After a one year hiatus we are back. That scheduling interruption now has this as the 13th Annual Awards… even though use of the term “annual” is used lightly since the first awards were in 2007. You do the math.
This year’s award winners get a gift basket containing a wide array of Hamilton Ti-Cat Grey Cup Champion merchandise. After losses in ’13, ’14, ’19 and ’21 we need to clear this stuff out somehow because even third world countries have too much of it and will no longer accept it.
Let’s get to the awards.
Best Player Name
I was really pulling for QB Luke Falk to make the Riders because I would have milked that for all it was worth. Sadly we were all denied that joy. So the winner goes to Stampeder receiver Luther Hakunavanhu. It’s actually not as hard to pronounce as it looks. But what makes it noteworthy is how professionally TSN handled pronouncing it. Now I, as an obscure blogger/dude who watches form my couch, have no issues pointing out that it sounds like Hakuna Matata. But the announcers paid to do this should probably attempt a shred of professionalism. Clearly they did not prep for Hakunavanhu to do anything relevant because when he made a big catch and it was time to say his name, they didn’t even really try and just went straight for Hukuna Matata. Not a good look when your level of professionalism is on the same level as a dude who recreationally wears a robe.
Previous Winners: Guillermo Villabos, Armegedon Draughns, Rakeem Cox, Akawasi Owusu-Ansah, Lirim Hajrullahu, SirVincent Rogers, Drew Willy, Bear Woods, Solomon Elimimian, Craphonso Thorpe, Charleston Hughes, Chijioke Onyenegecha
Quote of the Year
In a first for these awards, the Quote of the Year is not going to a player or a coach. It’s going to a referee. It was week 15 and the Elks were in town for a match-up with the Riders. In a shockingly rare occurrence, Craig Dickenson opted to use a timeout (in a not shocking turn of events it was a terrible time to use one, as it was on the first play of the second half.) Tom Vellesi alerted the world to this by announcing “Time out Saskatchewan…” but then, clearly forgetting his mic was still live he added “Fuck Them”.
Vellesi was indeed fined for this… something I think is ridiculous. I personally found it funny and welcome a world where refs openly curse at team. Lord knows the reverse has been happening since the beginning of time.
Previous Winners: Cody Fajardo, Dave Dickenson, Kavis Reed/Jacques Chapdelaine, Greg Quick, Solomon Elimimian, Ed Hervey, Joe Mack, Henry Burris, Eddie Johnson, Jason Clermont, Mike Abou-Mechrek x2
Play of the Year
October 30th was the date, it was late in the 4th quarter of a game between the Argos and Lions. The Argos were clinging to a 1 point lead. They blocked a potential game winning FG attempt taking over possession with 45 seconds left on the clock. Should have been an easy victory. What followed was one of the worst displays of coaching I have ever seen and I lived through the coaching careers of Mike Kelly, Kavis Reed and Danny Maccioccia.
Not realizing that BC still had both timeouts. The Argos go victory formation and kneel. BC calls a timeout with 38 seconds left. Now at this point you would think that Dinwiddie would have realized the error of his ways (things happen you forget about timeouts) but he calls a second kneel… knowing full well that it won’t end the game. Another timeout and suddenly the Argos have to punt from their own 9 yard line with 18 seconds left… without even attempting to run a real play.
To complete the stupidly cycle, BC got the ball back and marched to the 30 yard line… only to miss the FG forcing overtime with a single point. The Argos ended up winning in OT but I maintain that win should be revoked due to excess stupidity of coaching.
Botched Call of the Year
Let me preface this with saying that I don’t think it would have changed the outcome of the game. In the Banjo Bowl, a melee broke out after a Bomber TD. A lot of stuff was happening and 2 Riders ended up getting ejected (and deservedly so) but a ref had a front row seat to see Andrew Harris grab the facemask of a Rider defender and proceed to rip the helmet off him while tossing him to the ground. Not in the middle of a pile, not off to the side… directly in front of a referee. And yet, he did not get ejected. Apparently punching a guy in the helmet is a super dangerous play but forcibly removing someone’s protective gear while throwing them to the ground is super safe.
The Commercial I Didn’t Get Sick of Seeing Even Though TSN Made Me Watch It 54,297 Times Award
Well I certainly did get sick of Steven Lee Olsen. I hope whatever TSN paid his was worth it because I think we’d all rather compliment Bo Levi Mitchell profusely than ever hear Olsen’s music played ever again.
It was a pretty lacklustre year for commercials, yet again but the one I did actually enjoy was the Tide commercial where Ice T and Stone Cold call Mark Mess-ey-eur. Its not a particularly great commercial other than the blatant mispronouncing of Messier but I think it would be wild to time travel back to like 1998 and tell people that Ice T and Stone Cold Steve Austin would one day be promoting laundry detergent. You would have got stunnered/shanked for even suggesting it.
Most Insulted Sports Figure
I insulted a lot of people in the Rider organization this season. So competition for this award was fierce. Nick Marshall, Jason Maas, Fajardo, Dickenson, Blace Brown, Christian Campbell… there was plenty to critique.
But far and away a focus of pretty much every single post was how awful our O-line was… particularly our offensive tackles, who were quite frankly offensive. So I award this dubious honour to the trio of Offensive Tackles that did their best to pad the stats of opposing pass rushers. I have seen bad tackles in my time as a Rider fan, but I have never seen our entire line as awful as it was in 2021.
Previous Winners: John Ryan, Brandon Bridge, Steve McAdoo, The Riders Secondary, Any Rider QB not named Durant, Pat Neufeld, Chris Getzlaf, Ryan Dinwiddie, Jim Daley, Michael Bishop x 2, Marcel Bellefeuille
Fans’ Choice Douchebag of the Year
Rider fans love our villains. Henry Burris, Rob Murphy, John Cornish… hell we spent and inordinate amount of time yelling at Wally Buono to get off the field. Suffice to say our hatred list has a lifetime membership.
So it is with this year’s winner, who first appeared in the voting last season, and I see being a perennial nominee going forward. He beat out the obscenity yelling/fan fighting John Murphy and all around douchebag Brock Sunderland.
With 51% of the vote (20% more than the next closest) you the fans have overwhelmingly selected Andrew Harris as your Douche-Bag of the Year. It was ripping the helmet off our player that really secured it but I get the sense that we all feel his general levels of douchebaggery are naturally elevated… its about the only levels of his that are naturally elevated.
Previous Winners: Simoni Lawrence, Jason Maas x2, Cory Chamblin, Chris Jones, Jon Cornish x2, Henry Burris, Dwight Anderson, Mike Kelly, Jason Jimenez, Rob Murphy