July 20, 2012
Tom Wright in fine voice
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
CALGARY - CFL commissioners are used to wearing many hats.
But singing the national anthem?
Former commish Tom Wright, now the UFC's director of Canadian operations, sang O' Canada.
He did an admirable job of it, too -- and didn't wear a hat.
Wright is in town promoting Saturday's UFC 149 at the Saddledome.
The UFC continued to play a prominent role in the pre-game festivities as Nick Ring performed the coin toss and Sam Stout executed the ceremonial kickoff.
And at halftime, Ralph the Dog was -- shockingly -- declared the winner of a cagematch at midfield against a Gainer the Gopher imposter.
It might have sounded like a good idea at the time, but the cagematch was lacklustre and hardly qualified as halftime 'entertainment.'
Current commissioner Mark Cohon was also in attendance Thursday night.
Cohon met with the media and said he likes what he's seen over the first three-plus weeks of action.
"It's been very competitive," Cohon said. "A lot of the games have been close. Scoring is up.
"There's a lot of great storylines. Our ratings are up again and there are more and more young people watching.
"For me, the focus is on the buildup to the 100th Grey Cup."
With Saskatchewan and Winnipeg building new stadiums, Cohon said he'd welcome the idea of sprucing up McMahon Stadium.
"With the new ownership, I think their focus is on finding ways to modernize (McMahon)," he said.
"I think it's in the early stages right now.
"If they look across the country and see what everybody is doing, they want to catch up."
McMahon Stadium was transformed into one big Christmas tree with all the green and red jerseys. Speaking of Christmas in July, injured Stamps QB Drew Tate was wearing a toque during Thursday's game. Hmmm, it felt pretty hot. Must have been a dry heat ... Stamps DL Torrey Davis will be sharing Ralph the Dog's doghouse for awhile. Late in the first half, the Stamps D had forced the Roughriders to punt from their own 38-yardline. But Davis' facemasking penalty extended the Riders' drive that ended up in the endzone a few plays later ... Davis will also be sharing the doghouse with OL Dimitri Tsoumpas, who picked up separate rough play calls, and was ejected for the second one.
With fleet-footed returners breaking off long runs, CFL coaches are shying away from lengthy field goals. The Stamps had an opportunity to boot a 50-yard field goal on the opening drive, but opted to punt. There have already been three missed field goals returned for touchdowns -- one more than all of last season ... Stamps WR Johnny Forzani would have had an easy 75-yard touchdown late in the opening quarter after the Riders blew the coverage, but Kevin Glenn under-threw him horribly. And then Forzani, who had to stop to wait for the ball, ended up dropping it. They did hook up on a 39-yarder a few plays later ... One of the reasons for the Stamps' struggles was the club's inability to get any kind of a running game going. They had just 34 yards along the ground through three quarters.
On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher