Monday, November 30, 2009

Canada's Game, Canada's Team

After an amazing Grey Cup game, what else could I blog about but the Game. It's not going to be long, since you've been reading and watching the news stories about how the game went. No doubt if I read the papers in Saskatchewan, there would be the weeping and gnashing of teeth and questions on the strategy of putting 13 players onto the field, when only 12 are required at any one time. While a nice thought, it is clearly against the rules of football. Perhaps with the longer and wider field someone on the Saskatchewan side line thought it may be a good rule and good experiment. May I suggeset that it be brought up at the next rules committee meeting and not tried near the very last play of the game.

I discovered in the study that this game ranks as one of the most popular games ever played on television. It appears the Grey Cup was viewed by more Canadians then any game. Not bad for a league that was supposedly dead and all about buried. Those who can remember may recall the great expansion experiment of the CFL. While many thought it was a horrible idea, and I write this recalling that I do know where my Shreveport Pirates' hat is, it did give some benefits to the League. By the way, if you can remember the Shreveport Pirates, you are a true fan of the game. Quickly two of the best results of the expansion were at the Grey Cup game this year, one is the Montreal Alouettes, again history lesson, Montreal did not have a team for about ten years, not until 1996 when the Baltimore Stallions relocated north to the City of Montreal. Ten years before that, the Concordes collasped and Montreal was without a team.

The second benefit was the Montreal Quarterback, Anthony Calvillo, winner of now two Grey Cups was a member of the Las Vegas Posse. Although likely, as I read the history, I doubt he is mentioning that fact to a lot of people. When he makes it into the Hall of Fame, I think we shall see a lot more about his record with Montreal then with Las Vegas.

So the League has enjoyed some results from the American expansion. But this is not a history lesson, but to simply say, it was an enjoyable game albeit weird, but then again what do we expect from the CFL?

Some are saying Montreal did not so much win, as Saskatchewan lost. After all they complain, how does a team hold the lead for 59 minutes, 59 seconds and then lose on a defensive penalty. To all of them let me say this, the Montreal Alouettes are the champions because they managed to overcome their sloppy play in the first half. After the first half, there was no way Montreal should have been anywhere near winning the game on anything. They were down by 14 points and looked bad in all departments of the game, offense, defence and even special teams, they looked horrid. I mean how do you punt the football 7 yards? Saskatchewan on the other hand, had the game under control, they were shutting down the high power Alouettes, they made AC look human, in other words, it was all working.

Then Saskatchewan forgot the first rule of professional sports, when you have the opponents down on the ground, you never let them get back up. Montreal went into the half looking bad but they must have looked inside themselves and remembered all those feeling from last year, how bad it felt to lose like they did, even though they were the best team in the League. They got themselves back into a game that by the standards of the first half they had no right to be back.

Then the moment forever seared into the collective memory of a Province; Damon Duval attempted the game winning field goal. His attempted sailed far right and it was game over, let the celebration begin with RiderNation going nuts, but hold it, what are all those orange cloths on the field? A few of the on field officials did a quick count and discovered one more person in Green then the rules require, thus the penalty. The result, ten yards closer and the field goal. Cue the proper celebration, cue the Red, White and Blue confetti, cue a whole province now on suicide watch.

Quirky? Of course, what can you expect from a Grey Cup game? Just one more reason why the CFL is loved in this household.

Hopefully next year it will be a Hamilton Tiger-Cat, BC Lions Grey Cup Final.