Friday, December 4, 2009

Montreal Alouettes - the Best in the CFL Since 2000

This article was first published in the December 4th edition of Main Street Week, page 6, and is reprinted here with permission from the editors. Drop by to have a look at a great community newspaper or sign up and have Main Street Week delivered right to your inbox every Friday.

Montreal Alouettes - the Best in the CFL Since 2000

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat - choose any sports cliché you like and it can be applied to the Montreal Alouettes come from behind win in the 97th annual Grey Cup. Once again, the Canadian Football League season ended in dramatic fashion as the Montreal Alouettes defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 28-27 at Calgary's McMahon Stadium on November 29th.

A field goal by Montreal’s Damon Duval with no time left on the game clock sealed the fate of Rider Nation and sent the loud and proud Saskatchewan fans home with an empty feeling in their hearts and tears in their eyes. Despite the dramatic turn of events that led to Montreal’s victory, the Roughriders can hold their heads high regardless of the outcome. While the focus is on the Saskatchewan penalty for too many men on the field that led to Duval’s winning 33-yard field goal after he had missed on his first attempt from 43-yards, there were several plays in the fourth quarter that led to the loss.

Montreal’s Anthony Calvillo is considered the CFL’s version of The Great One and many believe that Saskatchewan’s Darian Durant is The Next One; however, it was a miscommunication between Durant and Rider’s receiver Andy Fantuz with the score 27-19 that led to a key interception by Montreal’s Jerald Brown. Fantuz cut his receiving route short, resulting in a pass into the waiting arms of Brown and setting up Montreal’s next scoring drive. It was Durant’s second interception on the day but it was clearly the more costly of the two.

Down 27-25 after a touchdown pass from Calvillo to Mr. Clutch, Ben Cahoon, Montreal once again went for a two-point conversion. The game could have been tied but Saskatchewan’s Donovan Alexander interfered with Montreal receiver Jamal Richardson on the play. Unfortunately, the referees missed the call, which lead to the dramatic ending and the field goal scenario.

With the win, Montreal can definitively state they are the team of the decade in the Canadian Football League. Although they only have two wins in their seven Grey Cup appearances since 2000, unlike other sports with a 7-game series playoff format, anything can happen in a single game when a championship is on the line.

Years from now, football fans will refer to the “Calvillo Era” in Montreal as one of the best teams assembled in the history of the league. Since 2000, the Alouettes have a league best 115-65 win/loss record and 7 Grey Cup appearances. The Edmonton Eskimos, BC Lions and Calgary Stampeders have each won two Grey Cups since 2000 but no team has dominated the league with the consistency that Montreal has demonstrated.

Here are the other win/loss records since 2000 in the CFL: BC (108-71-1), Edmonton (96-83-1), Saskatchewan (91-87-2), Winnipeg (90-88-2), Calgary (86-91-3), Toronto (80-98-2), Hamilton (61-118-1) and Ottawa - in the league for four seasons (23-49)

While the players celebrate their Grey Cup win, one thing is certain; Montreal General Manager Jim Popp and Head Coach Marc Trestman are already looking ahead to next season. Congratulations to the Alouettes and everyone involved with the organization. Have a great sports day everyone.

Photo by IcE Man Photo on Flickr

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