The Full Wiki

Toronto Argonauts: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For current information on this topic, see 2010 Toronto Argonauts season.
Toronto Argonauts
Toronto Argonauts helmet Toronto Argonauts logo

Founded 1873
Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Home field Rogers Centre
League Canadian Football League
Division East Division
Colours Oxford blue, Cambridge blue, White
Nickname(s) Argos, Boatmen, Double Blue, Scullers
Head coach Jim Barker
General manager Adam Rita
Owner(s) David Braley[1]
Grey Cup wins 1914, 1921, 1933, 1937
1938, 1945, 1946, 1947
1950, 1952, 1983, 1991
1996, 1997, 2004
Mascot(s) Jason
Uniform CFL Jersey TOR2009.png

The Toronto Argonauts are a Canadian Football League team based in Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 1873, they are one of the oldest extant professional sports teams in North America. The Argonauts have won the Grey Cup championship a record fifteen times, most recently in 2004. They play their home games at Rogers Centre.

Team facts

The Toronto Argonauts are notable for being the oldest professional football team in North America, and they are also the oldest professional sports franchise in North America to still retain its original name. They have the most Grey Cup wins with 15 in the league; they have the third most Grey Cup appearances with 21, behind Edmonton (22) and Winnipeg (23).

The Argonauts have won their last four appearances in the Grey Cup game (1991, 1996, 1997, and 2004).

The Argonauts are one of six professional football teams to feature multiple Heisman Trophy winners on their roster. The 1996 team featured Doug Flutie and Andre Ware, the first time a team has had Heisman winners at the quarterback position. The 2006 team featured Ricky Williams and Eric Crouch. The five other teams are the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League, and the Jacksonville Bulls and New Jersey Generals of the defunct United States Football League.

Helmet design: Oxford Blue background; Oxford Blue and Cambridge Blue round shield inscribed with a white, capital letter "A".
Uniform colours: Oxford Blue (dark), Cambridge Blue (light), and White.
Stadium: Rogers Centre (formerly known as SkyDome) (1989–present).
Former Stadiums: Rosedale Field (1874–1897, 1908–1915), Original Varsity Stadium (1898–1907, 1916–1923), Varsity Stadium (1924–1958), Exhibition Stadium (1959–1988).
Grey Cup Wins: 15—(1914, 1921, 1933, 1937, 1938, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, 1952, 1983, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2004).
Eastern regular season championships: 15—1936, 1937, 1945, 1960, 1971, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2007.
Main Rivals: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (see Labour Day Classic), Montreal Alouettes, Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
2009 Regular Season Record: 3 wins, 15 losses, 0 ties.

Franchise history




The Toronto Argonauts were founded in 1873 by the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club. This also makes them one of the oldest professional sports teams in North America and the oldest to continue under the same name and in the same city. Aside from a few college teams, they are the oldest continuously existing football club of any type in North America.

In the 19th century, the most renowned rowers in the world were the teams from Oxford University and Cambridge University in England, and the Toronto rowers adopted uniforms incorporating the two shades of blue used by the English schools. When the Argonauts expanded into football, the "double blue" uniform was used by the football team as well, starting a tradition of top-level Toronto teams wearing blue (e.g. Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Blue Jays). Because of their roots in the rowing club (which still exists today), the team is often nicknamed the "Boatmen."

The Argonauts playing the Ottawa Rough Riders at Varsity Stadium in 1924

In Canadian football's early years, the Argonauts were the dominant team. They put together a number of Grey Cup dynasties in the 1930s and 1940s. At some time during this period, the phrase "Argo Bounce" came into being. It referred to the Argonauts' propensity to receive a lucky bounce of the football. However, after the 1952 season the Argos entered a funk that was to last for over 30 years. The team struggled throughout much of the '50s, '60s and '70s despite the presence of greats such as Joe Theismann, Tobin Rote, Jim Corrigall, Bill Symons, Jim Stillwagon and Granville "Granny" Liggins. The Boatmen's best chance to end their drought came in 1971, when they faced the Calgary Stampeders in the 59th Grey Cup, the first to be played on artificial turf. In a defensive struggle at Vancouver's soggy Empire Stadium, a late fumble by Leon "X-Ray" McQuay sealed a 14–11 Stampeder victory. While the play was ruled a fumble, head coach Leo Cahill suggested that the ground cannot cause a fumble and the ball should have been ruled a dead ball. The Argonaut touchdown or field goal that could have ensued may well have altered the game's outcome.[citation needed]

