Calgary Stampeders Road to Grey Cup Glory

The Calgary Stampeders’ victory in the 2018 Grey Cup (an eight title in their seventeenth final) brought the curtain down on a hugely successful season in which Dave Dickenson’s men carried the burden of expectation that surrounded them for much of the year extremely well.

In a season packed with highlights, the Stampeders managed to erase the disappointment of falling just short in the previous two years with the 27-16 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks in Edmonton on 25 November.

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was rightly named MVP after a masterful display that saw him go 24-for-36, passing for 253 yards and throwing two touchdown passes. The MVP award (his second, after his win in 2014 when the Stampeders last took the title) was the finale to a magnificent season in which he was unquestionably the outstanding player in the league, throwing 35 touchdown passes as the Stampeders went 13-5.

Other highlights of the 2018 Grey Cup included Terry Williams’ record-breaking 97-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Stampeders receiver Lemar Durant being awarded the Dick Suderman Trophy as most valuable Canadian player for his four catches for 30 yards, including a touchdown.

After losing in the final in both 2016 and 2017, this win brought redemption to the Stampeders, and the players’ and fans’ ecstatic reactions show just how important this win in the 106th Grey Cup was to the team and to the city. It was especially crucial to be able to finish the job this time around, not only to erase the disappointment of the previous two years but also to capitalize on the dominance shown by the Stampeders during the regular season.

The win was particularly sweet for Head Coach Dickenson, his first after being in charge of a losing team the previous two years. Having won the Grey Cup as a player, it seemed as though the ultimate coaching accolade might elude him after the surprise defeats in 2016 and 2017, but his resilience and refusal to dwell on past failures epitomized the grit and determination shown by the entire organization this season.

Betting on the Grey Cup and Canadian Football

Increasingly, North American sports, including Canadian football, are attracting a more knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan base in counties where the sports are little played. As international audiences get more access to CFL games and other leagues from North America through new online broadcasting platforms, they are attracting audiences that have helped to broaden these sports’ appeal.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the online sports betting space. While the USA has only just begun to regulate legal online betting on sports, online betting on the CFL, NFL and other North American leagues has long been possible elsewhere, such as in the UK and Australia.

This has seen more and more international sports books getting in on the action with Canadian football, as you can see in this redzonesports review, which has built up a strong following amongst punters for betting on North American football in the UK.

For instance, many leading UK sports books had a range of betting markets available on the Grey Cup, as well as regular season matches, and some have already begun to frame their markets ahead of the 2019 CFL season.

This ability to bet on matches in countries where CFL games have previously received little or no coverage has undoubtedly been a boon to the sport, and there are now growing numbers of people playing both Canadian and American football across Europe and in Asia, for instance.

This has perhaps been an unexpected consequence of the liberalization of online sports betting laws, but as punters have gained access to more and more markets, this has been accompanied by a desire for greater knowledge about the sports. People who bet on sports like to be as informed as possible, and so this has led to an upsurge in interest in the Grey Cup and all Canadian football from people all around the world who may never have seen a game live, but who nevertheless are taking an increasingly keen interest in all things CFL.

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