Now that's a rivalry

During the course of today's playoff showdown I checked out the historical rivalry between the Eskimos and Blue Bombers. I knew it was close as both teams have taken their turn at ascendancy, especially in the 1950s when they were by far the class of the old Western Interprovincial Football Union (which is before even my time, but the scores are recorded on stone tablets). The two teams met in the post-season 10 times in the 11 years 1950-60, including 9 times in the best-of-3 finals with 7 of those series going the limit. That's an incredible 26 playoff games over those 11 seasons, with each team winning 13 games and advancing 5 times. 13 games were played in each town, with the visitors winning 5. Four of the series were upsets, with each side winning twice.

Many of the games were defensive tong wars in brutal conditions, if scores like 4-1, 5-4 and 4-2 are our guide. One such occasion occurred in 1957 when the Bombers ended the Esks' run of three Grey Cups by winning Game 3 in Edmonton by the highly unusual score of 17-2 in overtime. That was a famously wind-blown game that ended Pop Ivy's otherwise triumphant four-year run as Eskimos coach.

Since the CFL became a truly integrated national league in 1961 (when interlocking play started) the teams have met more rarely in the post-season, in part due to the rise of other powers and rivalries in the west and in part because Winnipeg has bounced back and forth between conferences. The teams did meet 5 times in 6 years 1980-85, with the Esks scraping by the Bombers en route to their 5th straight Cup and the Bombers ending the dynastic run the next year with a decisive home victory in Warren Moon's last game, 25 years ago this week.

Overall since 1961, the old rivals have met 8 more times in single-game Western playoffs, splitting 4 wins apiece; and twice in the Grey Cup game in the early 90s, each team winning once. So the series was still dead even, until today's unusual meeting in the East playoffs. Today's win gives the Eskimos the leg up again, the green and gold having won the series or sudden death game 11 times to Winnipeg's 10. Counting all of those best of three series that went the limit in the old WIFU, Eskimos have won 19 games, the Bombers 18. Winnipeg has actually outscored Edmonton 673-622 for an average game score of EDM 17 WPG 18.

For those who are interested in such trivia, here's the playoff history of the remarkably even Edmonton-v.-Winnipeg rivalry, scraped from Iggy's CFL. Edmonton always listed first, series winner in italics, * designates home team.

1950 WIFU F : EDM 17 WPG* 16; 12*-22; 6-29*
1951 WIFU SF: EDM* 4 WPG 1
1952 WIFU F : EDM 12 WPG* 28; 18*-12; 22-11*
1953 WIFU F : EDM* 25 WPG 7; 17-21*; 24-30
1954 WIFU F : EDM* 9 WPG 3; 6-12*; 10*-5
1955 WIFU F : EDM* 29 WPG 6; 26-6*
1957 WIFU F : EDM* 7 WPG 19; 5-4*; 2*-17 (ot)
1958 WIFU F : EDM 7 WPG* 30; 30*-7; 7-23*
1959 WIFU F : EDM 11 WPG* 19; 8*-16
1960 WIFU F : EDM 16 WPG* 22, 10*-5; 4-2*

1966 WFC SF : EDM 8 WPG* 16
1976 WFC SF : EDM 14 WPG* 12
1980 West F : EDM* 34 WPG 24
1982 West F : EDM* 24 WPG 21
1983 West SF: EDM 22 WPG* 49
1984 West SF: EDM 20 WPG* 55
1985 West SF: EDM 15 WPG* 22

1990 GREY CUP: EDM 11 WPG 50
1993 GREY CUP: EDM 33 WPG 23

1996 West SF: EDM* 68 WPG 7
2008 East SF: EDM 29 WPG* 21


Matt said...

Dept. of Possibly Unwanted Advice:

Back in the first couple years of the BoA, we used a lot of photos; most just stupid crap found via Google Images, but occasionally game photos and the like.

Then one day I got a very unfriendly infringement notice from some A-hole at CPImages. I apologized, we took the "offending" pics down and assured them it wouldn't happen again. I also pointed out that there was clearly no commercial benefit that had been gained, and assumed that would be the end of it.

Then a week or two later, I got a legal notice via courier insisting that we pay $500 per image (or some ridiculous figure) or expect litigation. I ignored it, and fortunately they decided not to pursue it (it would appear, anyway -- it's been 2 years).

At any rate, tread carefully with the action shots. :) My experience and research at the time taught me that innocuous-ness is not a defense.

Bruce said...

Thanks, Matt. I've avoided using images with "not for public use" imprinted in them but have been naively assuming that if I am a not-for-profit entity and they're available on the Internet anyway that it's no big deal. Not sure if giving credit for said photos based on information available at source would make things better or worse.

Has your bad experience been specifically limited to action shots? And does the age of the photos make any difference?

Matt said...

The issue is permission (and compensation for same), not credit. I don't have your email; send me a note at matt.bofa@gmail.com and I'll forward you the correspondence I had with the guy. I assure you you'll be horrified. :)

Bruce said...

Thanks, Matt, I'll be in touch. I guess offering 100% of my own compensation for running this little site won't do it, eh?