In case you are looking at that and wondering if there was a typo, no, the Bombers go to Toronto to play a game on Monday July 4th.
It is definitely a head scratcher. There has been speculation on why the game is on Monday, but nobody really knows. If the game was in a market where tons of fans came out to watch, I could see moving the game away from Canada Day long weekend. But this game is in Toronto.
In fact, three weeks ago when I went through the Toronto airport, I sat down for a bite to eat. I mentioned to the server that I was watching the Bombers game on my phone. She said, “Who?” I responded with, “The two time Grey Cup CFL champions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.” Her response was, “Oh, I don’t know anything about the CFL. I love my [Buffalo] Bills.”
Toronto sits on top the East Division with a 1-1 record. This is mindboggling as they have only scored 23 points and allowed 63 points. Winnipeg has a record of 3-0, and will be looking to go 4-0 in order to be in first place in the West. Right now Winnipeg is in third place in the west even though BC and Calgary are also 3-0. In this scenario, points for and against determine who is ranked higher. To see the current standings click here.
As we have seen early on, the East is not very strong right now. However, Winnipeg will not be looking past Toronto (even though they play BC on Saturday July 9th) for two key reasons.
Reason #1 Andrew Harris:
Andrew Harris left town and felt disrespected. Read more about that here.
Some fans have a sour taste in their mouth with Andrew leaving. They think he should have stuck around. They do not like that I am even writing about him right now. They think he is arrogant and cocky.
That is not the Andrew Harris I met.
Before he moved on to Toronto, I brought 20+ items for Andrew Harris to sign. He agreed to meet me after practice. I brought my family. As I kept pulling out items for him to sign I said, “Let me know if this is too much already.” With a smile on his face he said, “I’ll sign it all, no problem.” He even took time to ask about my family, taking a real interest. Then he shared Christmas cookies with my kids that he had just received from Minister Gordon.
After that interaction I Tweeted, “Harris has every reason to be cocky and arrogant, but he isn’t.”
And here’s what those that played with Harris have to say:
While fans may be disappointed with Harris’ departure, we have to remember, for fans it’s entertainment. For Harris it’s business. I would not dislike somebody because they moved on from any other business when an opportunity arose. So why do we do that in football? Even Milt Stegall has said over the years that he would never fault a player for moving on with a chance to make more money. CFL careers are short folks!
The bottom line is that Harris wanted to be a starter, and he was not going to get that opportunity in Winnipeg this season.
Reason #2 Toronto Handed Winnipeg A Loss In 2019:
In 2021 Winnipeg only lost three games!
The first loss came to Toronto in Week 3. For the first two weeks in 2021, Winnipeg looked solid! Beating Hamilton 19-6 and Toronto 20-7, Winnipeg lost the following week to Toronto 30-23.
Granted Arbuckle was at quarterback for Toronto, not McLeod Bethel-Thompson. However, what is the same is that in the 2021 game Winnipeg did not have Andrew Harris – he was injured. And they had who they have now, Oliveira. He rushed the ball 7 times for only 28 yards. If Winnipeg is going to beat Toronto, they are going to need a better effort from their ground game.
Additionally, Winnipeg will be without their three leading receivers from that 2019 loss. Kenny Lawler (now in Edmonton), Darvin Adams (now in Ottawa), and Kelvin McKnight (who was released by the Bomber mid June).
Yet, Toronto is not without its fair share of injuries for this matchup. While you will notice that Andrew Harris is on that list as questionable, he is going to play! And he will be a big part of the game.
Fan’s 3 Keys The The Game:
Here is this week’s Fan’s 3 Keys To The Game:
Here is what they are saying in Toronto.
I predict Winnipeg beats Toronto, but that it will be a close and entertaining game. I predict Andrew Harris has a 100 yard game. I predict Greg Ellingson will have a huge game. I predict Winnipeg will continue to not allow late game touchdowns.
Am I correct?
We will find out Monday night, from a somewhat filled BMO Field. Action begins at 7:30 CST (6:30 in Manitoba).
What did I get right? What did I get wrong? Let me know in the comments.
Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans
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