The biggest gridiron football game this Sunday is at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Vying for the 106th Grey Cup are the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks, a rematch two years removed from a stunning upset that saw the sub-.500 Redblacks knock off the 15-2-1 Stampeders in a 39-33 overtime classic back in 2016. Last year, Calgary returned to the Grey Cup, and had one of the craziest ways to blow a game that you’ll ever see. Eastern Washington alum Bo Levi Mitchell, already in comfortable field goal range while down 27-24 to the Toronto Argonauts, got greedy and was intercepted at the goal-line in the closing seconds.
The Stampeders are back for a third straight season, and the only reason a post like this is on Field Gulls is because there is a Seattle Seahawks connection! Remember Chris Matthews? He was the one who recovered the onside kick against the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, and caught 4 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots. His emergence (due to Paul Richardson’s ACL tear) was vital, but his time with the Seahawks ended by mid-November of 2015.
After a brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens, Matthews was out of football for almost a year before Calgary signed him up early last month. It marked a return to the CFL for Matthews, who had a phenomenal rookie year with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2012, only for turf toe to lead to a shortened and ineffective 2013 season. The Seahawks signed him on a reserve/futures contract in 2014, and you know the rest of the story because I literally just told you in the previous few sentences.
So how’s Matthews fared in his CFL return? Playoffs included, he has appeared in five games, caught 15 passes for 291 yards, and a touchdown.
I also recommend checking out this long ball he hauled in while double covered.
Matthews isn’t the only one with Seahawks ties on the Stampeders. Defensive lineman Cordarro Law was a UDFA in 2012 but failed to survive the roster cuts. Offensive tackle Justin Renfrow had a brief stop in Seattle but was released after signing his future contract. He’s currently on Calgary’s practice squad.
The best “hey, he was with the Seahawks for a minute!” story is linebacker Alex Singleton, was also a UDFA signing in 2015, but was released before Week 1. He’s since become a CFL star, winning the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player award in 2017.
To my knowledge, Ottawa and their weirdly named team has no one on the roster or the coaching staff who’s even loosely related to the Seahawks organization, so for that reason alone, the Calgary Stampeders are the team to root for on Sunday.
You can catch the Grey Cup at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT on ESPN2 or on TSN for our Canadian readers. Good luck to Chris Matthews!