Friday, December 21, 2007

Marcel Bellefeuille

As promised, I have finally collected my thoughts enough to comment on Marcel Bellefeuille joining the Ti-cats.

I thought maybe with Bob O’Billovich calling the shots now we might see some logic in Hamilton’s moves… evidently I was wrong. Apparently Hamilton reasoned that the best way to improve their offense, which was the worst in the league last season, was to sign the man responsible for league’s 2nd lowest scoring offense.

Let’s take a look at Marcel’s track record as Offensive Coordinator in the CFL. He was our offensive Coordinator in ‘03 and ‘04 when we got as far as the West Final and ‘05 when we lost the East Semi. In 2007, he became the OC in Montreal and led them to another East Semi loss. So to sum up, Grey Cup rings – 0, Grey Cup appearances – 0. I can see how reading this resume you would think to yourself “This is the guy to rejuvenate our offense”.

I was really hoping that Marcel would end up on a good team so he could sabotage their offense like he did for the Als. Then again I guess that good teams are good because they make wise decisions... like not hiring Bellefeuille. I’d say Marcel will sabotage the Ti-cat offense but that would imply that they have an offense to begin with (they really can’t get much worse).

The Rider Prophet Award for Most Insulted Sports Figure was handed out 2 short weeks ago and already Marcel is a heavy favorite to repeat. I just may set a new record for Bellefeuille jokes next year.

But you know when I think about it, Hamilton may just be the best fit for Marcel in the CFL. They have a good running back to execute the shotgun draw and they don’t have a receiver that would even resemble a deep threat. If there was ever a team suited for ball control offense, Hamilton is it. I know right now you must be saying “What about Chris Bauman? He can go deep.” While there is no denying Bauman’s ability to go deep, to be considered a “threat” you must be able to catch the ball when you are deep. In this respect, Bauman comes up short … as short as Bellefeuille’s offense on 2nd down (zing… and so it begins).

This will be my last post until the New Year as I will be away on holidays over Christmas. So all the best to you over the holiday season. In the enduring words of Homer Simpson “HoHoHo, Merry Everyone!”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday Picture

In the spirit of the season, I decided to give this Wednesday's picture a Christmas theme. It may surprise you to hear that quite often the Rider Prophet is mistaken for Santa Claus when he goes out in public (I guess my beard isn't quite long enough to pass for ZZ Top).

So here's a little comparison to illustrate the differences between myself and Jolly Old St. Nick

· Santa wears red and white. Prophet wears green and white
· Santa resides at the North Pole. Prophet resides on the west side of Mosaic Stadium
· Santa's diet consists of milk and cookies. Prophet's diet is mainly rye and park burgers
· Santa rides around in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Prophet prefers an Oldsmobile
· Santa delivers presents to children around the world. Prophet delivers politically incorrect humour to sports fans around the world.
· Santa employs an army of elves. Prophet employs a Media Consultant and Field Reporter (though I pay them the same as Santa's elves).
· Santa gets letters asking for presents. Prophet gets a mixture of hate mail and requests for his banking information.
· Santa enters people's houses through the chimney while they are sleeping. Prophet has been told by the courts to stop doing this.
· Santa has children sit on his lap down at the mall. Again, the courts have asked Prophet to stop doing this.
· Santa is known as Father Christmas. Prophet has been called daddy on more than one occasion
· Santa is a popular icon among those who celebrate Christmas. Prophet's popularity transcends religion.
· Santa is well known for his big sack. Prophet... never mind.

So as you can see, the differences between Santa and the Rider Prophet are many. Take that Santa.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Now with over 50% actual news

So, I thought with Christmas being just over a week away and CFL news being harder to find than Bin Laden (chances are this comment will probably put my blog on the FBI watch list... oh well any press is good press), I would just coast until Christmas with some filler posts that really had nothing to do with football. Then along came the Montreal Alouettes with a move too amazing for me to not comment on.

