Monday, June 30, 2014

ESPN Attended Blue Bomber Game

Drew Willy Celebrate Wins Over Toronto
ESPN's Peter King was at the Winnipeg Blue Bomber game last Thursday as they faced off against the Toronto Argonauts. This is what he reported.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hadn’t done a lot of winning the past two years. Last season’s record was a dismal 3-15. Now, they were starting over, with a defensive scheme no one seemed to know anything about, and a new starting quarterback, Drew Willy, who had only a smattering of spot starts to his name at any level of professional football.

But it’s the same thing we say about parents: They worry because they love you. And boy, do Winnipeggers love their Blue Bombers. That only deepened when the NHL skipped town for 15 years, leaving the Canadian Football League Bombers as this sports town’s pro team.
And of course we apologized about the weather as ESPN was here as well.

However, he was impressed with us even with a tepid turn out as people still stewed from last year's terrible performance.

So when Willy completed his first drive ever as a professional QB1 with a 27-yard touchdown pass—one of those fade routes that works so well in the vast 20-yard CFL end zones—there was a cavalcade of noises. Where were we, Seattle? The Bombers’ modern, U-shaped stadium looks like the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field, and for being half the size—and far from full last night—it sounded a little like it, too.
They ring cowbells here (a crossover from the sport of curling, one of the locals said) and, after every score, a little bomber jet driven by “Captain Blue” takes a spin around the end zone printed with the University of Manitoba seal. The Bombers’ 7-0 lead over the Toronto Argonauts was cause enough for a “LET’S GO BOMBERS!” chant to reverberate off the tin roof.
Compared to noisy Seattle?

And ESPN's concluding remarks:
Sure, leads have a way of vanishing in the CFL. The game moves so quickly, and inside the three-minute warning, the clock stops after every play. But this wasn’t a tease, not for those fans in the stands who have had season tickets in their family for more than 50 years, dating back to the dynasty years of Ken Ploen and Bud Grant. No, last night, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers knocked off the best quarterback in the league and the would-be favorite in the CFL’s Eastern Conference, and the score—45-21—wasn’t even close.

“The fans needed this win,” O’Shea said. “This community needed it. That’s important, too.”

After the game, Willy found out that his friends back in the States were able to watch him play on ESPN 3. Then, he picked up his game check from a staffer sitting on a folding chair in the hallway.

This is the charm of the CFL. As fans sing over the national anthem at Bombers games, God keeps their land glorious and blue.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

FYI Peter King works for Sports Illustrated and he wasn't in Winnipeg. Jenny Vrentas, who writes for his website (, was in Winnipeg while Peter King went to the games in Calgary and Regina. As noted in your article ESPN was broadcasting the TSN feed on ESPN3. Peter King had a week long installment of CFL related news articles as an attempt to inject some non-NFL related stories.