Tuesday, November 27, 2012
MORE GREY CUP BLOGGING
• If I hear one more media person bash Toronto as the host city for the 100th Grey Cup, I'll snap! These are reporters who went to Toronto with chips on their shoulders and searched out every negative little thing to complain about. Torontonians - whether it be in the media, the CFL or general fans - were positively glowing with how the 2012 CFL championship week came off and they should be.
• Several Rider fans I spoke with in the airport Monday laughed and said plenty of people on the street told them "Good luck in Sunday's game!", obviously not knowing Saskatchewan wasn't playing. At least they were cheerful.
• The Toronto Sun offered 25-pages of Grey Cup coverage in Monday's edition and the 100th Grey Cup led off the sportscasts on 680 NEWS. We were listening to it in the limo to the airport. Again, anyone who thought the event wasn't a success, or Toronto didn't care, simply can't be convinced otherwise.
• "This feels spectacular," wrote the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons Monday, throwing objectivity out the window in favour of honesty and emotion.
• Sunday's game, Toronto's 35-22 win over Calgary, seemed long but I timed the timeouts. They were 2:00 as opposed to 1:30, so they were only 30 seconds longer than a regular game. You can't blame the CFL nor TSN for trying to maximize their revenue in the biggest sporting event of the year in Canada.
• CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon came off like a prince during Grey Cup Week. He seemed to have attended every single event, always with a smile on his face, and everything he touched turned to gold. Apparently the inaugural "Fan Walk" was his idea, and it was the event of the week.
• Cohon popped by our Football Reporters of Canada breakfast Sunday at the Royal York and gave a three-minute speech before bolting. FRC boss Darrell Davis chided Cohon by saying maybe one of these years he'll actually stay for breakfast. "Yah, when I'm no longer Commissioner," Cohon rebutted.
• The Fan Walk in Toronto was reportedly five miles long which prompted Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones to chirp to me, "They'll have to take it all the way around the Ring Road in Regina next year!"
Maybe we will.
• Quarterbacks Ricky Ray and Kevin Glenn both looked nervous in the early going on Sunday however Ricky stabilized and got better while Kevin played jittery all game. A lot of us wanted Glenn to win, but he didn't bring his A-Game.
• The Argos kicked the crap out of the Stampeders physically. How many Stamps linemen (both O and D) did we see being helped off the turf? Toronto pulverized them.
• The Stamps' celebrations coming out of the tunnel at the start of the game were grandiose, selfish and a waste of all of our time.
• After one quarter, Leafs GM Brian Burke was not allowed entry into our press box by security! Carm saw it. However not long after, I saw him wandering around. He was dressed in a denim shirt, jeans and boots.
• '96 and '97 Argo Grey Cup champs Pinball Clemons and Doug Flutie were shown on the big screen in the second quarter inciting a massive cheer. It's nice to see Flutie is still rocking the mullet.
• The Argos threw deep for pretty much the whole first quarter then dumped underneath to Chad Kackert all day. They hadn't done that much all year. Calgary meanwhile, handed the ball off to Jon Cornish. Even when it was evident it wouldn't work.
• The Toronto newspapers were all over Justin Bieber being booed in the second quarter when he was flashed on the big screen. Initially I felt bad for the kid but then I saw a photo of Bieber with the Lions cheerleaders and they were so awestruck (and whatever else) that many were crying. I think the Biebs is doing just fine.
* The Bieber concert gave the 2012 Grey Cup a Super Bowl feel while the performances by Burton Commings and Gordon Lightfoot gave the event a Tommy Hunter Show feel.
• Here's the funny thing about haters; they motivate you to prove them wrong and be your best so the joke is on them.
• Why was Doug Flutie on the Argos' bench during the game? To me that's weird.
• The play that bust the game open: Dontrelle Inman's one-yard TD reception from Ricky Ray late in the half making it 24-6 Toronto. It looked like the same play they had success with in Montreal in the East Final.
• At halftime Carm and I skipped the joint to watch the rest of our game in our hotel lounge. We're thinking it will be a Grey Cup tradition (excluding next year).
• Speaking of next year, as great as the Toronto Grey Cup was, everywhere we went I heard people talking about the 2013 Grey Cup. The buzz was about the weather, the hotel space, the parties and if the Riders will be in the game.
* Apparently there isn't a single hotel room left in Regina during 2013 Grey Cup Week. However, if you're from out of town and you need one, call DASH Tours. They're all booked, but they're not all unavailable.
* We may struggle in Regina next year to get the star-power which Toronto had this year. Even legendary Canadian actor Dan Akroyd was in Toronto for the festivities.
• Alouettes play-by-plan man Rick Moffatt was there and said the loss in the East Final was bitterly painful. "I think it's time for Darian versus A.C. Part 3!" Rick smiled. "What say you?"
• I'm in.
• My favourite conversation overheard this week between a drunkard and a security guard :
"Excuse me sir, how do I get to the Royal York?"
"You're in it."
• My second favourite conversation overheard between two fans:
"Kent Austin's in town. I guess he's gonna be the next coach."
"I don't know!"
• Somebody asked about Kent Austin in the comments section. I guess he was hob-knobbing around downtown Toronto with his son Wes while the girls in their family were shopping. Austin spent 20 minutes chatting with George Yannitsos of the Four Seasons.
• The 100th Grey Cup in Toronto marked 55 Grey Cups attended for Bryan Hall, the legendary Eskimos voice.
• Sportsnet's Arash Madani spent 155 nights in Marriott Hotels in the past year.
• CFL legend Lui Passaglia threw an autographed ball into the crowd at half-time of the Raptors-Spurs game on Sunday. The Sun's Steve Simmons quipped "I thought he should have kicked it".
By the way, a Rider fan caught it.
• My favourite quote of the week came from comedian Steve Patterson at the Riderville luncheon: "When life gives you melons, put them on your head! I don't understand it but I love it!"
* I am of the belief that the Saskatchewan Roughriders will play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Touchdown Atlantic 2012. Ticats officials told me the temp stadium at the University of Guelph will not be big enough to house Rider fans for next season's Saskatchewan visit so Moncton is the best option.
• Two witnesses connected to the Blue Bombers said Team President Garth Buchko was booed off the stage at Touchdown Manitoba on Saturday. Bomber chairman Jim Bell soon left the building.
• And lastly, hats off again to the Rider Nation. That neurotic, nutty, lovable bunch that shows up and takes over CFL events every year never lets us down. Neutral observers said there were more Rider fans at Sunday's Grey Cup than there were fans of the Argos and Stamps. Because they were pulling for Toronto, they made it real loud and a great atmosphere.