Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 20/11/2011 (2011 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WINNIPEG — In the end, the final play of the final game of the final season of Canad Inns Stadium was a touchdown that helped send the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to the Grey Cup.
History will record that Bombers running back Chris Garrett — who authored one of the great playoff performances in Bombers history on Sunday — rumbled three yards into the end zone just as time expired to ice, literally on this frigid day, a 19-3 Bombers victory in the East Division final and prolong by a week what’s already been a memorable 2011 season.
Pandemonium followed Garrett’s score as a jubilant Bombers football club poured out on to the frozen field one final time to celebrate. Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown, playing his last game in Winnipeg after an 11-year career, was mobbed by teammates. Defensive back Brandon Stewart, who hurt his ankle in the first half, danced on one foot and waved his crutches in the air. A sell-out crowd of 30,051 — who endured -10 C temperatures and a biting wind — mostly remained in their seats, savouring the history of the moment.
There was no possibility — or any purpose — in even attempting the convert that should have followed Garrett’s score and the officiating crew on hand Sunday seemed content to allow the final play in the 58-year history of the Polo Park stadium go into the books as a major for the home team.
And with that, the Bombers will now travel to Vancouver this week where they will have to beat the home team — the B.C. Lions — in next Sunday’s 99th Grey Cup if they are to end a 21-year Grey Cup drought in Winnipeg. The Lions destroyed the Edmonton Eskimos 40-23 in Sunday’s West Final at B.C. Place to advance.
But that challenge is for the coming week. Yesterday afternoon, amidst all the triumph and cigars in the Bombers locker room, the talk was more of the long journey Winnipeg took to get to this point — coming off a 4-14 season in 2010 and, in particular, overcoming the sudden death in July of assistant head coach Richard Harris.
"We’re one step away," said Brown, "from paying Richard Harris the tribute he deserves."