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DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Sheldon Napastuk will be tackling his TV tonight. John Grace will also have his eyes trained on a set someplace, while Scott Coe is never far from the tube when the CFL is on the screen.

In fact, every Calgary Stampeders player -- enjoying a bye in the opening week of the season before meeting the Argos next Friday at McMahon -- will be kicking back tonight to catch a preview of their Week 2 opponent when Toronto hosts the B.C. Lions (5 p.m., TSN).

But unlike your average football fans, who tend to focus on just a few star players, the Stampeders will be analysing each play and breaking down the game action, much like the coaching staff will for the entire team in the film room Monday morning.

Right from the opening kickoff tonight, Napastuk's coffee table will be converted into a three-dimensional chalkboard with potato chip bowls, beer cans and coasters serving as the X's and O's as each play is dissected and regurgitated.

"I haven't watched a game as just a fan in 10 years," said Napastuk, who'll be plunked down in front of his 50-in. screen.

"It's just different when you're a player, whether it's an opponent or not. You're always watching to see how they do things, what kinds of protections they're likely to run. You watch which guys are the most talented and you just appreciate it on a different level than you used to.

"The things I'll watch for with Toronto are the things Damon (Allen) wants to run. I want to see the kind of chemistry that offensive line has -- if they're playing physical or if they're trying to finesse you -- things like that."

Growing up in North Battleford, Sask., the big defensive lineman was obviously raised on the CFL. Now he and future wife Amanda watch the games together while scouting the league's eight other teams.

"I watch most of the games with my fiancee and she's got such an eye," he said. "She calls out 'play-action pass' or 'draw play.' She's getting good at scouting teams and it's a lot of fun when she calls it out before I do.

"It's not like watching film, you still enjoy the game, it's just that a lot of times you're watching for different things.

"I'm still a huge fan of this league."

Like most professional players, Grace says it's difficult to sit back and enjoy the game as pure entertainment.

The Stamps linebacker is always picking apart the game inside the game, looking for an edge.

"Most of the time, you break it down like a football junkie," Grace said.

"You look at what teams like to do in certain situations and you read linemen and things like that. It's part of the learning process."

Scott Coe, a former Hamilton Tiger-Cat, says half the fun is seeing friends and former teammates perform on the screen while he's compelled to break down the action for future reference.

"Subconsciously, you can't help but look to pick up certain things," Coe said.

"It's definitely fun. A lot of the time you know half the guys on those other teams so you get to watch them in particular. It's relaxing and you hope your buddies do well. You cheer for them and, at the same time, get some work done."

Coe says even though the broadcast colour commentators simplify the on-screen product, the players watching still tear apart each play.

"You listen to them and they're all ex-football guys and they know what's going on but they have to sugar-coat it for the average guy sitting down to watch and just have some fun," Coe said.

"We get to make fun of some of the commentators, like, 'That's obvious,' but you have to see it from a different perspective. If my mom's watching the game, she doesn't know what's going on.

"If we're watching a team we play next week, we might be joking around but come Monday morning in the film room, it's all business."


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