2006 CFL Championship Finals Review

Sunday the Grey Cup Finalists were decided with the playing of the CFL East and West Finals. Unfortunately, the games could not live up to the previous weekend. Overtime Central provides our notes and comments on the games and broadcast.

Week Coverage and Pre-Game Shows

Leading up to the games, the coverage was fairly average and basic all week. The CFL received very little play on shows like Off The Record, TSN‘s The Reporters and Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown. All networks and print coverage focused on the same few angles in their regular sports reporting, beating them to death. The CBC‘s Saturday and Sunday pre-game shows were average. Improved from last week in their flow and analysis, but they did not break any new ground.

2006 CFL East Final – Toronto at Montreal

  • The opening kick-off is actually missed; CBC cuts to live coverage from the Game Story with the ball in the air.
  • The building filled up in ten minutes, but only 33-34,000 expected? That is break even. Seems like the honeymoon is really over for the Alouettes in Montreal.
  • Armitage: “He’s got a man wide open.” well after the catch is made.
  • First turnover by Montreal – looks like Calvillo was pulling the ball out and lost the handle. The ball was falling to the ground by the time he saw Fletcher.
  • Flutie: I doubt any offence calls naked bootlegs Sally Ran (sic) anymore. Keep up with the jargon.
  • Final verdict: Replays have hurt the CFL. The 3rd quarter debacle better lead to some changes or the abolishing of the system (fat chance). The whistle ended the play and the Alouette player was never tackled, how could it be overturned? These plays were never the intent of the challenge system. No other sport allows reversals after the whistle to stand.

2006 CFL West Final – Saskatchewan at B.C.

  • The CFL/CBC cannot wait 60 seconds to kick off the West Final? They are already 15 minutes over, but we get the double screen instead and no wrap up of the East game.
  • Early chance for the ‘Riders after a turnover. Two more time count penalties. They were not prepared for the noise. Some running plays could have helped in this situation rather than trying to audible at the line.
  • Speaking of the noise, what ever happened to the rule for opposing teams facing crowd noise, allowing them to go back to the huddle? I do not remember the exact details, but it was brought in with the introduction of B.C. Place stadium. I believe in home field advantage, but certain cities have too great an advantage. A rule to balance this levels the field in a very disparate-teamed league.
  • Mark Lee asks “You gotta watch the football, right?” and receives silence. That is a great colour commentator partner.
  • There goes Walby and his unique interpretation of the rules. Last week the ball was live, he says, because the pitch was behind the line of scrimmage. First, I do not remember any such play, and second, does he know what the line of scrimmage is? Me thinks Walby needs to attend one of those Football 101 classes for women (no offence to women, but that is what they are).
  • Overheard before commercial: Walby – “Way to go guys, way to go.”
  • Lee: “You never want to question whether a player is injured or not.” So why did you just do it prior to that statement?
  • Walby rewrites history, saying Casey Printers started the Grey Cup 2 years ago but failed to get it done. History argues that Printers stayed on the bench the whole game, and coach Wally Buono was severely criticized for not replacing Dave Dickenson with Printers who had won the Most Outstanding Player award that year.
  • Ratings will be down for both games likely. Unfortunate that the West Final could not have been closer instead of total dominance in all facets by the Lions.

Post-Game Coverage

The CBC post-game coverage was very quick. Sports coverage was very limited and focused on stories not relating to the game like whether this was Damon Allen’s last game, Ricky Williams’ last game, whether Danny Barrett will be fired. There was no coverage of the CFL on the Monday Off The Record show or Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown. Receiving heavy coverage around the Argo loss were comments by Arland Bruce III regarding the officiating. Continuing with the theme all year, the CFL received reduced and less than positive coverage through the playoffs.

Overall Review

Despite the stakes in these games, the visiting teams came out flat. Toronto turned it around with the insertion of the more mobile Michael Bishop, and if the replay system was not implemented, it might have been closer without the Ricky Williams fumble, which was so close, it would be hard to call it a fumble watching in real-time.

In Vancouver, the ‘Riders were unprepared for a team that came ready to play. They showed no ability to be able to counter things like the crowd, a blitzing defence, or the B.C. rushing attack. This led to the game being over at half time. A late 3rd quarter spurt by the ‘Riders kept some loyalists glued to their sets, but for all purposes the game was over.

A B.C. – Montreal Grey Cup match will hopefully provide an exciting close championship contest and fans glued to their sets from Quebec and Vancouver and across the country. We will have our review of that match up next week.

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