Jason Maas’ inexplicable decision costs Esks Grey Cup chance

As in-game decisions go, this was a head scratcher.

With under two minutes remaining, trailing by seven and facing third-and-four at the Calgary 13-yard line with, Edmonton Eskimos head coach Jason Mass elected to kick a 20-yard field goal instead of going for it on third down.

The kick was good and cut the Calgary lead to 32-28 but the Eskimos still needed a touchdown to win the game.

Calgary registered one first down, then kicked it back to Edmonton with less than 20 seconds remaining on the clock. The Eskimos fumbled the ball away and quarterback Mike Reilly never saw the field again.

Maas’ decision was quickly savaged on Twitter.




Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1570 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

77 Comments on Jason Maas’ inexplicable decision costs Esks Grey Cup chance

  1. Well, if fans across the league can joke that the Riders can’t count to 13 we can now respond that at least we can count to 7

  2. Three bad decisions by Maas… surrendering a single to make it a 7 point game… followed by FG at 3rd and 4 followed by not trying an onside kick…

    Guess his name should be DumbMaas… 😉

  3. True green // November 19, 2017 at 8:04 pm //

    Donkey, After a Season of banter that sometimes leaned toward despise and near hatred I want to be the first to say your Stamps didn’t choke. Congrats to your team they played like the champions that I hope they become next week.

    Now one beef to pick because there is no chance I can make a full post without arguing with you about something. Edmonton played a great game and I am sure you will not say they choked right? So why are you/will you/ have you been spewing hate saying the Riders choked? Both finals were 4 point games that came down to the final plays, even more so in the eastern game. And you know the Clothesline on Glenn should have been called. Riders were not the best team and did not deserve the win, but the refs and the awful cfl upstairs turds sure gave us a disadvantage with a few calls.

    Good luck next week. Go West!!

    • Yes, that definitely should have been roughing the passer. Guess the command centre wanted to see the Argos in the Grey Cup. I feel for you Rider fans.

  4. Esks lost because they couldn’t stop the run, its been that way all year long. What multiplied that problem was receivers kept dropping balls. So in the end we had to rely on going for good yardage on 3rd down, Stamps are to good of a team for that. 3 weeks ago I said the Stamps would be a dangerous team as a underdog, and sure enough that proved to be correct. Good luck to both teams.

  5. Hey – EE # 41 , time to retire

  6. TeeBone_EE_fan // November 19, 2017 at 8:25 pm //

    Damn JM… “Come On Man!”

  7. Feeling Blue // November 19, 2017 at 8:25 pm //

    What was he thinking??????

  8. Listen would you guys get off Maas, the players need to make plays and the Game never comes down to one play or decision.Yours Truly Kent Austin

    • You have to be kidding my with this comment. The players are killing themselves on the field to win the game and the coach is the guy that has to be sure he is making decisions to put the team in the best position to win. Conceding the point on the missed Calgary field goal attempt and then kicking field on the 18 yard line was the most asinine decision a coach could have made under the circumstances.

      Coupled with his child like tirades on the sidelines throughout the season makes me embarrassed to be an Edmonton Eskimos fan.

  9. Rod Pederson reports seeing an Alien whispering in Jason’s ear just before he decided to kick and he would know , he’s been abducted by them. The conspiracy continues

  10. He covered the spread …cough cough

  11. Was the Alien – Rod Black ?

  12. This makes all of Kent Austin’s dumb calls this season in Hamilton pale by comparison. I feel so badly for the wonderful fans in Edmonton.

    • Perhaps you are right…or maybe we’ll just call these two “dumb” and “dumber”. Poor Chick and Gable…they must have both covered their heads in a towel and thought it was “Groundhog Day” all over again.

  13. Too bad Mike Reilly didn’t rebel and say we’re going for the touchdown!He is a good soldier no doubt(Mike).

  14. Coach – OUTSTANDING comment

  15. Good point Cico kid. No idea why the coaches wouldn’t have strongly questioned this call and asked Maas: “What the heck are you thinking!”

    If they were afraid to speak up in such a critical time, then the Eskies have bigger problems than losing this game.

  16. The last mentions the possibility that Maas lost track of the score. So if that’s the case, I wonder if this isn’t where his “volatile” personality works against him.

    If you’re a player on the sideline, or one of the assistant coaches, and that call makes absolutely no sense to you, do you hesitate to say to Maas “You know we’re down by seven, right?” with the way he flies off the handle? Doesn’t strike me as the type to invite feedback like that.

    • Collaros strongly wanted to go for a first down when Austin said a field goal.Austin then reversed his decision allowing Zach’s protest to go ahead for the first down.Time:this season.

  17. greenenvy? // November 19, 2017 at 8:57 pm //

    I’m not sure what Rider fans are laughing about. After all the grief given to Stampland, his team is in the Cup. The Riders are once again in next year country & making excuses. That Jones defence crapped the bed in the final 2 minutes. Choke. The Jones camp for next year start next week. Bye bye. Bye Bye. See ya.

    • RJ Johnson Jr // November 19, 2017 at 9:38 pm //

      Whatever. But I do have one question. Why in the world is there a trailer park in the one end zone of The Calgary stadium? Just wondering.

    • The fact that Jones could decide who his QB was a deciding factor in the game, like a kid in the candy store, eyes wide open, just like last year. And Rider fans refer to this as brilliant coaching.

  18. Definitely a strange decision, as was the decision to kick the ball deep on the ensuing kick off. After they kicked the FG, I for sure thought that they would try the onside kick to get the ball back right away, but did not happen. Stamps won because of their ground game and a defence that bent a lot, but did not break. Should be a good Grey Cup.

  19. Dundas dude // November 19, 2017 at 10:19 pm //

    Is it possible the wind would have made kicking the convert a longshot? I mean, are we missing something here? If they score 6 though, and the convert is iffy, wouldn’t one go for the two point convert instead then? Makes little sense to not go on third down in that situation. Gonna be a classic Grey Cup, both games were very entertaining today. The CFL had a great day and all 4 teams gave it everything they had…well done.

  20. Jason Maas coaching decision??? Feild goal???
    “Point Spread”
    What other reason could there be???

  21. DoubleBlue1873 // November 19, 2017 at 11:06 pm //

    Can we please stop referring to the phantom “clothesline” on Glenn? Butler clearly let up, never made contact with Glenn’s head and Glenn fell backwards, embellishing it a bit to try to draw a flag. There was no intent to injure and the contact wasn’t late. I know some Rider fans want to believe there’s some sort of conspiracy, but the correct (non-)call was made.

    I was watching the game with my buddy from Regina (biggest Rider fan you will ever meet) and we both agreed there was no penalty. There was a later roughing penalty against Saskatchewan that we both felt shouldn’t have been called. Overall, though, the officiating was reasonably good. The game was close enough that either team could have won, but the Argos just played a little bit better.

    Inexplicable decision by Maas. I feel for Esks fans on that one. Congrats to the Stamps.

  22. Coaches and players make mistakes. Jason Maas made a career ending mistake. His temperment, arrogance and decision making process proves he is unprofessional and incompetent. He can’t even admit his mistakes. Anyone who backed that decision is simply not qualified to coach period.

  23. I found Maas`decision to go for the FG instead of the TD truly a head-scratcher. Why not go for the tie and give themselves a chance to keep playing in OT. Going for the major score would have taken more time off the clock and a trying a 2 point convert would have given them a 1 point lead. It still shows confidence in your D that they can stop the Stamps and get the ball back so they can run out the clock. I have to feel badly for the players who worked so hard to get back into the game only to have a coaching decision pretty much take it away from them. That being said, there were other opportunities to win the game and the *butter-fingers* of the receivers earlier in the game sure did not help. Calgary definitely played a good game though and seemed to get back to form after a slow start. Next week’s Grey Cup game should be a good, entertaining one, and I expect a close, low-scoring game, given the strength of both defences.

  24. That decision was all most as bad as Jones’s decision
    to pass on their opponents one yard line when they were 3nd and one with minutes left. They failed of course,
    and lost the game. But continued to execute that play
    two more times with failure.

  25. Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is a calculator. Signed: Jason Maas.

  26. greenenvy? // November 20, 2017 at 3:08 am //

    Dear Santa. All I want for Christmas is a stop in the last minute. Oh, & a QB. Signed Chris Jones.

    • Ha! You think YOU have a “bend and break” defence my @greenenvy? friend…try watching the Tiger Cats this season…and the one before…and the one before…and…

    • As for QB…I’ll give you Collaros and his over paid contract for a bag of footballs…hell I’ll even throw Austin in there to get that “you can’t go home again” theme going.

