What an incredible season!

My wife and I attended the Lions/Esks Western Final and had a fabulous time! When the Lions were 1-6 back in the summer we thought we were looking at a team that was going the way of Hamilton when that team had seasons with only 2 or 3 wins. We were looking forward to returning to B.C. Place but figured the season was pretty much a write-off. We were hoping to take in our first Grey Cup but sorely disappointed in the prospects that we'd be cheering on some team other than our Lions.

What a difference a few months can make! Kudos to the Lions' coaching staff for a job well done. The Lions did not finish with a weak 3rd place showing. They finished in First Place and won first place in dramatic fashion. They did not earn a birth in the Grey Cup because the opposition had a bad day, or had several key players injured. The Esks are not marshmallows. The Lions outplayed them and outsmarted them. Beating the Esks 4 out of 5 times clearly proved that. The Lions fought their way from cellar dwellers to Western Division Champions!

In the Western Final, there were very few miscues beyond what would normally be expected. Edmonton had its chances but could not capitalize. The turning point was probably when the score was 6-26 with Edmonton marching the ball down to the Lions 20 yard line or so. An Esk TD and the score would have been 13 or even 14-26. The Esks would have had the momentum and seeds of doubt in the final outcome would have been sown. Thankfully it was not meant to be.

When we look back at way the Lions consistently dismantled their opponents from winning key games to seal First Place to annihilating Montreal in the season finale and then destroying Edmonton in the Western Final, the Lions are every bit as strong as they were when they won the Grey Cup in 2006 and took First Place several years in a row.

I remember when we lost Logan and Mallet and Wake to the NFL. I remember looking forward to Yonus Davis only to be shocked and disappointed when he had to be cut from the team because of some stupid choices he made. One could not help wonder if we would be able to replace these guys. And now we have players like: Brown, Harris, Gore, Mitchell, Hunt and Bruce. The list goes on.

It wasn't long ago that Travis Lulay was playing back up to Pierce, Printers and Jackson. Now look where he is and look how he's playing. The Travis Lulay of today is not the neophyte of a year ago or so! The B.C Lions have provided some phenomenally entertaining games this past season. Who will forget their win against Calgary when McCallum set a CFL field goal record and how the Lions won that game?

There were some who thought the Lions were simply on a roll or that they peeked too soon and the wheels would fall off. Some said they were only winning because they were playing weaker teams. The Lions proved those skeptics wrong. Could it be that the Lions have just simply matured into a power house dynamo team that is destined to win the Grey Cup for the 6th time in its franchise history? I've no doubt. I'm not saying it's a done deal but I do believe the Lions are the better team and the best in the CFL. I believe the Lions will prove it on November 27!

And if they do not, I will not go home disappointed. They have already provided some of the best entertainment value the CFL could ever provide in 2011!

Lions are rolling, but the season is not over until next week. Lets hope it has the ending we all want.

During the game we had an interesting debate after the game with some of our seat neighbours - What was the reason for the Lions turnaround?

Was it the acquisition of Arland Bruce? Don't forget how many dropped balls we were plagued with early in the season. Bruce's arrival gave us another proven veteran threat and freed up some room for Geroy.
Was it the emergence of Andrew Harris (or the injury to Jamal Robertson)? We certainly didn't have a run game when Robertson was doing his "Get the ball and stop dead to take a look" running.
Was it the sudden dominance of our Defence?
Was it just bad luck that we lost some close games at the start that could have gone either way?
Were the boys cocky early because of how good they looked in the pre-season?

It is interesting how everything flipped completely; And none of us could to attribute it to one single catalyst.

Well, one of the key factors, in addition to those you mentioned, I think would be Benavides switching from a 3/4 to a 4/3 base set on defence. With the personnel BC has on defence, a 4/3 is far better than a 3/4 to maximize their talents.

Good to see the coaching staff getting some of of the kudos Madjack. Chapdelaine deserves some of the credit too! Both of these guys were BBQ'd a few months ago by some of the more restless ones on the forum here.

Very true beaglehound. And I'll confess to being one of those who had been critical of Benavides in the past. When he took over BC's defence after Ritchie, I thought the unit regressed, and I failed to understand why his name was cropping up for H/C positions elsewhere (Toronto).

But I think he did a really good job this season. I think it is a mark of a good coach when he changes his preferred schemes to maximize the talent he has at his disposal. . . and he did that, this year.

It's probably a combination of most of those. But it is simply amazing how a team down 1-6 could turn things around in such dramatic fashion and go 8-0!. A few weeks ago I congratulated Wally about winning 8 straight games. In his usual humble way he just laughed it off but I could see he was reveling in it. Personally I think Arland Bruce brought a tremendous amount to the team's success. Not only on the field but in the locker room with the confidence he exudes. No single player, coach or decision can take credit. But when all put together the Lions fans get to be treated to a rare event- A Grey Cup on home turf with our own team! 17 years! It's been a long time. We almost got it in 2005 but surrendered it to guess who? Yep, the Edmonton Esks!

Yea what an incredible season. I was with my family and we had a blast. The stadium was awesome and most importantly the game was awesome.

Geroy Simon's grab, Arland Bruce, Travis Lulay's TD, McCallum's precision, Tad Kornegay outstretched reception, 2 int's by Marsh, and the beauty INT by Corey Banks. The entire defense, the running game, everthing was on. What a game.

That was my fifth game this season starting with Empire field and only missing basically the game at BC Place but I was in Calgary where Arland Bruce had that beauty td reception.

Now we get to see the first Lions hosted Grey Cup since 94, this is going to be quite the show. If we can pull this off this could quite possibly be the most important Grey Cup win ever for this Franchise.

I don't think there's a single defining point that turned this season around. It was so clear to me that this team was A LOT better than their 0-5 record indicated. For an 0-5 team, they were in 4 of those 5 games until the end and lost due to inexperience and poor coaching.

Sure the 36-1 win in Edmonton was big, but they followed that up with a stinker against Winnipeg. