To borrow and rework a line from those sons of Saskatchewan The Northern Pikes, Sunday's Grey Cup final, wasn't the prettiest game you'll ever see, but that's probably ok with the residents of Riderville, no doubt still celebrating their 23-19 victory wherever they may call home.
Normally it's common belief (and usually fact) that the Canadian Championship is always more exciting and more watchable than its American counterpart, but perhaps this year the NFL won't have as much of a step to make to enthrall the masses.
Turnovers decided the 95th Grey Cup, as Ryan Dinwiddie the much discussed rookie quarterback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, committed three mortal football sins on Grey Cup Sunday, all of which ended up in the hands of Saskatchewan corner back James Johnson. For his three picks, Johnson was justifiably named the games most outstanding player.
Dinwiddie who was an unknown commodity heading into the championship, wasn't as terrible as many thought. While probably nervous he was doing a relatively decent job of filling in for the injured Kevin Glenn and if not for the miscues going deep, he very well may have been fitted for that Cinderella slipper at the end of the game.
As it turned out his final interception of the day, on a last gasp Bomber drive would seal the fate of the Blue for 2007, allowing the riders to run out the clock and set the party train in motion all the way back to Saskatchewan.
It was at times a tedious affair to watch, as drives would come to an abrupt end, passes would fly to unknown destinations and offensive plays and play makers stumbled out of the huddle. When the play was lacking on the field, fans were treated to the prospect of a challenge fest, where the Bombers challenged the ruling on a Rider challenge, something not allowed in the rules and provided for the same kind of entertainment that could be found in your average civil trial at your local court house. Football as if played by lawyers, we suspect it won't be something that ever takes off.
Once the flags were put away for awhile they got back to the on field action, where the Riders managed to win despite giving up three safeties, surely a record one would think. Spotting the Bombers six points, simply by not being able to move up the field. Their first half of football was more akin to the dark days of Riders football where defeat was there to grabbed from the jaws of victory.
If not for the hard working and hitting efforts of the Rider defence, Mr. Dinwiddie could very well have been the talking point for many a sports broadcast on Sunday night. However, he would eventually find himself under frequent attack from the Rider front four, who hurried and sacked him through out the game.
The Riders finally got untracked in their offensive game in the second half when Kerry Joseph found Andy Fantuz down field and the Rider receiver carried his tacklers to the end zone for the Riders six points. That sudden and uncommon burst of offensive prowess on this day by the Riders was good enough to claim the most outstanding Canadian award for the Chatham, Ontario resident.
It was enough of a spark to get the Rider faithful up on their feet and pondering the possibility of a parade route, though there would still be a few nail biting moments in the interim as the Bombers made their last gasp moves to try and steal away the Rider victory.
It was a defensive struggle for the most part, with full credit to a Bombers defense that managed to shut down the Riders for a fair portion of the game, allowing their offence to try and grab some points. They reduced the leagues outstanding player this yer to just plain normal status and probably caused a few moments of heartburn for the Rider Nation.
But in the end, next year country finally arrived for the legions of Green and White fans, who probably are still celebrating in every corner of the province and most of the others wherever Rider fans can be found.
It wasn't pretty, but they'll take it and in twenty years they'll probably list it with those other two Rider celebrations for the ages.
The Globe and Mail--Not exactly a classic
The Globe and Mail--Grey Cup goes Green
The Globe and Mail--Roughrider fans party like it's 1989
The Toronto Star--Is Grey Cup Austin's swan song?
The Toronto Star--Not a classic by any stretch.
Regina Leader Post--Riders win cup
Regina Leader Post--Riders give fans an unforgettable year
Regina Leader Post--Johnson steps up game and makes history
CBC Sports--Roughriders end Grey Cup drought
Canada.com--As Grey Cups go this one was a stinker
The Toronto Star--Dinwiddie ponders a lost opportunity
The Canadian Press--Bomber fans feeling blue after Saskatchewan's Grey Cup win
The Winnipeg Sun--Despite great effort, Bombers defence laments its inability to score
The Winnipeg Sun--Gave it his all
The Winnipeg Sun--Empty feeling
Winnipeg Free Press--Blue-green with envy
Winnipeg Free Press--Dinwiddie done in by picks
Winnipeg Free Press--Close but no cigar
And now, the new official theme song for Sasktachewans 2007 Grey Cup Victory...