Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Argos, mayor in race for least respect in TO

NFL Bills get more attention than Boatmen

  • Print

TORONTO -- They're the defending Grey Cup champions getting ready to face their arch rivals at Rogers Centre Sunday with a trip to this year's CFL championship game on the line.

But the Toronto Argonauts aren't getting top billing at their home stadium.

Hanging from the light posts around Rogers Centre are Buffalo Bills flags promoting their Dec. 1 game against the Atlanta Falcons. And that doesn't sit well with Argos linebacker Marcus Ball.

"It is disheartening, somewhat of a bitter feeling," Ball said following Friday's practice at Rogers Centre. "I know that's not true because I know the Double Blue will be strong, loud and proud here Sunday afternoon.

"But I mean, those guys (Bills) play here in December. It's November and we play here Sunday."

Toronto hosts the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East final Sunday, the first time since '86 the longtime rivals have met in a conference championship. But there were no visible advertisements for the game outside Rogers Centre and the only indication inside was a small sign in an elevator.

The Argos, owned by Hamilton businessman and Tory senator David Braley, are a tenant at Rogers Centre. The stadium is owned by Rogers Communications Inc., which also owns the facility's prime tenant, the Toronto Blue Jays.

'Why are there Buffalo Bills flags flying all around the Rogers Centre?? This is our house'

-- Argonauts linebacker Marcus Ball

In 2007, Rogers paid the Bills US$78 million for the right to stage select Buffalo home games at Rogers Centre from 2008-'12. The deal was extended five more years in January.

Calls to Rogers officials weren't immediately returned Friday.

"Why are there Buffalo Bills flags flying all around the Rogers Centre?? This is our house. EASTFINAL Argos Bigproblemwiththat," the Argos star tweeted.

"It caught me off guard," Ball said afterwards. "It's something that caught my eye and it was (for) a moment.

"I haven't had time to retweet or delete it so, yeah, you caught me."

There's no doubt in Ball's mind Rogers Centre will be hopping Sunday afternoon, almost as feverishly as it was last November when more than 50,000 fans watched Toronto beat Calgary to win the historic 100th Grey Cup game.

"It's going to be the closest thing to (last year's) Grey Cup," Ball said. "A lot of guys, new guys especially, are asking, 'What was that experience like?'

"Everybody wants to know what it felt like and, hey, man, this is the closest thing you'll get to it right here Sunday afternoon. Guys are excited, we really are."

The Argos (11-7) finished atop the East Division ahead of the second-place Ticats (10-8), who won the season series 2-1. Hamilton advanced to the conference final with a 19-16 overtime semifinal win over Montreal last weekend in Guelph, Ont.

Toronto hasn't played since a 23-20 home loss to Montreal on Nov. 1 in the regular-season finale for both teams that came with the playoff berths set. Argos head coach Scott Milanovich likes where his team is and expects his best players to be in top form Sunday.

"I don't want to let the other guys off the hook but that's what superstars are, when the lights are the brightest they step up and put a team on their back," he said. "We'll ask our veterans and the guys who've been there to show them the way."

Since 1950, Toronto and Hamilton have met seven times in the East final, with the Argos winning four times. But the Ticats won the last meeting between the two en route to capturing the '86 Grey Cup.

Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris has played well against Toronto, completing 70-of-104 passes for 985 yards with five TDs and two interceptions. Ball said Burris, 38, who was the CFL's passing leader this season, is the key to the Ticats' offensive attack.

"Hank has definitely had success against us," Ball said. "Our biggest challenge will be keeping him under control and not letting him get into his groove.

"When Hank gets into a groove, he beats anybody in the league... once he's on, he's on so that's going to be the toughest thing, trying to keep him antsy in the pocket if we can."

Toronto could be minus its top tackler as middle linebacker Robert McCune (shoulder) will be a game-time decision. The 6-1, 235-pound McCune had 99 tackles this season despite sitting out the game against Montreal.

"It's not what we want, we definitely want Robert McCune there," Ball said. "But if he's not healthy enough to give us his best, we have guys capable of stepping in."

As for Ball, he's raring to go.

"I can't wait, I can't, man, I can't," he said. "We're home, families are coming in, friends are going show up to the game.

"Even in the East final we're playing those guys (Ticats) and it definitely adds a little juice to it."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 16, 2013 C4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Selinger addresses stadium lawsuit

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A  young goose stuffed with bread from  St Vital park passers-by takes a nap in the shade Thursday near lunch  –see Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge Day 29-June 28, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Will Connor McDavid make the Edmonton Oilers a playoff team?

View Results

Ads by Google