Milt Stegall is more than happy to eat crow following his erroneous guarantee that the Ottawa Redblacks would defeat the Montreal Alouettes this week.
The Hall of Fame receiver and CFL on TSN panellist made the prediction on Wednesday following the Alouettes’ second-half collapse against Edmonton in Week 6 but was proven wrong when Montreal held on to beat Ottawa 40-33 on Thursday night.
Addressing his error of TSN 690’s Melnick in the Afternoon, Stegall agreed to consume his avian punishment so long as certain conditions are met.
“As long as it’s seasoned well and as long as I get to sit there and I don’t have to look at Gary Stern’s face when I’m eating it, I don’t mind,” he laughed. “If I have to look at his face, I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold it in.”
Stern, the Alouettes’ outspoken owner, roundly criticized Stegall on Twitter for his guarantee. However, the long-time analyst stuck to his guns.
“I just felt Ottawa was due for a win. You look at their first five games, four of those five games they were right there. Some people thought they should have won at least two or three and I just said, okay, this is their opportunity,” Stegall said.
“At home, they’re playing a Montreal team who had a devastating loss the week before, this was their opportunity. Yeah, I know they had a young quarterback in Caleb Evans as the starter but I think I saw enough out of him where they could get it done.”
“Once again they found another way to lose and I always say there are no pretty losses, there are no ugly wins. You win or lose and right now they’ve found six ways to lose their first six games.”
Alouettes fans felt slighted that Stegall would so emphatically favour a winless team over their own, but he was quick to remind his critics that the Larks had yet to light the world on fire. Just one game removed from firing head coach Khari Jones and plagued by penalty issues, his take on Montreal was far from controversial.
“No disrespect to the Alouettes but you’re speaking of the Alouettes like they’ve been a powerhouse,” Stegall said defensively. “Yeah, the Redblacks didn’t have any victories, but Montreal only had how many victories going into that game? One. It wasn’t like they were expected just to go out there and just blow them out. They knew it was gonna be a difficult task.”
The Als accomplished that task with a dynamic offensive performance, as quarterback Trevor Harris threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns and backup Dominique Davis scored on a trio of short-yardage plunges. However, the Redblacks very nearly proved Stegall right before receiver Darvin Adams dropped a wide-open game-tying touchdown pass with seconds remaining.
As a former pass-catcher himself, Stegall could only shake his head.
“I’ve dropped a pass. I’ve never dropped a touchdown,” he promised.
“I guarantee you that young man has not slept a wink all night long. He’s thinking of that and the worst thing that can happen is he has to go look at the film, he has to answer the question, because that’s a catch you’re expected to make 10 out of 10 times. Not saying it’s easy, but you’re expected to make that catch.”
At least on that guarantee, Stegall is probably right. His previous mistake is unlikely to be forgotten in Montreal any time soon.