When’s the last time Argonauts vs. Tiger-Cats actually meant something for both teams?
Yes, the two have provided exciting games between one-another, but you don’t make the playoffs by beating only your provincial rival. It’s been six years since both teams were in the same postseason hunt, a hunt that ended when Toronto topped Hamilton in the first round of the ’04 playoffs. None of the more recent excitement has had much of an impact outside of Southern Ontario. This year, however, it’s a little bit different.
Last season, Hamilton made the playoffs for the first time since that early exit against Toronto, and despite a slow start to 2010 they have won two-straight and look like the team that shocked the CFL last season.
The Argonauts are shocking the CFL this year, possessing an impressive 5-2 record and sitting tied atop the Eastern Division.
Argos cornerback Jordan Younger is happy for the change:
“It’s nice to see the rivalry back between us and the Tiger-Cats.” said Younger. “The love-lost has always been there, but it’s nice to see it to mean something again.”
For those experiencing the rivalry for the first time, it’s an experience they’re well prepared for:
“This is my first time playing Hamilton in the rivalry,” says rookie-QB Cleo Lemon, “but I can just feel it from the guys who’ve been here. They let me know how important this thing is, how the fans are going to be, just how the whole intensity gets turned up another notch.”
In recent years, the matchup between Toronto and Hamilton has played and then quickly forgotten in the fog of crappy seasons by one or both teams. Now both teams are dealing with realistic expectations for the postseason; the rivalry finally means something again.