Sorry to start your Monday with that sight, but give the champs their due.
It won't go down as the best Grey Cup and it won't go down as the most painful Grey Cup, but the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have to feel like they had it only to have it yanked cruelly from their fingers because of a selfish play at the wrong time.
Taylor Reed will never forget the last moments of GC 102. If he plays it smart and leaves his hands off of Karl McCartney, it might be him and his Hamilton Tiger-Cats holding the trophy as his illegal block nullified a Brandon Banks touchdown that cemented a 20-16 win. Was that the only play that cost the Ti-Cats the victory. It was not, but it was the play everyone will talk about and for what its worth, I did think it was a penalty. However, there were three plays in my mind that gave this game to the Stampeders
1) Justin Medlock's first half field goal gets blocked. Those missed three points were huge as it turned out.
2) With seven minutes to go, Hamilton had the ball down 7 1st and goal inside the 5. A running play on first down followed by another one on 2nd down. ???? The decision to kick the field goal was also a head-scratcher. That drive had to end with a touchdown and not a FG
3) On what I believe was the same drive, Zach Collaros hit Bakari Grant over the middle and it looked for a second like Grant might score as he had nothing but green in front of him, but Brandon Smith tripped him up at the 25. If Hamilton does score there to tie it, its a different story.
Other thoughts on the game
--Rob Maver may not know the Stampeders have won yet. In fact, he might not know he was in the big game. He was crushed by Justin Hickman in the 3rd quarter. Those are ones that leave you wincing in pain as you see it happen.
--Where was Brandon Banks after his TD was nullified? He had to be on the field for those final plays yet he wasn't. Why? He wasn't that exhausted was he?
--Give Stamps offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson a lot of credit. He developed a game plan where Jon Cornish would be the decoy. The team's best offensive player and the league's top Canadian over the last three years is a decoy? That Mr Dickenson takes some onions!
--Imagine Dragons were outstanding. The drum solo was fantastic.
--As much as I am not a fan of the Stampeders, I am glad to see Marc Mueller and Brett Jones get Grey Cup rings.
--TSN's game production led by Chris Cuthbert was once again top notch. I didn't watch all of the pre-game show because of NFL, but what I saw was also great. BTW: Cuthbert's best line came when talking about the weather when he said it was warmer for kickoff in Regina last year than Vancouver yesterday.
--So Sportscage Insider Arash Madani goes out and lets it be known George Cortez won't be back with the Riders on Saturday and then Dave Naylor blurts out the same thing and adds the names Richie Hall and Barron Miles as assistants who won't be returning. Are the Riders about to go through a coaching overhaul and if so why? I'm not going to question Corey Chamblin's decisions as 95 percent of them turn out to be good ones, but I can't see the purge being that strong of one considering this team is likely in the game if its not for the Durant injury. Could be an interesting week at Mosaic.
--Andy Fantuz has been in 5 GC's and is 1-4 with two of those losses being absolute soul-crushers. This one doesn't compare to 09, but its still a soul-crusher.
--Give Calgary credit because they do win it all and when you have the best record in the league, you deserve it, but if Calgary is taking on a healthy Darian Durant or Mike Reilly in the regular season and playoffs, I don't think they are even at the Grey Cup.
--Lack of class or funny?
--Is it just me or could Jordan Eberle and Zach Collaros have been separated at birth?
Other thoughts on the weekend
--As mentioned, TSN did a fantastic job of coverage on Grey Cup Sunday showcasing our game to the nation, but they dropped the ball Friday and Saturday night. Friday's late night Sportscenter started with the Brett Lawrie trade before there was any mention of what was happening in Vancouver, but on Saturday it was worse. It was NHL, the Demar Derozan injury, more on the Lawrie trade and then GC reports. That first mention of the Cup was at 22 minutes after. Sorry, that's got to be the number one story both nite when you are the official rightsholder of the league.
--The trade engineered by Alex Anthopoulos to get Josh Donaldson is a great one. Brett Lawrie is Canadian, but he is also someone who has believe it or not bring it down a little bit and he also has to stay healthy. The two pitchers and the shortstop are guys we don't know if they will develop or not. As for Donaldson, I don't know if he is the best third sacker in the game as some suggest, but he's one of them. He makes the offence better, but the team still needs starting pitching, a closer and some help in the outfield especially if Melky Cabrera doesn't come back. The need for Cabrera or a solid #2 hitter is magnified by the fact you'll have Bautista, Encarnacion and Donaldson hitting 3-4-5.
--At what point do we talk about Willie Desjardins and the job he has done with the Vancouver Canucks in his first year. The Canucks are just one point out of the overall lead in the NHL.
--A huge congrats to both Gene Makowsky and Eddie Davis for getting named to the CFL Hall of Fame in 2015.
--How about the Regina Pats! A 4-1 trip through the BC Division capped off with a win over a Kelowna team that had only lost twice in regulation. One wouldn't blame the kids if they mailed in the last game of the trip as many teams have done over the years, but the Pats arguably saved their best effort for last. They are home Wednesday to Brandon and then gone again for a while. It would be nice to see a good turnout at Wednesday's game, but yes, I know Christmas shopping and concerts and other activities may take priority.
-- Another very interesting weekend of football south of the border.
--New Orleans can't win a game at home and they traditionally have a bad road record yet they go to Pittsburgh and win. ???
--Jacksonville comes back to beat the Giants??
--Atlanta doesn't gas a second half lead and beats Arizona
--The Packers-Patriots game was everything as advertised
--Will anyone take a chance on Ray Rice now that he has been reinstated?
That's all I got. Have a great week!!