Dave Dickenson wasn’t going to risk prying eyes ahead of the season’s biggest game.
Two days before they take on the Toronto Argonauts in the Grey Cup, the Calgary Stampeders chose to practise indoors at the University of Ottawa on Friday.
Dickenson was leery about the highrise apartment building that overlooks TD Place Stadium.
“The thinking is for me with those condo buildings right behind the stadium, I’m not comfortable knowing who’s going to be in those buildings,” the Stampeders head coach said.
“Nothing against Toronto actually. I think they’re very respectful,” Dickenson added. “But you just don’t know who’s there, and there’s enough information I think you can get from practice.
“It was just one of those things where we’ve been burned in the past, so we’d rather know who’s watching our practice.”
The Argos chose to practise at TD Place on Friday.
“Today we wanted to be outside and get a piece of the weather,” said Toronto head coach Marc Trestman.
A resident of the adjacent condo building, whose Twitter handle is @RedBlacksFan, tweeted a short clip of Toronto’s practice. He later tweeted: “Yes. I’ve been here two years. Never given away a play by any team. This was taken during the media time.”
The media is only permitted to shoot video for a brief period of each team’s practice. Both teams closed their practices to the media on Thursday.
The issue of spying is nothing new in the CFL. The legendary Don Matthews, who died in June at the age of 74, was accused in ’04 while coaching the Montreal Alouettes of videotaping opposing coaches signals on the sidelines.
Prior to the 2004 East Division final versus Toronto, he downplayed his reputation, saying “I have a passion for milk and cookies. I have a way more boring life than some of you might think.”
Earlier this season, the Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders closed their respective practices to unfamiliar fans ahead of a game at McMahon Stadium. Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell told reporters before the game in July that even the leaking of one signal could prove costly.
“Special teams is a big one. Especially trick plays,” Mitchell said. “That’s where a lot of fakes come from, a field goal, punt, things like that.”