Toronto Argonauts Join The 16-Win Club
By Chris Lawton
With a 27-22 win over Ottawa, the Toronto Argonauts recorded their sixteenth win of the year to cap a 16-2 regular season this past weekend. Meaning they have become only the second team ever to join the 16 wins in a CFL regular season club.
That is because the only season to do it before was the then Edmonton Eskimos who also went 16-2 in 1989.
This will be the 13th time ever a CFL team has won 15 or more games in a season. But that 16-win club is much more exclusive. Containing as it now does the 1989 Esks and 2023 Argos.
A Quick Comparison
Both the 1989 Esks and 2023 Argos were 9-0 at home and 7-2 on the road. The only difference there being that Edmonton were 11-1 in their own Division whilst Toronto finished 10-0 in theirs.
The Esks led the league with most wins in a season (16), most points (644), most TDs (70), & yards gained (7,951). Meanwhile the Argos have led the league with most wins (16), are second in points scored (591), second in yardage gained (6,803) and led the league in touchdowns (66). It should be noted that Toronto have been interchanging players for the past few weeks once they had a home game in the East Final booked.
That season Edmonton QB Tracy Ham set a league record for yards rushing by a quarterback in a season (1,051). Combined with 4,366 yards passing and 30 TD’s he took home that year’s MOP award.
Chad Kelly who led the Argos is also an MOP nominee this year but faces stiff competition from Winnipeg RB Brady Oliveira.
Good Times To Be A Double Blue Fan
Following back-to-back 4-14 seasons in 2018-19, and since Clemons brought in Dinwiddie the Argos have gone 36-14 in the regular season and will be hosting their third consecutive East Final. Prior to this they are 1-1 in those games having lost 19-27 to Hamilton in 2021 and defeated Montreal 34-27 last year.
The Argonauts have been playing football in one form or another since 1883 and prior to this their Franchise record was fifteen wins in a season. A feat they managed in back-to-back years with Doug Flutie at the helm on the way to two championship wins.
The new Franchise and league record has been a thrill for fans of the Double Blue, but their coaches are quick to tell people the job is not yet done.
A Lesson From History
This was one of the great years in Edmonton history. But ultimately it is remembered as a missed opportunity. However good they were, they fell at the first hurdle in the playoffs.
That year in fact the 9-9 Saskatchewan Roughriders went on to win one of the great Grey Cup games.
Toronto will want to avoid this fate if they can. Especially as they are looking to defend their own Grey Cup title from last year.
The Argos will have a bye week this next week whilst the Division Semi-Finals are being played. Then they will host the winner of the Montreal Alouettes (11-7) and Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-10) on Saturday November the 11th in the Eastern Final with a chance to go back to the Grey Cup.
They, and their fans will certainly want to avoid the fate of the 1989 Edmonton team in the playoffs. As ever, it will be fun seeing how it all plays out.
If you are looking to keep up with the CFL then do check back in here on ‘The Touchdown’ on our dedicated CFL page.
Feature Image Credit: Toronto Argonauts
Chris originally started following the NFL with the ‘first wave’ of fans when it was shown on Channel 4 in the 1980’s. He has been a keen supporter of the Miami Dolphins since 1983. Chris first encountered the CFL in 2016 and instantly fell in love with the Canadian game. He has been writing about the CFL 2017. Chris has a degree in history, postgraduate degree in librarianship and can be found on twitter as @CFLfanUK