Steinberg: Six unsung heroes of the 110th Grey Cup

Cody Fajardo. Tyson Philpot. Kabion Ento. Austin Mack. Jason Maas.

These are the names that will come to mind first when thinking about Montreal’s 28-24 win over Winnipeg in the 110th Grey Cup…and for darn good reason. But the Alouettes don’t pull off their incredible comeback without contributions up and down the roster.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.cfl.ca/2023/11/24/steinberg-six-unsung-heroes-of-the-110th-grey-cup

Finally a mention of AC and credit to him!! I was so happy to see Fajardo succeed after the way my (?) Riders treated him. Also happy for Maas but there was a large group responsible for the wins and Fajardo executed almost perfectly what was planned for him. I am a Rider fan but also a huge CFL fan and whenever Fajardo played I cheered him on. The game was really entertaining.

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Not one of the names mentioned was truly “unsung” by Als fans … Calvillo comes closest.

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An unsung hero is a player that does his job and you never hear his name mentioned. I’m going to throw out one name. James Tuck, in the Toronto game he made 3 game changing plays.He sealed the edge for Antwi’s touchdown, threw the final block for the kickoff return and got a first down after he was hit for a possible loss of yards. That play kept an ALS drive going. In the Grey Cup he threw the lead block for the Stanback touchdown. On offense he was barely mentioned but he was always where the action was taking place. He is an unsung hero

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I’m sure that even if Stanback hadn’t had scored the 32-yard TD, somebody else would have stepped up. Winnipeg had help on one of their TD’s with a bogus roughing call on Sankey ( I believe). That was as clean a tackle as I’ve seen. The Als were robbed just before the half, simply because the referees stand so far away from the goal line that it was mid-way through the 3rd quarter before the refs made it to the pack to say that Evans didn’t cross the plane. Anyone who has played football will watch that play and know exactly where the ball was and if they would have shown the overhead view, it was obvious that Evans had scored. The CFL needs to find a better way to determine if the ball crosses the plane of the goal line, especially with the technology we have today. Not seeing the ball is no excuse. Even when Winnipeg was about to score a sure touchdown, we had Fabion Ento flying into the air to make an amazing interception. All day long, the Alouettes faced adversity and all day long they responded. I’m not sure they even knew the meaning of the word “quit”.
Congratulations to a group of men that were on a mission and weren’t going to let a little adversity get in their way.
THANK YOU TO THE 2023 GREY CUP CHAMPIONS FOR SUCH AN AMAZING GAME!!!

Correction: That questionable penalty was called on Mustafa Johnson on Winnipeg’s first TD…down around the 10 or 15 yard line. That was no hit to the head, it was a tackle from behind but Johnson got his arm around the front of Collaros. It was Collaros decision to run. If it was Brady Oliveira running, the flag would have stayed in the ref’s pocket. I have no idea how that could be called a roughing penalty.

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I think it’s harder to do the unsung hero thing with this particular Grey Cup team because it was a true team effort. No one playing hero ball here. Contributions from up and down the lineup and in all three phases.

I’d give Nick Callender some unsung hero credit. He kept Cody upright during the Grey Cup and threw at least one key block in space to spring Austin Mack for his touchdown.

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Had we won our unsung hero would’ve been either Shayne Gauthier or Brian Cole… which ever one would’ve filled in for Biggie on that day. Injured Adam Bighill should’ve known that as a middle linebacker he’d be called upon to cover an uncovered receiver who was open over the middle… RIGHT?! Why did he put himself in that position? He was clearly a step or two slower than usual and Montreal took full advantage of that fact when it mattered most.

I’m still an Adam Bighill fan but his understudy’s would’ve had a much better chance of running down a speedy anything. So for the purposes of this article, our backups last Sunday could’ve been our official unsung heroes if our coaches had the balls to bench one of our gimpy starters.

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In Bighill’s defence, he says (in a Twitter convo with Marshall Ferguson) that Spieker wasn’t his coverage on the play and that he was just helping out. So either Montreal exploited something schematically in Richie Hall’s D or there was a bust in coverage. I tend to think the latter. Can’t imagine an old master like Hall not defending the seam in the red zone.

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There’s no way that Montreal could’ve anticipated that Biggie would start. All of the experts had his GTD status as ‘nope’ and rightly so. O’Shea had gained a certain amount of notoriety as a 'keep ‘em guessing’ BS artist when it came to position charts. I’m thinking that one of Montreal’s half-time adjustments would’ve been to create a situation over the middle where Biggie would be forced to pick up an uncovered receiver. That kind of matchup is a defensive coordinator’s football 101.

When Biggie aggravated his leg injury and went down a second time AND didn’t stay on the sidelines as he should have… the stage was set for mismatch of epic proportions.

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You could be right. Either way, they caught Winnipeg in a coverage mismatch at just the right time. Good fortune for us.

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We’d have done the same thing had the situation been reversed. Anyway I’m not bitter that we lost - the rest of the league is better for it. I was hoping that our coaches would LEARN something from this ‘failure to bench’. Anytime a mistake is made and something blows up because of it there are lessons to be learned (just as Elon Musk).

Unfortunately we have one of those “I’d do the same thing again” moments happening here that drive guys like me nuts.

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I would hope that O’Shea puts a bit more thought into whether to dress injured players than he did this time around. I was shocked to see both Bighill and Schoen activated when neither man was close to 100% and Schoen admitted he hadn’t even practiced with the team in six weeks. There’s being a players’ coach, which I admire, and then there’s opening players up to serious injury and your team to potential legal issues. What would we be saying if Biggie or Schoen had been seriously injured in that game?

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I don’t think there would be any legal issues. Both players wanted to play and didn’t care what they were risking so the legal blame is on them if they get re injured. Most players I think would be of the same view and want to play. Bighill may even have threatened to harm O’Shea’s children if he didn’t dress.

But a coaches job is to put the best team of healthy players possiible on the field and to protect the players from themselves when necessary. O’Shea could be criticized for not doing either of these things.

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