November 19, 2012
Argos hide from hype ahead of Grey Cup
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
Out of sight and out of mind.
The Argos will be in virtual lock-down mode as the hype surrounding the 100th Grey Cup soon kicks into overdrive.
With the hype comes the inevitable onslaught from the media, many of whom wouldn't know a football from a bocce ball, a corner blitz from a corner deli, a collection of misguided, agenda-driven puppets who ask the most inane questions and demand the most outrageous requests to fill air time.
Such was the case on Monday, a day following Toronto's breakthrough win over the Als in Montreal, a scene at Argoland that will become common-place for the balance of the week leading up to Sunday's kickoff.
One TV outlet went live to air, requesting head coach Scott Milanovich to approach the cameras as if he were doing the talking head some kind of favour.
Milanovich's patience will be tested, but his focus is on winning the CFL's biggest game and nothing will compromise his goal.
To that end, it's guaranteed everyone associated with the Argos won't do anything other than the league-mandated appearances, which is the only course of action that must be embraced.
On Wednesday, a curfew will be enforced.
It's business as usual in this most unusual of times in Toronto.
If Milanovich could have a nickel every time the question of playing such an historic game at home gets raised, he'd be rich by Thursday.
If Milanovich does not get bored of listening to this garbage about Toronto's sporting futility in recent years, he's clearly providing a front.
Milanovich is a football man, not a shameless promoter of the city, not some shill out to make headlines.
The guy is so tuned into his work and so good at what he does that he has no clue what's going on around him.
And it must stay this way if the Argos hope to go all the way.
If anything, Milanovich has been consistent throughout the entire season, never flinching when times have turned sour or when the team began to get on a late-season roll.
Football is a game of routine, a business where players need to know where they stand. It's about accountability and results.
It's not a circus, but the big top has officially been unveiled in Toronto and the Argos must simply avoid the noise, the distractions and the crap associated with Grey Cup.
Instituting a curfew is one step, having the players spend all day Monday tying up loose ends, be it ticket requests or arranging for last-minute hotel rooms, were all necessary.
"I'm not going to make more of it than what it is," said Milanovich of this week. "My goal is to make sure we're all even keel, with the focus on the game -- not everything surrounding it."
The words "calm" and "steady" were repeated often by Milanovich, words that don't exactly evoke charisma, but they're words associated with strong leadership.
In terms of leadership, Milanovich more than fits the bill.
In terms of poise, there's no better example than quarterback Ricky Ray.
By no means has Milanovich ever dismissed the 100th Grey Cup being played in Toronto. By no means is he going to disparage the occasion.
The Argos have been building for this moment and there's no turning back now, no reason to change when others around them are pulling them in different directions.
"Guys can feel the magnitude of their participation in this game and how important it is to our city and to our organization," Milanovich added. "We didn't feel any weight during the season, but they'll probably be a little more pressure now that we're actually in it."
They'll always be incidents during the course of the season that serve as distractions that never go public.
"This group has been professional, pretty much under control for most of the season. We need to do it for one more week."
What they need to do is insulate themselves and refuse the requests as the bandwagon now takes on passengers who are as foreign to football as they are in asking a relevant question.