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By the Book

by Archives November 22, 2006

Just like every week, I was looking around for something to be upset at for this column. This week, I didn’t have to look far. With the Montreal Alouettes losing in the Grey Cup (again), the media and fans had a field day placing blame. The same media and fans who thought, for the entire week, that the Alouettes were getting the short end of the stick in people predicting who would win the game. They went into the game as heavy underdogs, lost a game that should have been closer than the score indicated and the media and fans are angry?

Don’t get me wrong, I am an Alouettes fan and I was upset when Robert Edwards fumbled the ball on the one-yard-line and Jim Popp didn’t challenge. I was upset when they came out flat. And I was upset when the final seconds ticked off the clock. But who did I blame? No one. B.C. is and was the best team in the CFL all season and it was conventional wisdom that whoever came out of the Eastern division would be heavy, heavy underdogs if B.C. made it to the Grey Cup. Yes, it hurts to have made the game close, but it has nothing to do with Anthony Calvillo not coming out to play in the big game. What kind of statement is that? On Sunday he became the leading passer in Grey Cup history. Ben Cahoon became the leading receiver in Grey Cup history. I think that the Alouettes’ four losses in five Grey Cups can be pinned on other people, little things that people don’t necessarily pick up on. Or, they just got beat.

Let’s compare the Alouettes to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills who lost four straight Super Bowls. Their quarterback, Jim Kelly, is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, like Calvillo in the CFL. Kelly is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Calvillo will be a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame when he decides to retire. What’s the big difference? Calvillo actually won a Grey Cup. And he is under much more scrutiny than Kelly ever was.

Popp said yesterday in The Gazette that Calvillo would be back next year. Perfect. Because right now he is the best chance Montreal has to win another Grey Cup. So these people calling for his head now, will be praising him next November.

Book deals for everyone

Thank goodness O.J. Simpson’s book deal was taken away. Imagine the possibilities of having a “If I did it…” series of books. For instance, I could write one saying “If I won the Stanley Cup, while scoring the winning goal in overtime of Game 7”. Or, Pete Rose can have one saying “If I didn’t bet on baseball.” And finally, Rejean Houle can write one called “If I had traded the best goalie in NHL history in the prime of his career for a bunch of has-beens and never-will-bes.” Oh wait. he actually did do that.

College football craziness

What I would have given to be one of the 105,708 in attendance at the Horseshoe on Saturday. Witnessing the greatest rivalry in Sports (Michigan-Ohio State) in one of the greatest football games I have ever seen. And, the most meaningful. College sports in the United States is bigger than NBA basketball, I would argue. College sports in the U.S. is bigger than NBA basketball in Canada (except in Toronto, I guess). Why don’t college sports get the same attention here? Why do we think that over 10,000 people at a Laval game is a good crowd when teams in the States routinely get close, or over 100,000 people. I am very interested in why 100,000 people show up to a college football game in the States, but Winnipeg just managed to sell-out 45,000 seats for the Grey Cup on Sunday.

But, back to the game, it was back-and-forth the entire way, and was just an unbelievable atmosphere, even through the TV. Add up the facts that the two teams were undefeated and were the best two teams in the country,and the fact that legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler died the night before the game, and you get something that will never be matched.

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