Realty One



Monday, October 26, 2015


REGINA -- A strange feeling came over me while climbing into my vehicle in the Mosaic Stadium parking lot following Saturday night’s 35-24 Saskatchewan Roughriders loss to the Edmonton Eskimos.

Just beyond the glare of the stadium lights from our old stadium sat the jaw-dropping gorgeous New Mosaic Stadium whose construction, as of Saturday, was 60% complete.  It’s due to open in August of 2016 and is pegged to be the finest jewel among open-air stadiums in North America.

Just the sight of that new facility brings enormous hope for the fortunes of this Roughriders franchise and I had to sit there for a minute and imagine the possibilities.

Then, reality set in, and you realize the bright days which lay ahead are an enormous contrast to what we have now.

Old Mosaic Stadium is the oldest stadium in the Canadian Football League and, unfortunately, home to the team with the league's worst record.

Saturday’s loss to the Eskimos dropped the Roughriders’ record to 2-14 and they seem on a collision course to secure their worst season in franchise history.

In this one, the Riders built up a 21-3 lead before the second quarter was a minute old.  However the Edmonton Eskimos, who are so good, woke up and started playing.  They came back to build a 24-21 lead by halftime and cruised to the eventual win.

It was Edmonton’s seventh consecutive win and upped their record to a league-best 13-4.  They haven't won this many games in a row in 20 years.

But all Saturday’s game showed me was the 2015 Saskatchewan Roughriders have now lost games every way imaginable.   From blown fourth quarter leads, to double-overtime losses, to games they were never really in, to, now, racing out to a big lead only to see it evaporate just as quickly.

They all get filed in the “L” column, however you have to admit there were several bright spots on display in the Riders' youthful lineup.

At his postgame news conference, Riders coach Bob Dyce was asked for his assessment of the game.  Initially he growled like a bear into the microphone, in an address which was carried on province-wide radio.  Then he paused for what seemed like an eternity.  The gap only lasted about five seconds but it felt like five minutes as the Rider Nation hung on his every word.

“When you see a team go up 21-3 ... and we've seen this team play some really good teams very well at times ... it's a challenging thing,” Dyce surmised.  “We'd like consistency and some of that comes back on coaches because we need a consistent effort throughout.  It's our job to get a top level performance out of them at all times.  It certainly is challenging.”

After the Riders’ 31-21 home loss to Hamilton in Week 5, then-coach Corey Chamblin advised that the “pain is now over”.  He felt, at 0-5, the worst was behind them.  However as it turned out, it was just getting warmed up.

So now the home portion of the 2015 schedule is behind the Riders, and their ledger while defending their turf finished at 2-7.  The paid attendance was 30,488 Saturday night however an optimistic guess at the actual bums in the seats would be 22,000 (I'm now told it's around 17,500).  Kudos to the fans who did show up, because they all seemed to be having a great time.

But when the effects of the Pilsner wore off, reality had to set in for them too.

The wont - from this blogger and broadcaster’s corner - is to start looking ahead now.  Let’s get the 2015 post-mortem written and start examining the challenges ahead.  There are so many great things to look forward to!  They begin with naming a General Manager, a head coach, and then retooling the roster.

But we can’t.  Right now all we can do is ... wait.  Two more weeks.

There are still two road games remaining for the Roughriders against opponents who have an infinite amount of things to play for.  The first is this Saturday in Calgary against a Stampeders team which is challenging for first place in the CFL West.  They’re only a game back of Edmonton.

And then the season will finish with a date in Montreal on Sunday, November 8 against an Alouettes team which is clamouring for a crossover playoff berth.  They also currently have the CFL’s second-longest postseason streak dating back to 1996.

Perhaps now the pain for the Riders is indeed gone.  All that’s left is playing out the string but the days right now are agonizingly long.

Each day feels like a week.



1. A SIGN OF THE TIMES:  While checking out at the Southland Mall Safeway Sunday morning, the young man bagging our groceries noticed my Roughriders jacket and asked, "Did you watch the game last night?"  I told him that indeed I had, but he admitted he skipped it.  So too did the young lady working the till.  However they both knew the Riders lost.

