Let The Game begin
98th Grey Cup could go down as one of the all- time greatest matchups
DMONTON It is Ali vs. Frazier, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs all wrapped up to make one spectacular matchup that should have every football fan in this country hanging on every snap.
Star power It is a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup. It’s a game with significant subplots and overflowing with star power.
And when the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Montreal Alouettes meet in the 98th Grey Cup game we can all only hope it delivers the same drama and thrills as every other meeting between these two squads over the last year or so, including last year’s championship that ended in dramatic fashion.
“ We just don’t want to feel like we did after the game,” said Rider receiver Andy Fantuz. “ It’s not about payback or revenge or anything like that. It’s a new season, new teams and we want to be champs. Montreal stands in our way. We don’t want to have that sick feeling like last year.”
The Als and Riders have many similarities, including a pass-first offensive philosophy and active and multiplelook defences.
That said, Montreal is cast in the role of greybeard champ clinging onto the belt for one more title defence — they want to become the first repeat champ since the Toronto Argonauts of 199697 — while the Riders are the rising contenders.
“ We’re the champs. Until somebody tells us different, that’s how we’re going to go out there and act, and that’s how we’re going to go out there and play,” said Alouette slotback Jamel Richardson on Saturday. “ We’re going to go out and try to capture this moment and make history.”
It’s been an interesting Grey Cup week, what with the Alouettes claiming a league bias toward the Riders and feeling like they’ve been dissed by anyone and everyone.
They’ll take the field in what should be a predominantly pro-Rider crowd at Commonwealth Stadium and then attempt to establish themselves as one of the greatest CFL teams in recent memory.
“ We got the away locker-room. We got the away hotel,” said running back Avon Cobourne “ And basically the media are acting like we didn’t win it last year. They’re acting like they ( Saskatchewan) lost it. Them acting like we didn’t win it is definitely something that’s going to make it a lot easier to get out here and give ( Saskatchewan) what they got last year.”
Both head coaches said Saturday they didn’t say anything profound to their charges after their final pre-game walk-through, nor will they be overly dramatic in their speeches before kickoff.
No need to, really. This is a matchup that needs no further hype.
“ In the last three games, we’ve become more physical, so I’ve talked with them about physical dominance,” said Rider boss Ken Miller. “ I said ‘ Regardless of what you’re doing today, if you’re laying down to take a nap, if you’re going to have a bite to eat, if you’re going to kiss your wife, think about mindset. Think about those things, mental toughness and physical dominance, that when we play tomorrow, those things come to the forefront.”’
Both teams wake up today Grey Cup contenders. Only one ends the day a champion.
Roughriders slotback Andy Fantuz will be all steamed up today when he takes the field at Commonwealth Stadium.