  27. Maybe Mass’s next assistant will be a math tutor if he really did think it was a six point spread LOL.

  28. Don’t look for his explanation on this site. The math questions are too hard.

  29. Everyone makes mistakes but I really think he needs to man up and admit it.
    To me he just looks like an idiot for sticking to his story of trying to get the stop and get the ball back. Even if they missed getting the TD, they could have got a first down. They were on the 13. If they can’t make that, how can they drive the field with less time. Even if they failed to get the first down, they could have pinned calgary deeper, made the stop and had even more time.
    Sure, it could ave worked. Calgary could have fumbled the kickoff after the FG (assuming they wanted a kickoff), they could have got the stop (using up more time however) but the percentages were against them and not for them. My guess is he either thought it was a 6 point spread or he really thought getting the ball back with less time and further to go was a GOOD thing. Either way, it was a mistake. Man up, admit it and move on just as the players have to if they miss a tackle, a throw, etc. Trust me, people will respect you for it. Right now, they are laughing and have no respect. The longer tu stick to your story, the harder it will be to man up with the truth. If you stick to your story, I hope they sign you to a contract extension. It’ll be one less team for me to worry about next year.

  30. He cannot admit that……his explanation (as stupid as it is)is the only one that may not get him fired.

    Can you imagine him saying oh I thought it was a 6 point game so thought I would kick 1 field goal to maybe have another chance to kick another one to tie. What?

    This decision went unchallenged along the sidelines …….which points to a big coaching leadership problem.

    Nothing adds up here except if he wanted to cover a spread or that he was brain dead and his staff are afraid to question his decisions. He can’t admit to either.

  31. He HAS to admit it. One cannot make that mistake twice, if he thought the spread was 6 instead of 7. You call him an idiot and move on. Sticking to his story is more grounds to terminate him because it shows he does not understand the game. I can handle a mistake but I could not let a guy steer the ship if he did not know how it worked.
    You do not fire a guy for making ONE mistake, you fire him if he has no clue about the job.

  32. I have never been a Jason Maas fan. I applauded his standing up to the media in microphonegate but have questioned his ability to coach a professional sports team from the getgo. The credit for all his successes belongs to his assistants who have kept this team going in spite of adversity, not the least of which was his lack of imagination and football smarts. The only thing he has going for him is that he’s not Danny Macciocha . . . although I hear he stays in touch with the previous Edmonton coaching disaster. Hell, he might have been on the phone with Danny when he called for the field goal unit..

  33. I agree with the last post…he never struck me as coaching material.

    About admitting the mistake…would you fire someone who said they believed in the team ability to come back or someone who said

    1) I did not know what the score was (my bad)
    2) Nobody questioned my decision because I am a hostile and intolerant coach
    3) so I decided to kick a field goal because we were down 6 in the hopes we could get another chance to kick another one to tie the game even though opur best chance toi tie or win is to go for it. (wtf?)

    I have been a close observer of this game for 45 years and I can tell you that I spent the last 2 minutes watching it with my jaw to dropped to my chest and my arms stretched out wanting an answer from the heavens. Unbelievable!

    You fired………

  34. “would you fire someone who said they believed in the team ability to come back or someone who said,”

    Yes, if he said it when it was a HIGHLY UNLIKELY event (in combination with other bad decisions such as smashing headset during a game etc) and demonstrated his lack understanding his job. We ALL make mistakes when we do our jobs. But not understanding our job and being incompetent at it…Well that is worse than one error. Yes it would be embarrassing, yes it may show a lack of being ‘with it’ at that moment but in the end, you have to respect a person who makes a mistake and is big enough to admit it. To stick to a lame story is like a kid trying to stay out of trouble when everyone else knows he did it. Don’t know about the rest of you but I have zero respect for him. NEVER want to see him on my team.

  35. “would you fire someone who said they believed in the team ability to come back or someone who said,”

    Also, asking that is like asking, “Would you rather have a coach who doesn’t care?” after he smashed a headset and used his passion for the game as his lame excuse.

