TORONTO - The Calgary Stampeders had been telling anyone who would listen that they were the team of destiny.
Sorry, Cowtown, for it is now crystal clear that 2012 was set up to be the year of the Boatmen.
The Toronto Argonauts rode a smothering defence, the swift feet of MVP Chad Kackert and the beautiful arm of quarterback Ricky Ray to a 35-22 beatdown of the Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup game Sunday night at Rogers Centre. The CFL's oldest franchise won its 16th championship in the process.
And we really should have seen it coming.
It all started 11 1/2 months ago when Jim Barker acquired Ray from the Edmonton Eskimos. That transaction was a tangible move, but it sure helped move the destiny part along.
"This is awesome," Ray said, holding his one-year-old daughter, Chloe Samantha. "Coming to a whole new situation, I was just trying to come here and do my best to help this team any way I could. It was new for all of us. Coaches, players "¶ all of us were just trying to build something here.
"This is what you play for, to be able to be on a team that gets on a run and wins a championship. It just makes you feel so good."
The Argos became just the fifth team since 1955 -- and second in a row -- to win the Grey Cup on their own turf. It was also the 100th edition of Canada's biggest football game.
And now that they're the champs for the first time since 2004, the Boatmen will no doubt hope to ride the wave into much-needed new fans after a great celebration in Canada's biggest city.
Not only that, but the Argos are now 2-0 in Grey Cups when the NHL is locked out. It's tough to argue with fate.
Kackert carried the ball 20 times for 133 yards, and added another eight catches for 62, giving him 195 combined yards.
The Argos, who actually had a losing record at home this season, held Stamps running back Jon Cornish, the runner-up to Chad Owens in the most outstanding player voting, to a paltry 57 yards on 15 carries.
Calgary quarterback Kevin Glenn, looking to write his own storybook ending, never found his rhythm and is still looking to prove he can win the big one. He didn't let a loss in his first Grey Cup change his laissez-faire attitude.
"You guys are making it seem like somebody died," Glenn said. "We lost a game. We lost six of them in the regular season. This just so happened to be the Grey Cup. It's that much worse because a ring was involved."
As far as first halves go, it couldn't have gone much worse for the Stamps, even though it was Ray who was intercepted on the game's first offensive play. Ray went deep down the sideline looking for Andre Durie, but Quincy Butler was there to steal the ball.
If your quarterback is going to throw an interception on the first play of the Grey Cup, Ray is the guy you want to throw it.
"A lot of quarterbacks couldn't recover from that, but that's why he's Ricky Ray," Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said. "He's just too cool. He just doesn't get rattled. There was no panic."
And that was the only time the Boatmen, who at 9-9 became the first team since Calgary in 2001 to win the Grey Cup without a winning record, were in trouble all night.
The Stamps turned the ball over three times in the first half, and the Argos scored two touchdowns off of them to make them pay. Chad Owens had a five-yard catch, while defensive back Pacino Horne picked Glenn and returned it 25 yards. Toronto led 24-6 at the half, and that was that.
After Justin Bieber belted out a couple of tunes at halftime, it was more of the same from the anemic Stamps offence and the smothering Argos defence.
After the teams traded field goals, Larry Taylor's 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was negated by Keon Raymond's holding penalty. It was that kind of night for the Red and White.
Toronto was 8-0 this season when up through three quarters, and Sunday night was a piece of cake to finish off. Rene Paredes booted his fourth field goal of the night midway through the fourth to get to within 13, but Durie took a toss from Ray, scampered seven yards for the major and the party had officially begun on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Glenn, who wants to be a starting quarterback somewhere next year, completed 14 of 27 attempts for 222 yards and an interception. Ray was 18-for-30 for 231 yards, with two touchdowns and a pick.
Ricky Foley, who hails from nearby Courtice, Ont., was named the top Canadian after recording four tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. He was just one of many bright spots on Toronto's defence, which is led by former Stamps co-ordinator Chris Jones.