The Argos reached an all-time low in 1981 when they finished 2–14; this despite having such talented players as Condredge Holloway, Cedric Minter, David Newman and Terry Greer. However, with the 1982 season came the hiring of Bob O'Billovich as head coach and Mouse Davis as offensive co-ordinator. Davis implemented the Run & Shoot offence for that season. The Argos enjoyed an unprecedented turnaround, going 9–6–1 that year. Condredge Holloway was the CFL's most outstanding player and receivers Terry Greer and Emanuel Tolbert were among the class of the CFL. But the team ultimately fell short in their quest for a Grey Cup, losing 32-16 to the mighty Edmonton Eskimos in front of a disappointed crowd at Exhibition Stadium.

The 1983 season brought renewed success. The Argos finished 12–4 and Terry Greer set a CFL record with 2,003 receiving yards. Joe Barnes and Condredge Holloway were a potent duo at quarterback. The Double Blue returned to the Grey Cup, this time facing the BC Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. Despite the hostile crowd, Toronto defeated B.C. 18–17 to win their first Grey Cup since 1952.

The Argos enjoyed success through much of the '80s (though 1985 and 1989 were notable exceptions), thanks in large part to talented players such as Gil "The Thrill" Fenerty and Darrell K. Smith. However, a return the glory of 1983 proved elusive.


Bob O'Billovich left following the 1989 season. Don Matthews took over the head coaching reins, and the new Vice-President and General Manager, Mike McCarthy, rebuilt the franchise around star pivot Matt Dunigan. The Argos put up a record 689 points during the regular season, but had trouble handling the Winnipeg Blue Bombers all season long, and ended up losing the Eastern Final to Winnipeg 20–17 on a last-minute field goal. Michael "Pinball" Clemons set a pro football record with 3,300 all-purpose yards, and became the third Argo to win the CFL's Outstanding Player award.


Harry Ornest sold the Toronto Argonauts to a group spearheaded by Los Angeles Kings owner Bruce McNall, and NHL great Wayne Gretzky and comedian/actor John Candy. Their acquisition of the team spawned immediate success. The team snatched Heisman Trophy runner-up Raghib “Rocket” Ismail from the NFL draft and coach Don Matthews was replaced by Adam Rita. The 1991 Argo squad was one of the most electrifying teams that Toronto had ever seen. A 13–5–0 regular season record earned the Argos a home playoff game at SkyDome. In front of a club record crowd of over 50,000, the Argos thumped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 42–3 en route to a Grey Cup berth. Led by a thrilling 87-yard kickoff return by Rocket Ismail, the Argos captured the 79th Grey Cup by defeating Calgary 36–21 in the coldest championship game on record at Winnipeg. Adam Rita would be named the CFL’s Coach of the Year.


The Cinderella story of 1991 would unfortunately only last one year as 1992 was the beginning of a rough couple of years for the Argos. Popular head coach Adam Rita was dismissed in September as the team struggled to find its way, Matt Dunigan left for Winnipeg as his replacement, Rickey Foggie struggled as the starting QB. Eventually, they finished last in the East with a 6–12–0 record. Assistant Coach Dennis Meyer took over from Rita after 11 games and finished the season 3–4–0 and out of the playoffs. The City of Toronto hosted the Grey Cup for the 45th time. Rookie fullback Rob Gill, from Queens, New York was the a lone standout in a very disappointing season.


The CFL made its first venture into the United States with the addition of the Sacramento Gold Miners. Argonauts GM Mike McCarthy pulled off the biggest trade in CFL history that saw Tracy Ham come to Toronto in a blockbuster 16-player deal with the Edmonton Eskimos. However Ham's presence and a great season by rookie receiver Manny Hazard did not stop the slide as the Argos dropped to 3–15–0, their worst record since 1981. Bob O'Billovich returned to the Boatmen and replaced Dennis Meyer as head Coach on September 10, 1993, and was later named GM.


McNall, Gretzky and John Candy sold the club to TSN Enterprises. Toronto Blue Jays Vice President Paul Beeston was named the Argonauts new team President. Under Beeston and GM Bob O’Billovich, the Argonauts doubled their win total from the year previous and qualified for the CFL playoffs for the first time in three seasons. The Argos new found success was short lived, however, losing to the eventual Grey Cup Finalist Baltimore Stallions.


