Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Cody Fajardo is drawing comparisons to Darian Durant, the man who led the Riders to their 2013 Grey Cup championship, but not in a very flattering way.
Some nearly decade-old comments from Durant are drawing new attention in response to Fajardo’s post-game press conference following Friday night’s disappointing loss to the Edmonton Elks at Mosaic Stadium.
After fans made their displeasure known by booing the offence, the 30-year-old quarterback was clearly rattled at the podium and made no attempt to hide his disappointment.
“I’ll be honest, it wasn’t great when you hear your own fans booing you”, said Fajardo.
“Especially when you’re at home, we need a great energy and good crowd and I’m always going to give you guys the honest truth and it hurt. But we ended up scoring and gave (Rider fans) something to cheer about there at the end and unfortunately weren’t able to make it happen. But (this loss to Edmonton) was a tough one because I felt like a lot of people gave up on us.”
Some nine years earlier, Durant was questioned about being booed following a game that he and his Roughrider teammates won. Asked if it shook the team, he had a much different response.
“Not at all”, Durant told Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post on August 17, 2013, following a 24-21 victory over the Montreal Alouettes.
“The fans want perfection. I’ve been here eight years and I’ve been booed plenty of times. It’s nothing new. Of course, it’s nothing you want to hear but at the same time, you understand why. If you don’t want to hear it, just go out and make plays and give them something to cheer about.’’
The 2013 Roughriders were 6-1 at the time and would roll to a second-place finish in the West Division, capped by a Grey Cup win on their home field — their only championship won at old Taylor Field.
The 2022 Roughriders, on the other hand, are 6-8 in fourth place in the West and are beginning to see their grip on a playoff spot slip by virtue of five straight home losses.
Like 2013, the Roughriders will host the Grey Cup this year but the likelihood of any other similarities between that year’s juggernaut and this year’s disappointment is diminishing quickly. The comparison between the starting quarterbacks on those two teams also doesn’t appear to be flattering.
One of them, Darian Durant, is almost certainly a lock for the Plaza of Honour one day. The other, Cody Fajardo, has a long way to go before he’ll be considered for any such enshrinement.
It is unknown if Fajardo has ever spoken to Durant or reached out for his advice. If he had, all indications are Darian would’ve advised Cody to handle the boo-birds differently than he did on Friday night.