I will be the first to admit that when the name Ken Miller first surfaced as a replacement for Kent Austin as Riders head coach, I went who? Yes, Miller had been the offensive co-ordinator under Austin in 2007, but I don't think I ever spoke to the man once as all questions pertaining to the offence were directed to Austin.
It did not take long though to see that Miller was a fine choice for the job. Yes, he is a quiet, unassuming man. He rarely shows emotion. He does remind one of your grandfather. You do keep expecting him to rub your head after a media session and pull out lollipops for everyone. While he is very quiet and unassuming, I have garnered a tremendous amount of respect for this man and the job he does. He is a very likable individual and his wife Maureen is one of the nicest women I have ever met.
Coach Miller deserves a lot of credit for what we have seen out of this football team over the past two years. This team did not crumble up and blow away as many suggested either this year or last. The reason for that is his players love him. He gets the most of the players and it shows. He is a fighter and more often than not, he has been a winner.
Needless to say I was shocked when I heard that he admitted Wednesday to being a prostate cancer survivor. While I was shocked, I was not surprised to hear that Miller fought the battle and won it. Cancer of any kind is horrible. We are all exposed to it in one manner or another. As much as we don't want to, we realize it affects all of us in some way. Many good people have died from that disease and I truly hope that before my days on this earth are over that a cure is found.
To know that Ken Miller has fought the war and has beaten it gives me more respect for this man and more of a desire for this team to win on Sunday so that he can get the moment in the sun he so truly deserves. He will try to shrug it off and deflect it to his assistants and his players, but a win on Sunday and he won't be able to get away from it hopefully the way Anthony Calvillo won't be able to get away from Chick and Baggs.
That was the big story of the day in Montreal. One that fell on the lap of everyone. Today it will be the player awards. Its Calvillo against Joffrey Reynolds for the player of the year. You have to think Calvillo will wrap that one up for the second straight year. Last year one could argue he got the sentimental vote because of his comeback after his wife's cancer, but there is no denying the outstanding season he had this year. I would be very surprised if Reynolds won.
I think John Chick will be named the top defensive player. He was a beast on that d-line this season. I'll take Scott Flory to be the league's best lineman, B.C.s Martell Mallett to be rookie of the year and Ben Cahoon to get the nod as the top Canadian. I'll also take Larry Taylor to win the top special teams player award.
My good friend Jamie Nye is doing a bang-up job in bringing the Coupe de Grey festivities back to CJME listener. He's also taking a page out of my book by delivering a Grey Cup blog to the station website which is something I started last year in Montreal. Here's his day 2 entry...
I know Jamie is loving life right now because he is a huge Rider fan. Hopefully he gets the chance to experience what I did at Rogers Centre in 2007. As I said, he is doing a great job. Rod Pedersen is also doing a great job (as per usual) in bringing the sights of Calgary to his blog. Here's hoping both gentlemen get some great shots of a Rider locker-room in celebration mode.
It takes me back to that magical Sunday in 2007 when the Riders had won. The first thing I saw when I entered the dressing room was Scott Schultz with the Cup in one hand and a great big cigar in the other. I had this contraption hooked up around me called a cellphone mike. Basically, I plugged a microphone into a cellphone that was hooked up into a tape recorder so that everyone in Regina could hear my interviews during our live coverage. I could have been mistaken for a suicide bomber with all the wires I had coming out of me. Anyhoo, I'm talking to Reggie Hunt when I see this head pop out from around a corner. Its the head of Premier Brad Wall. He is grinning like a cheshire cat and he looks like a kid on Christmas morning. Seeing a camera hanging off my wrist, he leans over and whispers in my ear if I would like him to take some pictures. I give him the nod of approval so he takes the camera and starts taking pictures of me interviewing Reggie and me interviewing Gene Makowsky. I look over at one point and think how cool is this for the Premier to be taking pictures of me. Its one of the many fond memories I have of that week. There were a few not so fond memories as well, but the good far outshadowed the bad.
The Pats couldn't stretch their winning streak to what would have been a season-high 5 games as they lose 5-2 in Seattle. Garrett Mitchell got the team going by scoring the first goal of the game, but the T-Birds got the next 5 to take control.
Do Blue Jays fans really want to see Roy Halladay come back to Rogers Centre wearing a Red Sox or Yankees jersey? It looks more and more as if Halladay will be traded. It will be a like a dagger going through the chest of Toronto fans if Halladay comes back to pitch against Toronto two or three times a year. The team should find a suitor in the National League so that Toronto fans can only see him on TV unless of course an inter-league game should bring him back, but it would just be for one appearance.
Even though the Riders are front and center on the minds of most sports fans, many football fans know today is American Thanksgiving. That means a triple-header of NFL football. Yes, we have to endure the Lions again, but its football right? Exactly!
We're now less than a month away from Christmas. I was in the Southland Mall yesterday and it was emptier than what I thought. I guess the Riders and the warm weather has no one thinking about Christmas. The Riders spirit will die in early December, but here's hoping the warm weather doesn't go away. I've been loving this. I know you have been too.
Did CTV's Dan MacIntosh send his hair to Calgary with Lee Jones and Morgan Reed? What happened to the mop Danny Mac?