As usual in the pre-season, there was little on the line when Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders opened their 2019 Canadian Football League exhibition schedule, but you may have had a hard time convincing the Dickenson brothers of that fact.
Dave Dickenson is the veteran coach of the Stampeders, coming off a Grey Cup title and leader of the team expected to be a strong contender again in 2019, while his older brother Craig was on the Roughriders sidelines as a head coach for the first time in his 24-year coaching career.
Caring the most, likely, were the parents of the Great Falls, Mont., Dickenson brothers, who were probably hoping for a tie game called on account of bad weather after a couple of overtimes.
No such luck for the rookie coach, whose Riders fell 37-1 to the Stampeders, who look poised to make it back-to-back Grey Cups. They were 27-16 winners over Ottawa Redblacks in last November’s CFL Classic.
Craig Dickenson has coached in a variety of professional levels, but had never been a head coach — until late January, when he was hired by the Riders after Chris Jones’s unexpected departure to the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns.
CFL teams start playing for real this week and there are a few interesting tidbits for fans to chew on. Longtime Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly took advantage of his free agency and signed with the B.C. Lions, and one of his favourite receiving targets will be the much-travelled Duron Carter. Now with his fourth CFL team, Carter and controversy seem to travel together but if he sticks to football, he can be one of the league’s best. Reilly to Carter could be one of the most exciting combos in the league this year.
In another CFL-related note, Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field will be the site Aug. 22 of an NFL pre-season game between Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders, who are playing their final season in California before moving to Las Vegas. The two teams tried to set up a game in Regina, but the Roughriders — who play at Mosaic Stadium where the field markings are sewn into the turf — nixed the proposal. Winnipeg consented to be the site, despite some pushback by some Winnipeg media members, who suggested it was a bad idea to be promoting a rival league. Still, the Bombers will make some a good deal of cash out of the deal and Winnipeg fans will get to see big names such as Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr. Tickets are going for as much as $350, however, so it will be interesting to see how many Canadian fans are willing to shell out that kind of dough for a game that will feature some big names, but no importance.
- Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Never thought we’d see the day when the final queue to summit Everest was longer than a restroom line at Wrigley.”
- Humourist Brad Dickson, on Twitter: “I saw an ad for a local business that promises to ‘treat you like family.’ So that means you'll ignore me until Thanksgiving then show up at my house drunk and start an argument because I refuse to loan you more money?”
- Comedy writer Jim Barach: “The New York Jets Le’Veon Bell says his “girlfriends” stole $500,000 of his jewelry. Although being a Jet, it’s pretty certain there were no rings missing.”
- Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: Tonya Harding won ‘Worst Cooks In America: Celebrity Edition.’ That is a shock. Tonya Harding is still considered a celebrity?”
- Headline at thekicker.com: “Giants Considering Anyone Who’s Ever Met Belichick For Head Coach”
- Whitney Cummings on Twitter (from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times): “Straight guys already have a pride parade — it’s called NASCAR.”
- Perry again: “If the Raptors win the Larry O’Brien Trophy, will Canada hold it hostage to get the Stanley Cup back?”
- Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Raptors guard Fred VanVleet might have lost a tooth colliding with Shaun Livingston. Canadian health care doesn’t cover dentist visits but just guessing VanVleet won’t ever have to pay for dental work in Toronto ever again.”
- Hough again: “The Patriots Super Bowl latest ring is the largest ever made. ‘I am shocked,’ said absolutely nobody.
- Patti Dawn Swansson in the River City Renegade, on the high price of tickets for the Packers-Raiders NFL pre-season game in Winnipeg: “We haven’t seen a ripoff like this in River City since the night Dave Hanson ripped the rug off Bobby Hull’s head.”
- Swansson again: “I’m not saying officiating in this spring’s Stanley Cup tournament has been all bad, but it’s not a good sign when the zebras skate onto the ice to the tune of I Go Blind by Hootie and the Blowfish.”
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