Every CFL player's dream is a Grey Cup ring but playoff bonuses also provide a motivational carrot.
With some salaries as low as $38,000 per season, many players are eager to see league-issued playoff cash as the season winds down, including the Calgary Stampeders.
The Stamps have earned a trip to the West semifinal with Sunday's 29-21 win over Saskatchewan, worth $2,800 per man with an additional $3,000 per player if the team advances to the division final.
Get to the Grey Cup game Nov. 27 in Vancouver and each player is guaranteed $6,000 with $12,000 per man going to the champions.
An envelope stuffed with greenbacks provides a motivation for rookies such as centre Godfrey Ellis.
"I've definitely thought about it," Ellis said yesterday. "We wanted to win for the team and the coaches and all the guys inside the locker-room but it's definitely a big part of it. It's an extra cheque."
The team's CFLPA rep is offensive lineman Jay McNeil, a 12-year veteran who hasn't seen a playoff bonus since 2001.
"You budget your money according to 18 game cheques and anything you get extra you feel pretty good about," McNeil said. "My first nine years I counted on that playoff cheque."
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HOLMES WRECKER: The Stampeders didn't completely shut down dangerous Roughriders return man Corey Holmes Sunday but the special teams unit did prevent any long returns while also forcing one fumble.
In all a strong day's work, according to co-ordinator Craig Dickenson.
"He's one of those guys who strikes fear into you every time he touches the ball," he said.
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RED-ZONE RED ALERT: The Stamps offence was deep in Saskatchewan territory eight times Sunday but failed to score a major.
The shortcoming will be a focus in practice this week leading up the Winnipeg game Sunday, said quarterback Henry Burris.
"We moved the ball well but got inside the five or the 10 or 15 and it was one thing here or there," Burris said. "They did a good job on the two quarterback sneaks but you never want that to happen. We won't let it happen again. Guys will be even more focused this week."