History in the making

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

Inside any lengthy streak in sports there are numbers, twists and remarkable achievements.

The Edmonton Eskimos' 34-year run in the playoffs is no different. The official end came in a season that featured colossal collapses, heartbreaking endings and comical errors. Here is the rest of the history.

2005

RECORD: 11-7 - 3RD IN WEST

WON GREY CUP

Losing home-field advantage during the final game of the regular season, the Esks ran the table on the road in the playoffs.

Jason Maas engineered four second-half scoring drives to win the West semi-final before saving the team's bacon in the West final. Still, rookie head coach Danny Maciocia handed the ball to Ricky Ray in the Grey Cup - and he won a wild 38-35 contest against Montreal. "I was scared to the last second," said centre Kevin Lefsrud.

2004

RECORD: 9-9 - 2ND IN WEST

LOST WEST SEMI-FINAL

It came down to the second last week of the season, but Edmonton clinched a playoff berth for the 33rd straight year by beating Winnipeg 40-34.

"The last thing I ever wanted was to have my name attached to the team that ended The Streak," said Ed Hervey after catching eight passes for 103 yards.

The Esks lost in the playoffs to Saskatchewan.

2003

RECORD: 13-5 - 1ST IN WEST

WON GREY CUP

Edmonton topped a tough West Division that featured a fourth-place team with an 11-7 record.

Then came revenge against Montreal, beating the Als by 12 in Regina for the Cup.

"This team has more character than any team I've been associated with," said Esk offensive co-ordinator Danny Maciocia.

2002

RECORD: 13-5 - 1ST IN WEST

LOST GREY CUP

Advancing to the Grey Cup for the first time since 1996, they lost on home grass to Montreal.

2001

RECORD: 9-9 - 1ST IN WEST

LOST WEST FINAL

Not since 1973 had a team won the West with just nine wins, but Edmonton didn't really care. The Esks spoiled home-field advantage, though, losing to Calgary in the division final.

2000

RECORD: 10-8 - 2ND IN WEST

LOST WEST SEMI-FINAL

Two wins against B.C. in the regular season gave Edmonton second place. But in the playoffs, the Esks couldn't beat the Leos - losing 34-32.

1999

RECORD: 6-12 - 3RD IN WEST

LOST WEST SEMIFINAL

Although the Esks put together their worst regular-season record since 1969, they still qualified for the post-season for two reasons: a) they beat the horrific 3-15 Green Riders three times and b) Montreal did them a huge favour on the final day of the season.

After choking in Toronto - losing 20-15 on the second last day of the year - Edmonton needed Montreal to beat Winnipeg to keep the playoff streak alive.

Fortunately for those in Eskimoland, Montreal won 45-10 - keeping Edmonton's streak alive. "We have got new life," declared Edmonton coach Don Matthews after Montreal's victory.

Still, the Esks lost to Calgary in the playoffs.

1998

RECORD: 9-9 - 2ND IN WEST

LOSE WEST FINAL

For the first time since 1971, Edmonton lost nine games during the regular season. But a win on the final day earned the right to host the semi-final.

But they had no answer to Calgary's Jeff Garcia - 448 yards passing - in the final.

1997

RECORD: 12-6 - 1ST IN WEST

LOST WEST FINAL

Hosting the Grey Cup, the Esks forgot something important: showing up in the West final - losing 31-30 to Saskatchewan.

"I think some of us thought it was still Halloween and that all we had to do was show up with our superhero outfits on and expect to get free treats," said Malvin Hunter.


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