Well it all comes down to this.
The 2011 CFL season is now a one game showdown for all the marbles between the B.C. Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers this Sunday at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
It's the way it should be, really. Both teams finished atop their respective divisions and now, truly, the best team will win.
Meanwhile our Roughriders will be watching the 99th Grey Cup from home. Having missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade, the players on Canada's Team have had a few weeks to decipher what went wrong. And if they know what it is, they're keeping it to themselves.
If misery loves company, then the Riders have a lot of it. The Alouettes, Stampeders and Argonauts all watched this past weekend's division finals on TV after participating in them one year ago. It should give us all hope for next year and so should Paul LaPolice's Bombers who one year ago, were a league-worst 4-14.
However this blogger cautions not to refer to this 5-13 season of 2011 as a blip on the screen. Not by a long shot. There were mistakes ... plenty of them. There was an arrogance wafting through the locker room that drifted its way onto the field. We were all guilty of it, so this is not to point fingers. However, it needs to be rectified.
Steps have already started to ensure the bounce-back begins in 2012. The ugly, and dysfunctional management structure has been cleaned up and everyone will answer to one man: GM Brendan Taman. And he now is in the process of finding a coach and re-signing players.
The first to re-sign is defensive tackle Keith Shologan who just completed his fourth season in Green and White. The Rochester, Alberta product dabbled with the notion of signing with his hometown Eskimos but realized if you're a CFL player, Saskatchewan is the place to be. Shologan also noted the move to put Taman in charge is a sign the club is back on track.
There is a moratorium on announcements not pertaining to the Grey Cup this week so you won't hear anything about player signings or a new coach with the Riders. However Taman plans to interview Argos assistant Mike O'Shea and Ti-Cats assistant Corey Chamblin this week for the job. Right now there appears to be no clear-cut favourite.
Slowly but surely things are turning around, and for the better. Richie Hall always says, "the sun will come up tomorrow" and I've always disliked it as we wallow in the shadows of failure, no matter how brief they are.
But lo and behold, it looks like he's right.
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