September 22, 2007
Ancient historyTwo 2005 Grey Cup foes have almost completely turned their rosters over
MONTREAL -- The vivid picture hanging on the wall in the Edmonton Eskimos' dressing room at Commonwealth Stadium is rarely a topic of conversation.
But upon closer inspection, it opens the door to some revealing figures.
The picture is from the 2005 Grey Cup game in Vancouver - where the Eskimos beat the Montreal Alouettes in a thrilling 38-35 OT classic.
Of the six Edmonton players - Bruce Beaton, Chris Morris, A.J. Gass, Jason Maas, Donny Brady and Kelly Wiltshire - celebrating with the Grey Cup trophy in the immediate aftermath at B.C. Place, only Gass will be on the field this weekend.
Dig a little deeper and the numbers are even more startling - for both Edmonton and Montreal.
JUST 10 ESKS LEFT
When the Esks and Als meet tomorrow in Montreal (11 a.m. MT, TSN/CHED) only 10 Edmonton players will be on the field that played in the 2005 championship game for the Green and Gold.
That is less than one quarter of the 42 players on the active roster tomorrow.
It's not much different with the Alouettes.
Only 13 players will actually touch the field tomorrow that played for the East Division champs two years ago.
"I am surprised it is that low (from 2005 to now)," said Gass on the Edmonton numbers.
Added Montreal defender Timothy Strickland after hearing the low numbers for his team: "I am just lucky I am still around."
But veteran Alouette receiver Ben Cahoon hits the nail on the head with the major changeover in bodies.
"That might be a reason for our inconsistency," Cahoon remarked.
Both clubs enter tomorrow's game as mere shadows of their 2005 class.
The Esks are below .500 (4-6-1) and fighting to make the playoffs.
Montreal has a 6-5 record in the East Division but is coming off an ugly-looking loss last week in Edmonton.
But for the veterans that still remain from the Grey Cup classic, the memories are still exceptionally clear from that wild night under the big dome in downtown Vancouver.
"I remember Tony Tompkins taking it to the house and feeling like we are going to win," said Eskimo Trevor Gaylor on Tompkins' third quarter 96-yard kickoff return for a major. "But my biggest memory is the double pass by (Anthony) Calvillo that got called back when (Kerry) Watkins dropped it.
"I didn't know that rule but as soon as that play happened Ricky Ray and Jason Maas were both yelling that you can't double pass, you can't double pass, you can't double pass."
On that play, Calvillo attempted a pass that was deflected back into his hands. He then proceeded to throw the ball again before it was ruled an infraction.
Eskimo defensive back Shannon Garrett calls it the most nerve-wracking game he has ever been involved in during his 13-year CFL career.
"After we won that game, I had no emotion," said Garrett before adding, "the only emotion I had was relief.
"On the sidelines (it was like): 'We won - oh, we lost. We won, we lost.' "
MEMORIES CAME BACK
From the successful third and four gamble play to Mookie Mitchell to Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia celebrating the win a play too early, the memories came back this week in the Eskimo locker-room.
Now Ray is hoping the new faces in that same locker-room will eventually deliver another championship classic.
"Hopefully a lot of these new guys over the next few years will be a little more consistent," he said.