The Winnipeg Blue Bombers finally did it. They ended their Grey Cup drought and with it, 29 years of futility.
Now as a Roughriders fan, it was a little tough to watch, especially since the crossbar ended their season on what could have been a game-tying touchdown pass to Kyran Moore.
But as an impartial journalist, I want to congratulate and give them credit, because they had a great season (Andrew Harris cheating scandal aside, but let’s table that discussion for another time). Let’s face it, any season that results in a championship is a great one, no matter what side of the fan fence you’re on.
I always think about the old (is it old? I don’t know) mantra of as long as you get in, you have a shot. That being the playoffs of course. Now that’s not me trying to diminish their season by saying they sneaked in by the skin of their teeth but they did kind of limp in.
They started the season by winning their first seven, then ended it by losing four of their last six.
The Bombers were in first place when Matt Nichols went down to injury on August 15. They went 2-4 with Streveler as the guy, but they gambled and scooped Zach Collaros from the Argos after the Riders handed the Bombers their third straight loss.
He wouldn’t start until the week after (obviously, so he can learn the offense), the Bombers lost his first game to Calgary and then did not lose again the rest of the season.
But to the point, finally. Now, it’s fantastic that Collaros finally has the title that has eluded him his entire career, but he played a total of five full games last season, playoff games included. Not to mention his third concussion and the questions about his career that inevitably followed.
It seems odd to me that the Bombers kept Collaros over Nichols. Collaros is notorious for not being able to stay on the field and Nichols, before his shoulder injury, had missed just three games collectively since his first season in 2012.
If it’s just about keeping the guy who quarterbacked you to the title, that seems a little silly because Nichols was well on his way to doing the same thing. If it’s about saving salary, that might make more sense, but even still, Collaros got a raise from the Bombers. More than $100,000 in base salary and with bonuses that could reach almost $1 million.
I haven’t been able to find the financial details of Nichols’ new contract with the Argos, so I can’t accurately compare, but I can’t help but feel the Bombers are taking a huge risk with an injury-prone player over a (usually) much healthier player, especially one that was supposed to be the one to bring that elusive Cup win back to the ‘Peg.
I was nervous when the Riders put their faith in Collaros and I’m nervous now but I’m eager to see how it plays out. Is it June yet?