1995 was a transition year for the Argos and change within the franchise was evident. Bob O’Billovich remained as the clubs GM, however handed over his coaching whistle to Mike Faragelli. Veteran QB Kent Austin was introduced to lead the club and the familiar “A” logo was replaced by a bold shielded warrior. The off-field transformations did little for the club. O’Billovich returned to finish the season on the sidelines and the Argos finished a woeful 4–14–0. O'Billovich was dismissed at season's end, and left as the club's all-time winningest coach with 89 victories, 79 losses and three ties in 11 seasons.


The Argos went from basement dwellers to the class of the CFL. Don Matthews returned as Head Coach and he surrounded himself with free agent talent that would eventually win him a Grey Cup. Free agents Doug Flutie, Mike O'Shea and Reggie Givens were perfect complements for Michael Clemons, Robert Drummond and the electrifying Jimmy “The Jet” Cunningham. Flutie would lead the Argonauts to a 15–3–0 season and a berth in the 1996 Grey Cup Championship game. Flutie’s Argonauts defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 43–37 in a snowy Ivor Wynne Stadium.


Repeating as champions is one of the most difficult accomplishments in professional sports. The season saw the emergence of SB Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell. The speedy receiver helped lead the Argos to another 15–3–0 season. At the East Final in Toronto Michael “Pinball” Clemons was the hero catching the game-winning TD with just 40 seconds on the clock. The Argonauts easily defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 47–23 in the Grey Cup. The team finished the year with 11 players named to the All-Star team and four CFL awards. Doug Flutie won the Most Outstanding Player award, Mike Kiselak as Most Outstanding Lineman, Derrell Mitchell as Most Outstanding Rookie and Don Matthews as Coach of the Year.


The Argos looked to “three-peat” in 1998, however, roster changes and numerous rookies entering camp, the task was going to be difficult. Star QB Doug Flutie and kicker Mike Vanderjagt left for the NFL and RB Robert Drummond became a member of the B.C. Lions. After starting the year slow, the Argonauts starting pivot Kerwin Bell returned to lead the club to an 8–3–0 mid-season run. The team fell to 9-9, crept into the playoffs and lost to Montreal East Semi-Final. Derrell Mitchell emerged as one of the best receivers in Argo history following his CFL record 160 reception season and all-star honour. Paul Masotti passed Darrell K. Smith as the team's all-time leading receiver after 11 seasons of play.


Eric Tillman returned to the club as GM after spending a year in television. He hired Offensive Coordinator Jim Barker to replace Don Matthews as Head Coach. Injuries riddled the Argonauts early, but the league’s best defence helped the club fight to another 9–9 record. The team would qualify for the playoffs but lost to the eventual champions Hamilton Tiger-Cats 27–6. Linebacker Mike O'Shea became the first Argo player to win the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Award.


On December 20, 1999, New York businessman Sherwood Schwarz was named the ninth owner in the history of the Argonauts franchise. Schwarz named J.I. Albrecht as the managing director and John Huard as the 37th head coach in Argonauts history. This season also saw the retirement of two Argo all-time greats as receiver Paul Masotti retired in May as the team's all-time leading receiver, and on September 15, Michael Clemons went straight from cleats to the coaching ranks as he retired to take over the coaching reins from a fired Huard after a 1–6–1 start. The team responded to their former teammate and the Argos battled to a 6–4 record the rest of the way, just missing out on a playoff berth after finishing the season with a 7–11–1 record.

The New Millennium


With Clemons entering his first full season as a head coach, after 13 seasons as an Argo player and 12 team records to his credit, the Argos went about the business of getting the team back into the post-season. After a difficult 2–7 start to the season, which was not helped with injuries to starting quarterback Kerwin Bell, the Argos, led by veteran players Derrell Mitchell, Mike O'Shea and Adrion Smith, won 4 of the last 6 games to narrowly miss out on the playoffs again, finishing with a 7–11 mark.


