The CFL semifinal playoffs were everything a fan could want in a football game with plenty of offense and last minute heroics in both games.
Then I had to call in Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to solve the strange case of the missing fans in Calgary. How in the world do Calgary and Edmonton fans explain their absence at a playoff game in Alberta?
I commented in an earlier column that Edmonton fans do not charter busses for games in Calgary; they rent a couple of minivans to handle the fans willing to make the journey.
The playoff game in Calgary would have only required three Smart cars and a Corolla to handle the meagre throngs of Eskimo fans with enough legitimate team loyalty to make the trip.
I could have blamed the shameful attendance and empty seats on the weather, but why insult a Chinook?
A crowd of 31,000 fans is a disgrace for both teams because one team was done at the end of the day, but I am even more disgusted with Stampeder fans because they only had to travel across town and couldn’t be bothered to make the trip.
The fact that Calgary is a host for this year’s Grey Cup makes me wonder why the city even gets to host a game if they can’t even bother to show up for a critical playoff game.
The Stampeders are lucky that they did not host the Riders in the semifinal because McMahon would have been a sea of green.
That would have been very embarrassing on high definition TV for Stamp fans while they watched the game in their rumpus rooms.
The only solution is a regional blackout to force fans to go to the games because they clearly are not dedicated enough to attend games even on a warm afternoon.
My concern is a very cold Grey Cup game without the Riders in the game and a sea of empty red seats; purchased but not occupied. Fortunately that won’t happen and I will discuss more on that concept in Friday’s paper.
There is a popular myth that most guys love a good catfight but I am sure that every football guy loved the catfight between the Lions and Ti-Cats on Sunday morning. The CFL is an aerial assault league and the footballs and fur were flying in Hamilton on the weekend.
I picked the Ti-Cats to win the game but I also threw in a Casey Printers sub-clause as an X factor in my prediction. The Printers X factor clause was invoked in the game and he proved why he is already a top tier CFL quarterback again after only a few weeks.
The best part of Printers’ game is his ability to move the pocket and throw laser-guided missiles on the run.
It is difficult to get a book on the guy because improvisational quarterbacks write new chapters every week and Printers is an entire Stephen King horror novel for defenses every week. It will be an interesting battle between Printers and the Montreal defence this Sunday. I’ll give the storyline on Friday.
Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer whose CFL column appears on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com