A Grey Cup victory …
The winning touchdown catch …
And a grab of the Dick Suderman Trophy as the CFL title tilt’s most valuable Canadian.
Not a bad championship Sunday for former Calgary Dinos star Tyson Philpot.
“That sounds like a dream — and literally it feels like I’ve been living in a dream come true,” Philpot said after he became the dream-weaver with the deciding points for the Montreal Alouettes in the 110th Grey Cup at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field.
“I thought I was going to be way more emotional right away, but it just doesn’t even feel real.”
Maybe that’s because it was a pretty unreal finish in Sunday’s finale.
With 13 seconds remaining, Alouettes quarterback Cody Fajardo capped a seven-play, 83-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown strike to Philpot for the go-ahead points in the dramatic 28-24 triumph over the heavily favoured Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“It’s been surreal, for sure, trying to soak it all in,” the 23-year-old Philpot said. “Honestly, it hasn’t all soaked in. I think maybe with the parade and being able to celebrate with the boys in the city, it’ll finally set in. I’ve been watching that play about 1,000 times, just trying to soak it in. That’s what all the veteran guys say to do.”
Indeed, the Alouettes are set to parade Wednesday up Montreal’s iconic Crescent St. — with Saint-Catherine St. marred by construction — amid falling snow to celebrate in true Canadian style with a crowd expected upwards of 50,000 people.
That follows a few days of spirited team celebrations in the city after arriving back from Hamilton on Monday morning.
Philpot was joined by fellow former Dinos Jeshrun Antwi and Jake Harty in hoisting the Grey Cup on Sunday.
All three were members of the 2019 Vanier Cup championship squad in Calgary. Philpot was then a second-year receiver, Antwi was a senior running back — although he was injured for that finale — and Harty was a volunteer receivers coach while rehabbing from an ugly knee injury suffered in his fourth year of his CFL career.
Now, they’re all Grey Cup champs, to boot — thanks to Philpot’s heroics.
“I heard the play-call in the huddle,” Philpot said. “I knew that (fellow receiver) Tyler Snead was going to be on a post-corner route, so Cody was going to have to read the safety and I was going to be on a post route. Right away, we saw the safety rotate over to the field, so we knew the middle was going to be open. So all I was going to have to do was run just a clean route, step on defensive back (Demerio Houston)’s toes and cross face, so that Cody could plug me with the ball.
“Couldn’t ask for a better ball,” Philpot continued. “Watching it back, the DB had his hand on my hand. Where Cody placed that ball was literally only where I could’ve gotten it.”
It became the pinnacle play of a fabulous day for the receiver from Delta, B.C.
Philpot finished the game with six receptions for 63 yards and that marquee TD — and for the effort, he was handed the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Canadian Award.
“I envisioned this as a six-year-old, seven-year-old playing football in the backyard with my brother and with my dad,” Philpot said. “To be able to do that in my second year (in the CFL) with all my family there is unreal.”
Indeed, twin brother Jalen — a draft-pick of the Calgary Stampeders the same year Philpot was plucked by the Alouettes — their dad Cory — also a Grey Cup champion — and mom Colleen were all in attendance and quick to catch up with the game’s hero for an emotional family gathering on the field moments after the final whistle.
Jalen was selected fifth overall by the Stampeders while Tyson went ninth to the Alouettes in the 2022 CFL Draft.
“This is definitely bragging rights, of course,” Philpot said of the ongoing sibling rivalry. “Jalen was drafted ahead of me to Calgary, so he’s had those bragging rights on me for the last two years. But at the end of the day, he was so proud of me. That was probably the most emotional we’ve ever been together. I know I was living out a dream for him, as well. I know he would’ve loved to have won the Grey Cup with me. But just to have him with me and just to see how proud our dad was is unbelievable.”
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“Definitely a little bittersweet, for sure,” Jalen admitted. “Me and my brother have a rivalry that goes beyond football, so there’s obviously a little bit of competition there. But I’m just glad that he was able to win it.
“I think he totally deserved it this year, being able to come off injury and provide what he provided to the team. I’m just happy that he was able to do it, and on a big stage like that in front of all the people, it’s just really cool. I’m excited for him. I’m happy for him.”
Just like his brother, Jalen has dealt with a serious hamstring injury.
But the promising Stampeders receiver says he’s feeling 95% healthy and hopes to be up to speed in a few months.
Then his pursuit begins to join his brother in the CFL winners’ club.
“I’m excited to come back,” Jalen said. “I’ve got some big shoes to fill.
“But I don’t even think you can replicate what Tyson did,” continued Jalen, the oldest of the twins by seven minutes. “It was crazy. Me and my dad were sitting together (Sunday), and we were kind of just noticing a couple of plays where Tyson was open and we thought he could definitely make a play. He was getting a lot of man-coverage from what we saw. And he capped it off.
“He scores with just 11 seconds left? I don’t think it gets any better than that. We’re just through the roof and I’m just super happy for my brother and happy that he was able to knock this off his list before me.”
Just as pleased is dad.
Cory was a talented eight-year CFLer for both the B.C. Lions and the Blue Bombers, winning the Grey Cup with the West Coast club in 1994.
“I am still in shock to see my boys accomplish their goals — the same as I have — to be able to play professional football and be successful at it,” Cory said. “I’m a proud dad, yes. But overall, it was a family effort for all these years, and I am looking forward to seeing them both keep working to getting to the top.”
“We’ve grown up listening to my dad, looking at his ring and idolizing him and dreaming about doing it ourselves, too,” Jalen added. “For Tyson to do it in Year 2 is pretty crazy. And to also win the most valuable Canadian is pretty awesome, too.
“It’s the Canadian dream.”