I was watching a piece on Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris yesterday. It focused on Smiling Hank’s inability to beat Saskatchewan in the playoffs. The former Rider is 0-3 against the green and white since 2006. I have had the pleasure of being at one of those Saskatchewan victories and am hoping to make it two this Sunday when I brave the cold to watch the West Final in Calgary.
My sense over the past five seasons is that the Riders have by and large been the inferior team, pulling off the upset in at least two of the three victories. Perhaps that is true based on the regular season standings, but I thought I would quickly take a look at the head to head stats.
2006: The Riders went 1-2 against the Stamps in 2006, finishing the season at 9-9. The Stamps were 10-8, so it wasn’t as much of an upset as I seem to recall. It was more the case of our outscoring the Stamps 18-0 in the second half on our way to a 30-21 victory.
2007: The Riders were 2-1 against the Stamps during the regular season and won a thriller 26-24 in the West Semi-Final on the way to the Grey Cup victory over the Blue Bombers. The Riders were 12-6 during the regular season, while the Stamps went 7-10-1. Had we choked away that semi win over the Stamps at home, it would have been an upset against us.
2008: The Riders were 2-2 against the Stamps before losing to the Lions in the West Semi-Final. The Riders were 12-6, while the Stamps were 13-5. Interestingly, the one year we played the Stamps four times during the regular season, we do not meet them in the playoffs.
2009: The Riders were 2-0-1 against the Stamps, tying the Stamps at 10-7-1 for the best record in the West. We beat the Stamps at home in the West Final before losing the Grey Cup to Montreal in Calgary. Blah, blah 13 men, blah, blah.
2010: We were 1-2 against the Stamps and 10-8 overall during the regular season. After a thrilling win last week, the Riders get the chance to come to Calgary to face the 13-5 Stampeders.
Adding up the regular season record over the past five years, the Riders were 8-7-1 against Calgary. That isn’t nearly the lopsided Calgary advantage I thought to be the case. The Riders have been better against Calgary during the regular season and perfect against them in the playoffs.
Sunday’s game will likely come down to the same story it always does when Henry Burris is involved. If he plays perfectly, the Stamps can’t be beat. Fortunately, he often gets a case on interceptionitis. Especially in November. Especially against the Riders. Especially in the second half.
The roughly 13,000 Roughrider fans at the game in Calgary on Sunday will do their part to wipe the smile off Hank’s face and remind him of his past failures. With a bit of luck, the Riders will get a chance at redemption by taking on the Montreal Allouettes for the Grey Cup next weekend.