Fans watching the Bombers this year have some questions about the team. These questions seem to come in spurts and fits, just like the Bombers’ offence has been doing this year – which is exactly what leads into the questions. Then the Bombers put up a good performance and the questions subside.
However, here is the reality. The Bombers currently are 5-2. The Argonauts are 5-0, and the Lions are 5-1 (who will likely move to 6-1 this week as they face the Elks). That will make for a great matchup on August 3rd when the Lions come back to IG Field.
After those three teams, the most wins any other teams have are 3 wins (Saskatchewan and Ottawa). Then there are three teams with two wins (Calgary, Montreal, and Hamilton). Hamilton is getting Bo Levi Mitchell back this week so we will see if they can start stringing together any wins. And then there are the beleaguered – 0-7 Elks!
Yes, there are two other teams that have records with more than 5 wins, so what makes Winnipeg elite? After an atrocious 2015 season where they went 5-13 the Bombers started finding their winning way – and they have been doing it for some time now.
After a terrible 2015 campaign the Bombers would go 11-7 in 2016! In part that was due to signing Matt Nichols on September 2, 2015. That is a massive shift in the win/loss columns. The Bombers would head to BC for the Western Semi-Final that year and lose to BC. In 2017 the Bombers would improve to 12-6. Hosting Edmonton in Winnipeg for the Western Semi-Finals the Bombers would lose 3-32. Flip the calendar over to 2018. The Bombers go 10-8 and go to Saskatchewan for the Western Semi-Finals. They win that game and go to Calgary for the Western Final…and lose 22-14. It is about that time the Bomber Head Coach Mike O’Shea begins to speak publically that the easiest way to the Grey Cup is to host the Western Final. In 2019 the Bombers go 11-7 and have to go back to Calgary for the Western Semi-Finals. This time they beat Calgary and head to Saskatchewan for the Western Final. They win that game and ultimately win the Grey Cup beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. (In 2021 they would host the Western Final and would win they Grey Cup again).
Yet something else happened in 2019…Matt Nichols got injured in mid-August and the Bombers were running with Streveler…until they realized they needed another quarterback to really keep the winning going.
Up until Nichols’ injury the Bombers only lost 2 games in 2019. After Nichols’ injury Streveler would start the next 8 games for Winnipeg going 3-5! The team once favored to win the Grey Cup in 2019 was in serious jeopardy!
However, never count the Bombers out! The Bombers would sign Zach Collaros who was injured in the first game of the 2019 season – as a Rider – a little over a month later the Riders trade Collaros to Toronto, who then trade Collaros to Winnipeg on October 19! He went on to win 4 games for the Bombers including the Western Semi-Final, the Western Final and the Grey Cup!
While Nichols righted the Bombers’ quarterback position, he could never finish the deal. Yet the Bombers set their team up great from 2015-2019 and when Collaros came in their win loss record became ridiculous for all the right reasons!
Usually when a team loses their star (or even starting) quarterback that team struggles. Hey Bomber fans, remember 2009? Or more recently look at the CFL this year. Yet somehow the Bombers lose their star quarterback (before Nichols it was a revolving door at quarterback for the Bombers) and finally win the Grey Cup! Not only that, they win it back-to-back and are in it three times in a row!
Yet that would not be the last of the Bombers bombshell surprise signings! In 2021 the stand out kicker, Justin Medlock decided to hang up the cleats. This left the reigning Grey Cup champs to have to rely on Marc Liegghio – a rookie kicker. Inconsistent on the year, fans would call the CJOB post-game show wondering what the Bombers were going to do. Even Bob Irving did not see a late season signing that occurred. To secure their next Grey Cup run the Bombers signed Sergio Castillo and it sure paid off!
Yes, some people will point out that the Bombers do not look as sharp this year. But look at how many new or newer players that they are playing and starting. The Bombers know they must keep bringing in new and younger talent if they are going to continue to be very successful…and they are doing that.
Maybe you think I have exaggerated a bit. Well the over 33,000 fans that have already bought tickets for this years’ Banjo Bowl – marking the earliest this game has sold out – see to think this team is something special to watch!
So many teams get to where the Bombers are now and just try to hold on a little longer with their aging players. And the story is always the same…no succession plan and the team goes from glory to basement!
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