For those who may not remember, much less have seen, Bernie Faloney, Sam 'The Rifle' Etcheverry, Tony Pajaczkowski, Ron Lancaster, and George Reed, and what Canadian football once was, the historical significance of this contest may mean little.
But for those who do, this contest will have a special resonance, and may, for some, evoke the era when football was more sport and less spectacle.
Preview from CanWest News Services/Regina Leader-Post:
CALGARY - The 2009 Canadian Football League season has come down to a dream matchup between the top regular season teams in the East and West divisions.
The 15-3-0 Montreal Alouettes are to play the 10-7-1 Saskatchewan Roughriders in Sunday's Grey Cup game in Calgary.
The Alouettes defeated the B.C. Lions 56-18 in the East Division final. The Roughriders beat the Calgary Stampeders 27-17 in the West Division final.
Here's a look at how the teams match up:
• Quarterbacks: Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo is in his 16th season and his seventh
Grey Cup game. Calvillo won his second straight East Division most outstanding player award and led the CFL with 26 touchdown passes. Calvillo, who was selected the league's most outstanding player in 2008, was intercepted just six times this year.
The Riders counter with Darian Durant, who is in his first season as a full-time starter. He has improved as the season has progressed. Durant has cleaned up his interceptions and has the confidence of the coaching staff and his teammates.
• Running backs: The Riders were the only CFL team without a running back who rushed for more than 1,000 yards. Veteran Wes Cates, who missed two games while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, finished the season with 932 yards on 195 carries.
There are signs that Cates is returning to form, such as his power running late in the fourth quarter to ice Sunday's win over the Stampeders.
Montreal's Avon Cobourne was a CFL all-star while rushing for 1,214 yards and 13 touchdowns on 224 carries. The Alouettes were second in the league in rushing. He does a great job of finding the holes the offensive line creates.
• Offensive linemen: The Alouettes are anchored in the middle with centre Bryan Chiu and guards Paul Lambert and Scott Flory. Tackles Jeff Perrett and Josh Bourke have both been solid in their second seasons. Chiu and Flory - the latter being the East Division's nominee for the most outstanding offensive lineman for the second consecutive season - have both played in all seven Grey Cups with the Alouettes since 2000 while Lambert has taken part in five.
Saskatchewan's line is led by veteran centre Jeremy O'Day and left tackle Gene Makowsky, who were both named CFL all-stars. Guards Chris Best and Marc Parenteau have grown into their positions. Right tackle Joel Bell hasn't played like a rookie. Sunday's game will be the 12th straight game the Riders have started the same five players on the line.
• Receivers: The Riders' receivers had to step up when slotback Weston Dressler suffered a season-ending broken leg late in the team's 13th game. Slotback Andy Fantuz was named the top Canadian in the Riders' 23-19 Grey Cup victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2007. Chris Getzlaf and Rob Bagg are both solid receivers who can surprise teams with their speed.
The heart of Montreal's receiving corps consists of Kerry Watkins (a CFL all-star), Jamel Richardson, Ben Cahoon and Brian Bratton. Richardson, a former Rider, paced the Alouettes with nine TD catches in the regular season and three more in the East final. Watkins is a big-play receiver who averaged 15.3 yards per catch and scored eight touchdowns.
Cahoon had just two touchdown receptions in the regular season but remains one of the league's steadiest receivers.
• Defensive linemen: Defensive ends Anwar Stewart - a CFL all-star - and John Bowman combined for 21 of Montreal's 42 sacks. Tackles Eric Wilson and Keron Williams, also an all-star, are solid. Stewart can also confound quarterbacks when he drops into pass coverage.
The Riders counter with John Chick and Stevie Baggs, who had a combined 23 sacks during the regular season. Chick is a game-changer while Baggs brings flash. Chick and Stewart were also the finalists for defensive player-of-the-year in their respective divisions. Keith Shologan and Marcus Adams aren't asked to play the traditional tackle roles, which tends to leave the Riders susceptible to the run. They have improved down the stretch and make up for that deficiency by filling gaps and chasing down quarterbacks.
• Linebackers: Saskatchewan middle linebacker Rey Williams is coming off one of his best games of the season. He had 10 tackles and three sacks in the division final. Strong-side linebacker Sean Lucas led the Riders with 81 defensive tackles in the regular season. Weakside linebacker Tad Kornegay continues to improve.
The Alouettes were so confident in second-year middle linebacker Shea Emery that they released former Riders linebacker Reggie Hunt after training camp. That confidence was rewarded when Emery had 52 tackles. Chip Cox is similar to Kornegay. Cox tied Lucas with 81 tackles and had five forced fumbles. Diamond Ferri fills in on the strong side.
• Defensive backs: Riders cornerback Omarr Morgan is in his 10th season but hasn't lost a step. Halfback Eddie Davis, who is in his 15th season, recorded an interception in the division final.
Halfback Lance Frazier paced the Riders with five regular-season interceptions. Donovan Alexander has been solid in his first year as the wide-side cornerback. Safety James Patrick may not deliver huge hits but he had two interceptions Sunday.
Cornerbacks Davis Sanchez and Mark Estelle are the best-known members of Montreal's secondary. Halfback Jerald Brown has improved and has returned four interceptions for 109 yards. Safety Etienne Boulay is a big hitter but there is depth at the spot with Matthieu Proulx, who had four interceptions. Montreal's outstanding pass rush makes its secondary look good.
• Special teams: Jason Armstead's 75-yard kickoff return to open the second half of the West final was a turning point in the contest. Armstead gives the Riders excellent field position and a spark that runs through the whole team. Placekicker Luca Congi is solid but under-used. Rookie Louie Sakoda has taken over from Jamie Boreham (neck) and has exhibited a powerful leg on kickoffs and punts.
The Alouettes have Larry Taylor, who is the East Division's nominee for special teams player-of-the-year. Taylor was third in the CFL with 2,040 combined yards and returned two punts for touchdowns.
Damon Duval led all placekickers with a CFL record 242 points. He connected on a league-high 87.3 per cent of his field-goal attempts. Duval also led the CFL with an average of 63.7 yards on kickoffs. He was also fourth in the CFL with a net punting average of 35.6 yards. Duval was also named the CFL's all-star kicker and punter.
• Coaching: Both head coaches are in their second seasons. Montreal's Marc Trestman is in his second Grey Cup game. Saskatchewan's Ken Miller is appearing in his first Grey Cup as a head coach. They are both respected by their players. Trestman is detail-oriented and exudes coolness on the field. Miller lets his assistant and positional coaches coach. He oversees the game from the sidelines and lets his players play through any problems. Trestman's experience in the Grey Cup gives him a slight edge over Miller.
• Intangibles: The Alouettes outscored the Riders 77-35 and forced 11 turnovers en route to sweeping the two-game season series. Calvillo was held to 451 yards in two starts but registered four passing touchdowns. It's a different Riders team compared to the one which played the Alouettes in the first half of the season.
The Riders also consider a 34-25 loss to the Alouettes as the turning point of the season because of a solid second-half performance. The Alouettes are appearing in their second straight Grey Cup but the Riders have 23 players remaining from the 2007 Grey Cup championship team. It may well be a home game for the Riders considering the large number of Saskatchewan residents who have made the move to Alberta.
Game on...beers on ice!!!