The biggest day on the CFL calendar has arrived and for the third straight year, the Riders had no chance at playing in the Grey Cup.
With the big game just around the corner, odds are pretty good you’re planning on watching. If you’re not, there’s a number of reasons why you should be interested in watching the Redblacks take on the Stampeders at BMO Field.
When it comes to sports, few things can rally a group of people like cheering against another team. There’s been no team more disliked in Riderville over the last number of years than the Calgary Stampeders. With that the saying “anyone but Calgary” has become a pretty strong sentiment among the fans of Green and White. So, if you don’t like the Stamps, you’ll want to watch to see if their dream season ends in defeat. If Calgary doesn’t close it out, few will talk about the team that went 15-2-1.
Maybe you don’t have any strong feelings about the Stampeders either way. Well, fret not, there’s someone for you to cheer against too: Henry Burris. Sure, the vitriol toward Burris has died over the years as it’s been a decade since Burris bolted from Saskatchewan to Calgary (and he actually had good reasons to do so, but anyway). Some still dislike Hank, for others, chanting “Henryyyyyyyyy” is something that is now just good fun. Whatever you think of Burris, he’s a reason to watch one way or the other.
Good ol’ Regina boy
Enough of the negative, there’s some guys in this game worth cheering for too. None of them have a greater connection to the area than Redblack defensive lineman Zack Evans. Evans grew up in Regina, played for Regina Thunder and won a Grey Cup with the Riders in 2013. After that, Evans was lost to Ottawa in the expansion draft and has since blossomed into a very effective starting Canadian interior lineman. Not only is Evans local, but he’s also simply a great guy who you can tell just loves to play the game whenever you talk to him about football. He deserves another ring.
Making a mess
He wasn’t here for very long, but running back Jerome Messam definitely left a good impression in Saskatchewan. The Ontario-born Messam still has plenty of fans in Riderville and the province still holds a place in the CFL’s leading rusher’s heart. Seeing Messam, who has had an up and down career finally pick up a Grey Cup ring would be a feel good story.
Roll the Dyce
After Richie Hall, there may not be another coach that has gone through as much in Saskatchewan over the last number of years than Redblacks special teams coordinator Bob Dyce. Dyce held a lot different jobs with the Riders and even gracefully gave up his offensive coordinator duties in 2013 for George Cortez before settling into a special teams role. Dyce was there for the team when they fired head coach Corey Chamblin, taking over as interim head coach of a disastrously bad football team when there probably wasn’t much to be gained by doing so. Dyce bled Green and White and is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet in the CFL. He deserves another title. Dyce also played a role in bringing in former Rider, and good guy, Tristan Jackson to Ottawa. Another guy who could use another ring.
If none of this is of interest to you, there’s always the snacks and beers. Who doesn’t love a reason to eat chips and crack open a few cold ones?