Vintage CFL Toronto Argonauts
The Toronto Argonauts (officially the Toronto Argonaut Football Club, commonly referred to as the "Argos") are a professional Canadian football team competing in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Toronto, Ontario, the team was founded in 1873, and is the oldest existing professional sports team in North America still using its original name (on top of this, they are the oldest-surviving team in both the modern-day CFL and East Division). The team's origins date back to a modified version of rugby football that emerged in North America in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The Argonauts played their home games at Rogers Centre from 1989 until 2016 when the team moved to BMO Field, the fifth stadium site to host the team.
The Argonauts have won the Grey Cup a record 17 times and have appeared in the final 23 times. Most recently they defeated the Calgary Stampeders 27–24 in the 105th Grey Cup in 2017. The Argonauts hold the best winning percentage in the championship game (73.9%) and have the longest active winning streak in games in which they have appeared, at six. The Argonauts have faced every current western CFL team at least once in the Grey Cup, while their most celebrated divisional rivalry has been with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The team was owned by the Argonaut Rowing Club for its first 83 years, and has been owned by a series of business interests since 1956. The Argonauts were a fixture on the Toronto sports scene for decades, with attendance peaking in the 1970s. In May 2015 it was announced that a consortium of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's Larry Tanenbaum (via the Kilmer Group) and Bell Canada would acquire the team. The sale included a scheduled move to MLSE run BMO Field for the 2016 season, which has long been proposed given attendance under-utilization at Rogers Centre and announced plans to install natural grass at the domed stadium, rendering it unfit for football. (While the move has since been done, it is unlikely that the artificial turf will be replaced at all now at Rogers Centre.) More recently, MLSE announced in December 2017 that it had agreed to purchase the team outright, with the deal finalized on January 19, 2018. The previous owners will continue to indirectly own stakes in the Argos, as Bell Canada and the Kilmer Group respectively hold 37.5% and 25% stakes in MLSE.
Given the length of franchise history, dozens of players, coaches, and management have been honoured in some form over the years. The team recognizes a select group of players with retired numbers: early greats Joe Krol and Dick Shatto, stalwart offensive lineman Danny Nykoluk, and Michael "Pinball" Clemons who has been the most recent face of the team.