Ridin' with Chevy

RANDY CHEVRIER -- For Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

In one of my favourite Spaghetti Westerns, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Clint Eastwood's famous 'Blondie' character pulled a fast one in a three-way draw. He had emptied out Tuco's gun the night before, and proceeded to kill the more dangerous Angel Eyes in the shootout. As Tuco lay on the ground after the fire fight with an empty gun and uncertain of his future, Blondie turns to Tuco and says, 'You see, in this world there are two kinds of people my friend, those with guns and those who dig. You dig.'

And you might be asking, "where the heck is he going with this one?"

Well, for years the CFL has been in the position of Tuco from the film -- still alive, no ammo in the gun, and uncertain of its future. It seemed every other professional league was standing over us waving their big guns and laughing at us while we kept digging. What we were digging for, no one knows.

In the movie, it would seem Blondie was making Tuco dig his own grave.

But after a few years of league-wide stability and good on-field product, the CFL is slowly finding its place in the North American market. The 2007 season was a testament that our league is in good shape, but we still have work to do.

And with the Grey Cup less than a week in our rear-view mirrors, it would seem like the perfect time for me to look back at the past CFL season, and list what I thought were some of the good, bad, and ugly moments that I witnessed as a player and CFL fan.

THE GOOD

I would have to say sweeping the Edmonton Eskimos was a pretty big deal this year. Anytime you can go undefeated against your sworn rivals, it is a good thing. And since neither one of us won the Grey Cup, bragging rights are all we have.

As a player, my most memorable moment of the season, on a personal note, was when I scored the first touchdown of my career. To have my number called on offence was a dream come true, and the fact it was for six points made it even sweeter. After that once-in-a-lifetime experience, I now understand why grown men feel compelled to dance in front of thousands. It is really exciting.

Special Teams touchdowns galore! I was certainly glad to see the excitement return to the game in the form of special teams scores. Good on the competition committee for changing the rules in the kicking game to allow for more returns. Guys like Markus Howell, Dominique Dorsey, and Ian Smart put the 'Special' back into special teams. Who can forget how Keith Stokes electrified playoff viewers in the first round of the playoffs?

The parity in the league was amazing. Although Hamilton and Edmonton were last in their conferences, they still put up a good fight on most nights. Teams like the Riders and the Bombers returned to prominence. As for the rest of the league, it was crapshoot on any given night. Of all the games I watched, there was not one I could say was a bore or that I could easily predict.

I was happy to see Milt Stegall get his record. I would have liked to see him win last week, but I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Finally, good for the Rider nation, their drought is over.

THE BAD

Rumours, rumours, and more rumours. Of all my professional seasons, this has been one of the most frustrating from a standpoint of rumours. As a team, we had to deal with more speculation and rumours than ever before. Anything from coaching changes, player changes, to ownership changes. Everything became fair game to write about. Nothing was left unsaid, and we were left to try to put out fires we did not even know existed. Some of it was hearsay and some became truth. All I know is, as a team, we dealt with the distractions as best we could and kept fighting each week.

Quarterbacks in the CFL dropped like flies. This year we saw every QB on every team miss games due to injury. One of the CFL's biggest weaknesses was exposed as a lack of depth at the most difficult position in pro sports was evident.

As players, we failed our league by allowing certain player suspensions to be overturned. A.J. Gass is a friend of mine but, the reversal of his suspension and Jason Jimenez's appeal marginalized the commissioner's power and led to a lot of bad press for the league.

THE UGLY

Jimenez' hit on teammate Anthony Gargiulo was one of the ugliest things I have seen on a football field in a while. While Jimenez was having fun imitating Geroy Simon's famous Superman pose in the endzone two weeks later, Anthony was laying down with his foot in a cast wondering if he'd ever play again.

All the fights that occurred on the field during play this year really hurt the product. Although Canadians love a good hockey tilt, the CFL can't sell itself if, on a week-to-week basis, fans are witnessing junior B type brawls. The damage done is not catastrophic, but the commissioner will need to address it.

A home game against the Riders would not be complete without a streaker. I guess a $2,500 fine and a night in the slammer is a good way to spend a weekend. Besides large volumes of alcohol, what would posses otherwise normal individuals to run in front of thousands without their clothes on?


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