The 1994 Grey Cup Champion BC Lions are, to this day, remembered as the team that upheld the pride of Canada on home soil and had one of the most magical playoff runs in CFL history. In the scope of Canada’s biggest sporting event, there have been more exciting games, but none that meant as much as the 82nd Grey Cup game, and no team that cared as much as the ’94 team.
The previous season, with the league on the verger of bankruptcy, the CFL had embarked on expansion into the US with a team in Sacramento, and then in 1994, they added ones in Las Vegas, Shreveport, and Baltimore. With the Canadian quota, and the very lifeblood of the CFL’s uniqueness, threatened by the success and expansion into American territory, the stakes were high for the ’94 team.
Stacked with talents like CFL Hall of Famers Lui Passaglia, Danny McManus, Less Browne, and Darren Flutie, the team was plagued with a season of in-fighting and arguments, but they managed to finish third in the West with an 11-6-1 record. Expectations were not high for the Leos heading into the West semi-finals against the Edmonton Eskimos, but what followed was one of the most magical playoff runs in CFL history.
The Lions rallied against the Esks, intercepting a Edmonton pass at first and goal with under four minutes left and scoring a last-minute field goal to take the game 24-23. Then on to McMahon to face the Calgary Stampeders in the West Final. The Leos blocked a field goal by the Stamps with just under two minutes to play and then scored a miraculous touchdown to win 37-36.
The Lions faced their dreaded US rival, Baltimore in the Grey Cup game, the first-ever championship in football history to feature a US and Canadian team. Again, it was a last minute play that sealed it. With no time left on the clock, Passaglia hit a 38-yard field goal to seal a 26-23 victory. The crowd of 55,000 gave one of the longest standing ovations in the city’s history. The team was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.