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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1-SASKATCHEWAN OWES TROY WESTWOOD: Some of us count the 2003 Western semi-final as the first Banjo Bowl since it was the week leading up to that game when then-Bomber kicker Troy Westwood backed off his jokes about us being ‘banjo-pickin inbreds’ by calming the waters with “People from Saskatchewan aren’t smart enough to play the banjo”. Including the Roughriders unforgettable triumph that freezing cold November Sunday, Saskatchewan is now 8-7 all-time in these Banjo Bowl visits to Winnipeg.

Anybody wanna guess our beloved Riders batting average in trips to the Peg before that?

Between 1990 and that 2003 season, the Roughriders emerged from 14 visits to Manitoba with a grand total of one victory. And that came against Winnipeg’s 3rd and 4th string quarterbacks, Keithen McCant and Tom Porras, in 1994. You get the picture. We sucked. But we especially sucked in their house.

Troy Westwood’s cockiness cut deep and not in a confrontational way but in a way to unleash a quiet confidence from our side. Thanks Troy! It’s been our decade and a half of decadence but we owe you an assist. You played a bigger role in our success than you might think.

2-BANJO BOWL A WEEK FOR SHOWBOATING: I want my favorite football players taunting the Winnipeg fans. They (Winnipegers) make jokes about us from ‘The 306’ all the time. We’re the closest thing to a kid brother they will ever have. They want to bully us in the worst way imaginable and it eats them up when they lose to us. It always feels like David standing up to Goliath when our guys go in and shut their crowd up. Have a little fun with it. It’s sports. It’s not supposed to be serious.

3-WILLIE JEFFERSON OUR MOP: As we prepare to close out the middle third of the season, I am quite happy to declare Defensive End Willie Jefferson as Saskatchewan’s Most Outstanding Player nominee. Without his contributions, the Roughriders simply don’t win. And his eagerness to rejoin Chris Jones in Regina following his NFL tryout tells me he’s been the drinking the coach’s Kool-Aid ever since their time together with the Edmonton Eskimos. He’s bought in to the system and the others have followed.

4-RICHIE HALL TOO GOOD FOR BOMBER FANS: To the morons in Winnipeg hollering for Defensive Co-ordinator Richie Hall’s head, you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. Richie is a tried, tested and true all-star defensive mind and a superstar person. His defense was the only thing making the Blue Bombers watchable in that home and home against our Riders. He’d still be here in Saskatchewan if Corey Chamblin hadn’t let the 2013 Grey Cup win go to his head. Richie deserved better then. And he deserves better than Winnipeg right now.

5-SET THE MOUSETRAPS THIS WEEK: I’d be dropping the mousetraps in everyone’s locker room stall before practice if I was chief for a day. The Ottawa Redblacks scare nobody right now and the Riders are still basking in the glow of their 4-game win streak and thinking about running down the Stampeders. Our guys have bigger fish to try than this rag-tag bunch from down east. Trevor Harris has made a habit of sneaking up and pulling a win out of his hat when you least expect him to, just like he did in a night game last fall during his last visit to Taylor Field 2.0. It’s a classic ‘Trap Game’. Don’t get trapped again.

6-BEST PART OF GUEST-HOSTING THE SPORTSCAGE: Thanks to Rod for letting me scratch a big one off my bucket list in hosting the Cage last Friday. I spent the afternoon at the CKRM studios hearing about the last 50 years of Regina TV and radio history from the station’s Farm Director, Jim Smalley. It’s a fascinating story, especially the rise and fall of CKCK radio and how CKRM eventually took over as ‘THE STATION’. Jim could write a book about it and I would be the first in line to buy it.

7-THE FIRST WEEK OF NFL: Is a good reminder of how superior our 3 down game is. There isn’t anything their offenses are trying down there that we haven’t already been mastering for years.

8-NOAH PICTON ABOUT TO BE CROWNED: The University of Regina Rams Quarterback is only 860 yards away from the all-time U-Sport career passing record. I saw how poor the local media coverage was of the Regina Red Sox Cinderella playoff run. I hope the same mistake isn’t repeated here and Noah gets his due.

9-CHUCK KLINGBEIL: I, and many of you are wondering what happened to the ’89 Grey Cup hero who passed away at the tender age of 52 back in June. I’m on it and I intend to find out.

10-BOOK/DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK:THE HARASEN LINE: A BROADCASTER’S MEMOIR takes us back to a fascinating time in our province’s radio listening history. Lorne Harasen was John Gormley before John Gormley except Harasen wasn’t trying to advance a political cause like Gormley does. As an 11-year-old caller into his Roughrider roundtable discussions in the 90’s, I was hung up on by Lorne several times and resented his curmudgeonry style in those days. Looking back, I totally get it. He truly was unique and one of the best of his time.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

5 comments:

Dan said...

RedBlacks is not a potential trap game. Ottawa has demonstrated themselves to be one of the top teams in the league through the first half of the season. A couple losses in a row does not erase that. To suggest this is a trap does not give them the respect they have earned.

Sean Criddle said...

Great job on Friday...it was q nice change from miss doubtfire Mitchell Blair

Jeff Armstead said...

"Chuck Klingbeil, a Dolphins defensive tackle from 1991 to 1995, died of a reported heart attack"

John Knight said...

#2 fun? game? yeah right. If it is supposed to be fun, why are we paying players high wages? It is work and men should show it!

fannotacoach said...

Must be "fun" working with you John. I used to really enjoy work and it was fun to work. When it quit being fun I retired.