The Lions (5-1) are off to Edmonton to take on the winless Elks (0-7) this Saturday in a game that scares me.
Some observers will feel the same way but for a different reason.
It’s not the fact that Vernon Adams Jr. won’t be available to the Lions and that Dane Evans will start at quarterback. I have full confidence in Evans. After all, you’re talking about an individual who started two Grey Cup games with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
What scares me is that this is professional football. This isn’t college where the disparity in talent level means that Alabama beats Akron 20 times in 20 games. The Elks have lost 19 consecutive games at Commonwealth Stadium – they’re due to win a football game.
The last time they won at home? It was on Oct. 12, 2019 when they beat the Lions 19-6 – and when they were still called the Eskimos.
Roughriders Head Coach Craig Dickenson came under fire some of his coaching decisions during his football club’s 19-9 loss to the B.C. Lions this past Saturday at BC Place Stadium but the one call that really puzzled me was his decision to go for the onside kick after the Riders had kicked a field goal to make it a 16-9 game with 1:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Lions subsequently recovered the onside attempt in field goal range and two plays later Lions kicker Sean Whyte was successful on a 41-yard attempt to seal the win.
“If you don’t have any timeouts, you’re in big trouble even if they get one first down,” Dickenson stated afterwards, believing the onside attempt was the best option for his team.
I could understand the reasoning if the game was a track meet but it wasn’t. Both defences were stout throughout the course of the game. In the previous two drives, the Lions could only manage one first down.
Kick it deep, and hope your defense comes up with two stops and forces the Lions to punt to probably your best weapon in the dynamic Mario Alford. Worse case scenario on a return is that you get the ball around midfield. Best case is Alford taking it to the house.
OK BLUE JAYS:
The Jays made their annual trek to T-Mobile Park this past weekend to take on the Seattle Mariners and almost got swept by the local team.
Seattle had a 3-2 walk-off win on Friday and followed it up with a 9-8 triumph on Saturday before the Jays hung on for a 4-3 victory on Sunday with the Mariners stranding the tying run at third and the winning run on second in the bottom of the 9th.
Although the games were exciting, those diehard Jays fans had a tough weekend when you consider what they had to endure to get there. With back-to-back Taylor Swift concerts next door at Lumen Field on Saturday and Sunday, southbound border lineups were around three hours. Throw in downtown hotel rooms that started in the $800 range and it was an expensive – and long – weekend for all those Canadians attending the events.
Swift, by the way, set a Lumen Field attendance record with 72,141 “Swifties” in the house.
The arrival of Lionel Messi in the United States to play for Inter Miami has come with a lot of hoopla including statement from the Inter’s managing partner – Jorge Mas – that the value of his franchise will double from $600 million to between $1.3 and $1.5 billion.
There have been reports that MLS generates $57 million in revenue on an average basis with the average value of a team at $582 million with some franchises valued even more than Premier League sides. This even though the Premier League TV contract is expected to bring in over $16.6 billion U.S. dollars over the course of the next three years while MLS deal with Apple is reported to be $250 million per year for the next eight years.
I know – the math just doesn’t add up.
Remember, this is a league where teams flew commercial up until last year. Yet when I see individuals like Robert Kraft, Clark Hunt, Arthur Blank, Zygi Wilf, Stan Kroenke on board as MLS owners, you know that they’re banking on the growth of the game both in terms of attendance and TV revenues. MLS will probably cap out at 32 teams, which means scarcity will also increase the value of franchises.
This is a futures play with some heavy hitters believing that MLS will be at another level both on and off the field in near future.
C’MON MAN PART DEUX:
With the pressure mounting after a scoreless draw against Nigeria, there has been plenty of analysis on what the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team has to do to get a better result against Ireland in World Cup play on Wednesday.
With the impending return of Jessie Fleming, TSN analyst Amy Walsh suggested that Christine Sinclair should be taken out of the starting XI. I would think that Walsh, who was capped 102 times from 1997 through 2009, would have a better feel for the situation.
I’m not a soccer expert by any means but Sinclair has earned the right to determine her own fate and not be a spectator for such an important match. Seeing Sinclair on the sidelines in a World Cup match would be reminiscent of Wayne Gretzky not partaking in that infamous shootout in the 1998 Nagano Olympics. I know Sinclair is 40 years of age and no longer in her prime but don’t tell head coach Bev Priestman that.
“In my mind, she’s in the best form of her career. At this moment, she seems fitter, hungrier than I’ve seen her since I’ve been here. I’m really excited to see what she does at this World Cup,” Priestman told TSN prior to the start of the event.
Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.