The Ottawa Redblacks will face the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL title game Sunday at BMO Field, and both coaches handled the annual question on whether players would be allowed to have sex in the days leading up to the game with humour.
"If you don't succeed, try try again,'' said Campbell, the Redblacks head coach. "I guess that's our motto this year for the Grey Cup.''
Dickenson, who led Calgary to a league-best 15-2-1 record, said player consistency is the key.
"If you've been doing it all year, keep doing it,'' said the Stampeders' rookie head coach. "This is no different a week.
"Watch out Toronto.''
Ottawa is making its second straight Grey Cup appearance after losing last year's game 26-20 to Edmonton. But Campbell got into a little hot water with his mother, Louise, after having to address the annual question at the coaches news conference.
"I just don't want to get in trouble with my mom again because I'm talking about sex with the national media,'' Campbell said. ``She's going to say, 'Hey, what are you doing there, buddy?'''
BURRIS APPRECIATES GREY CUPS WITH AGE
TORONTO - With experience has come a new perspective for Henry Burris.
The 41-year-old quarterback will make his third Grey Cup appearance in four years Sunday when he leads the Ottawa Redblacks against the Calgary Stampeders at Toronto's BMO Field. But while Burris is driven to win a third career CFL championship, this time it's to share the victory with his wife, Nicole, and their two sons, Armand and Barron.
Armand was a toddler when Burris last won the Grey Cup in 2008 with Calgary, and Barron hadn't yet been born. A win Sunday would secure Burris a nice $16,000 cheque and another gaudy championship ring, but more importantly allow his boys to celebrate by eating Fruit Loops from the hallowed trophy.
"That's something I definitely want to experience with my family,'' Burris said following Ottawa's 35-23 East Division final win over Edmonton. "For me, that's what this entire journey has been about because if it wasn't for these couple of knuckleheads, making me have to stay on them to keep myself right, I wouldn't be here.
"That's why I'm out there giving it my all because I want to see the smiles on their faces and be able to celebrate truly what we've been through these past 20 years together and try to enjoy this special moment.''
One lesson Burris has learned over his 17 CFL seasons is there are no guarantees in pro football. Ottawa is making a second straight Grey Cup appearance - it lost last year's game 26-20 to Edmonton - despite posting an 8-9-1 record.
That made Ottawa the first team in league history to finish first in a division with a sub-.500 record and gave Burris a deeper appreciation of being given yet another chance to win a championship.
"We weren't guaranteed to be back here this year and so that's why each and every moment that we have to get back to The Show, it means that much more because I can't play until I'm 50,'' Burris said. "I'm not (Gordie Howe) and I'm not playing until I'm 52 because at some point I want to sit in the stands and watch these kids and be around crazy hockey parents in Ontario and Ottawa.
"At some point that's what I have a passion to do.''
The 2016 season was also a challenging one for Burris. The CFL's outstanding player last year suffered a broken pinky in Ottawa's season-opening overtime win over Edmonton and was limited to just eight regular-season appearances.
But the six-foot-one, 190-pound Burris has remained Ottawa's starter since replacing Trevor Harris in a 32-30 loss to Saskatchewan on Oct. 7. He was 4-3 as the Redblacks' No. 1 quarterback and Sunday was 15-of-26 passing in snowy, windy conditions for 246 yards and two TDs with an interception.
Burris, one of just three CFL players to pass for over 60,000 career yards, hopes Grey Cup week will allow his boys to better understand the sacrifices their father has had to make during his pro career.
"They're able to sit back and see what daddy is doing and learn from the things that daddy has experienced,'' Burris said. "They see the trials and tribulations that dad goes through to help our family earn an honest living and to go out and have success in doing your job.''
Burris said his two boys are active in soccer and hockey and he hopes he can pass on to them the lessons he's learned, on and off the football field.
"Hopefully I've been able to teach them and hopefully they can contribute these to their lives because at some point dad won't be playing football anymore,'' Burris said. "I just hope and pray they take advantage of these moments that we have.
"I definitely am because when the time is up for me it's all about us sharing the moments with them. That's why my focus is this week, enjoying (Grey Cup experience) with family and teammates.''
But not at the expense of forgetting why he and the Redblacks are in Toronto.
"I know our focus is what's going on on Sunday,'' Burris said. "But leading up to it you're going to enjoy some special moments with your family, teammates and friends because that's what these opportunities are all about.''
