1 - Saturday was an unforgettable night in the history of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Rider Nation.
However as far as football goes, the 24-6 loss to the B.C. Lions in the last-ever Rider game at Taylor Field left more questions than answers for your friendly neighbourhood Roughriders. We'll examine that further down in the column.
First, let's look back at some of the memorable photos from the Farewell Game:
Saturday began with a capacity crowd brunch at the Hotel Saskatchewan honouring the Farewell Game ...
Rider Hall of Famers Bill Baker and Roger Aldag ...
The Grey Cup made an appearance, as did former Rider President Fred Wagman! ...
Craig and Lisa Reynolds along with Walt Precourt from Mosaic ...
Jim Hopson with Mosaic CEO James O'Rourke. Mr. O'Rourke mentioned during his speech that Mosaic was only one year old when they purchased the naming rights to Taylor Field in 2006 ...
Steve Mazurak and Paul Hill ..
The Past Presidents table, and John Lynch. Lynch heard they were going to announce a contract extension for Darian at the brunch. Apparently, he heard wrong.
Carm Carteri bends the ear of CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge ...
Former Rider kicker Paul McCallum flew in from Vancouver for the game ...
Gene Makowsky poses with members of the Taylor family, descendants of Piffles Taylor, who came in from Cochrane, AB for the game ..
The last practice field pregame party ...
SK's Jess Moskaluke was amazing at halftime ...
Michael Ball hosts the halftime show on 620 CKRM with guests Paul McCallum and Premier Brad Wall ..
A final farewell ...
One last shot of our radio broadcast booth before leaving for the last time. I didn't shed a tear.
2 - That's all the good news. The bad news is the Roughriders were obliterated in "the box" against B.C. Saturday, giving up seven sacks while registering none and being out-rushed 146-to-53 yards.
The Riders were building some nice momentum during their 4-game winning streak but over the past two weeks, they've looked dreadful. They took 10 penalties for 90 yards Saturday too, but miraculously the Lions took 11 for 84. B.C. was just so much better in other phases that penalties didn't affect them.
The Riders need to pulverize the Lions this Saturday at B.C. Place because if they carry a 3-game losing streak into the off-season and a 5-13 record, they're going to be a very tough sell to the Rider Nation this winter.
3 - Chris Jones' postgame news conference had as many fireworks as the postgame ceremony. He called the team's performance "concerning," referred to the Lions as a "good football team but not great" and referred to the play of rookie QB Jake Waters Saturday night as "boneheaded" at times.
It would've been nice to carry that news conference live but it was going on simultaneously during the postgame light show.
Either way, Jones seemed very unimpressed with the play of his team.
So were the fans!
Again, this team really needs to show something in the final game of the year this Saturday. They cannot go out with a whimper.
4 - Jones confirmed during his press conference that he expects quarterback Darian Durant will be back next season. He also said John Elway wouldn't have looked good behind that O-line Saturday night.
That's another thing -- the Riders are getting somewhat of a pass along the offensive line due to the season-long injuries to All Stars Brendon Labatte and Chris Best. Their absence has felled the production of the offense, along with an ever-rotating stable of receivers and a different starting tailback every week.
Durant is poised to become the first Rider quarterback since Nealon Greene in 2003 to lead the team in rushing over a season.
It's doubtful that lack of depth will be tolerated by the Rider Nation in 2017 and beyond.
5 - Ticket prices have jumped mightily. In fact in some cases they've doubled. That will ramp up the pressure on the team even more.
Calgary broadcaster Peter Loubardias told us last week that the pressure on rookie Flames coach Glen Gulatzan is almost unbearable and some fans have already questioned if they should've kept Bob Hartley. That's the fans' right, especially when they're paying hundreds and thousands of dollars for tickets.
As prices go up, the pressure goes up exponentially. Chris Jones is the highest paid Head Coach and GM in Saskatchewan Roughriders history.
So far, he's gotten off pretty easy IMO.
Agree or disagree?
6 - As far as Saturday's postgame ceremony goes, it was sensational. When I think back, it was the light show that made it that way more than anything else. The "oooo's" and "ahhhhh's" from the soldout crowd were amusing as the LED wristbands they were given lit up and changed colour. It looked pretty amazing from the broadcast booth. I can't imagine the cost of the whole display.
The video history of Taylor Field was long but worth it.
And the ceremony involving Reed, Aldag, Makowsky and Durant was one of the finest things I've ever seen. The kind of scene that gives you tingles all over.
What a night!
7 - On the flipside, my skin crawled when Carm Carteri kissed me on the cheek when we were featured on the Kiss Cam on the big screen. My phone blew up right after that surprise in the first half. Funny move, Riders.
8 - As you saw in the photos, CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge was in attendance on Saturday at the brunch, and I assume at the game as well. Did they show him on the MaxTron?
Carm chastised Orridge for not delivering a speech on behalf of the CFL at the brunch but he said he'd brought a speech, however he wasn't asked to say anything.
According to Carteri, Orridge was adamant that Glen Johnson was his hire as CFL V.P. of Football.
I think it would be great if BOTH Orridge and Johnson addressed the media together at State of the League news conference on the Friday morning of Grey Cup week.
9 - A soldout Brandt Centre watched the Pats spank the Seattle Thunderbirds 6-3 on Sunday to improve to 10-0-3 and they remain the only club in the CHL without a regulation loss.
#1-ranked Shawinigan has now lost twice in regulation time, so I suspect when the CHL Top 10 comes out on Wednesday, the Regina Pats will indeed be #1 in the country.
Take a bow QCSEG.
People ARE sitting up and taking note of the Queen City Kids. They are home on Wednesday to the Kootenay Ice on 620 CKRM and it should be another huge crowd.
10 - With the World Series, NFL, NHL and Curling on the tube on Sunday - and the Pats on home ice - I spent the day in Milestone, SK having a family day. We watched it all on television and got caught up while also enjoying an old school brunch at Mary's Place. That's a restaurant where they still offer toast on the buffet and there's a picture of the Queen on the wall.
What a great day it was.
|Pumpkin by Bradford Kruger|