Choosing not to buy playoff pays off

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:42 PM ET

Passing on purchasing the rights to the Eastern semifinal from the CFL actually paid off, in a way, for the Blue Bombers.

The Winnipeg Football Club did not lose gobs of money when the Canad Inns Stadium stands failed to fill and the Bombers may have actually made a small sum from concessions and other sales during the game against the Montreal Alouettes, Bomber president/CEO Lyle Bauer said yesterday.

"We looked at it and decided that it wouldn't be worth the risk of buying the game," said Bauer, who confirmed the gate is split evenly with the other seven teams.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will reportedly make about $500,000 after buying the rights to the Western semifinal in Regina, which was sold out.

To prevent concerns over playoff ducat sales next year, a playoff game will be included in the season ticket package.

"Next year, it will be an 11-game package and they have already gone out," Bauer said. "It has been received very well because, not only do they get a playoff ticket at a discount, it is more convenient for them. And if we don't make the playoffs, that money will go towards the next season's ticket package."

FINALLY SPECIAL: Overlooked in all the euphoria of Troy Westwood's heroics on Sunday was the solid work of the rest of the special teams for the second straight game.

Dangerous Montreal kick returner Bashir Levingston was held to 28 yards on six punt runbacks and 68 yards on four kickoff returns. And Bomber safety Kyries Hebert also forced Levingston to fumble on one return, which set up an 18-yard Westwood field goal in the second quarter.

"That's kind of what I do, I make plays," Hebert said. "I'm going to show up, man.

"It doesn't matter who's back there (as a kick returner), we just needed to execute our gameplan. He threw a wrinkle in there and we had to respect his return to the wide field but Greg Bearman did a great job of cutting off the field and Robert Bean also got a couple of special teams tackles."

Bomber KR Keith Stokes returned eight punts for 46 yards and two kickofs for 41.

"We've been making positive directions five or six weeks in a row now, trying to get better," head coach Doug Berry said. "I know we're spending a lot of time with personnel. We've done a lot with some schemes, and I see the rewards so, I know it's not all in vain, and hopefully we can continue to identify what needs to be worked on and try to get a little stronger."

BLINK BETTER: Bomber RB Charles (Blink) Roberts admitted that he was concerned about his sore thigh when the game started.

"I was kind of nervous at first because I didn't want to get hit on it," he said. "After the first couple runs, it felt good. That last drive, you could kind of see I had my groove back. I was doing some of the things that I was doing before the injury. I'm glad I got it out of my way the first game back, and I should be in a groove now."

Meanwhile, DB Ian Logan should be able to practise today.


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