Once again, the Grey Cup provided Cory Philpot with a myriad of emotions.
On Sunday, the former CFL star was at Tim Hortons Field when his son, Tyson, scored the decisive touchdown in the Montreal Alouettes' 28-24 upset win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. That came 29 years after the elder Philpot played a big role in the B.C. Lions' iconic 26-23 title victory over the Baltimore Football Club.
Tyson Philpot caught Cody Fajardo's 19-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining. Fittingly, Fajardo (290 yards passing three TDs) was named the game MVP while Philpot (six catches, 63 yards, touchdown) earned top Canadian honours.
"I'm proud, I'm excited, I'm still kind of shocked," Cory Philpot said Wednesday via telephone from his B.C. residence. "I'm not one of those fathers who thought his kids would go pro.
"We (as parents) do things for our kids and put things in front of them. Fortunately my boys believed they could be talented, believed they could succeed and have just taken it and run with it."
Philpot had a feeling something big was in store for his son. Tyson's twin brother Jalen — a second-year receiver with the Calgary Stampeders who's older by seven minutes — predicted the outcome before it happened.
"I was sitting with (Jalen) and we were talking about the game," Philpot said. "All of a sudden, Jalen said, 'He's going to win the game for these guys.'
"When Tyson was running the post, Jalen said, 'Dad, he's got it, he's about to score.' I was like, 'What?' and then all of a sudden he scored. It was exciting, tears were running down our faces. We were just blown away."
Unknown to Philpot, his sons spoke privately before the game, with the older sibling giving the younger some prophetic advice.
"Jalen told Tyson the game was going to come down to a big play and for him to just go out and do what he had to do," Philpot said. "I thought that was awesome, Jalen giving Tyson that little bit of confidence that he believed in him as well."
In Sunday's post-game celebration, Tyson Philpot said he now had bragging rights over his brother but that achieving his childhood dream with his family watching, "was so surreal."
"Jalen was drafted ahead of me so it's a little bit bragging rights," he said. "At the end of the day, though, he's so proud of me and it was the first time we actually cried together.
"I dreamt about this as a young kid. I watched the CFL my whole life and to be on this stage and make an impact like I did is a dream."
Philpot's sons followed him into the CFL in 2022 when both were first-round draft picks (Jalen fifth overall to Calgary, Tyson ninth overall to Montreal). The twins played collegiately at Calgary, earning Vanier Cup rings in 2019.
Cory Philpot was a running back with B.C. (1993-97) and Winnipeg (1999-2000). He helped the Lions win the '94 Grey Cup, rushing for 109 yards against Baltimore.
Lui Passaglia's 38-yard boot on the final play gave B.C. the win after he missed from 37 yards out with 1:02 remaining.
That game marked the first time a non-Canadian franchise had appeared in the Grey Cup. For many, the contest was pegged as the U.S. versus Canada because Baltimore's roster consisted of Americans.
However, the Alouettes win Sunday drew some very interesting parallels for Philpot. Baltimore relocated to Montreal after the '95 season, Cory Philpot was in his second CFL season when he won a Grey Cup — like his son — and he finished his career with Winnipeg.
When his sons were young, Philpot said they participated in many sports.
"The boys played hockey and I thought they were going to be hockey players," he said. "They played basketball, they played broomball, they played T-ball.
"We put them into every sport they could possibly want to play in and then one day in Grade 8 they said, 'Hey Dad, we're going to stick with football,' and we just let them do their own thing."
Philpot, a 53-year-old Florida native, played collegiately at Ole Miss and has remained heavily involved in B.C. football. He's currently the operations manager for the British Columbia Provincial Football Association and in '15 was its first president.
In 2021, Philpot served as the Langley Rams head coach when they captured their first Canadian Bowl title. But he said when one of his sons achieves something in football, the other usually isn't far behind which could be a good omen for the Stampeders.
"It's been flowing like that all of their lives," he said. "Hopefully we'll have a third Philpot somewhere on that (Grey Cup) trophy in the years to come."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2023.