LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN - The Ottawa REDBLACKS are heading back to the Grey Cup looking to win what they couldn't last year, while the Calgary Stampeders look to successfully cap off one of the greatest seasons in the history of the CFL. That is what we have in front of us. It will be a true East-West Grey Cup thanks to the Ottawa win which some are saying preserves the Canadiana of the game itself. If that trumps having the two best teams play in the game, so be it. It doesn't matter to me if the Grey Cup is an East vs West battle, but there are others who feel it always has to be that way. The CFL walks that slippery slope by having a team crossover and one of these years, it will happen. Has this saved the week? The fans are what make Grey Cup week special and fans of many teams will descend on Toronto for what should be a party as it is any other year.
While the focus of the game should be on its combatants, it will likely fall on the game as a whole. 3Down Nation's Justin Dunk reported on the weekend TSN employees are getting free tickets to the game to make BMO Field look full as ticket sales have not been great. In fact, there is a lot of worry that the MLS Soccer game between Toronto and Montreal which will be played three days after the Grey Cup at the same venue will have more people. Yes, it would appear as if Major League Soccer has become more popular in Toronto and Montreal than the CFL and the same might be said for Vancouver.
The game needs help. I don't think that can be argued. The question is where do you start? There are so many different things which need to be done. The league can't stick its head in the sand and pretend problems don't exist. They have to acknowledge this and start correcting it immediately. Will Glen Johnson address the media this week? If he does, he can answer why someone in the command centre who has screwed up twice already this year was working the East final. How does that happen? What will the commissioner have to say? As I said, the goings-on away from the field may overshadow what will happen on the field in six days time.
THE LEGACY OF SMILIN HANK - Henry Burris can't have much time left. After he won the MOP last year, I truly thought if Ottawa had beaten Edmonton to win it all that Smilin Hank would go grinnin off into the sunset. I have to wonder if the same scenario happens here. Henry isn't getting any older. He has been in many Grey Cups, but his record has not been that great. Would a second title be what it takes for him to end his career or would he keep going? There is no arguing that Burris is one of the best ever to step onto a CFL field as his numbers are right up there and would be higher had it not been for his time in the NFL. The Rider Nation is still bitter over what happened years ago, and one can only wonder how history would have changed had Burris stayed in green. Say what you will about him, but he is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. I somehow think many in this province will be rooting for Burris over Bo Levi on Sunday.
MORE CONTENDERS PLEASE - The NFL is getting down to crunch time as we hit American Thanksgiving. As I watch another week of play, I am just left wondering if the Patriots will play Dallas or Seattle in the Super Bowl? Those three teams are just head and shoulders above everyone else now. I thought Kansas City might be able to challenge New England, but they lose at home to Tampa. There is no team in the AFC even close to Brady and company and while the gap between Dallas, Seattle and the rest of the NFC isn't as large, those two teams seem destined for the NFC Championship. If someone is going to stand up and challenge one of these three teams, I don't know who it is right now.
THE NEW KANE-TOEWS? - While listening to NHL Radio Saturday afternoon, the discussion was had about Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews and whether or not they are this decade's Patrick Kane-Jonathan Toews. While the numbers are similar, the teams are not. The Hawks were a good team when those guys broke into the league, the Leafs don't have that talent around them----at least not yet. The comparison is valid, but the overall picture is not. One can't deny though the Leafs are a better team and will be very good in the next couple of years thanks to these two along with William Nylander, Connor Brown and others coming through the system including Adam Brooks who I am told the Leafs love.
SURVIVOR SERIES STINKER - There are only 4 WWE PPV's that matter. Wrestlemania, Summerslam, the Royal Rumble and Survivor Series. The last of those 4 happened in Toronto with a "mega-match" between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg. Yes, the match was years too late as far as the careers of both go, but there was plenty of hype resulting in plenty of buys and a lot of interest. The entire PPV was one of the best the WWE had put on until the end when the main event lasted less than 3 minutes with Goldberg completely squashing Lesnar. ?????? What is it with Survivor Series held in Canada and bad finishes (Bret Hart-Montreal Screwjob). What a complete and total letdown! It won't deter wrestling fans from watching RAW and Smackdown, and I'm sure this is setting up something, but you can't give a match that much hype and then give us that. At least I didn't pay a god-awful amount for the event seeing I have the WWE network, but still.
That's all I got. Have a good week!