Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/7/2011 (2235 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
IT was one of the most compelling questions in the CFL last season and there's not much reason to think it won't be again this year: Who's the best running back in the league?
Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Fred Reid and Toronto Argonauts running back Cory Boyd -- whose colourful rivalry as they chased the league rushing title in 2010 was one of the more interesting sub-plots in the CFL last year -- will face each other for the first time in the 2011 regular season tonight at Canad Inns Stadium.
Reid nipped Boyd at the wire to win the 2010 rushing title by just 37 yards -- 1,396-1,359 -- but Boyd later pointed to some late-season injuries and the fact he played three less games in support of his contention he was still the better rusher last season. Suffice to say, Reid didn't think much of that version of history.
And so put it altogether and it had the makings of some interesting pre-game fireworks at Canad Inns Stadium on Thursday as the two teams staged their walk-throughs in advance of tonight's Bombers home-opener.
Except, that is, neither man seemed much interested in picking a fight. Reid came perhaps closest to saying something caustic when he was reminded of Boyd's claim that he was the better running back last season. But even that wasn't much.
"Oh yeah, he's a pretty good back, don't get me wrong," said Reid. "But this is another season and you have to come in and prove it again. So all the talk is what it is -- you have to come out and play the football game. That's what I'm looking forward to. I'm ready to go."
Boyd wouldn't even venture that far, deflecting the attention to the bigger picture. "It's not the battle who's the better running back," said Boyd. "It's the battle who's the better team."
There was not much question who won the larger war in 2010 as the Bombers lost all three of their meetings to the Argos. "They had our number last year -- no question," conceded Reid. "They got a good group of players over there, a great coach, a good organization all around. But they're coming in our home (today). We got a win on the road last week and we need to get another one this week."
Both Reid and Boyd had important contributions in Week 1 victories for their respective clubs last week, the Bombers against Hamilton and Toronto also on the road in Calgary. Reid carried 16 times for 87 yards against the Ticats, while Boyd had exactly 100 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries against the Stampeders.
Boyd was reminded by a reporter on Thursday that while the bigger picture is always paramount, he did have a playful rivalry with Reid last season. Or so we all thought -- mistakenly, apparently.
"No, not really," said Boyd. "We're both key components in our offences and we have to go out there and play. Anything else other than that, I'll leave that to the media and fans."
Indeed, Boyd wasn't the only one in the Argos organization bristling at the mere suggestion of the Reid-Boyd debate. Argos head coach Jim Barker sounded like he was answering the stupidest question he'd ever heard (Free Press reporter takes bow) when he was asked who's the better of the two running backs.
"Well, I like my guy and they like their guy. Obviously. What kind of question is that? Honestly. Do you think I'd actually say I'd much rather have their guy? Did you ask that to Paul LaPolice? I'd love you to ask him that question. And he'll say Fred Reid, I promise you. Wow."