Danny's iron fist

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

No more Mr. Nice Guy.

There's an old saying about that.

"Nice Guys Finish Last And Miss The Playoffs For The First Time In 35 Years."

OK, maybe it's a new saying.

Whatever. Danny Maciocia, sounding very much like a coach who has decided he's going to stick around, went beyond playing the pride card again yesterday.

He dealt the whole damn deck!

He told his players, publicly, they're not going to be sticking around if they don't figure out about being an Edmonton Eskimo fast. Like by, oh, game-time tonight.

Maciocia at the same pre-game press conference prior to the game here two weeks ago challenged his team to show some pride against the Calgary Stampeders.

They did. But there was no carryover to the next one, that humiliating loss in Hamilton.

"Pride is not a one-game thing," Maciocia began, making use of the public forum.

"Pride is something we have always had here. Clearly, some of them don't have it right now."

Bingo!

He didn't stop there.

"They better wake up because if they don't have it now, chances are that you aren't going to see it next week and are not going to see it the following week.

"And I guarantee you one thing: You aren't going to see it next year because they won't be here."

There you go.

Quote-unquote.

Danny Maciocia comes out of denial.

YET ANOTHER DISCUSSION

It all began with yet another discussion on the Eskimos' remarkable 34-season run of making the playoffs with the twist that ex-Eskimos who poured a lot of pride into keeping the run going - people like Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jason Maas and coach Ron Lancaster - could end up coming into Commonwealth Stadium tonight to finish them off.

It began, too, with Ricky Ray saying every team they play now is going to want to be the team that puts the Eskimos out of the playoffs.

"We're running out of opportunities, that's for sure. And for sure, every team we play from now on is going to be trying to do it, every team down the road is going to be want to be the team to knock us out of the playoffs," said Ray.

Maas, the ultimate Eskimo team guy in his six seasons here, admitted "there'd be something ironic in helping them get to 34 seasons and playing a part in that."

INTERESTING SITUATION

Lancaster, who coached the Eskimos seven of those seasons and won more games (83) than any other head coach during that run, admitted it's an interesting situation.

"It's amazing to go 34 years. But all good things must come to an end. It's strange, I guess, to be guys like Jason and myself. Maybe you think about it before the game but not when the game begins.

"But it's going to be a bad day, a sad day, when that amazing record comes to an end. It will be a sad day when it happens."

Maciocia said maybe this team has too many young players who really don't understand the pride and tradition involved in Edmonton Eskimos football.

"You think you understand it but it's only when you live it that it starts to kick in.

"It doesn't matter if you were the Grey Cup champions the year before or 9-9, everybody wants to knock off the Edmonton Eskimos.

"Pride is not a one-game thing here. It's not a sometimes thing. It's an all-the-time thing.

"As a coach, it doesn't matter if you are 13-5 or 4-8. It's not a card you play. It's something you deal with on a daily basis.

"All the time you have to be trying to be the best at your position - and pride has a lot to do with it.

"It's not a card I just started to play.

"Every single day you have to come with the attitude to work, not just on game day.

"As I told them (Wednesday), this experience isn't meant for everyone. Not everyone can come in here and say they are willing to do it. This experience is for the selected few.

"You need to decide: are you one of the selected few? If you aren't, then you can walk. If you are, then stick around."


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