Cups come in bunches

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:30 PM ET

On average, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have played for the Grey Cup once every three years since the franchise was incorporated in 1930.

They have made 24 trips to the CFL's big game in their 74 years, and they have come home with the trophy 10 times, which is the third-best mark among the league's nine cities.

And really, when all is said and done, it's all about sipping from Earl Grey's mug, isn't it? Trevor Kennerd, the Bombers placekicker who was a part of three titles between 1984 and 1990, put it best.

"The reason why people will pay the money they pay to go to the games and follow an 18-game schedule and live and die with the team and bleed with the team and celebrate with the team is the chance of winning that championship game," Kennerd said. "That's what it's all about, is winning the Grey Cup.

Now, a 10-14 Grey Cup record might be cause for more consternation than celebration, but a 32% appearance rate in the big game is nothing at which to shake a stick.

The only problem with Winnipeg's 10 titles, from a fan's perspective, is they happened in spurts. Local children grew up and moved away from home without having their favourite football team savour the sweet taste of victory.

If you were born in 1941, 1962 and 1990, you know that all too well.

The franchise won three times between 1935 and 1941. Then there was a 17-year drought that included a whopping eight Cup losses.

The Bombers won four more crowns between 1958 and 1962, but that dynasty was followed by a 22-year dry spell.

The Blue and Gold got back to collecting rings in 1984, 1988 and 1990, but the team and its fans are now at 15 years -- and counting -- without a championship.

The clock continues to tick.

To pass the time until the next parade, let's take a trip down memory lane and look back at Winnipeg's 10 Grey Cup victories:

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 7, 1935

WHERE: A.A.A. Grounds, Hamilton

RESULT: Winnipegs 18, Hamilton Tigers 12

HOW: Fritz (Golden Ghost) Hanson was a special teams star as Winnipeg became the first western Canadian team to win the Grey Cup. Hanson had 300 punt-return yards, which included one runback he took all the way to the end zone. Quarterback Russ Rebholz added two touchdown tosses. Interestingly, Hamilton scored a "power-play" touchdown when Winnipeg's Bert Oja was off serving a three-minute penalty for high tackling.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 9, 1939

WHERE: Landsdowne Park, Ottawa

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 8, Ottawa Rough Riders 7

HOW: The Bombers, as they were now known, had nine starters playing for their hometown team when they edged the Rough Riders in their own park. The team's budget was $10,000, so they hadn't brought in any new imports. Andy Bieber scored on a 10-yard run, and Art Stevenson scored the game-winning point by punting the ball through the end zone with fewer than two minutes remaining.

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 29, 1941

WHERE: Varsity Stadium, Toronto

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 18, Ottawa Rough Riders 16

HOW: It's a good thing Chester McCance practised field goals for fun at Osborne Stadium, because his two three-pointers, which were rare at the time, proved to be the difference as the Bombers won their third title in seven years. Wayne Sheley hit Bud Marquardt with a touchdown toss, and Marquardt scored again on a fumble return that was forced by defensive end Bernie Thornton.

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 29, 1958

WHERE: Empire Stadium, Vancouver

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 35, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 28

HOW: Head coach Bud Grant won his first of four titles and ended a 17-year championship drought for the Blue and Gold. The Bombers trailed 14-0, but quarterback Jim Van Pelt, playing in place of Ken Ploen, caught a touchdown pass from running back Leo Lewis to get the ball rolling. Van Pelt went on to score a Grey Cup-record 22 points, including another touchdown, two field goals and four converts. Charlie Shepard had 120 rushing yards.

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 28, 1959

WHERE: Exhibition Stadium, Toronto

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 21, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 7

HOW: Fullback Charlie Shepard had a three-yard touchdown run and Ken Ploen hit Ernie Pitts with a 33-yard pass for a major as the Bombers won their second straight crown. Gerry James added a field goal, and Shepard booted four singles in the fourth quarter as the Bombers bounced back from a 7-3 deficit in the second half.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 2, 1961

WHERE: Exhibition Stadium, Toronto

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 21, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 14 (OT)

HOW: Quarterback Ken Ploen had planned to find Farrell Funston on a curl pattern in overtime, but instead he saw daylight, so he took off. He rumbled 19 yards to score the only points in overtime. Gerry James provided the three-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter that sent the game to extra time as well as two field goals. Jack Delveaux, playing for the injured Charlie Shepard, added a single.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2, 1962

WHERE: Exhibition Stadium, Toronto

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 27

HOW: The Fog Bowl, as it's now known, is one of the most famous games in CFL history, because it took two days to complete. Thick fog prevented the last 9:29 of the fourth quarter to be completed on Dec. 1, so, with the Bombers up 28-27, play was suspended. They returned the next day, but no scoring took place. Leo Lewis and Charlie Shepard both had two touchdowns for the Blue and Gold, who cemented their dynasty status with their fourth title in five years.

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 18, 1984

WHERE: Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 47, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 17

HOW: The favoured Bombers trailed 14-0 in this game, but they exploded in the second quarter, dominated the rest of the game and ended Winnipeg's 22-year Grey Cup drought. Willard Reaves scored two touchdowns, while Joe Poplawski, Jeff Boyd and linebacker Stan Mikawos each added one. Trevor Kennerd booted four field goals and five converts.

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 27, 1988

WHERE: Landsdowne Park, Ottawa

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 22, B.C. Lions 21

HOW: Mike Gray's interception sealed the deal in this tight one, which came after a 9-9 regular season. Trevor Kennerd booted four field goals, and Bob Cameron's masterful punting on a windy day, which produced a pair of singles, earned him the game's top Canadian award. James Murphy hauled in the lone Bomber touchdown. "Lots of magic happened in that '88 season, and (head coach) Mike Riley was a big part of that," Kennerd said.

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 25, 1990

WHERE: B.C. Place Stadium, Vancouver

RESULT: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 50, Edmonton Eskimos 11

HOW: The veteran-laden Bombers were known for their defence, which featured Greg Battle, Tyrone Jones, James West, Less Browne and Rod Hill, but quarterback Tom Burgess stole the show. It certainly didn't hurt that he was playing behind an offensive line that included Lyle Bauer and Chris Walby. Canadian fullback Warren Hudson had two touchdowns.

KEY DATES IN BOMBER HISTORY:

1993 -- Edmonton Eskimos beat Winnipeg 33-23. Sean Fleming booted six field goals while Lucius Floyd and Jim Sandusky had TDs for the Eskies. Tailback Michael Richardson and quarterback Sammy Garza had the Bomber majors.

1996 -- Winnipeg Blue Bombers move back to the West Division when the Baltimore Stallions relocate to Montreal and the Alouettes are revived.

1997 -- Winnipeg Blue Bombers moved back to the East after the Ottawa Rough Riders folded.


Videos

Photos