With the addition of new head coach Gary Etcheverry, a renowned defensive strategist, and newcomers like former defensive player of the year Joe Montford and quarterback Michael Bishop, hopes were high for 2002. After a disappointing 4–8 start, Etcheverry was relieved of the coaching duties, and Michael Clemons, who was serving as the club's president, took over his now-familiar place on the sidelines to put his team back on the playoff track. Clemons' impact was immediate, and the Argos won 4 of the remaining 6 games, including a dramatic 33–32 win over the Calgary Stampeders in the last game of the season, to push the Boatmen into the CFL playoffs for the first time in three years. The Argos proved in the Eastern semi-final that they were not content on just making the post-season and handed the Saskatchewan Roughriders a 24–14 loss at SkyDome in a "cross-over" CFL playoff matchup. The Argos then headed down the 401 to face the league-leading Montreal Alouettes in the Eastern Final, losing to the eventual Grey Cup champions 35–18 in front of a boisterous sell-out crowd at Olympic Stadium.


The 2003 season began under head coach Mike Clemons and a host of faces both old and new. Noel Prefontaine and Bashir Levingston returned as well as Michael Jenkins, who came back to the CFL after a short absence. With the acquisition of players such as Tony Miles and future hall-of-famer Damon Allen, and the emergence of Marcus Brady as the quarterback to watch, the Toronto Argonauts provided an exciting combination of offence and defence on the field. Finishing the season with a 9–9 record, the team advanced to the playoffs defeating the BC Lions in the Eastern Semi-Final, only to lose by a close margin in the Eastern Finals to the defending Grey Cup Champion Montreal Alouettes. The winning touchdown in the Eastern Finals was a controversial one, as quarterback Anthony Calvillo appeared to fumble the ball before crossing the goal line. Instant replay was not available at the time, so the play stood. The 2003 season was also one which saw many CFL records broken by Toronto Argonauts players. Most notably were the records broken by Damon Allen. Moving past Dan Marino into 2nd place in all-time professional football passing yards, Allen also broke records in rushing touchdowns, rushing yards, passing touchdowns and total games played. The season ended with 6 Toronto Argonauts (Adrion Smith, Noel Prefontaine, Tony Miles, Eric England, Clifford Ivory, Orlando Steinauer) being named to the CFL All-Star Team—the most of any CFL team. Furthermore, the CFL named Bashir Levingston the Outstanding Special Teams Player for 2003 at the annual CFL Player Awards. In October 2003, Toronto businessmen David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski became the new owners of the Toronto Argonauts, marking the first time in over 30 years that the team has had local ownership.


Local businessmen and avid CFL fans David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski purchased the Argonauts and provided financial stability and a passionate, new attitude to the club. Keith Pelley was hired as president and former Argonaut QB Kent Austin was brought aboard as the offensive coordinator. In addition, star running back John Avery, back from the NFL, signed as a free agent. The new enthusiasm spilled over from the front office and onto the football field. The team posted its best record since 1997 (10–7–1) and earned yet another home playoff game. The Argonauts went on to defeat the Hamilton Tiger Cats 30–7 in front of more than 37,000 fans in the East Semi-Final at Rogers Centre. They then headed to Montreal to face the Alouettes for the third consecutive year. The Argos walked into a sold-out Olympic Stadium and stole the East Championship from the Als, 26–18. The ageless wonder, Damon Allen, played his best game as an Argonaut in the 2004 Grey Cup Game in Ottawa. Allen won game MVP honour, but more importantly helped the Argos capture their 15th Grey Cup in a 27–19 win over the BC Lions. The Argonauts realized 10-year attendance highs during the regular-season, and a resurgence occurred within the city of Toronto as Boatmen returned to glory, becoming the city-wide leader in per-game attendance.


Despite not returning to the Grey Cup game to defend their title, 2005 saw the Argos post their best season of football since 1997 with an 11–7 record and first place in the East, earning the right to host the East Championship. Quarterback Damon Allen recorded his best numbers in 21 years as a CFL quarterback, passing for 5,082 yards, rushing for 461 more and totalling 37 touchdowns (both passing and rushing). His efforts were rewarded as he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player and was voted as the Rogers CFL Fans’ Choice Award winner. For the first time since 1997, three Argo receivers caught for more than 1000 yards on the season. Receivers Arland Bruce III, Tony Miles and Robert Baker all recorded career highs in yards, receptions and touchdowns. Defensively, the Argonauts led the league in numerous categories. Kevin Eiben and Michael Fletcher both shattered career numbers generating a combined 200 defensive tackles and received East Player of the Year awards for Outstanding Canadian and Defensive Player respectively. The Special Teams continued to prove that it was among the elite units in football. Bashir Levingston captured his unprecedented 10th Special Teams Player of the Week Award in August and Noel Prefontaine won the East Division Special Teams Player of the Year award. The awards continued to amass as the 2005 season came to a close with a league-high 12 Argos being named to the East Division All-Star team and five players being named CFL All-Stars including Damon Allen, Jonathan Brown, Kevin Eiben, Michael Fletcher and Jordan Younger. However, the biggest highlight of the season may have occurred off the field as regular season attendance in 2005 averaged 30,196 fans per game, an increase of 17% over the 2004 average of 25,813.

