Ray, Burris show why CFL is great

There are no sports or leagues that can match the Canadian Football League when it is played at its highest level.

There are no sports or leagues that can match the Canadian Football League when it is played at its highest level.

On Thursday, Henry Burris and Ricky Ray demonstrated why the CFL has no equal for raw excitement. These two pitchmen lit up the scoreboard with an aerial assault not seen since the first President Bush lit up Baghdad.

The Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders are my least favourite teams, but I salute both teams because they showcased the real appeal of the league: the pass.

Only idiots with a misguided man-crush on the NFL claim to love defence. I know the following cliché is just another mindless fad but — are you kidding me?

Grab a shovel and head for the barn because nobody believes that tired old rationale for boring games with no offence. Just ask Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans about good defence and no offence.

This program doesn’t get any more exciting when it’s done in the NFL either, despite a sad coalition of Madden football for the gullible who tend to mix up video games and actual games.

That’s why I loved the Stamp-Esk game. The highest paid athletes (quarterbacks) on the field made it happen and every fan in that stadium witnessed a game for the ages. Incidentally Calgary fans, you really have to make an effort to actually go to Edmonton and support your team. The sea of red was reduced to a couple of water molecules of red at Commonwealth. Calgary fans should be embarrassed by their lack of road support.

Take a lesson from Saskatchewan Roughrider fans and leave your comfort zone of McMahon tailgate parties and go on the road for a change. Right now, your road crew could fit into a minivan with the rear seat out and that lacks character as well as a sturdy backbone.

’Rider and Eskimo fans really don’t appreciate the inhospitality in Calgary, but at least they man up and go to the stadium. It’s time to do the same Calgary fans — if you want to be taken seriously as fans.

The mystery of the weekend was Winnipeg tailback Fred Reid’s comments about a mediocre Montreal linebacker corps. Reid plays on a brutal team and he decides to call out one of the best defensive units in the CFL?

I would guess that none of his teammates congratulated him for that bonehead move, particularly after Montreal annihilated his team.

Toronto found a new way to lose on the weekend. They let the defence lose the game after the offence found some life with a new quarterback. But at least the game proved why Kerry Joseph should consider life after football.

The Roughriders won at home for the first time in three games on Sunday and the ugly weather conditions proved that their fans are not fair-weather fans in the literal or figurative sense.

The ’Riders blew a big lead again in this one and the fans almost had to witness an Eskimo déjà vu moment. The team has an inconsistent quarterback because Darian Durant still has to make his reads faster and develop his touch in the pass game. He got his receivers lit up by Hamilton Ti-Cats too often again in this one when he put them in harm’s way. I still believe that he is a caretaker quarterback.

Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer whose CFL column is published on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com

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