REDBLACKS 2016 TOP 10 Moments from a championship season

In 2015, the Ottawa REDBLACKS made it to the Grey Cup Game in just their second year of existence. In 2016, they would go one better, winning the championship game over the Calgary Stampeders in one of the best Grey Cup finals in history. Here are our picks for the Top 10 moments of this incredible season.

10 - RED HOT START: After a disappointing end to the previous season, the REDBLACKS came out of the gates on fire in 2016, jumping out to a 3-0-1 start with wins over Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and a tie with Calgary.

9 - HARRIS SAVES THE DAY: With Ottawa looking to open the season on a high note, RNation held its collective breath when Henry Burris went down with a hand injury early in the season-opener in Edmonton. Undaunted, the newly-signed Trevor Harris came into the game, launched a 71-yard pass to Chris Williams for a touchdown on his first throw and never looked back. Ottawa on the game 45-37.

8 - NO DROPS FOR E-JACK: Talk about Mr. Reliable. Not only did receiver Ernest Jackson reach the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year en route to being runner-up for the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award, the REDBLACKS star managed to do it all without being tagged with a single dropped ball all season.

7 - TEN SELLOUTS: A REDBLACKS game at TD Place was the place to be during the 2016 season as the club sold out all nine regular season games, as well as the East Division Final. In all, more than 246,000 people took in a REDBLACKS game at Lansdowne this season. Thank you, RNation!

6 - SAVVY PICKUPS: The REDBLACKS proved this season that just because a player is released from one team, doesn't they can't be game-changers elsewhere. Case in point, the early and mid-season additions of linebacker Taylor Reed, above, and cornerback Mitchell White. Both proved to be key pieces of the REDBLACKS defence down the stretch. Reed had 39 tackles in 8 regular season games with Ottawa, while White had 38 tackles and 3 interceptions in 14 games.

5 - DO IT FOR ET: When REDBLACKS defensive lineman and Ottawa native Ettore Lattanzio lost his dad to cancer late in the season, his football family was right there to support him. Despite grieving the loss, Lattanzio didn't miss a game. In fact, his first game after his father's death ended up being the win that clinched the East Division title for the REDBLACKS. The smile on Lattanzio's face when he was handed the game ball and then mobbed by his teammates said it all.

4 - NEXT MAN UP: The REDBLACKS had a hard time keeping running backs healthy in 2016. While that created some frustration, it also offered big opportunities to other players to get out there and show what they could do. Perhaps the best example of that was Canadian running back Kienan Lafrance's performance in the East Final. Coming into the game for the injured Mossis Madu Jr, Lafrance rushed for 157 yards on 25 carries. Most importantly, an impressive run through the snow and Edmonton defenders late in the game gave Ottawa the touchdown it needed to officially put the Eskimos out of their misery.

3 - HOSTS WITH THE MOST: Months before the REDBLACKS won the city's first Grey Cup in 40 years, Ottawa football fans got the news they had been hoping for since football returned to the capital for the 2014 season. Featuring players from the Ottawa Rough Riders Grey Cup-winning team in 1976, legendary former Rider Tony Grabiel walked the Cup onto the TD Place field for the pre-game announcement.

2 - SNOW BOWL 2016: As the snow piled up on the TD Place field, the REDBLACKS hosted the Edmonton Eskimos for a chance to advance to the Grey Cup game for the second-straight year. Despite jumping out to an early lead in front of the home crowd, the Eskimos battled back to make for an interesting finish. But the REDBLACKS persevered and won 35-23 to advance to the final in Toronto.

1 - WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: After four decades without a Grey Cup in Ottawa, the 2016 Ottawa REDBLACKS played a game for the ages. Not only was this the REDBLACKS second time in the final in as many years, they were up against the heavily-favoured Calgary Stampeders. Led by an MVP performance from Henry Burris, who threw for 461 yards and three touchdowns, the REDBLACKS won the 104th Grey Cup over Calgary by a 39-33 score at BMO Field in Toronto.

Photos courtesy of Andre Ringuette / Freestyle Photography and Canadian Press

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