No CFL team’s fall from grace would have been greeted with such glee as the Edmonton Eskimos’ current freefall.
Everybody loves a winner, but lots of sports fans also enjoy watching a great franchise fall on hard times as the Eskies have done recently. The Esks’ 1-6 record, complete with firings, resignations and nasty rumours, isn’t garnering a whole lot of league-wide sympathy. Where the Green and Gold have faltered (in addition to the won-loss column) is in dealing with the CFL’s salary cap, introduced just a few seasons ago.
There was a time when the well-heeled Esks, who enjoyed residing in the league’s biggest stadium bursting at the seams with fans, could dole out untold cash for the game’s best prospects. But now, with a rigid salary ceiling in play, it takes football brains more than fiscal brawn to field a winner.
East Division Intrigue
You never want to see a player get injured, and by all accounts, Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo will make a full recovery from a bruised sternum suffered last week. That’s great news, but the injury sure has added some intrigue in the East Division. While the Toronto Argos had already started challenging Montreal for top spot, a prolonged absence of Calvillo will make for an even better race.
With Als backup Adrian McPherson also injured, Chris Leak has assumed control of the offence. Montreal doesn’t play again until they visit the B.C. Lions on Sept. 3, and that’s good news for the Als. In 2001, the last time Calvillo missed a huge chunk of the season with an injury, the Als failed to win another game.
• Stampeders running back Joffrey Reynolds, the CFL’s reigning rushing champ, has moved into 10th on the league’s all-time rushing list, passing Tracy Ham.
• Eskimos linebackers coach Dan Kepley’s decision to resign without telling his players is just another shocking example of all that’s gone wrong in the City of Champions.
• The Saskatchewan Roughriders are box office dynamite wherever they play. Edmonton has sold 45,000 tickets for Saturday’s game against the Roughies, significantly better than their season average of 31,763 in their first four home games at Commonwealth Stadium.