The Als had an impressive list of candidates to fill their vacant head coach position: Two time coach of the year Tom Higgins, defensive genius Richie Hall, Steve Buratto who has coached multiple teams to Grey Cup appearances and Greg Marshall who coached Winnipeg's strong defense. With so many strong candidates, it was clear the Als had a tough choice to make. But much to their delight they never had to choose between these 4 as a candidate came along whose resume far exceeded the others. Who, might you ask, was so impressive as to beat out the likes of Higgins, Hall, Buratto and Marshall? Why none other than Marc Trestman.

Now if you're like the rest of the world, right now you're asking "Who the hell is Marc Trestman?!" Well after a little bit of research I've found out that he has been an assistant coach in college and the NFL for the past number of years. Most notably as the offensive coordinator for Oakland and Miami. And what of his CFL experience you ask... well his impressive experience coaching Canadian football puts him in the same league as Willie Nelson, Lorne Calvert and the Yellow Power Ranger (is that show even still on TV?). Yes, Montreal president Larry Smith, in his infinite wisdom, decided a man with no CFL experience was the best man for the job. So that means that the Alouettes are now being run by a GM who is disgruntled about being demoted from head coach and a head coach who knows nothing about the CFL. Awesome! Great news if you're a Rider fan or a fan of any east team not named Hamilton. Although to be fair, despite his lack of anything resembling CFL experience, Trestman will still be a big improvement over Popp.

In other news, recent Rider Prophet Award winner Marcel Bellefeuille is poised to join the Hamilton Ti-Cats as their offensive coordinator... Bellefeuille... in Hamilton?!?... I'm sorry this is just too much, I'm going to need a minute to digest this before I can comment. I may have to devote my Friday post to this topic.... Bellefeuille?... in Hamilton?... I'm just speechless... it's like Christmas came early this year!

Finally, last week I attended a charity basketball game featuring members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders playing a team of midgets and I've compiled a video montage of the highlights. Enjoy...
Riders Charity Basketball game.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Smarter than the Average Die Hard… Predictions Revisited

During training camp in June, I made a number of predictions regarding the upcoming season. To prove that I'm more than a prophet in name alone, I thought I would go back and see just how accurate my predictions were. My 16 predictions are listed below and I will mark them on the following scale: 1 point for being right, 0.5 for being close, and 0 for being wrong.

Our start will be shaky but we'll steadily improve
As Joseph and the receivers settle into a groove.

We started 2-2 and then proceeded to rattle off 5 wins... 1 point

Losing Morgan and Bush may be cause for despair,
But I have a feeling Rontarious will intercept his fair share
Unless you interpret "fair share" to mean 1 INT... 0 points.

Eddie Davis will bring a young secondary along,
And under the guidance of Richie the defense will grow strong.

Overall we struggled but had best run D in the league and we won the Grey Cup solely on the strength of our defense who played outstanding in the playoffs when it counts… 1 point

Our linebackers look solid with Stancil, Lloyd, Jones and Hunt
These 4 combined for 11 sacks, 4 INTs, 2 West All-Star spots and we were the best at stopping the run... 1 point

And what's this? Special teams? Luca learned how to punt!
He may have improved but he's no Juggernaut... 0 points

Watch for a breakout season from Andy Fantuz.
940 yds, 7 TDs, 3 time Canadian of the Week, 1 time Canadian of the month, Most Outstanding Canadian in the Grey Cup... 1 point

We shall start 5-5 and fans will be mad
We started 7-3, fans rather jovial... 0 points

As with every year, we will need to be patient
But have no fear, Austin's team won't be complacent
5 straight wins after losing 2, 5 more after losing 3, "everything is up for review" rant following ugly loss... 1 point

He will make adjustments and bench some big names
Benched Fantuz (Clovis and Justin too but they're not really big names)... 1 point

After years in the trenches with no recognition,
O'Day wins Lineman of the Year - unrivaled at his position.