Unfortunately interest in the team has taken a nosedive in these final terminal stages of the 2015 campaign. It truly seems like fans were engaged right up until the 30-15 loss in Hamilton when the club was officially eliminated from the playoff race.  Then it was a collective, "Click".

Heck, it's become difficult even keeping the attention of my analysts during our shows.  It would seem the end of this season can't come soon enough.  But there are still two more games.  Will YOU be watching?

However once the final gun sounds on that Sunday afternoon of November 8 in Montreal, I expect interest in the Rider Nation to spike due to the Rider GM Sweepstakes.  That will carry us through December followed by a coaching search in the New Year and player movement after that.

2. THE STATE OF AFFAIRS:  While many fans turned their attention to the Blue Jays this fall or the Federal election, it remains business as usual down at Mosaic Stadium.  However it's no picnic around there either.  Put yourself in the coaches' and players' shoes; how would you feel if you don't know if you'll have a job in just a few weeks' time?  Most of the people on the bubble have wives and kids to support.  With several players on the backside of 30 and coaches who came here because of their loyalty to Corey Chamblin, it can't be a comfortable feeling and on some occasions it has showed.

3. S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT:  Despite the 21-3 lead slipping through the Riders' fingers, the fans in attendance Saturday night really seemed to be in a party mood.  There wasn't one glum face portrayed on the SaskTel Maxtron all night long.  However things weren't as rosy on the field, and the highlight of the 50-yard Adarius Bowman touchdown - where Rider DB Junior Mertile had an unfathomable brain cramp - has been replayed endlessly, including on American sports networks.

Mertile had Bowman on the train tracks, but jumped out of his way allowing the lanky veteran to gallop to the endzone.  Afterwards Bob Dyce said, "No one should make that type of mistake".  Dyce explained that Mertile thought teammate Tyree Hollins was going to make the tackle, and therefore excused himself from the equation.

Not a good way to make an impression!

4. QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY:  Apparently throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass on his first pro pass attempt was not enough for Keith Price to work his way into the Rider Nation's hearts.  The rookie from the University of Washington did just that, connecting with Naaman Roosevelt in the south endzone on the first play of the second quarter Saturday night.  However in a postgame Twitter poll where I asked fans who should lead the Riders the rest of the way, Brett Smith received 93 votes while Price garnered 62.  As it stands now, Smith will start Saturday's game at Calgary.

5. START TIMES:  On Saturday we went for a pregame meal at Roughrider sponsor Western Pizza.  As always, long-time owners Jim and Spiro Bonis were there.  Each of them stopped by our table for a chat about local sports.  Regarding Saturday's 5:00 pm kickoff time, Spiro thought 2:00 pm kickoffs on weekends are the best time for the restaurant industry.  Plus, it gives out-of-towners ample time to get to and from the game.  However we noted 2:00 kickoffs on Saturday kills the retail industry.   There is no ideal time it seems but for me, I prefer 7:00 kickoffs on any day of the week.  EXCEPT FOR SUNDAYS!  Hopefully the CFL stays away from the Day of Rest when they sit down to schedule this winter.

6. QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  Still laughing over this one from legendary Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones on Friday.  While waiting for the Eskimos at their media availability at a downtown Regina hotel, I read aloud an emailed news release from the Toronto Argonauts.  The Argos are to serve dinner to the homeless at a downtown Toronto Salvation Army.  "In other words," Jones drolled, "a team meal".

7. BYE BYE BOMBERS?:  Saturday's 27-20 home loss to the Ottawa RedBlacks did not eliminate the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from the 2015 CFL playoff race.  However the Bombers' tragic number to miss the playoffs apparently is at "1", meaning a B.C. or Montreal win will knock Winnipeg out.

When and if it happens, I'm wondering if there will be some sort of housecleaning in Winnipeg whereby defensive coordinator Richie Hall might come available.  And further to that, would he be a head coaching candidate with the Saskatchewan Roughriders?  As a franchise icon, and as solid of a human being as you could hope to find, I'd have to think he'd get some support around here.

8. SCOOTER:  The Regina Thunder's PFC season ended last weekend with a 17-3 home loss to the Calgary Colts in a semifinal but I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize the great work of their head coach, Scott MacAulay.  He led the Thunder to a Canadian Bowl title in his first season of 2013 but was inexplicably robbed of the Coach of the Year title that year.  However he's had his team in contention in each season on the job and his players and staff love him.

