While my American friends are preparing for Thanksgiving and the NFL action that accompanies it, north of the border, football season has come to an end.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders took home the 101st Grey Cup on Sunday evening, in a 45-23 route of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This year's Grey Cup was only Saskatchewan's fourth in their entire 103-year existence. This was the first time the two clubs had squared off in the big game since 1989. It also was the third-straight won by a team in front of their home crowd.
|Photo by: Don Healy
While Hamilton fans may have left wanting more, the victory was more than deserved for the Saskatchewan fan base.
In North America's second-smallest football market (Green Bay being the smallest), the Roughriders earned the pleasure of winning their second Grey Cup in the last 6 years, but this time they did it for the first time ever in their own building.
Mosaic Stadium was electric for the game, but it's not exactly like excessive noise in that building is anything new. Fans in the prairie province of Saskatchewan are raucous, notorious travelers, and are unequivocally the loudest and best fan base in the entire league.
The crowd of 44,710 that packed into the building formerly known as Taylor Field would have counted as the third-largest city in Saskatchewan. Here's some perspective for you; Saskatchewan would be the third-largest state in the United States in area, just barely smaller than Texas. Its population? Just over 1.1 million people.
The reputation of Riders fans precedes them. Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, our local Stampeders have long been rivals with Saskatchewan. The amount of green seen in an otherwise red building each and every time the Roughriders are in town never ceases to amaze me.
Dawning watermelons on their heads, and driving down the streets in tractors and combines, Riders fans are a sight to behold. An entire province coming together all year round to support their only major franchise in any professional sport.
While I don't care for the Roughriders for obvious reasons, I have nothing but glowing remarks for the football fans in Saskatchewan.
Congratulations, guys. You all deserve this.