Green, Gold & Grey-t?

Rookie Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia is all smiles as he totes the Grey Cup off the plane at...

Rookie Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia is all smiles as he totes the Grey Cup off the plane at the International Airport yesterday. A rally and parade for the Esks is set for today. (Edmonton Sun/Walter Tychnowicz)

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

Where do you put these "Turn of the Century" Edmonton Eskimos in history?

They're not the five-in-a-row Eskimos. No team ever will be. They're not the three-in-a-row original glory gang from the '50s.

What are they, these Eskimos who took a third trip to the Grey Cup in the last four years and won it for the second time in the last three?

"I don't know what we are," said coach Danny Maciocia. "But we're something!"

Maciocia, flanked by his wife and two daughters, carried the Grey Cup off the chartered plane and took the walk on the red carpet to step forward to his future as the Eskimos returned from winning their 13th Grey Cup -- perhaps the greatest ever played.

"I don't know where it ranks. But it has to rank there somewhere," he said of the 2003, 2005 Grey Cup champions.

Ed Hervey says there has to be some place in history, especially modern history, for this team.

"In today's CFL with all the movement, it ranks right up there. Calgary had all those great teams with all those first-place finishes for all those years under Wally Buono and only won two Grey Cups since the Eskimos won in 1993. Montreal has been to the Grey Cup four times this decade and only won one."

HE'S QUALIFIED

I'm as qualified as anybody to discuss the subject. My first year on the beat covering the Eskimos was 1972, the first year of what is now a pro sports record 34 consecutive years in the playoffs.

I've attended 33 consecutive Grey Cups starting in 1973, and the Eskimos have been there in 17 of them. Sunday they won their 10th during my time in the press box. In that same span, it was pointed out to me Sunday, the other teams in the West won the Grey Cup a combined total of nine times.

But that's the big picture.

What of this specific two-title team which completed the best-of-three-in-four-year series with the Montreal Alouettes with the win in double overtime?

If this was Saskatchewan we'd be a dynasty. The Riders have only two Cups in their history.

And nobody is projecting dynasty.

"It didn't always feel like a great season, but it ended like a great season," said Bruce Beaton. "When we won in 2003 it was a great season. But this is sweeter. Calgary was sure they were going to beat us. B.C. was 11-0 and one win away from the Grey Cup game."

Jason Maas said 2003 was a great team. This one was something entirely different.

"That team dominated in 2003. In the last 10 games we were unbeatable. We thought it was easy. This one definitely wasn't easy."

Unlike the three-in-a-row and five-in-a-row teams, there's been a tremendous amount of change on this team -- more change this year than any year in history.

FOUR-YEAR PLAYERS

Only Bruce Beaton, Mike Bradley, Donny Brady, Sean Fleming, Malcolm Frank, Shannon Garrett, A.J. Gass, Ed Hervey, Jason Maas, Singor Mobley, Chris Morris, Ricky Ray, Jason Tucker and Glen Young were around for the entire four years of whatever this represents in EE history.

Maas is headed to Hamilton. Beaton and Morris are retiring. Frank and Garrett are senior citizens. Hervey has been hobbled. And whether Fleming stays for one more year or stays around to make it a Hall of Fame career, who knows?

"I don't know where you put it," said Maciocia of finding a place in history. "All I know is this team did it the hard way. We had 19 players who started the season with us who weren't here the year before. We had a new head coach and a new defensive co-ordinator."

For Maciocia's part, he's ready to go again.

"I'm fired up for 2006. I don't want to take a victory lap. I don't want to sit on our laurels."

For now, let's declare it the Ricky Ray Era.

Maybe Maciocia with Ray, like Hugh Campbell with Warren Moon, and Pop Ivy with Jackie Parker, can hook his name to it if it becomes an all-time team. He's off to a helluva start.

But to really be an all-time team, because they're Eskimos, this isn't going to do it.

They'll have to win again.

And again.


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