastern Final at Rogers Centre in front of more than 35,000 fans. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who finished with 10 regular season wins and in second place in the Division, came to town. It was the first time since 1986 the two teams had met in a division final and the city was a buzz. After starting the game red hot, the Argonauts scored no points in the second half and the Ticats advanced to the 101st Grey Cup game in Regina. The off-season immediately ushered in change. The Argonauts lost notables WR Dontrelle Inman and LB Marcus Ball to the NFL, LB Jason Pottinger and OL Joe Eppele were taken by the Ottawa REDBLACKS in the December expansion draft, and two members of the coaching staff accepted their first head coaching positions – Chris Jones with the Edmonton Eskimos and Mike O’Shea with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Coach Milanovich, however, worked quickly to rebuild his staff and hired former Blue Bombers head coach, and renowned defensive strategist Tim Burke as the club’s new Defensive Coordinator. The Argos Huddle Up Bullying Prevention program, presented by Tim Hortons, officially reached more than 500,000 students (since the inception of the program in 2001) across schools in the GTA with its messages of anti-bullying, positive choices and tolerance. The Argonauts also returned football to Runnymede High School in Toronto through their Level the Playing Field program, and also continued its commitment to youth football development by hosting another Return to Play Safety seminar for local high school coaches.
2014 – The Argonauts finished within a win of making the playoffs in what was a difficult season on and off the field. On the field, Ricky Ray turned in another record-breaking year despite having thrown passes to more than 20 different receivers throughout the course of the season. He earned East Division Most Outstanding Player accolades for the second straight season and led the CFL in passing yards and touchdowns. On November 24, Ray elected to undergo shoulder surgery with an anticipated 6-month recovery period. The Argos signed free agent linebacker Shea Emry in February to solidify the middle of the defence and Tim Burke joined the club as Defensive Coordinator. He brought with him Casey Creehan and Will Plemons as assistant coaches. Injuries ravaged the Argos’ receiving corps as stars like John Chiles, Chad Owens, Andre Durie and Spencer Watt all missed significant playing time. Ray, Owens and Swayze Waters all earned CFL all-star recognition. Waters was named CFL Most Outstanding Player for the first time in his career. The Argos season, which saw them practice in five different locations through the year before landing at Downsview Park in Toronto, ended disappointingly when Hamilton defeated Montreal in the penultimate game of the CFL season and knocked the Double Blue from playoff contention for the first time since 2011. Linebacker James Yurichuk became the second Argos player in four years to take home the Jake Gaudaur Veterans Award.