MacAulay doesn't point fingers or blame officiating, and always takes everything on his own shoulders.  When the Thunder wins, he puts his coordinators on my radio show.  When the Thunder loses, Scott always comes on the radio to face the music.

Incidentally the Saskatoon Hilltops won the PFC championship on Sunday, beating the Calgary Colts 38-16.

9. THE NFL:  The NFL tried an interesting experiment for Sunday morning's Jacksonville-Buffalo game in England.  The game was broadcast solely on, hoping to attract the ever-elusive millenial generation.  However the feed was inconsistent.  On some plays the video was clear as-a-bell while on others it was blurry, or was lost in buffering.  Broadcasting executives are still trying to figure out why the younger generation would rather watch a game on the tiny window of their smartphones rather than on a 60" television like the rest of us.  Anybody have the answer to that?

10: GO PATS GO: Imagine our surprise to show up at the Brandt Centre for Sunday's Pats-Raiders game only to have a tough time finding a seat!  The largest Pats crowd of the season (5519) witnessed a wild 2-1 overtime victory by P.A. and it was a fantastic atmosphere.  We were informed by many friends in the crowd that all families in the 3-4-5 age group of Hockey Regina received complimentary tickets to the game a month ago and they nearly filled the joint.

It was a fantastic move by the Pats!  Although the club gets none of the concession sales, it created the type of environment the franchise has been longing for for years.  And, as an added bonus, the game was tremendous meaning a lot of these folks will be back.

And, the 4:00 pm start time on Sundays couldn't be better.  You can have breakfast with the family, attend church if that's your thing, or catch some early NFL action all before heading to the rink.  Then afterwards, you're home in time to catch the NFL Sunday night game.  It couldn't be better!

And it was a nice treat not to hear any grumbling about the parking schmozzle at Evraz Place due to the new stadium construction.  People parked halfway to Moose Jaw but cheerily trekked to the Brandt on another beautiful fall day.

Sunday's Pats game was a very positive experience.



I haven't seen the life of Steve Stirr remembered anywhere other than last week's Leader Post obituaries so I thought I'd do it here.  The legendary statistician for the Saskatchewan Roughriders passed away last week at the age of 82.  His family flew in from all across the country for the funeral and attended Saturday's Rider game.

Here's an article I wrote for back in 2007 about Steve.  With the CFL's permission, I'm posting it here today:

By: Rod Pedersen


In the Canadian Football League, we're surrounded by them. Yards, receptions, carries, attempts, completions, sacks, interceptions, field goal percentages, punting averages -- the list goes on and on.

Aside from players and fans, statistics are the most important component of football, and even those first two principles would be lost without them.

Player contracts are based on numbers, and at the end of the season generally all the Most Outstanding Player trophies are awarded to those players with the best statistics. In the CFL, stats are big business.

Since 1974, Regina's Steve Stirr has set the standard for tallying stats and tracking play-by-play. A retired accountant, Stirr oversees a six-man crew at Mosaic Stadium/Taylor Field that has worked like a well-oiled machine for years.

"Basically I chart everything that happens during the game," Stirr told "All the offence like rushing, passing, receiving, punting, kickoffs, field goals, penalties, first downs, everything. Part of our crew does the defence of course but the format I'm using I modified in the '90s because the CFL went to a more pass-oriented game."

Stirr was mentored by legendary stats-man Bill Hawrylak, a somewhat mythical figure in these parts whose system he instituted for the 1954 Grey Cup game remains the Bible over 50 years later. So hallowed in these football circles is Hawrylak that an elementary school was named after him.

With so much emphasis placed on statistics, Stirr has at times found himself embroiled in controversy. He may see a certain play one way, but the players in question may see it another. It's similar to baseball where a scorekeeper may score an error and take away a batter's hit, or preserve a no-hitter. Players are very protective of their "numbers".

