As is the yearly tradition, the Roughrider Plaza of Honour inductees were announced this week. And as is also yearly tradition, the list of nominees sparked a great deal of debate. This is year’s group includes Ed Buchanan, Nate Davis, Andrew Greene and Tom Robinson. Before I get into discussing the merits/my memories of this years’ inductees allow me to give you a brief history of how the Plaza got to its current state.
It started of in 1987 as a terrific way to honour the very best to ever don the green and white. Iconic names like Lancaster, Reed, Atchison, Walters, McQuarters we all fittingly among the first inductees. We had such a storied history that they started out inducting 9 at a time. That also may have had something to do with the fact that many didn’t think the team would last another 5 years.
In 1992 they dropped it back to 5 because they realized that at their current pace everyone to ever be loosely associated with the organization would be inducted within 6 years and they would so have to start carrying an expanded roster just to have enough guys to induct. They would also have to consider inducting concession workers, and players and coaches from other teams who didn’t completely embarrass us in our dark days in the 90s.
So we eventually ended up where we are today with 3 inductions per year (plus a front office/president type). While I’m all for honouring some of the outstanding players to suit up for us, the current pace of 3 of year is quickly eroding the “outstanding” players and forcing us to induct a few “pretty decent” players.
Basically if meet any one of the following criteria you are in:
- Have a Grey Cup Ring
- Won a League Award
- Played more than 4 seasons in Saskatchewan
- Are top 10 in any statistical category regardless no matter how relevant
- Weren’t arrested during your tenure (though they are considering dropping that one in the near future so Kenton Keith, Trevis Smith, Curtis Marsh and Eric Tillman can all be inducted together.)
That brings us to this year’s inductees. First there is Ed Buchanan who meets the “grey cup ring” criteria. He must be the only guy from that team not in. He is 10th in team history in rushing… but its with a mere 2531 rushing yards which is really just a sad reflection on our history of RB minus George Reed.
Robinson… while I have personal bias against anyone named Robinson, I guess in terms of admin type folks he’s as good as any already in there.
Greene I whole heatedly agree with he was flat out one of the most dominant O-lineman to play for us. And that is saying a lot because we have a long proud history of phenomenal O-linemen. Four time all-star, 2 time West nominee for top lineman, Most Outstanding Lineman in 2003 (while playing alongside Gene Makowksy in his prime I might add).
On top of it all I will always remember Greene as a scary dude. Guys like Geno and O’Day were elite level lineman and I’m sure they were warriors in the trenches but they just seemed like nice people. Greene looked like he may have killed a man. He just looked intimidating, always. We have been lacking that kind of nastiness since he left. He was one of those guys who really deserved a Grey Cup ring. Sadly the closest he got was in 1997… and you can’t even call that close.
Nate Davis is one of those fringe guys. Yeah he was a great player but I don’t consider him one of the best ever. Sure he is 9th all-time in sacks… again that is more due to a poor history of pass rushers (Davis has 32, hardly jaw dropping). In his prime, Davis dominated the line of scrimmage like few others (he really belonged in the NFL and would have been there if not for being bipolar. Problem is his prime didn’t last very long. Its also too bad for Davis that his prime didn’t coincide with anything resembling an offense to support the work he and the rest of the D were doing.
The one memory I think we will all have of Davis is when he pissed on that guy after a sack (not literally of course for those who don’t remember). I will also remember his helmet and how it rarely finished the play on his head.