REDBLACKS MORE THAN JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE
The Ottawa Redblacks believe last year's Grey Cup loss will serve them well as they look for a different result against the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday.
The Redblacks, making their second straight appearance in the CFL championship game, lost 26-20 to the Edmonton Eskimos last season and for many the sting remains.
Beating the Eskimos 35-23 in the East Division final was the first step in retribution, but the Redblacks still have some unfinished work.
"This year is a little different as we understand what the end goal is,'' said wide receiver Brad Sinopoli. "As great as it was to get here, we have bigger things in mind. Let's just say we're focused. We're excited, but we're really focused.''
Activities leading up to the Grey Cup can be overwhelming for players and Sinopoli says it's important to keep things in perspective.
"Going through the whole week is a lot when you don't know what to expect,'' Sinopoli said. "There's a lot more attention on everything and guys tend to maybe overthink the whole week and the game. There's a lot of hoopla around it and you have to realize that it's just a football game in the end.''
Players aren't the only ones who benefited from last year's Grey Cup experience.
"It definitely helps to go through it once,'' said head coach Rick Campbell. "I have a better game plan to make sure I know exactly what I'm doing as far as the stuff I need to do football wise and then the other stuff I need to do for media and other things.''
Taking on the Stampeders will offer a significant challenge for the Redblacks. Calgary finished the season 15-2-1 and advanced to the Grey Cup after a 42-15 thrashing of the B.C. Lions.
Calgary is considered the heavy favourite, and the Redblacks have no issue with that.
"We deserve to be the underdog, they deserve to be the favourite,'' Campbell said. "We know when we play good football we can play with anybody.
"We're going to put our best foot forward and control what we can control and if we play good football and limit turnovers and penalties we feel we can play with anybody.''
By all accounts this was a challenging season for the Redblacks filled with injuries, a quarterback controversy and an unending struggle to find consistency. Yet in the end Ottawa found a way to win when few believed they were capable.
Sinopoli summed it up in one word: "resiliency.''
"The record wasn't there and all year we were kind of fighting people telling us that the East wasn't good enough and we're really not good enough, but none of that really matters,'' Sinopoli said. "We were in a position to get to where we are and we played a really tough game in the East Final in tough conditions and we stayed the course all year. We knew as long as we had the opportunity that's all we needed and now we're here.''
Notes: The Redblacks don't expect RB Mossis Madu Jr. or OL SirVincent Rogers to play Sunday as both continue to recover from injury. LB Taylor Reed is probable at this time. ... Family connections continue for head coach Rick Campbell. Last year Campbell faced the Eskimos, an organization that his father had coached for many years, while this time around he has a sister and nephew who work for the Stampeders.
CALGARY MAYOR DOUBLING DOWN ON TITLE BETS
CALGARY - This football season has turned Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi into a riverboat gambler.
Nenshi has bets going with mayors from two different cities this weekend.
The University of Calgary Dinos face Quebec City's Laval Rouge et Or in Saturday's Vanier Cup, followed by Sunday's Grey Cup game between the Stampeders and the Ottawa Redblacks.
"I'm excited because as you know Calgary teams are playing in two national championships this weekend,'' Nenshi told reporters Tuesday at city hall while decked out in a Stampeders jersey.
Nenshi's Grey Cup bet with Ottawa mayor Jim Watson has a culinary component. If the Stampeders win, Nenshi will get a gift of Ottawa's famous beaver tails. A Redblacks victory will earn Watson salted caramel doughnuts from a Calgary company.
"Apparently he would like to be saltier and sweeter,'' Nenshi said of his national capital counterpart.
Watson countered on Twitter with "Hey @nenshi, that donut may be called Nenshi's Salted Caramel, but it has my name all over it!''
The losing team's mayor wears the winning team's jersey and reads a poem, chosen or written by the winning team's mayor, at a next council meeting.
The loser mayor must also make a financial donation to the winning city's food bank equivalent to 10 times the game's score differential.
Nenshi's Vanier Cup wager with Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume is similar, but with a French-English language twist.
"It'll be a little more fun because it's not only reading the poem. The poem is in the other language,'' Nenshi said.
Calgary's mayor couldn't resist a poke at Energy East pipeline politics in proposing maple syrup and bitumen be included in their bet.
"Unfortunately I've been told that there is no pipeline and he doesn't want to transport it by rail,'' Nenshi quipped.