By Chris Lawton

The Toronto Argonauts (10-1) are off to their best start since the 1996 season. 

That year they were also 10-1 after 11 weeks of play.

Argonauts fans would love to see the Double Blue repeat a season like that one!

Because that year they were East Division Champions with a 15-3 record. But they were even more successful than that. 

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What a turnaround 1996 was for the Argos! They were the East Division champions, posted a 15-3 record and had an average game score of 31-20. 

The 1995 Argos had finished 4-14 and were well out of contention. Just one year later however they were riding high.

The 11 win turnaround was the greatest single-season comeback in franchise history. Plus the team’s 15 regular season wins was the most ever recorded by an Argonauts team. Rounded out by becoming Grey Cup champions.

Having won the highest scoring Grey Cup matchup ever against Edmonton, Toronto came back and did it all again in 1997.

That year they were also 15-3. Again East Division champs, this time with an average 37-18 game score. The 97 Argonauts were again Grey Cup champions. This time defeating Saskatchewan. 

This Toronto squad went 34-6 over two seasons (including playoffs) & are remembered as one of the great CFL teams. What the current Double Blue team wouldn’t give to be in such exalted company!

A Warning From History

I have heard talk of the Argonauts being compared to teams that have won 15+ games in a season.

That does not always translate to a championship. For that the 1989 Edmonton Eskimos serve as a real warning from history.

Those Esks finished 16-2. The only 16 win team in CFL history, the 1989 Esks were a dominant regular season team. In their 40th anniversary year the Esks set a record for most wins in a season (16), most points (644), most TDs (70), & yards gained (7,951).

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.

The Saskatchewan team that vanquished the Esks would go on to win an incredible Grey Cup.

More recenlty the 2022 Winnipeg Blue Bombers finished a league best 15-3, but  Lost grey Cup to the self-same Argonauts 24-23!

A Great Time For The Double Blue

It has been a great time to be a fan of the Double Blue since the arrival of Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie.

Prior to that the one thing Toronto had not managed throughout the preceding decade was consistent success. Over that time they went a regular season 75-105. (Going 4-14 in back to back seasons in 2018 & 2019 really hurt those numbers). The Boatmen appeared in the playoffs on five occasions in the 2010s and went 6-3 in those games picking up two titles.

Dinwiddie has brought consistency. He went 9-5 in his first year, and lost in the East Final, 11-7 last year and won the Grey Cup, and is 10-1 this year, and looks set to lead the Argonauts to another East Final hsoting spot. 

This coming weekend they can wrap that up with a win in Montreal. Whether that proves to be a trap game, and a meeting with 10 win Winnipeg in a few weeks will tell us a lot about how this team stands in the pantheon of Toronto Argonauts squads in this the team’s 150th anniversary year.



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