Posts Tagged ‘winnipeg blue bombers’

The Montreal Alouettes handed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers their first loss of the season with a tight 20-17 overtime victory Thursday.

Marc Liegghio bounced a 37-yard field-goal attempt off the upright in overtime, sealing the Bombers’ loss. It was Liegghio’s second straight miss after he failed to convert a potential 32-yard game-winner in the final seconds of regulation.

The reigning Grey Cup champions came into the contest with a perfect 9-0 record and were looking for their first 10-0 start since 1960. Dating back to last postseason, the Bombers had won 11 consecutive games before Thursday’s defeat.

Montreal’s Trevor Harris completed 18-of-27 passes for 213 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Both of the Alouettes’ touchdowns were punched in by Dominique Davis.

The Bombers outgained the Alouettes 369 to 283 in yardage and outrushed their foes 118-70. Winnipeg running back Brady Oliveira accumulated 84 rushing yards while quarterback Zach Collaros threw for 251 yards with one touchdown.

The 9-1 Bombers remain on top of the West division despite the loss. Montreal now moves to 3-6, still behind the 4-3 Toronto Argonauts in the East division.

Winnipeg had defeated Montreal on the road the week prior 35-20. The Bombers will enjoy a bye before resuming their schedule with a matchup against the Calgary Stampeders on Aug. 25.

Montreal Alouettes’ owner Gary Stern has developed a reputation for making bold declarations on Twitter and this week was no exception as he expressed his belief that his team will defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday.

Game against Winnipeg coming up fast . No one gives us a chance I sincerely believe , we are at home , we have the talent , coaches installed great systems , we will win this game . @MiltStegallTSN @MattDuniganTSN @DavisSanchez don’t write this team off .

Stern tagged a number of CFL on TSN panelists in his tweet, which was likely a reference to Milt Stegall’s guarantee that the Ottawa Redblacks would beat the Alouettes in Week 7. Montreal ended up winning the game 40-33, causing Stegall to eat crow on local radio.

When a fan of the Blue Bombers reminded Stern that Winnipeg will take full advantage of any mistakes the Alouettes make on Thursday, the owner expressed his respect for the reigning Grey Cup champions while proudly defending his team.

No question , they a great team , no question, we going to have to play almost perfect football . But that’s all doable . Look for an alouette victory !!

The Alouettes are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that dropped them to 2-5 on the season and a tie for second place in the East Division. They remain only two points behind the Toronto Argonauts (3-3) for first place in the standings, though the Boatmen have a game in hand.

Winnipeg is coming off a 35-28 victory over the Calgary Stampeders in which they played near-perfect football. The club is off to their first 8-0 start since 1960 and have won 16 consecutive meaningful regular-season games dating back to last season.

One thing working to Montreal’s advantage is that the Blue Bombers are coming off a short week. Winnipeg will have to play at Percival Molson Stadium on only four days of rest and their ninth consecutive week without a bye.

If the Alouettes pull off the upset over Winnipeg, Stern will look like a genius for making his bold prediction. If not, Stern will have to ask Stegall for the best way to prepare fresh crow.

It took two years, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have successfully defended their title.

The Bombers, who were the CFL’s best team during the regular season, captured Lord Grey’s chalice once again with a thrilling 33-25 overtime victory against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field.

Zach Collaros connected with Darvin Adams for the game-winning touchdown on the first drive of overtime.

Kyrie Wilson clinched the victory with an interception of Jeremiah Masoli.

The Blue Bombers, who went 29 years without winning the Grey Cup before their 2019 championship, are the first repeat champions since the Montreal Alouettes in 2009-10. It’s the first time that Winnipeg earned back-to-back Grey Cups since 1962.

Both teams struggled for offense early on in what was a windy night in the Hammer. The Ticats also had to weather the loss of starting quarterback Dane Evans, who left with an injury in the second quarter. Masoli was sharp in relief, throwing for 185 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and put them in position to win in front of their raucous home crowd.

But Winnipeg flexed its muscle, outscoring the Ticats 22-6 over the final quarter and overtime. Playing with the wind at their backs, Sergio Castillo hit two field goals in the fourth, and Grey Cup MVP Collaros connected with Outstanding Canadian Nic Demski for a touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ticats returner Tim White chose to concede a single point, which ended up changing the outcome. The Tabbies’ next drive saw Jaelon Acklin narrowly miss catching a potential game-winning touchdown, forcing Michael Domagala to settle for a tying field goal that pushed the game into OT for Adams’ clinching touchdown grab.

For the Ticats, the loss extends their Grey Cup drought to 22 years. It’s the longest active dry spell in the CFL. The Ticats haven’t won a Grey Cup in their home city since 1972.

The 108th Grey Cup – delayed more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – is a rematch of the 107th Grey Cup.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers won that one. Time will tell if home-field advantage helps produce a different result for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Tiger-Cats ensured they’ll play for the hallowed trophy on their home turf by toppling their arch-rival Toronto Argonauts in Sunday afternoon’s East Final. Quarterback Dane Evans came off the bench after starter Jeremiah Masoli was ineffective, leading his squad to a typically chippy 27-19 win.

In the West Final, the defending champion Blue Bombers took care of business on an icy evening at home versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but it wasn’t easy. Despite turning the ball over six times, Winnipeg withstood a late Saskatchewan charge and escaped with a 21-17 win.

The Bombers topped the Tiger-Cats 33-12 to win the 107th Grey Cup in 2019. Winnipeg was also victorious when the team teams last faced off in the 2021 season opener on Aug. 5.

Due to COVID-19 delaying the start of the 2021 CFL season, next Sunday’s Grey Cup will be played in December for the first time since 1972. That was the also the last time the Tiger-Cats won the Cup at home.

Zach Collaros threw two touchdown passes as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Edmonton Elks 26-16 on Friday night to become the first CFL team to clinch a playoff berth.

Winnipeg (9-1) captured its seventh straight victory and improved to 7-0 within the West Division. Collaros finished 15-of-24 passing for 210 yards with an interception to remain the CFL’s passing leader (2,565 yards) but is also tops in TD passes with 15.

This marks the fifth straight season that Winnipeg, the defending Grey Cup champion, has made the playoffs.

Edmonton (2-7) suffered its fifth straight loss and dropped to 0-5 at home this season.

Edmonton’s defence forced a safety at 9:31 of the first quarter, then came up big five minutes later as Trumaine Washington intercepted Collaros in the end zone. The Bombers closed out the opening quarter with a 37-yard Ali Mourtada field goal.

The Elks responded with Sean Whyte’s 34-yard field goal at 11:22 of the second.

Winnipeg took the lead with three minutes left in the first half as a 47-yard completion to Kenny Lawler set up Collaros’s five-yard TD strike to Andrew Harris. But Harris appeared to suffer an injury to his right knee and did not return as Brady Oliveira finished up with 105 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Whyte kicked a 25-yard field cut Winnipeg’s half-time lead to 10-8.

Mourtada converted from 27 and a career-high 43 yards to start the third. Edmonton tied it 16-16 on Taylor Cornelius’s 11-yard TD toss to Shai Ross. Backup quarterback Dakota Prukop added the two-point convert.

Rookie Cornelius got the start as incumbent Trevor Harris was a healthy scratch.

Moments after Elks defender Aaron Grymes couldn’t hang on to an easy interception opportunity, Collaros hit Rasheed Bailey on a 48-yard completion before finding him on a five-yard scoring strike six minutes into the fourth.

Mourtada cemented the win with a 23-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining.

Winnipeg hosts the B.C. Lions next Saturday while Edmonton has a bye week before returning home against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Oct. 29.

NOTES: Harris being sidelined while healthy has led to speculation the Elks are actively shopping their veteran quarterback on the trade front… Lawler returned to the lineup after being suspended by Winnipeg for its last game for an impaired driving arrest… The actual attendance appeared to be far beneath the announced 24,276 fans.

At age 71, Wally Buono has spent nearly 50 years around the CFL game.

To say he was disappointed the league didn’t play last year would be an understatement.

