Top Ten Thoughts From The Labour Day Weekend That Was:

Well what a weekend it was in the world of sports!

Here’s my take from the weekend that was in no particular order!

10 – A decade in the making: Labour Day is almost becoming a guaranteed win for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Ten consecutive victories in their annual long weekend clash with Winnipeg is starting to become predictable. However, you do have to hand it to Winnipeg. When Quarterback Drew Willy fumbled the ball and left the game with an ankle injury I thought it was lights out for the Bombers. However, Willy hopped up from the training table and in doing so lifted the spirits of his entire team and forced the Riders to come from behind for the victory.

9 – Do the Bombers have a point? Reading a number of blogs and on-line thoughts from Bomber fans and there is a ton of animosity towards TSN for what they call biased coverage of the Labour Day Classic. From profiling John Chick to featuring Weston Dressler there definitely was a big slant towards the Riders. However, one has to expect it! Like it or not the Riders and their fans are the gas in the economic engine of the CFL. Big TV ratings, big merchandise sales and a big fan base that likes to fill other CFL stadiums. Long story short TSN has to cater to their audience as the southern Ontario market appears to be a bust.

8 – Dressler Back? Weston Dressler was used in a limited capacity in his return to the Rider roster on the weekend and was barely on the field offensively in the second half. That being said his mere presence gave the Green and White a boost. Now let’s see what happens when he is in the game plan.

7 – Getting their kicks? Last thought on the Roughriders and Rider Radio analyst Luc Mulinder hit the nail on the head when he said that the Riders need to address their kicking game if they want to get over the hump. With an injury to Josh Bartell, and two kicks returned for touchdowns in the last two games, and another makeable field goal miss the team needs to find a solution and quick as special teams can and will come back to haunt someone in the ultra-competitive west division as there is not much to choose from between all five teams.

6 – Here’s what’s wrong with the CFL! The Canadian Football League’s Defensive Pass Interference reviews are a joke. DPI is not black and white but rather grey and chalk full of interpretation. That is why there have been so few challenges upheld this season. Back to what’s wrong with the system and Winnipeg Head Coach Mike O’Shea had his challenge flag in hand and ready to be thrown prior to the snap on the final play of the game. The Hail Mary pass from Drew Willy drifted out of bounds but had it been a catchable ball O’Shea’s flag was going to be on the turf regardless of whether he saw pass interference or not. Yes, he was working the system but challenging a play because you can as opposed to because you see something is making the entire process a joke.

5 – Does Toronto deserve a CFL franchise? Reports out of the ‘Big Smoke’ indicate that Senator David Braley is hoisting anchor on his Eastern Franchise and is abandoning the ship of the Argonauts. The team is practicing all over the Greater Toronto area, the team has been sold not to pursue NFL cuts as they have no budget to sign them, front office staff is being let go at an alarming rate. I think it’s pretty clear that Toronto does not have enough support to prove they want a team so aside from the obvious marketing angle why does the CFL continue to allow them to have a franchise. If the Argonauts were to fold or move would it be the end of the league? I’m not so sure.

4 – A Double Double Thumbs up: The opening of Tim Horton’s Field was impressive. The facility that is only 70% complete looked good yesterday. Additionally, the enthusiasm from those in Steel Town was captivating. I will be the first to admit that opening a facility that isn’t finished and playing in an 8,000 seat very temporary facility was embarrassing. However, TSN nailed it when they drew up the analogy that the Tiger-Cats shouldn’t be punished the way they are as there are like a new condo owner. They had been promised a move in date that the contractor didn’t deliver on. It happens every day just not with the media attention that a professional franchise attracts.

3 – Ready to hit the turf! Speaking of new homes the Saskatoon Hilltops are set to hit the turf and open the new look Gordie Howe Bowl! The turf is in and last minute details are being taken care of to ensure that everything is ready for the facility’s kick-off Saturday afternoon at 1pm as the Regina Thunder will provide the first opposition for the Toppers at Saskatoon Minor Football Field.

2 – Credit Where It Is Due! I will be the first to admit that the lack of media information from the Prairie Football Conference and Canadian Junior Football League is deafening! Yes, I have ragged on the loop since they decided it was in their best interest to remove a dedicated media person from the PFC. However, full marks to the Saskatoon Hilltops for getting their ducks in a row and sending out media notifications to let us better promote their products. Thumbs up boys.

1 – On Ice? I understand why WHL teams open their training camps prior to the Labour Day weekend. I get that families and players need to figure out where they are going to attend High School for the coming season. However, starting with pre-season games on August 26th I don’t understand it. Go through your camps have your numbers down to 27 or 28 by the end of the long weekend and open the exhibition season the second week in September. That allows for people to get back into routine from the summer and become more engaged with your product not to mention the players that are burning out at Christmas.


One Response to Top Ten Thoughts From The Labour Day Weekend That Was:

  1. doug wilson says:

    CFL kickers ,, yes the Riders do seem to have issues with consitancey of field goals, BUT, man, have they enlarged the width of the uprights. I said last year, you put $10,000.00 dollars on a table and give every CFL kicker 3 tries to hit the uprights twice , bet they couldn’t do it. It seems that every CFL kicker has hit the post at least once this year, is this a unusual stat ?? Sure hope Bartell will be good to go this eeek in Wpg.

    doug w

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