Momentum Heading into CFL Playoffs is Meaningful

When it comes to sports, momentum can play a significant role in deciding an outcome in any match. This, of course, isn’t a bold statement for those of us who play or follow along with multiple sports. However, there has often been a debate to whether or not momentum can carry from one game to the next.

In the CFL, it does seem as though playing well toward the end of the regular season does play a significant role in determining postseason success. Typically the team heading into the playoffs on a hot streak will make it to the Grey Cup, and often times win it.

Past Grey Cup Champions and Momentum

In the past 10 seasons, the team with the best five-game record heading into the playoffs has seen tremendous success. The overall common theme for the past 10 Grey Cup battles is that both teams have typically outplayed their opponents beginning in October.

Here is a breakdown of the final five regular season games for the past 10 Grey Cup Champions and runner-ups.

* notes the hottest team in final 5 game stretch

** notes team tied for hottest final 5 game stretch

Year Grey Cup Champion Final 5 Game Reg Season Record Grey Cup Runner-Up Final 5 Game Reg Season Record


Calgary Stampeders *   4-1 Montreal Alouettes   2-3


Montreal Alouettes *   4-1 Saskatchewan Roughriders   3-1-1


Montreal Alouettes **   3-2 Saskatchewan Roughriders   1-4


B.C. Lions **   4-1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers   2-3


Toronto Argonauts   2-3 Calgary Stampeders **   4-1


Saskatchewan Roughriders   3-2 Hamilton Tiger-Cats **   4-1


Calgary Stampeders **   4-1 Hamilton Tiger-Cats   3-2


Edmonton Eskimos *   5-0 Ottawa Redblacks   4-1


Ottawa Redblacks   2-3 Calgary Stampeders **   4-1


Toronto Argonauts   3-2 Calgary Stampeders   2-3

For nine of the past ten years, either the hottest team or the team tied for the hottest record over the final five-game stretch have either made it to or have won the Grey Cup. Winning the ultimate prize six times, and being the runner-up up three times.

The only exception was in 2017 when the Edmonton Eskimos lost in the West Final after finishing the season 5-0.

The Last Word

There is nothing quite like heating up at the right time in the CFL. In recent history, a good to great October is a strong indicator of playoff success.

This year there are two teams tied for the best record over the final five games of the 2018 regular season. The Saskatchewan Roughriders host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this Sunday both sporting 4-1 records in their last five games. Unfortunately, one of these very good teams will be knocked out of the playoffs on Sunday night.

The good news for the winner though is that based on recent history, it is likely that they will be playing for the Grey Cup on November 25th.

Let’s see if history and momentum repeats itself.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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