Without the provision that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have high-level hijinks planned, the 2019 Grey Cup banner-raising can’t be ruined for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Ticats all-star playmaker Bralon Addison said “it would be sweet to spoil” the reigning CFL champions celebration in Week 1. However, the statement will not become bulletin board material for head coach Mike O’Shea and his team.
“That would never happen, I don’t post anything about any other team,” O’Shea said.
“The fact of the matter is, which is interesting, I don’t know how you can spoil it. The banner is going to be dropped regardless. Unless they’re planning on climbing to the roof and somehow sabotaging the rope system, I don’t know how that happens.”
O’Shea talks with players upon arrival in the Manitoba capital and provides guidance on how to deal with the media trying to elicit juicy quotes that could provide extra motivation for the opposition. As the bench boss, O’Shea wants to be aware of everything that’s going on surrounding the game which could possibly have an impact on the outcome.
“Just to educate the players. They’re grown men, we can’t control what they do outside of the building or on their own devices. I don’t know that social media or media has ever allowed a team to win a game,” O’Shea said.
“We focus on what’s important to us to help us win games, and that wouldn’t be one of them.”
The province of Manitoba has signed off on the Blue and Gold hosting a full stadium and only vaccinated fans will be allowed to attend. The Bombers are expecting a sellout crowd of 33,000 fans for the special occasion when the CFL title banner is unveiled Thursday, August 5 to kick-off the 2021 season.
“I would expect that. When else would you do it? Week 2? Week 3? That doesn’t make any sense, you do it opening week. They earned that last season, it’s a celebration for them and it’s no added motivation,” Ticats head coach Orlondo Steinauer said.
“The fans are going to have their celebration and see the banner revealed, they’re going to be enjoying it from the get-go. The energy in the building will be very electric, it’ll be exciting for all the players in the CFL to get back out on the field and get to play again,” O’Shea said.
Winnipeg upset heavily favoured Hamilton 33-12 in the 107th Grey Cup. It’s a title game rematch and the first CFL action to take place since the two teams played at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on November 24, 2019.
“The overall emotional level across the league amongst all the players, coaches, staff and fans will be at an all-time high,” O’Shea said. “Everybody has missed the game terribly. I’m excited for that first opportunity and be the first game of the year and I’m excited that we get to play Hamilton.”