"I recall in 1980, it was (Winnipeg punter) Bob Cameron's first year and I was the head stats-man and it was a windy day as usual here," recalled Stirr. "He punted the ball into the wind and it actually landed behind the line of scrimmage and nobody touched it. The Riders recovered the ball and I recorded it as a minus-5 yard punt. We phoned it into Toronto back then and league statistician Gord Walker said no, that's a fumble. That was the first problem I'd encountered. One time here a few years ago the Riders lined up for a field goal on about their own 25-yard line instead of punting, trying to battle the wind. I considered it a punt, but the league said no it was a missed field goal. It can be a very difficult thing."

If a player has a beef with the way any particular play was scored across the CFL, he can take it up with the league by launching a complaint through their own team's P.R. staff.

In today's computerized age, the play-by-play of games is sent online to CFL headquarters in Toronto. However, Stirr is old school and tracks each play on a chart in pencil in case of computer failure.

Stirr isn't sure how many CFL teams use his system, however, he has had requests from most western teams for his sacred forms.

One would think you'd have to be a hardcore football fan to never miss a game over 33 years but Stirr rarely gets caught up in the Riders' fortunes.

"I like working with numbers. Many times, nine times out ten, after the game is over I have to look at the scoresheet to see what happened. You have to concentrate so much on what you're doing you don't get to watch."

Stirr performs his craft for love of the game, and his highlights include working the 1995 and 2003 Grey Cups in Regina.

"I'm like a grandpa to the boys on the crew so if you enjoy doing it, it's part of the job."




Anonymous said...

In spite of another lose some positive progress is possibly being made -
- a new young Canadian kicker
- 2 Canadian safeties that will be able to do the job
- a new running back that looked real good in limited play
- a good Canadian returner and maybe receiver

A good start, just more to go

Anonymous said...

Rod wrote; "Then, reality set in, and you realize the bright days which lay ahead are an enormous contrast to what we have now."

Finally. This train wreck has been gathering speed for a year and a half and through it all you just kept preaching positive BS about the players and coaches. When ever an objective fan would question something you would immediately play the bandwagon jumper card.

Finally the blindman saw reality.

You lost a lot of credibility this year Rod.

Signed; One of the 25%

Anonymous said...

^^^^^ Hopefully people with the team read the comment above and see what Rod does for them on a daily basis.


Rod Pedersen said...

Some will notice while others never will.


Anonymous said...

On a side note the Saskatoon Hilltops are the only winning football team in the Province!

Parkside said...

I'll be tuning in for the final 2 games. And really, I would assume most fans would. Other than your NFL team playing early on the Sunday. It's been a long season, but this is still our team. #cometogether

Anonymous said...

4 o'clock starts? That's the worst start you could have and the Pats are stupid for doing it.

At least that is what that old blowhard Jim tried telling Phil a couple of weeks ago much to the disgust of the expert on everything and anything.

I guess he was wrong AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

Cant wait for the season to end and the GM search to start. No to Smith. Yes to Price. Smith looks like he playing high school football with his running around in circles. Mertile lol. He got scared.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod, was wondering if you know what the new turf will be in the new stadium?

Here's hoping we have someone new picking the turf and not the same guy who picked the turf for a soccer filed that had sand in it, or the guy who thought AstroTurf was the answer when everyone else in North America was taking theirs out, we go ahead and put it in!

Anonymous said...

Can't be bothered to watch, this team is playing horrible. Junior whatever captured the spirit of this 2015 edition of the riders in one play. No Heart. Sure some of you will argue that guys like Dressler and Chick are all heart and I don't disagree, but as a collective this team has none and we are seeing the results of that.

I will gladly watch college football over the hot penalty filled mess the CFL has become this year, uninspired and poorly executed football I would rather watch FBS football right now, the new commish has some serious work to do to right the ship.

Signed a 32 year old rider fan...... but that will probably be called into question by some of you sheep

Anonymous said...

They walked cheerily to the Brandt Centre.

That walk won't be so cheery in a month when winter is upon us and its minus 20.

Anonymous said...

I won't be tuning in to watch the Riders get smoked in Calgary by the Stamps. Hallowe'en is scary enough and for all those who shun the bandwagon jumper if it wasn't for us, we'd never see change around here. Besides I watch sports to be entertained. If I want to see a train wreck I'll watch an engine get flooded off the tracks in Texas. Btw NO TO O'DAY!