The 2005 East Division Final against the Montreal Alouettes where Als beat Argos 33–17


The Argos made a splash just before training camp when they lured high-profile RB Ricky Williams to Canada. Quarterback Damon Allen became professional football's all-time leading passer, moving ahead of Warren Moon on Labour Day in Hamilton. The team, however, was decimated by injuries at almost every position and the Argonauts stumbled out of the gate to a 2–5 record. Mid-season health bred new promise as the team gained the majority of its starters back including Allen and Williams, who both fell to injury early in the year. Upon his return, Williams joined forces with fellow RB John Avery to deliver a late-season one-two punch out of the backfield. Combined with the stellar play of their dominant defence, the Double Blue was able to turn the season around and win 8 of their remaining 11 regular season games to finish in a first-place tie with the Montreal Alouettes. The CFL tie-break rule landed the Argos in second place, hosting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a thrilling East Semi-Final at Rogers Centre. With the season on the line, QB Michael Bishop and LB Chuck Winters teamed up to lead the Boatmen to one of the greatest come-from-behind victories in recent Argo memory. The Argos fell to Montreal in the East Championship. Despite their early exit from the playoffs, the Boatmen finished the season with 11 East Division All-Stars and three CFL All-Stars. Kicker/Punter Noel Prefontaine was once again named the East's Most Outstanding Special Teams Player and elusive receiver Arland Bruce III finished with a division leading 1,370 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. A bright star on defence came in the form of CB Byron Parker. The speedy defender re-joined the Boatmen mid-season and made his mark in both the Argos and the CFL record books in only nine regular season contests. By season's end, the Tulane product had accumulated 8 interceptions for a CFL record 348 return yards and 4 touchdowns. Linebacker Mike O'Shea became just the third player, and first Canadian, in CFL history to record 1,000 or more defensive tackles in a career.



Toronto started the season off well, winning against the Blue Bombers 23–16, but after that they compiled a 2–5 record the next 7 games. After the Bye week, everything went downhill, they won only one game and lost 9 start to finsh the season 4–14 and missed the playoffs. On September 9, Rich Stubler was released as head coach of the Argonauts after posting a 4–6 record. There was the belief he could not get along with those he worked with.[2] The Argos hired Don Matthews, the head coach with the most wins in CFL history and head coach during Toronto's back-to-back Grey Cup victories in 1996 and 1997, to return to the club as head coach for the third time in his coaching career.[3] Matthews resigned from the Argonauts a day after the conclusion of the Argonauts 2008 regular season, which saw the Argos fail to win a game in the eight games under his leadership and finishing out of the playoffs for the first time since the 2001 CFL season.[4]



Season-by-season records

From 1958 to 2008, the Argos have a 383–435–12 regular season record (.468 winning percentage). The Argos are 22–24 (.478) in the playoffs since 1958.

Current squad

Toronto Argonauts roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers


Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Inactive List

Practice Roster

Italics indicates Import player
Roster updated 2010-03-10
Depth Chart
Transactions (
Transactions (
45 Active, 7 Inactive, 6 PR

More rosters

Current coaching staff

Toronto Argonauts Staff
Front Office
  • President and CEO – Bob Nicholson
  • Vice-Chair - Michael Clemons
  • General Manager and Vice President of Football Operations– Adam Rita
  • Assistant General Manager and Football Operations – Ian Sanderson
  • Director of Player Personnel - Vacant
  • Football Operations Consultant - Nick Volpe

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks – Jaime Elizondo
  • Receivers – Cos DeMatteo
  • Offensive Line – Stephen McAdoo

Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches

Coaching Staff

Players and builders of note

All-Time Argos

As Honoured by the team. Name banners hang on rafters at Rogers Centre.



Head coaches

General managers

Team presidents


See also


External links

Simple English

The Toronto Argonauts are the Canadian Football League team in Toronto.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address