“Out of sight, out of mind is not a good thing and the CFL was one of the only leagues that didn’t play last year in North America. It’s not good for anybody. It’s not good for the fans. It’s not good for the players. It’s not good for the coaches and it’s not good for the economy,” the winningest coach in league history said on The Rod Pedersen Show.

“Moving forward [with the season] was great and the fact that Canada has done such a great job in the last six weeks to two months as far as the vaccine is concerned, it gives everybody a tremendous hope that the stands will be full.”

On that front, the league received some good news earlier this week, with the province of Manitoba announcing a loosening of restrictions that will allow the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to welcome only fully-vaccinated fans to IG Field for the start of the season.

The move drew praise from many CFL fans, while a vocal minority deemed the move discriminatory to fans who don’t wish to vaccinate. Buono understands that point of view, but doesn’t have much sympathy.

“It is what it is. Some people feel differently than other people and I think you have to be understanding that everybody has their own views and their own opinions, but there are consequences, as we all are going to see,” he said.

In nearly three decades as a head coach, Buono became a master of balancing the different opinions within a locker room with understanding and tact. Just like in football, all are free to make their own choices, but there will always be repercussions for those who don’t have the best interest of the team in their decisions.

“I’ve gotten my two shots and I feel good about it. My wife got it. My whole family is going to get vaccinated because that’s what they want to do because they want to get back to a normal life,” Buono explained.

“There’s conditions to everything and there’s choices. We live in a country where you can make those choices. But if an organization or a company sets a policy, you’ve got to adhere to it, that’s no different than any other thing.”

Currently Winnipeg is the only team with a vaccine policy for attendance, coming to an agreement with provincial health authorities. While all have encouraged immunization within their own buildings, the CFL’s return to play protocol currently doesn’t take vaccinations into effect and teams are not allowed to ask players whether they have been vaccinated until the team physical.

As the situation improves, vaccine quota’s may begin influencing team protocols, but that will require a renegotiation with government. Until then all teams will be on a level playing field and Buono believes that should extend to the stands, where he hopes more teams follow Winnipeg’s lead.

“Kudos to the Bombers for stepping out and being the leader because it then helps all the other eight clubs to try to stay with the same policy so it’s consistent for all the teams,” Buono stressed.

We’re getting our first glimpse into the effects of the CFL not playing football in 2020.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released their 2020 annual report on Monday and there’s no shortage of red ink.

According to the franchise, the team lost $6,982,217 last year due to the fact that there were no games played nor could any events be held at IG Field.

“The unprecedented and rapid spread of COVID-19 and the related restrictions that were implemented in Canada throughout 2020 had a devastating impact on live sporting events across the country, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the 2020 CFL football season,” president and CEO Wade Miller said in a statement.

“This had a detrimental impact on the club, not only with the cancellation of the 2020 season but the shutdown of all events at IG Field.”

The team also had to pay $3.4 million to operate the stadium despite the fact that it was closed for most of the year.

On the revenue side of things, Winnipeg was able to offset some costs by still bringing in $1.33 million in what they call “game day revenue” which includes concessions and merchandise. They also received $3.1 million in aid from the government including $2.9 million in Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy.

However, it wasn’t nearly enough to cover the $32.3 million dollar drop in revenue. In 2019, the Bombers posted an operating profit of $3.5 million.

“The Winnipeg Football Club has a strong history of profitability. The club entered 2020 on very solid financial footing with net assets of $12.9 million, including an operating reserve of $4.1 million,” Miller said.

“We will weather this storm and get back on the field to defend our Grey Cup Championship.”

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MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Views of the inside of Investors Group Field Wednesday morning. 180926 – Wednesday, September 26, 2018.

The CFL tentatively selected Winnipeg as its hub city if a 2020 season takes place, the league announced Tuesday.

Public health and safety officials in Manitoba must approve the CFL’s COVID-19 protocols for the league to move forward in the province.

“All three proposals – from Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, and Calgary – were excellent and all three would make superb hosts,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said.

The CFL hopes to play a condensed schedule that would begin in September. The season was supposed to start in June, but the pandemic prompted an indefinite postponement.

