During Monday’s media availability, Calgary Stampeders star Henry Burris reminded reporters he’s not a kid anymore.
A few moments earlier, the 35-year-old quarterback had exhibited a tell-tale sign of old age — memory loss.
When one of his inquisitors mentioned that the Saskatchewan Roughriders have eliminated the Stamps three times in the past four seasons, Burris insisted he “didn’t even remember any of that.”
With the Riders making travel arrangements for Sunday’s West Final at McMahon Stadium, here’s a refresher.
In Burris’ first playoff appearance after spurning Saskatchewan and rejoining the Stamps as a free agent, his former teammates arrived in Calgary and escaped with a 31-21 win in the 2006 West semifinal.
The following season, the Riders staved off a late comeback attempt for a 26-24 triumph over the Stamps in a division semifinal rematch at Mosaic Stadium.
And last fall, Calgary’s campaign once again ended on the bald prairie, with Gang Green advancing to the big game with a 27-17 victory in the West Final.
When Burris led the Stamps to a Grey Cup title in 2008, he didn’t have to meet the Roughriders in the post-season.
“Yeah, they had success against us a few years ago, but a lot of things have changed — it was a different coaching staff there, so much different personnel, even our coaching staff here was different,” Burris said. “So many things have changed. Sometimes, you have to do what you can to help change history and hopefully we can here this Sunday.”
One day later, the three-down football community was still buzzing about Saskatchewan’s thrilling 41-38 double-overtime victory over the B.C. Lions, which sets up the fourth Stamps-Riders playoff showdown in the past five years.
Although Burris outduelled Saskatchewan starter Darian Durant twice in three regular-season meetings, he’s certain to face plenty of questions this week about tossing three interceptions in last year’s West Final at Mosaic Stadium.
As the Stamps signal-caller prepares to avenge that defeat, he’s thrilled to be staying home for the rematch.
“We fought our butts off all year to try to put ourselves in this position,” Burris said. “One of the things that myself and (receiver Ryan) Thelwell said to each other was, ‘Man, now the roles have reversed.’ At least we get to play here at home. We did what we needed to do to get homefield advantage in the West Final, and now Saskatchewan has to come here.
“We understand what they’re going into because we went in thinking, ‘We can go in and shock the world. We’re coming off a big win. We have all the momentum on our side.’ But just as Saskatchewan did (last year), we have to come out and seize that momentum, keep our crowd into it, make the big plays and try to put the opposition in a rut early on.
“If we can do that, hopefully we can keep that going for 60 minutes and walk away with a big win.”
Now that would be something to remember.
Nov. 5, 2006 (Calgary) — Riders 31, Stamps 21
Nov. 11, 2007 (Regina) — Riders 26, Stamps 24
Nov. 22, 2009 (Regina) — Riders 27, Stamps 17