November 24, 2012
Full Rogers Centre will be 'beautiful'
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
Normally when the Argos play a home game, Rogers Centre has all the atmosphere of a morgue.
The announced crowd is usually bigger than it really is, and when the roof is closed it can get pretty stuffy in there. Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Paul LaPolice once compared it to playing in a mall.
Sunday's 100th Grey Cup will be different, and Argos fullback Jeff Johnson cannot wait.
"We have not had a crowd like we will have (Sunday) here, and it's going to be a beautiful thing," said Johnson, who is in his 11th season with the Argos. "Besides all the energy of the moment and the history that will be made, having this crowd in here will bring tears to my eyes because I've been playing here for a long time and I've never seen it full. It's something that I've always wished, so it will be beautiful."
The 13-year CFL veteran doesn't believe the Argos will need time to get used to their surroundings, even though they will have never played a home game in front of the more than 50,000 people who will be there on Sunday.
"I don't think so," Johnson said. "You're going to see more fires get lit under the guys' rear ends. It's just going to excite the guys."
Football players love to play the game, but a CFL campaign can take a round out of you. That's why it wasn't surprising to hear Calgary running back Jon Cornish on Saturday say he's looking forward to the end of the season. "I was mentally counting down every rep until zero," he said after Saturday's walkthrough. "It's nice to know that after (Sunday) I'll have a few months without football." ... And this being the CFL, Cornish will simply go back to his off-season job, which is a customer service representative at a bank ... Stamps defensive end Charleston Hughes was planning to have a big breakfast on Sunday morning but nothing more until after the big game. "Every time I've eaten within four to five hours of a game," Hughes said, "I've puked everything up." ... The last time both place-kickers were making their Grey Cup debuts in the same game was 25 years ago when Toronto's Lance Chomyc and Edmonton's Jerry Kauric did so. Calgary's Rene Paredes and Toronto's Swayze Waters will be first-timers on Sunday.
If a member of the Calgary defensive line gets a sack on Sunday and he celebrates by doing something that makes it look like he's riding a horse, he's not showing his support for Marty or Quick Six. That's because the Stamps D-linemen do the Gangnam Style dance whenever they drop a quarterback. It's a song by Korean artist Psy that went viral this summer and on Saturday, coincidentally enough, became the most-watched video on YouTube. The Stamps got hooked before it got really big, though. "I'm pretty sure we were amongst the first to do it in the sports world. It was something we just decided to go out and get after it," defensive tackle Corey Mace said. "In the locker-room we figured it out like 20 minutes before the game started. Someone brought it up, and I said you know what? Let's study this tape real quick, and then if we get some we're going to do it." That's right, they actually studied film to learn the dance ... Toronto has won in each of its last four trips to the Grey Cup, dating back to 1991.
If you're into trends, the Stamps have won six in a row and the Argos have won four straight ... On the other hand, the Stamps have lost five in a row at Rogers Centre ... It was five years ago to the day that Ryan Dinwiddie made his first professional start, in the Grey Cup in Toronto for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Dinwiddie threw his final pass in the CFL last November for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and is now training young football players in his hometown of Elk Grove, Calif., and Boise, Idaho ... Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich is seeing something this week he had yet to experience: Fans wearing the Double Blue away from Rogers Centre. "I haven't left the hotel a whole lot," he said. "When I have I've seen people in Argos gear, and I live downtown so it's something that's new to me. I haven't seen that the first 18 weeks." ... ESPN host and big CFL fan Chris Berman, also known as the Swami, predicts a 33-30 victory for the Argos ... If the Stamps are trailing at half time, the game is far from over. They were 4-5 this year when down through 30 minutes ... How's this for a funky stat? The Argos and Stamps have met 85 times in the regular season and Grey Cup. They have both won 42 games and tied one. That makes Sunday's game quite the rubber match.