This weekend’s best football game won’t be played in Stillwater or Baton Rouge. Neither Pasadena, nor Foxborough, nor New York. This weekend’s best game will be played in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. While you may laugh at the sight of two CFL teams, you really shouldn’t. The 101st installment of the Grey Cup––Canada’s Super Bowl––does not only figure to be the most exciting Grey Cup ever but also one of the best football games of all time.

This game is tangled in storylines. The Tiger-Cats QB, Henry Burris, is a surefire Hall-of-Famer who is at the tail end of a career that started in Regina. Burris got his first starting job in Roughriders’ green in 2000. When he rejected Saskatchewan’s contract extension in 2004 to sign with Calgary, Roughrider fans were furious. And they still haven’t forgiven him.

In 2011, Calgary traded Burris to Hamilton, basically telling him that he was washed up. Two nearly 5,000-yard seasons later proves otherwise. 2 years ago, he was nearly out of the league. Now he’s under its brightest spotlight and back in his old home with something to prove.


That’s not where the similarities between the teams end though. Kent Austin is a legend in Roughriders’ history. In 1989, he quarterbacked them to a Grey Cup championship, and he won another cup as a coach in 2007. Oh, and there’s a giant banner of him when you enter Mosaic Stadium in Regina. But in 2008, one year after their Grey Cup championship, Austin left Saskatchewan for Oxford, Mississippi to be Ole Miss’ offensive coordinator. Come Sunday, he’ll be back on the sideline in Regina, only this time in Tiger-Cats black and gold, and Rider fans will not be glad to see their legend back on the field in different colors.


The players and parallels give this weekend’s game a little extra intrigue, but the most fascinating part of the game is Saskatchewan itself. The Roughriders are the Green Bay Packers of the CFL. The comparisons are endless. There is no other professional football around, and because of that fans are incredibly loyal. Fans own shares of the team. Mosaic Stadium can get freezing; a few Tiger-Cats reportedly got frostbite at practice at Mosaic this week. Despite all this, the most notable thing about the Roughriders, is although they have had a 103-year existence; they have only won the Grey Cup a meager three times and never in their home province.

That could all change on Sunday. Saskatchewan shocked the regular season’s best team, Calgary, in the Western Finals last weekend by forcing 7 turnovers. The skill and confidence is there, and with the Roughriders set to open a new stadium in 2017, this could be the only opportunity for Mosaic to see a Grey Cup hoisted by its Roughriders. For loyal Rider fans, the dream of seeing their team win it all in their home stadium for the first time ever would finally become reality.


And for us football fans, not linked to the CFL, we should care on Sunday as much as Rider Nation. I have never seen a matchup that has everything––everything­––you could ask for in a football game until now. There is redemption, revenge, and (possibly) rejoice like the province of Saskatchewan has never seen before. While it might sound ridiculous, do yourself a favor and please turn off the Giants’ game just once. There’s better football being played in the Great White North this weekend, and you don’t want to miss out.

The Grey Cup is being televised in the US on NBC Sports Network at 6 PM EST on Sunday. Click here to find NBCSN’s channel number on your TV.