On November 27, 1977 at Olympic Stadium, our Alouettes won their fourth Grey Cup in front of a record crowd to cap the end to a dream season. The victory was so spectacular that it would be nuts not to celebrate its 40th anniversary! On Sunday, come and acknowledge greats like Sonny Wade, Don Sweet, Dan Yochum, Peter Dalla Riva, Gabriel Grégoire and many more at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, and relive the best moments from that historic game.
And in the meantime, allow us to remind you why the 1977 match-up between our Als and the Edmonton Eskimos was one of the most memorable in Grey Cup history.
Tony Proudfoot, the Snow King
The story begins when, just before kickoff, a wicked blizzard wallopped the city and transformed the Olympic Stadium turf into a veritable skating rink. For the very first time the stadium was hosting a championship game, but Mother Nature decided to throw a wrench into the works and there were fears that fans would not show up. Terrible weather, a public transit strike… Montreal was completely paralyzed.
But eventually, no fewer than 68,318 fans braved the storm to cheer on the team led by Marv Levy – a crowd that to this day remains a record for a Grey Cup game. First problem: solved. Second problem: how do you stay standing (let alone run!) on a completely frozen playing surface?
Credit must go to the ingenious Tony Proudfoot. After bumping into an electrician armed with a staple gun, Tony had the brilliant idea of shooting staples into the soles of all his teammates’s cleats. No more slipping and sliding – the strategy’s value was confirmed when Gerry Dattilio outran the speedy Larry Highbaugh. The Alouettes had a definite advantage. Six Don Sweet field goals, 22 completed passes by Sonny Wade, touchdowns from Peter Dalla Riva, John O’Leary and Bob Gaddis, and the Als crushed the Eskimos by a score of 41 to 6.
Parade of champions
Among the players who hoisted the Grey Cup that year were Sonny Wade, who was the game’s MVP, and CFL Hall of Famer Peter Dalla Riva. Both have come a long way in 40 years:
After a glorious decade-long career with the Alouettes, Sonny decided to test the waters with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately however, he tore a ligament in his foot during the Eagles’s training camp. The quarterback, who was also an excellent punter, opted to return to his native Virginia: There, he worked in sales and marketing, and along with his wife Gayle, raised his three sons – Danny, Jess and Greg.
Peter Dalla Riva
Often considered to be the face of the Montreal Alouettes, these days Peter remains a wonderful ambassador for the team. Originally from Treviso, Italy, the former star tight end proudly wore the Alouettes uniform for 14 seasons, and his famous number 74 was retired in 1981 after he decided to hang up his cleats. Since then, Peter has participated in numerous community activities with the team and is especially involved with the Alumni Association. He is often spotted in the team’s administration offices and he always – always! – has a great story to share.
Sonny, Peter and their former teammates named below will head onto the field during halftime of the Sunday, October 22 game for a ceremony that will be equal parts nostalgic and celebratory. Don’t miss this chance to once again see these Canadian football legends! Who knows, you might even be lucky enough to cross paths with them in the stadium!
List of former players who will be in attendance:
Peter Dalla Riva
Marv Levy (coach)