Rider nominee for the award and the CFL All-Star Centre... 0.5 points

He'll be joined on the podium by sack leader Fred Perry,
Defensive Player of the Year, his pass rush was scary

His pass rush was scary but no award and no sack lead… 0 points

We're good for 2nd place at 11 and 7,
A home playoff game! The Rider Nation is in heaven
I was only 1 game from perfection... 1 point

The path through the playoffs looks much like '06
Same West-semi and west final... 1 point

Except the Stamps come to Mosaic - Henry still throws four picks.
Stamps turned the ball over 4 times in the game... it was a metaphor... 1 point

Yet again in the final the Lions we face
1 point

But as history dictates we will fail at BC Place.
Once again we'll be close but end with a tear.
We'll have a good run but have to wait one more year

I will gladly accept 0 points here

Total = 10.5 points out of a possible 16 for 66%

So ends my completely arbitrary breakdown of my pre-season predictions. I expected a solid season from the Riders, but I'm happy to say that the team by far exceeded my early expectations! That said though, 66% is a rather disappointing performance. Although I have to think Troy Westwood is a little jealous right now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tis’ the Season

Can you believe that Christmas is only 2 weeks away? If you're like me this means that you've only now started to think about what to get the people on your Christmas list and you'll hopefully get around to actually buying the gifts next week sometime. This will no doubt involve running a half marathon to get from your parking spot to the store, fighting your way though crowds of hapless shoppers who are there just to browse and waiting in line so long that you grow a beard that would rival mine. Don't you just love Christmas?

Here's a holiday shopping tip from the Rider Prophet to help you avoid the stresses of Christmas shopping: Wal-Mart is open 24 hours now. Tell your friends and family to only include items on their wish list that can be purchased at Wal-Mart at 3am. Or if you want a unique gift idea... autographed Rider Prophet pictures are available for a reasonable rate.

Of course if you have Rider fans on your list, shopping is easier this year than the rest of the Patriots’ schedule. In addition to all the regular Rider paraphernalia (which is all of a sudden cool again), the new line of Grey Cup gear is also out. Rider gear is flying off the shelves faster than a Crown Corporation at a SaskParty yard sale. You could slap a Rider logo on pretty much anything these days and make some money.

With that in mind I came up with my Top 10 list of new products I would like to see the Riders start selling...

10) Eric Tillman Chia Pet
9) Jamie Boreham action figure - complete with Juggernaut costume
8) John Chick home blood sugar tester
7) T-shirt that says "If Gainer doesn't wear pants, why should I?"
6) Talking Mike Abou-Mechrek doll
5) Norm Fong weight loss system
4) Luca Congi disappearing All-Star award
3) T-shirt that says "I stood in the Mosaic parking lot overnight and all
I got was cold"
2) Chris Szarka three fingered glove
1) Austin Mini - refurbished, still some dents.

If you have an idea for Rider merchandise, post it in the comments and I'll be sure to steal the idea and pass it off as my own. Until then, happy shopping Rider fans.

Oh and by the way... the Riders have re-signed Wayne Smith and Wes Cates (I figure my blog should contain at least trace amounts of actual news).

Friday, December 7, 2007

First Annual Rider Prophet Awards

Ladies and Gentlemen: It’s time to present the First Annual Rider Prophet Awards. I’d like to say that this is a highly anticipated moment but quite frankly I’d be lying. In fact, the only awards that I think are less prestigious than these are the Robby’s… and possibly the Daytime Emmy’s.

So without further adieu…

Best Player Name
Chijioke Onyenegecha. Any defensive player whose name is essentially pronounced “I'm Gonna Getcha” deserves an award in my books.

Quote of the year
Rider offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek on why offensive linemen make such good interviews: "A lot of offensive linemen are articulate because we were all fat growing up. Not a lot of the chicks liked us so we had to make up for it by reading books, learning to speak properly and relying on our smarts. I'm probably the best looking offensive lineman in the league, so it was easy for me."

