In 1991 the Toronto Argonauts took their place at the top of the Canadian Football league when they won their 12th Grey Cup of the Century.
Leading the way on the field were star players like Mike 'Pinball' Clemons, Matt Dunigan, Rocket Ismail and D.K. Smith.
Leading the team off the field was the Hollywood trio of actor John Candy, Financier Bruce McNall and hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky.
The Argos were full of excitement and Toronto caught Argo fever as 50,386 packed the Skydome in the East Final as the Argos destroyed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 42-3. With an average attendance of 36,304 (the highest since 1983) the Argos seemed ready to be a force on and off the field in the 90's.
The following season in 1992, things started to change.
The Argos decided not to resign star QB Matt Dunigan for a paltry $250,000. They even were only going to pay him for games he actually played in! The Rocket turned into the Firecracker and the rest of the team just started to head south culminating in the firing of Grey Cup Champion Head Coach Adam Rita after only 11 games.
No one could understand the drop. One minute an invincible squad that looked like it would rival the Eskimos of the 70's ... the next a cellar dweller?
But no one at the time had thought of the Gretzky Factor. Who could think anything so insidious could be lurking around the next corner?
Here is a quotation taken from an article that Wayne Gretzky wrote for the 1999 Grey Cup in Vancouver for the National Post.
"It might be Thanksgiving Weekend down here but, for me, it's still Grey Cup Weekend. I'll be watching, same as every other Canadian. Come Grey Cup Sunday, everyone sits down to watch. And I'll be right up front about it: I'll be cheering for my Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I know, I know. I was once a minority owner of the Toronto Argonauts and we even won a Grey Cup together in 1991 -- wonder how many guys have both Grey Cup and Stanley Cup rings? -- but in sports a piece of your heart always stays with your very first team. I grew up in Brantford and loved the Ticats, who played just down the road. My first great heroes were named Joe Zuger and Tommy Joe Coffey and Angelo Mosca. So with apologies to the Calgary Stampeders, I've got to go with my heart."
Wayne Gretzky ... Part owner of the Toronto Argonauts ... was actually a huge fan of the hated and vile Hamilton Tiger Cats?
This leads to some interesting questions ...
Is it possible that the slide the Argos took in 1992 was the result of Wayne Gretzky destroying the Argonauts from within?
Is it possible that after Wayne Gretzky won his Grey Cup Ring ... his vanity was served and then he conspired to make the Argos and their fans pay?
Is it possible that the Argos difficult seasons between 1992 and 1995 were the result of destructive tampering by Wayne Gretzky?
A Ticat Fan?
Is Gretzky Crazy?
Was there a Conspiracy?
You be the Judge.