Riders feel no added pressure ahead of home Grey Cup in 2022, but prospect ‘definitely on players’ minds’

Photo courtesy: CFL

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will host the 109th Grey Cup on November 20, 2022 in Regina and the team is determined to be in attendance.

Of course, that statement is true every season and when asked if a home Grey Cup will add any extra motivation or pressure to the Riders next campaign, general manager Jeremy O’Day said recent playoff loss will be a far greater motivating factor.

“Not necessarily because the Grey Cup’s here, more so just how we finished the last two years. I think when you get so close and you’re a step away from going to the Grey Cup and then hopefully winning, that’s all the added pressure you need,” he said.

“I think it’s a good problem to have. We have expectations on what we’re trying to accomplish and we’ve been close the last two years, but not close enough.”

For two straight seasons, the Riders have battled their way to the West Final, only to come up just short against the rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers both times. The Bombers have gone on to win two-straight Grey Cups, rubbing considerable salt in the wound.

With quarterback Cody Fajardo at the helm, the Riders still feel like their window is now. While having a chance to get over the hump at home won’t provide extra pressure, O’Day won’t pretend players are oblivious to it.

“Does it add anything? I say the same thing every time we have a Grey Cup here, we do everything we can to win the season that we’re in, regardless of if the Grey Cup is here or it’s in Hamilton or wherever it is,” he said. “It seems like you guys like to talk about it and that’s fine. I can tell you that it definitely will be on the players’ minds.”

O’Day knows that from experience, having been assistant general manager of the club when the claimed the 101st Grey Cup over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013, the last time the Riders claimed a championship on home soil.

“When you think about the ideal situation, winning at home, it doesn’t get any better than that, as we saw that in 2013,” he admitted. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of anything that was as exciting as it was to win at home in your locker room.”

“I don’t know if there’s added pressure, but it’s definitely on guy’s minds.”