The Winnipeg Blue Bombers emerged from the field to win their first Grey Cup in 29 years by beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to claim the crown. Mike O’Shea’s men finished with an 11-7 record during the regular season and were considered outsiders to make a run for the title.
However, the Blue Bombers flicked a switch in the post-season and stormed their way to the Grey Cup. They eased past the Calgary Stampeders in the first round of the playoffs before edging their way beyond the top-ranked Saskatchewan Roughriders. A sublime rushing performance from Andrew Harris in the Grey Cup delivered the victory for Winnipeg as he mustered 134 yards and a touchdown to put the Tiger-Cats to the sword. After clinching their first crown in almost three decades, O’Shea’s men now face the challenge of repeating their success.
It’s no easy feat as the last team to win back-to-back titles was the Montreal Alouettes in 2010, highlighting the challenge ahead. The Grey Cup shares that trait with the Super Bowl, where no team has won successive Vince Lombardi Trophies since the 2004 New England Patriots. The Kansas City Chiefs are aiming to become the first team in 16 years to win the Super Bowl once again and are backed in the NFL odds on bet365 at +600 to claim the crown in the 2020 campaign.
Both teams are in a similar position regarding the state of their roster. The Blue Bombers locked down the services of starting quarterback Zach Collaros, while the Chiefs also have the position sorted for the next decade after signing Patrick Mahomes to a blockbuster deal. Winnipeg lost last season’s starter Matt Nichols to the Toronto Argonauts, while Chris Streveler moved to the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals. Collaros was the man in place for the Grey Cup and performed well under pressure, but he now must lead the team for an entire campaign rather than in relief.
Fortunately for the Blue Bombers, their skill players remain. Harris will carry the burden of the carries out of the backfield even at the age of 33, while Kenny Lawler, Darvin Adams, Nic Demski and Lucky Whitehead are still present in the receiving corps. It helps breed familiarity given that the players will be comfortable with their roles for the campaign. The Chiefs are blessed with the same continuity as Damien Williams continues in the backfield alongside Mahomes. Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman are also present.
The Chiefs along with the Blue Bombers can simply pick up from where they left off at the end of the last campaign. Other sides are not blessed with that ability and will be trying to work new players into the fold in a truncated build-up towards the term. Both sides should be a well-oiled machine, which should help them during the regular season, although the challenges will come in the post-season where one error can be costly. It’s the difficulty of trying to repeat, but the rewards are there and both sides are seemingly well-stocked to do so.