Lyle Pederson said...

Rod ... Does the team not allow players to be on the huddle as was at one time. I recall getting to know the new guys a bit and that created more interest. Now I wouldn't know half of them if I saw them at Safeway. (Also less likely to dump on them as is now so common)

Shannon said...

If the CFL had a live streaming channel like where I could get a subscription without having to pay for cable I would do it in a heart beat. With smart TV and devices like AppleTV live streaming doesn't mean watching on your smartphone, I can get it on my 60 inch TV no problem. Even the WHL, OHL have apps that let you watch games - that's how I kept up with the Brandon Wheat Kings during the playoffs last year.

Anonymous said...

The notion of watching a sporting event on a phone is so absurd. I think back to the days when my parents finally bought a colour TV in the early 70's and then the Big Event when we got an amazing 29 inch Sony TV. From that point on, I could no longer watch football on my "portable" TV in my room. Now, the only way to watch sports is on the 60 inch TV. As my wife tells me, "bigger is better".

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

"If the CFL had a live streaming channel like where I could get a subscription without having to pay for cable I would do it in a heart beat."

Hahahahah! If a restaurant had a steak menu whereas i dint have to pay for it I would treat my friends and family daily!

Anonymous said...

Well on the stats note, according to the CFL, Price never threw a football, I went to check the game stat's and he is not their at all!!!

The first 1/2 of the game was great, or 20 minutes I guess. I miss those days......but I will be watching the rest of the football games. I am after all a fan that doesn't jump the bandwagon! The riders are my team.


Rafal said...

I am in for streaming, this is 2015 not 1995.

I watch my CFL games on TSN App on my iPad, and also stream them to my 60" HDTV via Apple TV, it's still 1080p high resolution. So CFL should do a subscription online for non-cable subscribers. That is how you reach your audience, if that is what the new Comish has on agenda? reaching the new markets and younger generations.

Rod Pedersen said...

Very good point Rafal.

Anonymous said...

What the CFL ought to do is swing a deal with Netflix to live stream TSN's games there. TSN gets their revenue from commercials and would see that amount go up as companies will pay more to be seen by a wider audience. And have it on both Canada and US Netflix as well. That would be a huge boon and go a long way to bolstering the popularity of the league.

I sure hope Orridge is taking these things into consideration. Because so far he hasn't done squat in terms of a new marketing plan for the league and it shows. I'm gonna try and be front row for his address in Winnipeg and ask those pointed questions others are afraid to ask. Or if they're asked all you get is hot air.


Anonymous said...

Curious how well HD streaming will work with the 'tin can and string' quality service you get in Saskatchewan.

Anonymous said...

"The finest jewel among open-air stadiums in North America" ... and Taylor Field is the Fenway Park of pro football ... and Regina is the Paris of the Prairies ...
C'mon Rod.

Anonymous said...

That north on field end zone in the new stadium something to be desired, a high dangerous cement wall for a speeding receiver. And why couldn't they build a truely round bowl seating design? some of those corners, blah!

Anonymous said...

Mertile has really been awful all season since he got into the starting lineup. The Secondary is easily our worst unit with Maze and Weldon Brown injured. We need help thru free agency NOT just scouting

Anonymous said...

Those on the waiting list for season tickets will get their chance next year.

The riders have to realize that there were 10 000 people who paid for the seats in advance but care so little about the team that they couldn't be bothered to show up on a decent day with nothing else on the schedule. This has been true for last couple games. Lots of empty seats on the east side.

Those that buy into the brand will continue to support a horrible product. Those that realize the marketing gimmicks will decide if there is value to their consumer dollar from this product.

Also, I don't stream often, but when I do, it's to my 70" tv. (60" is for the rv!)

Rob in Stoon.

Anonymous said...

2 oclock starts are a great time for football. Don't agree with the 7 pm starts many of our fans have a few hours of travel. Sorry Rod you just have to drive a few blocks to you home in Regina. It's also damn cold later in the year at night.

Oh I see its a 2 oclock game in Calgary on Saturday hmmmmm.....

I think the CFL has taken advantage of the Rider fans by scheduling so many night games. Get me some afternoon games.

BTW I have been at every game this year so don't blow me off as one of the folks who just watch on TV.

