Canadian football fans, for the low low price of a single ticket to tomorrow’s game at Percival Molson Stadium, you have the chance to potentially witness history!
When the Montreal Alouettes take the field tomorrow to face the Calgary Stampeders, they will be looking for their first regular season win of 2015. The man who looks to be tasked with leading this Alouettes team to victory will be doing something that hasn’t been done since 1996, when this team returned to play in Montreal.
Mississauga, Ontario’s own Brandon Bridge has already made some history in his very short CFL career. Coming in last week after both Jonathan Crompton and Dan LeFevour were sidelined with injuries, Bridge became the first quarterback born in Canada to take a snap in a CFL game since Danny Brannigan did so for the Toronto Argonauts in 2010. Coincidentally, that also happened in Montreal’s Percival Molson Stadium.
Should Bridge get the call to start tomorrow’s game, he will be the first Canadian-born quarterback since Giulio Caravatta to officially start a CFL game. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 20 years since a Canadian has been given the chance to lead an offense onto the field. It’ll be a tall task when you consider that Bridge’s first start would be against the defending Grey Cup champion Stampeders, who posted a terrific 15-3 regular season record in 2014 and don’t appear to be slowing down any.
Whether it’s Bridge or Rakeem Cato in the game as Alouettes QB, they will have to spread the ball around very quickly and find a way to make plays happen. With both of these young mobile QBs potentially getting snaps as well as having both Tyrell Sutton and Brandon Rutley in the backfield, Montreal will have to be a lot more creative with their play calls than they were versus the Ottawa RedBlacks.
Calgary had their hands full with Hamilton’s speed last Friday; If the Alouettes are going to have a fighting chance tomorrow, the Alouettes would be wise to employ a similar strategy as this offence needs to start clicking and fast. Last week’s game versus Ottawa was completely winnable and the Als know they let it slip away. Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell and Jon Cornish know what it takes to win and if they aren’t taken out by an injury, they along with a devastating receiving corps will bring everything they have against the stout Montreal defense.
Last year, the Alouettes beat the Stampeders at a rain-soaked Molson Stadium to hand them one of their three losses. However, the Calgary team that Montreal faced was already severely banged up and just trying to avoid further injuries. That won’t be the case tomorrow, as the Stampeders are putting their best foot forward with a tremendous amount of depth. No one is giving Montreal a snowball’s chance in hell to win this game, but Calgary still needed ALL 60 minutes and the foot of Rene Paredes to eke out a last-second win versus a very tough Hamilton team.
Montreal is just as stacked defensively as what the Tiger-Cats were so if Bridge/Cato and the offense can stay on the field for a good length of time, anything is certainly possible in the Canadian Football League.
So the much ballyhooed Michael Sam has returned to the Alouettes roster, much to the chagrin of certain media members who now look foolish in saying that Sam would return to Montreal “when hell freezes over”. Sam had left the team in the middle of training camp for what was only listed as personal reasons. Those reasons were still not revealed and likely never will be. Sam had requested to speak with and apologize to his teammates this past Sunday for his abrupt departure, claiming that now he is fully focused on being a member of this Alouettes team. And all indications were that he was warmly received by the rest of the locker room upon his return.
Sam later faced that same media who derided him and he gave them nothing to work with quip-wise, opting to deflect attention from his departure and instead focusing on his commitment to his team. Sam was clearly not comfortable being the sole center of attention and kept his answers short. I’m sure it didn’t help that one media member (whose mother tongue was French) took forever to spit out a single question for the Texas-born Sam, who struggled to listen and understand the reporter’s broken English.
This is a prime example of where this youngster cannot win for losing; Had he stood there for hours on end answering the same questions over and over, he’d be labelled as a prima donna desperate for camera time. Instead, Michael Sam would rather let his work speak for itself and was instead painted as curt and uncooperative by the same people who had made him out to be this mysterious failure who couldn’t hack it in the Canadian Football League when he left hastily in mid-June.
At the end of the day, it’s not Michael Sam’s job to provide sound bites for the media or fans. This young man is still very much a rookie and it was made clear when he signed with Montreal that he would be a long-term project for this football team. Perhaps Sam may not have been as focused as he should have been but he’s back to work and by all accounts, ready to learn and get better. Sam won’t be starting anytime soon, but he’ll get his opportunities to play so long as he continues working hard.
From what I saw of him at training camp, he really was coming along. He was starting to get some one-on-one time to focus on pass rushing, which is what he was brought in to do. It’s easy to say with hindsight, but perhaps Michael should have been more focused on his football career instead of participating in TV shows like Dancing With The Stars. Maybe he did underestimate how difficult it would be to learn the Canadian game after playing another style his whole life. It’s also possible that the constant media attention about his sexual orientation and being a groundbreaking sort was way too much for this one person to bear. But you know what?
I don’t care who Michael Sam chooses to share his bed with. I don’t care what TV shows he goes on. I don’t care about what brand of toothpaste he uses. I don’t care if he gives the Montreal media a Marshawn Lynch-esque response to every inane question posed to him. The only thing that I and the rest of you should be concerned about is what kind of football player Michael Sam can become for the Montreal Alouettes.
Quite frankly, I’d rather he keeps his mouth shut and works his butt off every single day in order to be the best player possible for this team. Here’s hoping that the next time I write something in length about Michael Sam, that it will be about the incredible quarterback sack he made that helped the Montreal Alouettes win the day.
In addition to the game tomorrow evening, there will be a great post-game event for you all to check out. Your Alouettes cheerleaders are having a party and you the fans are invited!
After the game tomorrow, head on over to The Belmont for what will be a fun-filled evening with some of the most beautiful women the city of Montreal has to offer! Not only will this be a chance to meet your cheerleaders, but the proceeds from events like this and from buying their calendars all help to fund the cheerleaders’ annual trip to participate in the Grey Cup.
Every single game day, these young ladies go out and perform for you fans so this is a great opportunity to show your appreciation to them. Anyone who thinks that football cheerleaders are nothing more than window dressing should think about all the extra time they spend practicing and learning routines. That’s also in addition to working regular full-time jobs and in some cases, even raising a family. Being a cheerleader is a tough, almost thankless job as you are often judged solely on your looks as opposed to the hard work you do behind the scenes.
So be sure to get your tickets to this event and show these lovely ladies how much they are appreciated! Tickets will be sold at the door as well and you can buy their 2015 calendar at tomorrow’s game and at the party afterwards.
That’s all for now. The odds are stacked against the Alouettes tomorrow, but Molson Stadium has seen its fair share of miracles before. You fans can help make a difference by selling out the joint and getting LOUD when your team needs you! And perhaps history will be made, in one form or another. That alone should be well worth the price of admission.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter for last minute news and notes. Enjoy the game tomorrow, regardless of where you watch it.
GO ALS GO!!!