Players, coaches, and staff from all nine CFL teams would live in a protected “bubble” in the hub city that includes hotels, practice fields, and a stadium for games. Manitoba has registered only 366 confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

Winnipeg’s hub bid received support from the provincial government on Monday, as Premier Brian Pallister pledged $2.5 million in funding if the city gets the nod.

The CFL is still negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement while also seeking significant funding from the federal government, and approval from public health authorities as it advances toward a possible season.

“We are working hard with our players and our teams on each of these fronts,” said Ambrosie.


It sounds like Mike O’Shea is staying put.

The head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers said Friday it’s a “pretty high” percentage that he’ll sign his name to another contract with the newly minted Grey Cup champions.

“We had a good chat this morning and we’ll continue that,” O’Shea told reporters about a meeting he had with Bombers general manager Kyle Walters.

O’Shea capped off his sixth season at the helm with a 33-12 Grey Cup victory over the favoured Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Sunday that ended the CFL club’s 28-season championship drought.

“It’s been a great journey, being a part of this,” he said. “It has taken longer than I thought, but it’s neat to be a part of building something, so I do like it here.”

The 49-year-old from North Bay, Ont., has compiled a 56-52-0 regular-season record, with four straight years of playoff appearances. Winnipeg (11-7) finished third in the West Division this season.

When asked if he’d thought about moving on to a new challenge – the B.C. Lions, Edmonton Eskimos and Ottawa Redblacks are each looking for a head coach – O’Shea replied he hadn’t.

“We’re trying to get exit meetings done with the players who are still here so I’m not too concerned with what’s going on around the league,” he said.

One thing he’s aware of is the interest teams have in talking to Bombers offensive co-ordinator/receivers coach Paul LaPolice about those head-coaching vacancies.

“And he should,” O’Shea said, referring to LaPolice’s opportunities. “He’s been excellent. He’s managed to move game plans around and use the talent of the roster to the best of his abilities, put guys in great positions to allow us to win games and be very successful through the playoff run and the Grey Cup.”

Multiple reports have said the Lions, Eskimos and Redblacks have asked the Bombers for permission to speak to LaPolice.

LaPolice, 49, is in his third stint with the Bombers. He first joined the club in 2002 as offensive co-ordinator, returned as head coach from 2010-12 and came back in 2016 to guide the offence again. He’s also been an assistant with Saskatchewan, Toronto and Hamilton.

That’s not the only outside interest in Winnipeg’s staff.

The Montreal Alouettes have reportedly asked permission to talk to both Bombers assistant GM/director of U.S. scouting Danny McManus and director of college scouting Ryan Rigmaiden about that club’s GM opening.

“You’re drawn naturally to champions,” O’Shea said. “There’s a reason why we’ve had success and that’s because there’s a lot of people working very hard to do their jobs to make sure they make this a better place. One of the names, (assistant GM) Ted Goveia, should be in that conversation, too.”

Some of Winnipeg’s 25 pending free agents will likely be approached to move, particularly quarterbacks Zach Collaros, Matt Nichols and Chris Streveler. League rules are changing next year, limiting rosters to two pivots.

All three played a role in the team’s success, particularly after Nichols suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in mid-August that required surgery. Sophomore Streveler took over the reins and then Collaros was picked up from Toronto at the Oct. 9 trade deadline.

Collaros’s veteran savvy and strong arm, combined with Streveler’s gutsy running abilities even while dinged up, propelled the offence with a one-two attack during the playoffs.

The reality is the trio won’t be together next season, O’Shea predicted.

“You do remember the fact that they all want to be starters, so I think in any situation when you’ve got that many guys that are able to start sitting in a room, that someone’s gonna go find another job somewhere,” he said.

Streveler skyrocketed as a fan favourite after the city held a parade Tuesday to celebrate the Grey Cup title. Streveler wore a cowboy hat, shorts, a fur coat with no shirt and chugged beer and liquor handed to him by fans. Nichols got on stage after the parade and shouted his love for the fans, including dropping some curse words.

O’Shea was asked what he thought of the players’ unique enjoyment of the moment, and drew laughter with his response.

“They work so damn hard, they can do whatever they want in my mind,” O’Shea said. “I wish I wore a fur coat and didn’t have a shirt on either and was chugging beers, too.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2019.