Stegall: Bombers win and they're in Grey Cup
By Kirk Penton, QMI Agency
|Milt Stegall believes if the Bombers can host the East Division final, they'll be in Vancouver next month for the 99th Grey Cup. (QMI Agency files)
WINNIPEG - Milt Stegall believes if the Bombers can host the East Division final, they’ll be in Vancouver next month for the 99th Grey Cup.
The Hall of Fame receiver, who spent his entire 14-year career with the Bombers, feels the Blue and Gold have the talent to not only get to the CFL title game, but to win it as well.
“If they have only that one home playoff game, they’re definitely in the Grey Cup, no doubt about it,” Stegall said Friday afternoon at Canad Inns Stadium.
“I used to tell people I didn’t even want to play here (in November), so I know opposing teams don’t want to come in here and play. It’s a big advantage.”
The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos might disagree with that assessment. They both came in here and won playoff games on bitterly cold days during Stegall’s career.
Stegall is in town to help celebrate the final home game at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday night against the Toronto Argonauts. Stegall and other alumni will come on to the field at halftime, just before a nine-minute video about the stadium’s history is shown on the scoreboard’s video screen.
Hearing those cheers from fans is what Stegall will remember most about the stadium.
“Don’t get me wrong: I have some great memories on the field,” Stegall said. “Breaking the touchdown record, the four catches for four touchdowns. But my greatest memory comes from when I ran on the field and seeing those fans in the stands with my jersey on and screaming my name. I’m still looking for that high. I can’t find it with TSN, I can’t find it anywhere else.
“There’s nothing in the world that could top that. You could give me a billion dollars. There’s nothing else like seeing those Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans screaming my name and having my jersey on.
“It’s definitely long overdue, a new stadium, but my 14 years, my career was made in this stadium. My life was changed because of the things I was able to do in this stadium.”
Stegall was unable to win a Grey Cup during his time in Winnipeg, but he believes this year’s team has the defence to win a championship and end the franchise’s 20-year title drought.
Stegall said the 2001 defensive group, featuring Doug Brown, Harold Nash Jr. and Juran Bolden, was pretty good, but this year’s crew takes it up a notch.
“The way these guys are going, they’re just able to replace guys left and right, no matter who’s injured,” Stegall said. “Those guys are just plugging in and getting the job done. I would have to say this defence may be a little bit better. I may get some backlash from those guys who played back then, but I think it’s safe to say these guys are the best defence that I’ve been around.”
And if the Bombers can get to the Grey Cup in Vancouver, Stegall would love to don the pads one last time.
“I plan on playing the opening kickoff. I’m going to run down and be the safety so I can get my Grey Cup ring,” he said with a laugh.