The best way to make a Grey Cup a financial success is to invite the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the festivities. They will put on green and white lampshades and become the instant life of the party. I have no idea why so many ’Rider fans have such a deep attachment to their team, but it is a model that should be copied by every CFL team.
The 2009 Grey Cup has a David and Goliath quality to it. The Montreal Alouettes are clearly the tallest team in the land when it comes to their 2009 track record and they grew a little taller and meaner as Lion-slayers last weekend.
They are a threat in all three phases of the game because they do everything well. They block punts, return punts, kick field goals and return kickoffs. And they do it all with frightening regularity.
They have a defence that likes to attack an offence and force quarterbacks into bad decisions that are more like “flight or fight” survival instincts, with heavy emphasis on the flight concept. The front seven like to pinch down on escape routes for quarterbacks and leave a helpless feeling similar to a deer who has just been introduced to Wolfey and his circle of friends in a wilderness playground. Either way it is a very violent playground.
Then you have the Alouette offence to lead the relentless charge into the end zone. These guys visit the end zone so often that other teams want to attach a toll fee for excessively worn field turf in that region.
Montreal tailback Avon Cobourne may not be the tallest man in the land, but he plays like one. He is raw speed, power and shiftiness in a small package that plays like a goliath. The horrifying part about Cobourne is that he is not the biggest offensive threat on the team.
Montreal has a tool box full of receiver weapons that force teams into cover choices that mean they have to defend against three 1,000-yard receivers on one team at one time.
Add future CFL Hall of Fame and current Alouette superstar quarterback Anthony Calvillo into the mix and it becomes obvious that this Grey Cup is a foregone conclusion for Las Vegas odds-makers. Obviously Montreal will steamroll to a championship over a thin line of resistance from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Bzzzt — wrong answer. The ’Riders are not just placeholders in this game. They were annihilated by Montreal in their first confrontation and played a closer game in a follow-up loss. This year’s record against the Als is not the stuff of Grey Cup dreams, but Saskatchewan is now a different David because this David has grown and morphed into another Goliath by this point in the season. The ’Riders are healthy and wise at this stage of the season as a steady diet of experience and success has bulked up the ’Riders in time for Grey Cup.
I pick the ’Riders to win the Grey Cup and I will let them give me the script for Tuesday’s post-mortem when I do an autopsy on the Alouette Grey Cup dream that died in Calgary on Sunday.
Jim Sutherland’s CFL column appears on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com