  36. Lets be clear….Maas is lying through his teeth. He knew it was an absolutely stupid call that nobody who knows the game would ever consider. I get that……either he is too dumb to coach or there was another issue (spread) at play. Either way he should never coach again. That’s not just a dropped pass..its beyond comprehension.

  37. I agree that he should just man up and say he lost track of the point difference. Standing by this decision, no matter how noble it appears in his “trust for the team” makes no sense whatsoever. It shows incompetence either way, but much worse the way he justified it. If they try on 3rd down and make it, you tie or win most likely. If they fail on third down:

    a) Stamps are hemmed in at their own 14.
    b) No time lost off the clock for two kicks (three including the field goal) and two returns. One kick only if you stop the stamps.
    c) if you hold them like you said they could, you get back far better field position.

    But instead, he sticks to his story that he “believed in the team” and was going for the win. Guess what, if you believed in your team, you would have believed they could make 4 yards in one play, punch it into the end zone and then you’d believe they could make the two point conversion.

    Fact is, his decision proved he didn’t believe in them at all. He thought they wouldn’t make it, so he figured he could get two field goals to tie the game. How you could think the Esks could stop the running game for zero first downs when they couldn’t stop the rush all day is baffling. Even if he thought the score was 6 point lead, the better play would STILL have been to go for the 3rd down try, rather than give the ball back to them.

    He can say whatever he wants. It was a bonehead call and I’ll never believe for one second that he didn’t lose track of the score. He did 100%.

    One final thought… ironic that to post on here you have to answer a math question, don’t you think?

  38. Just stumbled across this on another website. This has got to be the worst google translate/un-translate ever…of Maas’ statements after the game. Starts off not bad, then goes downhill fast, lol!!!

    “There was a minute and something left on the clock when we decided to kick the field goal. I figured we had a time out. Our defence gets a stop. We’d have a minute to go down and score a touchdown and beat them. That was the mindset,” Maas stated. “It didn’t end up that approach. You at all times look again with hindsight about whether or not you made the appropriate decision or not. I’ll follow my perception.

    “I’ve perception in my entire soccer workforce that the defence was going to get the cease and particular groups was going to get the cease and that the offence was going to go down and rating. Ultimately it didn’t end up that approach.

    “When it doesn’t work, in the end there are inquiries to be requested and there are penalties when it comes to you might lose the ball recreation. It turned out that was the case.

    “Do I remorse the decision? I don’t. Will I look again on it and surprise? Maybe. But I received’t ever remorse it as a result of I think about our soccer workforce. That’s what it was. It was a religion in our soccer workforce decision.”

  39. Saynotoapathy // November 20, 2017 at 6:35 pm //

    Okay people there are clips online where Jason Mass explains what he was thinking.
    What he planned was possible but highly improbable and IMO they’re was not enough time left to execute his plan which was:
    Kick a field goal, get the ball back from Calgary as quickly as possible, drive the field and score the WINNING TD in regulation.
    It’s rediculous. Should have gone for it on third and four.

    • The strange part for me is why one would believe that four yards for the first down or thirteen for the TD was too far while driving a longer field under time pressure was the better choice.

  40. I think he should have stuck to the offensive coordinator job he had last year, he did a good job in Ottawa,(not sure how much Rick Campbell had to reign him in though)! His temper was not apparent last year, guess the pressure of being a head coach got to him. Definitely a bonehead decision for any coach let alone a head coach.

  41. Vegas line on the game..Edmonton +5….think about that ????

  42. pantsonfire // November 20, 2017 at 10:48 pm //

    Why should he man up? Bonehead call for sure but if he thought it was the right thing at the time then, stupid decision, but it is what it is. As far as the idiots calling for him to go or that he can’t coach, he’s a second year guy. His offences in Ottawa as OC & 2 years in Edmonton have topped the league 3 years running so the man knows how to coach. Did Jones apologize for not shaking hands with coaches his 1st year in Edmonton? Did he apologize for not allowing his players to take disadvantaged kids on rides for a day, as in prior years? Did he apologize for all the fines he incurred in Regina? Edmonton’s loss, Calgary’s gain. He’ll have to learn from it. You don’t have to look far for stupidity, starting with the conspiracy theories. There’s no lack of people who should man up to that particular idiocy.

    • Line up a million coaches from high school to the bigs and present them with the context for that play call and I bet my life none of them would have opted to kick a field goal.

