EDMONTON - It’s generally known as the double whammy.
But this is the granddaddy of the double whammy, the ring-a-ling-a-ding-dong-daddy of the double whammy.
Everybody in Edmonton is quite aware of the one whammy — the 36-1 annihilation of the Eskimos by the B.C. Lions in their most recent football game.
The extermination was the first time in the history of Commonwealth Stadium the Eskimos had been held to a single point — the first time in more than 40 years the green and gold had scored so few points in front of their own fans.
Rookie head coach Kavis Reed has been examining every aspect of the B.C. demolition in such detail, he’d managed to remain blissfully ignorant of the other whammy.
Reed wasn’t here when the other whammy went down. Neither was almost his entire coaching staff or GM Eric Tillman. Indeed, the other whammy is essentially why all those guys and half this team all got their jobs, something perhaps they should all think about on the trip south Sunday.
On Sept. 1 last year, the Calgary Stampeders massacred the Eskimos 52-5 in McMahon Stadium. It was the most one-sided obliteration of Edmonton in the entire 45-year history of the Labour Day Classic.
You could make the case that in the entire regular history of the Edmonton Eskimos, there has never been a lower moment. It was only three weeks earlier that the Eskimos lost in Calgary by the score of 56-15.
Can it get any worse than losing two games in a three-week span in McMahon Stadium by a combined count of 108 to 20? Add in the 36-20 loss in the Labour Day rematch in Edmonton and it was 144-40 over three games, which came in a four-game run of the schedule. Calgary has won four of the last five Labour Day Classics.
Reed could probably recite to you a 100 items of minutia involving the 36-1 whammy, but when your correspondent hit him with the 52-5 whammy, he stood there with his mouth open.
“Wow!” he said.
In trying to put these Humpty Dumpties back together after a 36-1 home loss, he forgot about the other great fall.
But he will be reminded of that 52-5 loss last year again and again between now and kickoff of what is normally the signature game of the regular season in the CFL.
“Wow,” said Reed again after the longest delay.
“There are very few times I’m speechless.”
But it’s the staggering, almost stupefying combination of 52-5 on Labour Day and 36-1 in the last games — arguably the two most significant drubbings in team history — coming into alignment with each other for this game which is so astonishingly unusual, especially considering the highly successful history of the team involved.
“I won’t share that with the players. But our coaches need to know that. That’s something we have to look at as a coaching staff from a psychological point of view,” said Reed.
It’s definitely piling on when it comes to the most recent whammy.
One whammy or two, Reed said one thing is for sure.
“We have to make sure we don’t get down too soon by too many points. We need to score points early.”
Defensive stalwart T.J. Hill said normally you want to look ahead, not back.
“You try to forget about the past, but I haven’t forgot about last year. It’ll be in the back of our minds.
“Certainly none of us have forgotten our last game. You can’t completely put out of your minds anything like last Labour Day or last week.”
The good news when it comes to the last Labour Day is that half the team wasn’t around last year.
On the flip side of that, there’s a severe shortage of players who were around for that last Eskimos’ Labour Day win back in 2008 — Ricky Ray, Fred Stamps, Patrick Kabongo, Andrew Nowacki, Mathieu Bertrand, Calvin McCarty, Rod Davis and Taylor Inglis.
And Stamps is injured.
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