Look out Calgary, you are about to be hit by a large green and white prairie tsunami and they are a very rare natural wonder.
Part of the wave has already hit Alberta but the main wave will hit this weekend. It is Grey Cup time and the Saskatchewan Roughriders have an invitation to the VIP section of the party.
The last time Saskatchewan went back to the Grey Cup this soon was 1969 after their 1967 appearance (they beat Winnipeg in 2007). Forty years is a long time to wait for the frequent flyer program for Grey Cup appearances.
They have never met the Montreal Alouettes in a Grey Cup.
This is an eight-team league and it is difficult to believe that these teams have no Grey Cup history after almost 100 years of Roughrider football history. Math was never my strong suit so I don’t have the odds on that possibility. Suffice to say they are even longer than the off-season will be for the Calgary Stampeders.
There is a very simple reason that Calgary lost the game: My brother Jerry and I had our picture taken with Calgary quarterback Henry Burris earlier this year in Sylvan Lake. Hank was the MVP in the 2008 Grey Cup game and that was his mistake.
Jerry and I have had our picture taken with Ricky Ray and Dave Dickenson in the season following their Grey Cup MVP years and they both failed to win the Grey Cup in the follow-up season. Little did Hank realize that his championship hopes were drowned that sunny afternoon at the lake.
As ’Rider fans, we will leave no stone unturned to ensure a victory. Thanks for the photo-op, Henry.
The actual Roughrider team also played a small role in this victory in all three phases of the game. Early run success by Calgary tailback Joffrey Reynolds gave ominous indications that the ’Riders might be in for a long afternoon.
The obvious Stampeder tactic would be play-action in which Henry pulls the ball and bootlegs on an option rollout to run or throw to an open receiver.
The problem for Hank was that the fish weren’t biting like they were in the Edmonton game last week. ’Rider defensive ends Stevie Baggs and John Chick played a contain game and put Hank under enormous pressure. Saskatchewan middle linebacker Rey Williams also had a monster game as he fed off the quarterback pressure from the Rider D-line.
Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant played a smart and effective game as he used all the members of his “Canadian Air Force” corps of receivers in the game.
No other team starts as many Canadian receivers as Saskatchewan. It is a skill position that is typically held mainly by American players because they are usually better equipped to handle the job.
The Saskatchewan receivers are definitely the exception to this rule and much of the credit should go to Rider GM Eric Tillman.
ET has always recognized the importance of a strong Canadian talent base. So has Montreal GM Jim Popp. Funny how that has worked out for both guys.
Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer whose column on the CFL appears on Tuesdays and Fridays in the Advocate. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com