Play of the Year
There are so many memorable moments from this past season. However, the Play of the Year for me came on Aug 25th when the Ti-cats played the Alouettes. While Jason Maas was trying to call an audible, his centre spontaneously snapped the ball past Maas’ head. It's not often that you can encapsulate a team's entire season in one play, but Hamilton managed to do it on that beauty.

Botched Call of the Year
For this award the potential list of nominees was longer than a morning lineup at Tim Hortons. From phantom pass interference calls to botched challenges that have convinced me that when refs go “under the hood” they are watching the cartoon network as opposed to actual game footage, officiating was a gongshow this year. There was one call however that went beyond the normal ineptitude and set a new standard for reffing screw ups. The one that takes the cake was the “onside kick that never happened” when we played Winnipeg. On an onside kick attempt, Milt Stegall and Tad Kornegay simultaneously touched the ball before it went out of bounds. Therefore, by rule (or at least by a CFL official’s logic), since both players touched the ball at the same time it cancels out and the ball is deemed to have been kicked out of bounds.

Best Rider Blog
In what is believed to be the largest landslide in the history of award show voting… The Rider Prophet
(I’d like to congratulate the other nominees.., unfortunately there were no other nominees since no Rider blog is even in the same league as me. In fact, some bloggers didn't even think an event as significant as a Grey Cup win was worth mentioning).

Fans Choice Douche-Bag of the Year
You, the fans, have spoken and with 59% of the votes Jason Jimenez is your choice for Douche-Bag of the Year. Jimenez, a member of the BC hoggies that put the “offensive” back in offensive line, made headlines this season for a block on Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman Anthony Gargiulo in the final game of the regular season. Gargiulo suffered a broken leg in 3 places plus torn ligaments and tendons on the play and needed surgery to implant a plate in his leg. The block was so dirty that even fellow Douche-Bag of the Year nominee AJ Gass was disgusted.

Most Insulted Sports Figure
Well we’ve had a lot of fun this season and most of that fun has come at the expense of players and coaches from across the league. Some of my top targets included Jim Popp, Jason French and Henry Burris. And just to prove that I am an equal opportunity insulter, I also took repeated shots at the Riders’ own Henri Childs and James Johnson.

In what is no doubt the worst kept secret since the ending of Titanic… The most insulted Sports figure of the year goes to the one and only… Marcel Bellefeuille. All season long Marcel was my primary target when it came to dolling out insults.

I’ve often wondered if Marcel ever reads any of the hurtful things I’ve written about him. If so I really hope that he has a sense of humour… which he must since his offense is a joke (aww look at me… I can’t even resist taking a shot at him while I honour him with an award).

Monday, December 3, 2007

Is this the end?

Now that the CFL season has come to an end, I'm sure many of you are wondering what will become of the Rider Prophet? Well fear not, for the Rider Prophet will not be shutting things down in the offseason. So those of you who need your Prophet fix can breathe a sigh of relief.

I've got enough material to keep posting regularly until Christmas, at which point I will be taking a week or so off. In the New Year, I will probably be cutting back to 1 post per week due to lack of things to talk about (although a lack of real news has never stopped me before). In addition to keeping you, the faithful reader, informed on CFL transactions taking place in the offseason, I'll probably diversify into some NHL and NFL talk.

What would you like the Rider Prophet to talk about? Post a comment with your ideas and I'll do my best to oblige.

Friday I will be awarding the First Annual Rider Prophet Awards. The awards will feature a fans choice award, so please vote above for your Fan's Choice Douche-Bag of the Year.

I will also be awarding the highly uncoveted award for Most Insulted Sports Figure of the Year. Will it be Jason French? Danny Cant-coach-yah? My perennial punching bag Marcel Bellefeuille? Or someone else? Who you think it was that bore the brunt of my jokes all season?… we’ll find out on Friday.