Year-By-Year History | Toronto Argonauts
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Year-By-Year History
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100th Grey Cup Champions Toronto Argonauts 

2013:  The 2013 Toronto Argonauts entered the season in a position they had not known since 2005: as champions. Off-season 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.

 

 

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 friend and 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 by-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 that required surgery. 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 infamy 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.

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 Jermaine 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 shoulder surgery and rehabilitation prevented him from achieving his potential as he 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 game was played at Rogers Centre against the B.C. Lions, instead of Ivor Wynne in Hamilton for the first time in many years due to a scheduling conflict). 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. The club lost starting middle LB Jason Pottinger in the first game of the year, which kept him out of the lineup until the second half of the season. Star LB Kevin Eiben sustained a season ending injury which forced him to play his final game as an Argonaut. In an effort to boost the offence, WR Maurice Mann was acquired in a trade from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats just before the trade deadline. 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. The team continued to make strides with its Huddle-Up Bullying Prevention program, presented by Tim Hortons, and Level the Playing Field program, presented by Tim Hortons. Through LTPF in 2011, football teams were returned to three Toronto-area schools, bringing the total number to 10 teams returned to Toronto-area schools. The club also continued to help schools fight against childhood obesity by running its successful Argo-cise Recess program.

 

 

 

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