  43. Jones didn’t allow his players to take disable kids on rides during K-Days??? Wow. Bet that was a first in Eskimo history. First time I heard this. That is lower than a snakes belly.

  44. pantsonfire // November 21, 2017 at 1:10 am //

    Yes. It’s called Monday Morning Magic. For close to 40 years the Eskimos have taken a day to spend time at KDays with special needs children aged 3-12 on rides with them. Eskimo staff & cheerleaders also attend. The Eskimo team received an Ambassador Award for their work in this regard. In 2014, Jones’ 1st year, practice was more important than allowing his players to attend. The following year that was resolved as were other issues such as the hand shake he refused to do after games, not bringing the team on the field on 3 occasions till after the National anthem among other things. Again, it was Jones’ 1st year as a HC & the organization cleared up these issues going into year 2. Coaches make mistakes, do dumb things. It’s not unique to any one of them. Live & learn.

  45. pantsonfire // November 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm //

    A million, BC? You go find them & I’ll take that bet. I’m not disputing it was an idiotic call. You’re missing the point. I don’t think he needs to fess up to the masses for their pleasure. Nor should he be booted off the team. Pete Carroll & Dave Dickenson also incurred the wrath of fans for mistakes that may have cost their teams Championships. O’Shea has in successive years made questionnable decisions. Coaches overthink things. That includes Wally too. Maas learned a valuable lesson, hopefully he won’t repeat it.

    • Just to be clear POF, I am not one of them calling for his head for making a bad call. I just wish he’d admit it. Not for my sake (or any other fan’s either) but so that he has the trust of the players on the field when they need it most.

      If I did call for his head, it would be for his constant tirades, esp on national TV. What kind of message is he sending out? I think it puts the organization in a bad light.

  46. “As in-game decisions go, this was a head scratcher”, this sounds familiar, it must be a quote from his Ticat playing days.

  47. Coaches are trained to win games and Maas had no training in tying games so he relied on his training and went for the win.In his gut he should have settled for the tie leading perhaps to a win.

  48. greenonions // November 21, 2017 at 6:49 pm //

    We can all agree the call was questionnable. But with just under 2 minutes left in the game, does anyone think Calgary is going to run down the clock if the game is tied or are they going for the winning FG/single? The Esks are going to have to stop them anyway. Lots of time for Stamps to go for the win. It’s a calculated gamble. Had the defence held & not given up the 1st down, it might have been much different. You also don’t need the convert in the swirling wind. I think he should have gone for the tie but I can see his reasoning.

  49. Pants on fire…
    Re: “His offences in Ottawa as OC & 2 years in Edmonton have topped the league 3 years running so the man knows how to coach.

    I never said he was a lousy OC. I said he is not a HEAD coach. I said the same thing about Benevides. He is an excellent DC but I am not sold on him as a head man. They are different jobs and being good at one does not mean you will be good at the other. I think that point was demonstrated very clearly on Sunday afternoon.

  50. Very simply Maas DID NOT put his team in the BEST POSITION to win the game. The loss is on his regardless of never knowing what might of happened if they had gone for the TD to win the game. Any coach in that position would GIVE THE BALL back to the opposing team with so little time left.

  51. Chris Bickford // November 22, 2017 at 10:25 am //

    Maas….arrogant…never wrong…throws his co-workers under the bus on live national TV ….contrast his behaviour with a professional like Trestman or Buono….and now, he makes the dumbest error costing a trip to the championship, and he can’t even say, ‘hey, I was wrong, I made a mistake’ ….he still insists he made the right call and has no regrets….of course he has no regrets, he’s an arrogant, self-righteous jerk

    • greenrider89 // November 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm //

      You forgot the word, deceiving. Remember the TSN promo with the faulty headphones? At least Montreal remembered to properly use the headphones.

  52. If 3rd & 4 down 7 points , then (a) FG ( maybe 1 point if missed ) and down 4 maybe 6 or (b) 1st and goal on 9 ( FOR TIE ) , or (c)1st and 10 for stamps on 13. Both a and c need a 2 and out – BOTH!!! else lose. – I just don’t get the decision.
    But then I never got conceding the single to go down 7 , Esks had the wind in the 4th and the stamps would have way more pressure defending 6 points than 7 and that makes a huge difference.

  53. Wake up CFL!!! Maas was covering the spread!!!

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