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By Ted Michaels, CFL Editor - Archive - Email
The good, the bad, the ugly
Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - Week 10 of the CFL season is in the books and with it came some things that made me smile, and some things that made me cringe.

The Good

For 99 years, the Grey Cup has been a symbol of Canadiana. It's a trophy that evokes passion everywhere it goes.

And, in this memorable year, it's going coast-to-coast-to-coast.

On Sunday, in Vancouver, the Grey Cup 100 Train Tour began an epic Canadian journey that will bring the iconic trophy and so much more to over 100 communities across Canada.

The specially retrofitted Grey Cup 100 train was unveiled at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver. After a six-hour Fan Celebration, it left the station to begin a 2,500-mile journey which concludes in Toronto at the end of November for the 100th Grey Cup Game and Festival.

Wrapped in famous images of previous Grey Cups, the 990-foot, 730-ton train includes a high tech car that beautifully showcases the trophy and gives fans the opportunity to have their photo taken with the Cup. They'll be able to experience the history surrounding the game through videos and touch screens that link them to great plays, team photos, programs and even ticket stubs from past Grey Cup games.

A museum car features everything from a bust of former Gov. General Earl Grey, who donated the Cup that bears his name back in 1909, to a jersey worn in the 1921 Grey Cup Game, to cleats worn in the 1962 Fog Bowl, to more than 18 Grey Cup rings that have been proudly worn by Grey Cup champions.

A team car captures the stories of the CFL teams that will compete for the Grey Cup: fans can tour a replica locker room, learn about their favorite players and see highlights of their team in action.

The Grey Cup 100 Train Tour will visit all eight CFL cities as well as Ottawa, the national capital and site of so much Canadian football history, Moncton and Halifax.

The trophy also will be transported to other cities and towns not directly accessible by rail, visiting schools, hospitals and community centers.?In all, the tour will encompass over 100 stops, including some places the Cup has never been before.

Much like the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, it promises to be unifying event.

The Bad

Also on Sunday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosted the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the second half of the Labor Day doubleheader. In their first meeting of the season Sept. 2, the Roughriders whacked the Bombers, 52-0, in the debut of Bombers interim head coach Tom Burke, who then promised to crack down on players who took stupid penalties.

So what happened in the second game?

In the third quarter, special teams player James Green took two penalties on a Winnipeg punt: no yards and unnecessary roughness.

Later in the same quarter, defensive lineman Kenny Mainor drove Rider quarterback Drew Willy back about 20 yards, then slammed him into the turf, several seconds after the whistle blew.

Mainor, too, received an unnecessary roughness penalty, which resulted in a 38- yard difference.

Both those penalties led to singles, and that made the difference in a 25-24 Riders win.

Green's explanation?

"Obviously, it's a disciplinary thing. I shouldn't have done it, we gave up the yards and obviously it hurt us in the end," he said.

Mainor's explanation?

"It was so loud in there (CanadInn Stadium), I just didn't hear the whistle at all," he said. "I had him and I was just hoping he was going to go down. He didn't want to go down. I guess I could have focused up and realized the play would have been dead. It was the right call."

To cap off the Bombers' day, Winnipeg led 23-22 with 55 seconds left in the game and the ball on the Rider 35. Burke elected to have punter Mike Renaud try to angle a punt into the coffin corner instead of trying a 43-yard field goal with the wind at his back.

Renaud's punt sailed through the end zone, making the score 24-22. Four plays later, Sandro DeAngelis kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Riders a 25-24 win.

"I'll be honest with you, in retrospect, I should have kicked the field goal," Burke said after the game.

"It was 43 yards with the wind, I should have just kicked it. I played it too conservative. Like I said, 'Well, surely we can (punt) the ball out of bounds inside the 10 ... since we didn't even get it within the 20 yards of the sideline, you gotta ... I'm really pretty (mad) about that. The way our defense was playing, I thought we'd hold in there ..."

The Ugly

After the loss, cornerback Brandon Stewart illustrated what no class looks like.

Right after the game, he encouraged his teammates not to talk to a reporter from the Winnipeg Sun who they felt was not too kind to them after the 52-0 loss.

He then got upset when reporters crowded around the locker of cornerback Jovon Johnson, which is next to his.

Finally, Stewart tried to have a reporter from another Winnipeg newspaper - the Winnipeg Free Press - tossed from the locker room.

Why? Because that reporter had suggested to the Blue Bombers' media relations staff that Stewart was making a bad situation worse, and perhaps he should be calmed down.

What a mess.

Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? ted@900chml.com


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