The Riders have their home playoff game. Yes, the slippery fingers helped out immensely, but the Riders were the better team on the Mosaic Stadium turf and deserved their 35-14 win. First place is not out of the question and I really don't believe the Lions will lie down at home in the final regular season game of the year should it mean something. I'm not saying the Riders will beat the Stampeders next weekend, but it will be the first of what should be two great games between the two over the next couple of weeks. Just some thoughts on Saturday
--If Darian Durant is playing with a broken rib as was suggested Saturday night, it just tells you a little bit more about the Riders pivot. We have all seen Darian play through injuries and if you have a broken rib that can't be easy on you in a variety of ways. It seems to me as if he is telling this team to hop on his back and he will push, pull and drag them to that finish line.
--Mike McCullough may be playing at an all-time best. He has always been there when the team has needed him and he has really played well in the absence of Rey Williams.
--Object #1 for Brendan Taman in the off=season is to get Craig Butler signed to a long-term deal. There might not be a better Canadian defensive player in the league right now
--Welcome back Weldon Brown! He was flying around the field.
--Is it really necessary to tell fans when to cheer at Mosaic? I found that one to be odd. This isn't Calgary!
--A guy complained to me Sunday about too many ads on the Maxtron. Really? Is that the complaint of the week?
--With a playoff spot on the line, I really thought 40-thousand or more would be inside Mosaic. It was pointed out seven thousand more were in the building from past years when attendance was 28 and something which is true. However, the demand and the passion for Riders football is high so I thought 40-thousand would be a given. Perhaps I have underestimated the "fanaticism" of some who would rather stay at home than watch this team play live and soak in the game day experience especially when conditions aren't ideal.
--After the game, I asked Jim Hopson how much that game was worth to the football team seeing it clinches a home playoff game. His answer " A million dollars." I will always remember asking Rider marketing director Steve Mazurak how much the 13th man disaster cost the team in what would have been oodles of Grey Cup champions merchandise. His answer was over a million. That's the business of sports ladies and gentlemen, its about so much more than the wins and losses.
Other odds and ends
--Is that Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Grey Cup talk going to simmer down just a little after they were crushed by Troy Smith and the Alouettes? Hamilton is improving, but I still think Toronto is the class of the East and Scott Milanovich will bring his team here in November.
--I hope its not the end for Anthony Calvillo, but I fear it is. Part of me hopes Calvillo takes a page out of the book of the great Mariano Rivera. The Yankees closer thought about retiring last year until a season ending knee injury. He said that wasn't the way he wanted to go out. A healthy AC is what I want to see, but the pounding on Calvillo next year is much greater than the pounding Rivera took this year. We may have the seen the last of him.
--Are you as shocked as I to learn Kevin Glenn is 10th all time in CFL passing? That's not a shot at his ability either, but a compliment to his longevity. At what point do we start discussing Glenn as a Hall of Famer once his CFL days are over.
--To think at one time, the Riders had Kevin Glenn, Henry Burris and Nealon Greene as their quarterbacks and it was decided Nealon should be number one. If that isn't one of the all-time OOPS in Rider history, I don't know what is.
--I know I've bitched about CFL officiating before, but its getting worse and no one seemingly cares. Pass interference calls in this league are sketchy at best sometimes and now roughing the passer calls are getting into that chintzy stage while others that should be called are not. Max Hall had a legitimate beef at the end of the Bombers-Argos game when a guy did to him what Carlos Thomas did to Mike Reilly a week earlier. By the way, it was the same crew doing that game that did the Rider game where Thomas was penalized. Consistency---can we try to have at least some. It really does downgrade a great product. I wonder if Marc Cohon phones Tom Higgins up on Mondays and goes WTH??
--Speaking of Cohon, if you were listening to Rod Pedersen and I chat before the game on Saturday during "Rider Nation Game Day", Rod wondered aloud how the Commish must be feeling knowing there hasn't been a lot of exciting games lately. None of the four this weekend could be entered in that "classic" category. There haven't been a lot of right down to the wire games this year that have been good football games. The CFL needs that stay in your seat until the last second feel again. Its one of the things that makes the game great.
--I'll be looking for TV numbers on Saturday. How did the Riders-Lions compare with the Saturday night HNIC game between the Leafs who were in Chicago. Canada's team goes up against the Leafs on the road on a Saturday night. Hmmmmmmm!!!
--I wonder how Blue Jays fans feel about John Farrell being in the World Series. This blogger isn't crazy about the Cardinals being in the World Series because I am a Cubs fan, but at least it means Carlos Marmol won't get a World Series ring.
--Mason Raymond has more goals than the Sedins combined. As much as I hate to say it, the pickup by the Leafs on Raymond was a great one.
--What are the Oilers going to do with Mark Arcobello when they get healthy at forward and Sam Gagner returns? Then again, with Taylor Hall suffering a possible knee injury Saturday in Ottawa, they may have more time to think about it.
--The NHL will never see another defenceman like Scott Stevens because the game has changed somewhat when it comes to hitting. I have to ask though if the game will ever see someone as dominant on the blueline as Chris Pronger again.
--Congratulations to Scott McAuley and the Regina Thunder. They have advanced to the PFC Final in Saskatoon next weekend. Three words---BEAT THE HILLTOPS! You did it once in Saskatoon, you can do it again!
--How about those Regina Pats! Six straight wins! When was the last time a Pats team rattled off six victories in a row? They will try to make it 7 when Prince Albert comes to town Wednesday.
--The Kansas City Chiefs are the last team in the NFL to lose a game this year. Who had that at the start of the year? What were the odds on that in Vegas?
--Sunday night could not have been an easy one on Peyton Manning. Former Rider Jerrell Freeman and Robert Nathis didn't make it any easier.
--The Indianapolis Colts have now beaten the Seahawks, 49ers and Broncos this year. I would not be surprised to see them in the Super Bowl, but realistically I think they need at least one more year.
--The Rider game meant I missed what I hear was a spectacular UFC PPV on Saturday night. I was told the heavyweight battle between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos was unbelievable and that a fight of the year candidate match occurred when Diego Sanchez took on Gilbert Melendez.
--Someone needs to prevent Alabama from playing in the BCS National Championship football game. I am tired of Nick Saban and the Tide. I'd love to see Oregon against Florida State.
--I'm not lazy, I just enjoy doing nothing.
HAVE A GOOD WEEK!!!