Finally….the 2015 CFL season gets underway tonight! And leading the charge towards the 103rd Grey Cup game is the Montreal Alouettes!
Tonight the Birds of Prey welcome the Ottawa RedBlacks into the nest to kick off the season. Last year, the Alouettes won the season series versus Ottawa, as Jonathan Crompton made his first official CFL start versus the RedBlacks. In fact, it was in Percival Molson Stadium versus Ottawa where the 2014 Alouettes turned around their 1-7 start to the season to return back on the road to respectability and almost to the Grey Cup.
After a less than admirable pre-season and with a new haircut, Crompton is looking to get back to the winning form that he showed last season. He has the starter’s job for the time being, but breathing down his neck is former Hamilton Tiger-Cat Dan Lefevour. He too is looking for redemption after tearing his ACL last year. His pre-season wasn’t a lot better, but many are convinced that JC is on a very short leash in regards to quarterbacking this team and that LeFevour will get his chance to lead should Crompton falter.
There is also talk of Head Coach Tom Higgins deploying a two quarterback system where they trade reps back and forth to keep the opposing defense guessing. All of the above scenarios are possible; it will all depend on what sort of success they will be having against Ottawa this evening, who themselves will be looking to prove that their 0-2 pre-season will not be a reflection of what their rabid fans can expect in 2015.
The RedBlacks made a number of changes of offense while still relying on wily QB veteran Henry Burris to lead them on the field. At 40 years of age, Burris knows that this is the time to cement his legacy in the CFL. He’s lead teams to the Grey Cup game numerous times and does have a ring to show for it. And as great as Smilin’ Hank feels still playing, he knows that he will not play forever. But if he can help lay down the groundwork for this Ottawa franchise to be successful long after he hangs up his cleats, that can be the greatest legacy Henry can leave behind for this young team.
That all said, don’t think Montreal’s vaunted defence is just going to simply allow Burris any chances to connect with his new receivers. If Burris is going to connect with any of his receivers, they will have to beat names like Mitchell White, Dominique Ellis, Jonathan Hefney and Billy Parker down the field. Not to mention Smilin’ Hank won’t be smiling much if Alan-Michael Cash, Corvey Irwin and John Bowman manage to get their mitts on him for a punishing QB sack. This Alouettes team is renowned for their defensive prowess and they will be looking to put on a clinic tonight for the world to see.
The world, you say? Yup, the league’s plan to make the CFL a global brand is taking a major step forward starting with this evening’s game.
In addition to being broadcast on TSN and RDS here in Canada, football fans south of the border will be able to watch this game on ESPN2. That’s not unusual, as ESPN 2 has been a partner of the CFL for a number of years and the American sports channel has always shown the games of this league in some way, shape or form. But now for the first time in history, football fans in Europe will be able to watch the Canadian Football League!
It was announced yesterday that a deal had been reached with BT Sport to become the exclusive broadcast partner for the CFL in Europe. They will be showing a number of CFL games in order to grow the brand globally. Fans in Europe are embracing American football at a tremendous rate; now is a perfect chance for those same fans in the United Kingdom to see the game that is so popular in their fellow commonwealth of Canada as well. The good folks of Ireland will get to see it as well!
With so many people watching around the world, you owe it to yourself to get to this evening’s game if you are in the Montreal area. And if you still haven’t gotten tickets to the game, your team and the league is willing to help you!
For the low price of only $30, you can get a great deal which includes your game ticket, access to the tailgate party, a commemorative t-shirt and so much more! Last year’s half-filled playoff game in Montreal had to be a wake-up call to this Alouettes organization for them to do better in promoting this game of ours, especially if it’s not sold out.
As much as this city loves a winning team, you still have to go out and sell it to the masses. By offering a cost-effective way to see the game and rewarding fans for it, you’ll be able to build that fan base you crave so badly. Offering this package to fans is a no-brainer; they’ll see their team in action at a reasonable price and the stadium gets packed to capacity. And with the potential of a worldwide television audience converging on Percival Molson Stadium this evening, is there any better way to put your best foot forward?
For more info and to purchase your own CFL Kickoff package to tonight’s game, click here. Remember to use the promo code CFL25 when prompted.
So that’ll do it for now. Fewer things in life bring me joy like going to the Montreal Alouettes home opener. Every year brings the hope that this will be the greatest season ever and this year is no exception. There’s been some drama in training camp and some very difficult changes had to be made. The goal of this Alouettes franchise in 2015 is to present its loyal fans with the best possible team to compete for the Grey Cup this November in Winnipeg.
From a blustery cold late May Sunday in Lennoxville to today’s sunny, hot evening in downtown Montreal, it’s finally time to play some real football. The Montreal Alouettes are ready to defend the nest; I hope like me, you fans are ready to take flight.
Enjoy the game tonight, regardless of where you watch it.
GO ALS GO!!!