TORONTO — Cheering fans and jubilant members of the Argonauts packed Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday as the team celebrated its CFL-record 17th Grey Cup win.
Veteran quarterback Ricky Ray carried the Cup through an excited crowd, with many fans clamouring to get photos of the iconic trophy.
The 38-year-old Ray, who set his own CFL record by winning his fourth Grey Cup as a starting quarterback, is still determining his football future, but he was treated to chants of “one more year” by fans and teammates while addressing the rally.
“Only one? Why not two, huh?” Ray replied to cheers.
The Argos — who missed the playoffs in 2016 and finished the 2017 season 9-9 — pulled off a surprising 27-24 comeback victory over the Calgary Stampeders in Sunday’s snowy championship game in Ottawa.
But the win was no fluke, general manager Jim Popp said.
“We had the best record down the stretch,” Popp told the crowd. “We beat four straight Western teams. We beat everybody in the league … It takes a little luck, but I’m going to tell you, the belief in the room is why we won.”
Coach Marc Trestman, who was brought in with Popp in the off-season to turn the franchise around, praised the team’s selflessness throughout what was expected by many to be a rebuilding year.
“(Just) 185 days ago, take a look, none of us even knew each other,” Trestman said. “We came from different places, from different teams … but we all worked together and it led to this moment.”
The team’s players and coaches come from all over the U.S. and Canada, but they all love Toronto, Trestman added.
Argos receiver and Grey Cup MVP DeVier Posey thanked fans for cheering the team to victory.
“I want to shout out to everyone from Mimico, to Etobicoke, Lakeshore to Markham to Vaughan to Mississauga, thank you,” said Posey, who hauled in a 100-yard touchdown pass Sunday, the longest major in Grey Cup history. “BMO (Field) was crazy a couple of weeks ago for the Eastern finals. You guys had so much energy, we fed off that energy, and it got us to the Grey Cup.”
Fan Lynn Siuda was on hand in Ottawa for the Grey Cup game, and showed up to the rally dressed head-to-toe in Argo gear.
“(The win) is great for the city, great for the Argos,” Siuda said. “We bought tickets for the Grey Cup back in June thinking, well, the Argos won’t be there… (but) it paid off.”
Also taking the stage at the rally was Toronto Mayor John Tory — himself a former CFL commissioner — who couldn’t resist taking a playful dig at Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The two mayors placed a Grey Cup wager on the game, and after losing the bet Nenshi had to wear an Argonauts jersey at a Calgary city council meeting Monday while reciting a poem extolling the virtues of the CFL champions.
“Didn’t Mayor Nenshi look great in that Argo jersey yesterday?” Tory said. “I told him to keep it, and we’re going to send one to every other CFL mayor in the country, because next year some mayor in some city is going to be wearing that jersey again.”
It was Toronto’s first Grey Cup win since taking the 2012 title with a 35-22 win over Calgary at Rogers Centre.