Dirty Bird Blog: We Will All Be Witnesses

In my last blog, I said that the first tilt between the Roughriders & Alouettes would be an instant classic.

It sure was…despite a rabid crowd in Regina, the Alouettes fended off the Riders and Anthony Calvillo cemented his place in history by throwing 5 touchdown passes to tie Damon Allen for the most TD passes (394) in CFL history.  Brian Bratton caught 2 of those while Brandon Whitaker, S.J. Green and Tim Maypray all helped AC make history.

And this Friday AC will take the field in front of his fans, his friends and family and face not only the Toronto Argonauts, but the chance to make history yet again. While everyone is eagerly awaiting the all-time passing yards by a QB record to be surpassed later this year by Calvillo, his next TD pass will net him 395 for his illustrious 18 years & counting career.

He’s easily leap-frogged such names as Etcheverry, Patterson, Wade & Ham as the greatest Alouettes quarterback of all-time. To do what he has done despite all the off-field distractions he’s had to overcome is simply unheard of and something to marvel. Not taking anything away from him, but Damon Allen didn’t have to tend to his wife’s cancer or even battle cancer of his own while notching his records.  No one knows for sure when AC will hang his cleats up but when he does, his touchdown record will be one of many records that at one time were deemed unbeatable. I’m sure a lot of people thought Damon’s records were safe, but along came Calvillo and his consistent greatness.

So who will catch AC’s 395th pass? No matter who it is, his name will join Calvillo’s in history. Sadly, it won’t be Ben Cahoon even if he will be in-house to be celebrated by the Alouettes for HIS own tremendous career. Just doesn’t seem right that it’d be someone else, but that’s football for you. If I’m one of the youngsters in the receiving corps, I’m getting myself as wide open as possible.  This is their chance to take the torch from the Cahoon ghost and establish the new generation of Alouette superstars.

It should be a packed house at Percival Molson Stadium as everyone will be ready to watch Anthony Calvillo make history…again.  A lot of people were expecting the team to retire Ben Cahoon’s #86 on Friday as well, but that’s an event that truly deserves a full day and night to itself. Would it have been special to do it Friday, the same day that Calvillo would break the TD record? Maybe. But I think one would overshadow the other and quite frankly, both deserve better than that.

I think that the next jerseys to be retired will be Bryan Chiu’s #68, Cahoon’s #86 and if he ever does retire, Calvillo’s #13. But that deserves proper attention and if the former king of Canadiens retirement ceremonies (Alouettes president) Ray Lalonde has his say in it, each of those days will be the event it deserves to be. The visual of all 46 current players on the field wearing a jersey of the retired number in question during a proper pre-game ceremony is a much more deserving one than just a quick 2 minute photo-op. Give the fans a chance to prepare for it and get excited as well.

The earlier announcement of saluting Cahoon this Friday just felt very slapped together, like it was a desperate ploy to ensure a sold out game after the home opener’s failure to sell out left the team with egg on its face. Retiring Cahoon’s jersey so quickly would be a knee-jerk reaction that would reek of desperation. That said, I’m all for having Ben come out, wave to the fans as he receives a nice little token gift from the team as everyone screams out “CAAA-HOOOOOOONNNN!!” one more time. It’ll be yet another fond memory for us Alouettes fans.

Enjoy the game this Friday, whether you are in the stands in Montreal or on the couch watching on TV. As usual, I’ll be bringing the live tweets. On a personal note, I’m glad to say that you probably came to this column via a new web site address: dirtybirdblog.ca. Hopefully this will be a lot easier for everyone to remember.