Is it ironic that a 33 year drought ended when number 33 barrelled into the endzone? Chris Szarka's late 4th quarter touchdown unpopped the cork as a sold out Mosaic Stadium knew they would be back in two weeks to cheer on their team in the Western final. Yes, the Riders have finally finished first in the West.
Make no doubt about it, the 30-thousand plus were loud and it was quite the sight, but I didn't think it was as loud as it was after the 2007 Western semi-final win over Calgary. That being said, I can't imagine what it will be like on the evening of November 22 if the Riders should beat either Calgary or Edmonton to go to their 2nd Grey Cup in three years. The stadium might just come down on that night. By the way, Lance Frazier told me after the game that Rider fans can't top their performance from Saturday night and is challenging them to do better. Whaddaya say?
How many people outside of Saskatchewan thought this team would finish first at the start of the year?. For the second season in a row, there was a tremendous amount of disrespect shown to this football team. No one felt the Riders could come close to repeating as Grey Cup champs in 2008 because Kent Austin, Kerry Joseph, Fred Perry, etc. etc. were not around yet this team finished 2nd in the West. Fast forward to 2008 and no one thought this team could succeed with Darian Durant at the controls and with players like Mo Lloyd and Anton McKenzie leaving, and coaches Mike Gibson and Richie Hall flying the coop they would be at the bottom of the West and then there's the Eric Tillman situation. Well guess what, the road to the Grey Cup runs through Regina. At what point are people going to give Ken Miller his due. Miller still has detractors and for some reason I don't know why. He isn't animated and he may not be the best quote, but for my mind he is the best coach in the league. He makes sure his guys are ready and they get the job done. He should have been the coach of the year in 2008 and he should be the coach of the year in 2009. There is no argument. I don't care if Marc Trestman guided the Alouettes to 15 wins, I don't care if Richie Hall got his team back into the playoffs, I don't care if Marcel Bellefeuille made the Ti-Cats respectable again. The coach of the year is Ken Miller and this team doesn't have to win the Grey Cup for that to happen(although it would be nice if it did).
I don't know why, but I think we might have seen the last of the Stampeders this year. Edmonton looked so good against B.C. and with Calgary stumbling their way through this regular season, it would not surprise me one bit to see Edmonton pull off the upset next weekend. That would send the Eskimos here and with Edmonton winning the two regular season games in Regina this year, it would be added motivation for the green guys not to let that happen for a 3rd time. We will see!
By the way, how surprised were you to see Calgary concede the safety late?
How much did you love seeing Sandro De Angelis clunk one off the upright. I thought you were the best kicker in the league Sandro. Isn't that what you told us last year? The great ones shouldn't miss those kicks should they?
Enjoy it Rider fans and lets hope we can do it again in two weeks time---and three weeks time too just for good measure!
And one more thing......