Wacky CFL season coming to a close
Tate’s starting gig among strange moments this year
It’s been a hell of a CFL season.
In my lifetime, I can’t remember another year with as many crazy results all at the same time.
And for a guy who has been a lifetime Saskatchewan Roughriders fan, it’s been downhill.
It’s common for a team that makes it to the Grey Cup to take a step back, not fall off the end of a cliff. But that’s what happened to my beloved green and white. After falling just short of their fourth Grey Cup, the core of the team that once seemed set up for a dynasty self-combusted, finishing the season 5-13.
That sets up the season’s next weird event —- Greg Marshall.
Unless you’re coaching the Oakland Raiders and your owner is Al Davis (R.I.P), you’ll usually get at least two seasons to turn around a franchise.
Not in Rider Nation.
Only eight games into his head-coaching career, Marshall got canned after going 1-7. Fans got their wish and former coach Ken Miller came back, and only did slightly better.
It was a mixed blessing for Calgary Stampeders fans though. For the first time in two years, the Stamps didn’t have to attempt to get to the West Final through the Riders — but they ultimately failed in the semi-finals.
But again, it was one of the weirder seasons in Cowtown. Has a reigning CFL Most Outstanding Player’s stock ever dropped as fast as Henry Burris, who lost his starting job to Drew Tate.
Kerry Joseph with the Roughriders would be a comparable case , but he failed after moving to a new squad in Toronto.
Even though head coach John Hufnagel called for Burris in the second half of the playoff game, his ticket out of town will still likely be punched. Look for him in Toronto next year.
We saw one of the greatest running backs in Stampeders history hitting the wall in Joffrey Reynolds. After sitting in street clothes for most of the year, his CFL career is probably over.
But then again, we are continuing to see the rebirth of the Canadian running back with Jerome Messam in Edmonton and Jon Cornish in Calgary. Messam hit the 1,000 yard mark, a first for a Canadian in a decade.
Let’s head out east for a second.
Statistically speaking, we saw the culmination of the greatest quarterbacking career ever in Montreal Alouettes’ pivot Anthony Calvillo.
73,412 career passing yards. 418 touchdowns. Three Grey Cups. Three CFL MOPs.
Even this year in which some believe he is finally showing his age, he’s still a candidate for CFL MOP.
Speaking of Montreal, when was the last time a receiver has been as dominant as Jamal Richardson? His 1,777 receiving yards is one of the top-10 seasons for a wide receiver ever, yet he was snubbed for the MOP vote for a pedestrian Calvillo season.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times that all-time records continue to be broken right now.
While B.C. Lions slotback Geroy Simon didn’t break Milt Stegall’s career receiving yards record of 15,153 yards, he likely would have had it not been for an 0-5 start from the Lions.
But then again, maybe it was that 0-5 start for the Lions that truly showed what they were made of. Over the last 11 games of the year, the Lions were 10-1 and head into the last two weeks of the season as Grey Cup favourites.
Finally, when was the last time there has been this much parity in the CFL? All three playoff teams in the West ended up 11-7 and the top two teams in the East were 10-8.
After week 14, any game not involving the Riders or Argos was a potential Grey Cup matchup.
Being The Reflector’s Grey Cup edition, my prediction:
B.C. 38 Hamilton 24