Enough with the rants

ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders may be Grey Cup champs, but that doesn't mean they're the class of the league.

In fact, if indeed the No.-1 thing they claimed to be chasing all year long was respect, their championship season fell short.

And they only have themselves to blame.

"You know what feels better (than winning the Cup) is that everybody in this league hates us," said the ever-ostentatious Nik Lewis moments after Sunday's game.

"The media, fans... but guess what -- they can't take this from us."

Lewis then launched once again into the whole "nobody-believed-in-us," "I should've-been-an-all-star" nonsense we've heard the last few weeks ad nausea.

Whining incessantly about their lack of individual recognition, the Henry Burris' MVP loss and the suggestion everyone counted them out all year, the Stamps continually repeated an annoying "us-against-the-world," credo that, quite frankly, was manufactured.

While the betting line had the game as a Pick 'em, upwards of 75% of all prognosticators predicted a Calgary win last Sunday.

Further, not one local scribe or broadcaster went on record suggesting Burris would once again blow it in the West final or the Grey Cup. Many simply reported his and his team's history of choking in the playoffs.

Heck, in this space, the Stampeders were declared the league's best team shortly after they bounced back from their Labour Day loss.

Yet, there they were after beating Montreal, still raving about how no one gave them a chance and they deserved more credit.

Lewis reiterated then, in angry fashion no less, he was the CFL's best receiver and he didn't need all-star awards to prove it.

No one was more self-absorbed than kicker Sandro DeAngelis, who punctuated "the greatest experience of his life" by using the post-game news conference to childishly reiterate how furious he was to be snubbed at the awards banquet.

Judging by his fury it was hard to tell whether he'd just won or lost the big game.

Like Burris, he should simply have moved on. Instead, he even continued his thoughts on the "snub" after Tuesday's rally at Olympic Plaza. Let it go.

Of course, none of this compares to the depths one Stamps player plunged to by kick-starting the post-game celebration at Olympic Stadium by charging across the field to get in the face of Anthony Calvillo.

Devastated over losing his fifth Grey Cup in perhaps the last game of his career, the last thing the classy quarterback deserved was to have some mouthpiece trash talk him.

Make no mistake, the faces of the organization -- head coach John Hufnagel and Burris -- are known league-wide as two of the classiest people in the game.

And while the duo has led a long list of humble, respectful players back from a day when excessive touchdown celebrations and ownership follies made the club a punchline, the organization still has a few self-absorbed glory hounds. You can bet Hufnagel will look into eliminating such bombast.

"I learned a long time ago that what you say in the paper stands out for a long time, so all I ever worry about is what I say," said Wes Lysack when asked how some Stamps have conducted themselves of late.

"And hopefully, these individuals that are saying certain things will learn the same lessons."

Sure, Burris deserved the Most Outstanding Player Award, the team deserved more all-star votes and perhaps it was annoying to hear how bad the team folded in previous playoffs. But, at the end of the day, it all means little when you succeed in accomplishing your biggest goal.

After years of not knowing how to win big games, several Stamps must now clearly work on how to win them with dignity and class.


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