2013 might best be called the year of the backup quarterback. The only starting QB to escape uninjured for the whole season was Henry Burris in Hamilton while Darian Durant missed only one game in Saskatchwan. It might not be a coincidence that those two teams ended up in the Grey Cup. Every other team had injuries at quarterback, leading to significant games lost. It all started with Edmonton and Matt Nichols who was poised to take over the number 1 spot with the Eskimos after the release of Steven Jyles. Nichols went down in a pre-season game and missed the entire season with Mike Reilly taking over. In BC, Travis Lulay was injured and missed about half the season, only returning for the playoff game against Saskatchewan and Thomas Demarco stepped in for him. In Calgary, Drew Tait was again expected to be the #1 pivot, but had another injury plagued season with Kevin Glenn once more filling it. Then Glenn got injured and third string Bo Levi Mitchel took over. In th East, the big story was the injury to future HOF quarterback Anthony Calvillo who holds pretty much all the career passing records in the CFL. . The injury finished Calvio for the season and eventaully his career as he announced his retirement when the season was over. Montreal tried Josh Neiswander and Tanner Marsh at QB before settling on formr Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith. In Toronto, Ricky Ray got off to a fantastic start before being injured and replaced by Zac Collaros. Winnipeg though took the prize for a gong show at quarterback. Buck Pearce started the season as #1, but was injure yet again and even when he returned to health, was demoted to number three on the depth chart. Winnipeg trid Justing Goltz and Max Hall and Buck Pearce again before sending the veteran to BC late in the season.
In the East, both Monteal and Hamilton got off to slow starts. In Montreal, Dan Hawkins seemed to be a bad fit for the professional and Canadian game and he was fired six ames into the season and replaced by GM Jim Popp Then came the injury to Calvillo and the quarterback shuffle before settling on Troy Smith. Injuries to receviers, especially Jamal Richardson didn't help and the once powerful Alouettes limped home with an 8-10 record in third. Hamilton seemed to take time to adjust to the Kent Austin regime and the loss of speedy receiver Chris Williams to the NFL and speedy running back Chevron Walker to injury. Hamilton continued to improve as the season went on with the constant presence of Burris at QB and the emergance of Curtis Gable at running back. Toronto still managed to finish first despoite the injury to Ray and another injury to starting running back Chad Kackert. In a bit of an oddity, Ray was named to both the East All-Star and CFL All as they went on to finish second=Star teamsdespite missing about half the season. The less said about the 3-15 Bombers the better though Winnipeg was probably not as bad as their record indicaed. they could just not overcome their quarterback woes.
Out West, Calgary thrived despite their three quarterback rotation to finish first with a 14-4 record. Saskatchewan stayed with the Stampeders for the first half of the season a before embarking on a five game losing streak and finished second at 11-7. The battle between the Stamps and Riders was best characterized by the battlebetween their running backs. The Riders' KOry Sheets got off to a hot start that threatened the 2000 yard mark and Mike Pringle's season season record. Sheets then lost a couple games to an injury and was passed by Calgary'sJon Cornish. In the end, cornish won therushing title with 1813 yards to 1598 for Sheets. Ithe process, Crnish broke Normie Kwong's record for most rushing yards by a Canadian. It also propelled Cornish to win both the OUtstanding Playr and OUtstanding Canadian awards. The BC Lions survied the injury to Travis Lulay to duel with Saskatchewan for second and lost out only on losing the season series to the Riders. Like Winnipeg in the East, the 4-14 Edmonton Eskimos were never really in playoff conention, but were not as bad as their record with several close losses. MikeReilly sometimes looked like a first year starter aq quarterback, but also showed flashes of greatness and picked up valuable experience.
Both Ricky Ray and Travis Lulay returned from their injuries for the playoffs, but it was not enough to help either BC or Toronto. Lulay and the Lions went down to defeat in the West semi-final against Saskatchewan, while Toronto fell to Hamilton in the East final. There had been some criticism of Darian Durant during the regular season for not running enough, but in the BC playofff game it was some fourth quarter running by Durant that took the Riders to the win. Then in the West final, Kory Sheets got his back at Jon Cornish by outdueling the Stampeder running back in a lopside Rider win. The 101st Grey Cup was played in Regina and won't go down as a classic. After getting by Toronto in the East fina, the young Hamilton Tiger-Cats were no match for Saskatchewan who won their fourth Grey Cup in franchise history before a rabid home town crowd