Love the blog

Anonymous said...

Roughriders veteran players ! Please find a sheep cutting shear, and shave that little rook kicker so he resembles a man, got damn!

Anonymous said...

I'm in my mid 30's with young children.

If It wasn't for sports I would not have a TV subscription.

We watch everything with our phones/tablets and when we wish we cast to our TV's (chromecast). My 6 and 8 years old already know how to use it.

If apps like TSNGO and SN NOW offered a reasonable monthly fee my cable subscription would be cancelled ASAP.

One big hurdle is both our owned by the two largest satellite/cable companies. Another hurdle is not everyone has great WIFI so not for everyone.

Until then I'll be paying $100/month for two channels.

I'll watch the last two games only to see how well some our young guys play. I for one was impressed with Price. Way more poise it the pocket and didn't make any stupid mistakes.

I'm not a robot

Anonymous said...

No to Richie hall as a new HC.He did real well in Edmonton so lets have him here. Who thinks of these things?
The finest jewel among open-air stadiums in North America" ..and Poland had the finest Cavalry in the world at the beginning of WW2. See the connection? I don't like the location and don't like the open air. In my opinion we could have had the finest roofed stadium in the best downtown location in the CFL. New hotels, restaurants and gambling at Casino Regina too. Who thinks of these things? Apparently not the ones who have the say. I don't like the south route new bypass either. Jeez what a place.
Final note...I will watch the next Rider game to see if Dyce makes any DB moves. If not I am done for 2015 and maybe 2016 too. Are fans the only ones who can see there must be major defensive changes and tackling drills right now?

Negative Nelly

Anonymous said...

yep the location of the stadium will always be a let down for me.

Anonymous said...

what DB moves with two weeks remaining are you expecting? Pull a couple guys out of nowhere and plug them in? I get it. The DBs are bad - but equally as bad is the intelligence of the fans.

Anonymous said...

You would think that Regina would have learned from Saskatoon and built their stadium downtown, where they are building now is a terrible location.

Anonymous said...

Terrible stadium location, terrible design for usage 365/24/7. Prov.Sk/city Regina planners need a good swift kick in the arse. Spring election!

Anonymous said...

Regina has a downtown ????

Anonymous said...

STOP NDP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Everything is wrong about the new stadium build. In their rush to cash in on (which they did) on the gullible in a vulnerable state of stupid stupor euphoria after the 2013 colluded GC, the Gov't, city of planners rushed into everything Imposing their bullied will and way without due diligence, too bad, It could have been something more with the proper preparation planning. Another loss on the books.

Anonymous said...

2 pm games or risk losing those driving in for more than an hour. A losing season and evening games are a recipe for a Regina only fan base. Of course this is what Regina wants but not Saskatchewan. Pity to wonder. Saskatoon would have been a better host or Davidson but this is a province stuck in the past so inner city Regina it is with late night Friday games. Have at it.

Anonymous said...

No other city could sport losing as well as Regina the participant ribbon capital of Canada.

Anonymous said...

Terrible location? It's a block west of the previous stadium that routinely draws larger crowds than the capacity of the stadium under construction. A couple blocks east would have been preferable, but get over yourself man. Anywhere along the Saskatchewan Drive corridor there is "workable". The worst part of the new location is being tied into what goes for 'customer service' at Evraz.

Anonymous said...

Also a mid 30's person here. I am in the same boat as the other mid 30's poster. The only reason I have cable is for sports. Also, in regards to the NFL streaming their game, they are trying to grow the game beyond the North American market. Not everyone has access to North American cable television. They had 15 million viewers watching online which is a resounding success. Good for them, the NFL is by far the best run league in professional sports by a long shot. It's not even close. Also, for people wanting the media to call out the Riders, did anyone see/hear Don Hewitt on the 6 o'clock news tonight? Wow! He did not pull any punches. That was the most honest assessment of the team I have heard this year.

Ben Bernanke

P.S. Go Bengals

Anonymous said...

Why is Junior Mertile still on the roster?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Don Hewett for mayor or provincial premier. No bull sh*t under his watch.

Vote Don Hewett, he's ready, nice hair too!

Anonymous said...

Because he's the best our scouts could come up with.