From glory to goryHalftime show a reminder how fast 'n' far Stamps have fallen
By DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun
That's no way to treat paying customers.
Some 36,000 fans crammed into McMahon Stadium yesterday for the annual Labour Day 'Classic', presumably expecting to be entertained.
Bathed in bright sunshine and soothed by cold beer, the faithful weren't expecting miracles like last year's 28-22 upset of the Eskies -- just a little excitement, something to cheer about.
But not only was there nothing classic about the Edmonton Eskimos' 25-7 win over the Calgary Stampeders, it dredged up memories of the home side's glory days that now seem so painfully distant.
With the Stamps trotting off the field trailing 19-0 at halftime, well on their way to their ninth loss of the season, the fans were subjected to a video montage of legendary receiver Allen Pitts' dominance in the 1990s when the team won in two of its five Grey Cup appearances.
Former Stamps quarterbacks Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia and Dave Dickenson offered back-to-back-to-back insights into what made Pitts great and why it was a treat to throw him the ball.
"Flutie to Pitts ... touchdown!"
"Garcia to Pitts ... touchdown!"
"Dickenson to Pitts ... touchdown!"
We get the idea.
It's just a good thing yesterday nobody was trying to glean a snippet of highlights from the Stampeders' current offence.
The Pitts tribute provided warm memories indeed, while underlining just how far the once-mighty Stampeders have fallen in a short period of time.
The offence was again the weak link yesterday, producing just 189 yards and one touchdown, a gift after the Eskimos turned the ball over on their own three-yard line.
A week and a half ago in Hamilton, the Stamps failed to find the endzone at all.
"We have to start making plays and start doing what we have to do to win," spat receiver Wane McGarity, who dropped a couple catchable passes early in the contest to set the tone.
"The game plan was good, we went out there and it's not like we didn't execute it right. But every time I turned around, the quarterback's running or we've got sacks.
"I'm just tired of coming in here each week singing the same story about shooting ourselves in the foot. I can sit here and talk all day about how good of a football team we do have. But until we go out there and do it and prove it to ourselves, these things are going to (continue) week in and week out."
Starter Tommy Jones completed nine of 15 passes for just 69 yards and one interception. Marcus Crandell entered in the second half, throwing strikes on 14 of 26 attempts for 119 yards while allowing one pick.
The anemic rushing attack produced just 49 yards, with running back Victor Ike posting 28 on nine carries.
Frustrated GM/head coach Matt Dunigan afterward provided an obscure analogy about how rebuilding the team is like moulding iron into a sword, putting it in the fire, hammering it into shape.
When asked about the Stamps starting quarterback in Friday night's Edmonton rematch, he said he'd "put the best guy out there to give us a chance to win."
It's becoming increasingly apparent the Stamps' best guy in any given week isn't good enough.
"Unfortunately the results aren't pretty right now," Dunigan said.
It's even more unsightly when sandwiching it around video of the glory days.