It’s almost Thanksgiving and the Edmonton Elks still have a mathematical chance of making the CFL playoffs. Considering the way the 2023 CFL Season started for the Elks, you could almost call this a moral victory.
Elks Face Tough Opponents in Final Three Games
The odds aren’t exactly in the Elks favour when it comes to making the playoffs. The Saskatchewan Roughriders currently hold down a two win advantage over the Elks and the Calgary Stampeders for the third and final playoff spot in the CFL’s Western Division. Any combination of a Riders win and Elks loss should eliminate the EE from the postseason. But Saskatchewan haven’t exactly been world beaters lately losing their last four games in a row.
Edmonton meanwhile goes into Toronto to face the East leading Argonauts on Friday, October 6. The Elks could put up a good fight but it’s going to be a tough one to win. However, you can never count out a Tre Ford quarterbacked team or a Chris Jones defense. So, the impossible could be possible. After their October 6 match up with the Argos, the Elks return to Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, October 14 for their final home game of the season against the Montreal Alouettes. Then the EE finish out their regular season on the road in Winnipeg on Saturday, October 21. Needless to say there is no more room for error for the Elks to make the postseason.
Calgary Also Faces Tall Task
The saving grace for the Calgary Stampeders in their pursuit of a playoff spot is they get one more head- to-head game against Saskatchewan on Friday, October 13 at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. If the Riders continue their losing streak, and Calgary can pull out a win against Saskatchewan at home, we could have a real barn burner of a final few weeks in the CFL West. Right now Saskatchewan holds their playoff fate in their own hands. If the Riders win at home to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on October 7, Edmonton and Calgary’s fate could be sealed. With a Riders win, the Elks can’t overtake Saskatchewan as the Riders have won two of three over the Elks this season. Calgary on the other hand has won one and lost one against the Riders this season, and their October 13th game will decide who wins the season series. With the CFL’s Eastern Division Playoff teams already determined, the only spot up for grabs is third place in the West. It could be must watch TV down the stretch if Saskatchewan continues to lose.
Win or Lose Elks Winning Back Fans
If you ask some of the long time fans of the Edmonton Eskimos and Elks, they’ll tell you that the 1971 Eskimos resemble the 2023 Elks a bit. Both teams had been languishing in last place for a few years, until a QB emerged who seemed to re-energize the team. In the Eskimos case, it was Bruce Lemmerman who helped engineer a five game winning streak at the end of the 71 season, giving fans hope for 1972. The same can be said for Tre Ford, who with his running ability and fourth quarter comebacks has led the Elks to four wins after the team started the 2023 season 0-9. The arrival of Lemmerman in 71 ignited a turn around in Edmonton–one that would eventually lead to a Grey Cup appearance in 1973, a Grey Cup Victory in 1975 and then the famous Five Grey Cups in a Row streak from 1978 to 1982.
Can Tre Ford help turn the fortunes of a disappointed fan base around? If he can miraculously lead the Elks to the playoffs in 2023, then absolutely yes. However, even if the Elks don’t make the postseason in 23, at least there’s hope for 2024. And it’s not just hype, but legitimate hope.
No marketing campaign can put people in the stands quite like winning. And the Edmonton Elks may have begun to find the pathway back to respectability and eventually maybe the playoffs in 2024. However, that’s putting the cart before the horse. Let’s see what happens in the final month of the CFL season. Buckle up. It could be fun.
Deepest Condolences to the Family of George Reed
I would like to offer my condolences to friends, family and fans of George Reed. I was lucky enough to have watched Reed play at Clarke Stadium back in the 1970s when he and Ron Lancaster would often leave Edmonton with a victory. Reed was an absolute legend who could beat you with his speed or with pure force up the middle.
As an Edmonton fan growing up, you were always aware that Reed could break one for a TD at anytime. That’s what made him so great. On a personal note, Mr. Reed signed a Roughriders program for me at Clarke Stadium one day in 1975, and he couldn’t have been more of gentleman, leaving a positive impression on me as a football fan to this day. Rest in Peace George Reed. You were one of a kind. One of the greatest players the CFL has ever seen. You are missed.
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