Skip to content

Act like you've been there before

With Murray Mandryk's regular column on Saskatchewan politics not available this week, you are stuck with me writing about the province's other favourite sport, football.

With Murray Mandryk's regular column on Saskatchewan politics not available this week, you are stuck with me writing about the province's other favourite sport, football.

And, of course, there is plenty to write about after the Roughriders pulled off the upset (though not as big an upset as some are making it out to be) in Calgary with a 20-16 win over the Stampeders.
Two things really stood out for me in Sunday's game. Firstly, the Riders are still the team that fans thought they were and thought they could be.

With good reason, there was a lot of concern and hand wringing late in the season when the team went on a four game losing streak. Instead of looking like the club that had beaten Montreal in what might be the greatest regular season game in CFL history on opening day, they looked like the Rider teams that floundered under the guidance of Danny Barrett, the same ones that embraced mediocrity and were far too quick with the excuses as to why they didn't get the job done.

They showed some signs of life in the regular season finale win over Edmonton, a little more in the Western semi-final and then completely revived what had been a lifeless corpse in Calgary. Boy, did they ever.

There was much to like about how they played in Calgary. Although the Stampeders were obviously the overwhelming favourites, it was the Riders who looked like a team that had been there before and knew what it would take to get back there again.

Calgary goes out to an 11-0 lead? No big deal, we'll chip away and get back in front. Cary Koch scores a beautiful touchdown to get Saskatchewan on the board? A high five here and there maybe, but no flexing, no dancing and no imitation bobsled runs.

It was refreshing to see a team play with such class and composure. They went about their business, got the job done and in the end that workmanlike attitude they displayed was clearly the difference in game.

There were plenty of reasons to doubt the Riders would get anywhere near the Grey Cup without a ticket, but here we are again and the "men in the locker room" as coach Ken Miller so often likes to say deserve to take a bow.

The second thing that stood out was the complete lack of composure and class shown by the Stampeders.

If ever there was a team that completely shot itself in the foot, this was it. Calgary had numerous chances to take over Sunday's game and pull away from the Riders but just couldn't get out of their own way.

Obviously the most glaring example was the taunting penalty on Romby Bryant when he flexed his muscles in front of a Rider defender to celebrate a catch for a first down. Not a touchdown mind you, a first down. It was a marginal call at best, but, as Glen Suitor pointed out on the TSN broadcast, when you do something like that, you are putting your fate into the hands of the referee.

That type of crap was part of the Stampeders' game all season long but it caught up with them on Sunday. As the saying goes, Karma's a bitch.

For Rider fans, what had to make the win even more satisfying was how the Stampeders absolutely made complete asses of themselves following the game.

Brandon Browner had the Mensa comment of the year when he complained about his illegal contact on the receiver penalty on Weston Dressler. Browner noted that the only reason Dressler fell down is because the Riders receiver weighs 160 pounds and Browner weighs 210 pounds. It wasn't a penalty because he gave him an illegal shot, it was because he fell down from that illegal shot. Nice.

I also particularly liked Dwight Anderson's comments about how the CFL got the matchup it wanted. Because having an Alberta team play in the Grey Cup in Alberta would have been bad for business.

That is some kind of logic Dwight.

Now that the Stamps have imploded, the Riders will have their hands full with Montreal. Unlike Calgary, the Alouettes won't implode, meaning the Riders will have to be at their absolute best.
But as they have shown in the past, when you count them out that is when they come through with their best. It should be an excellent game.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks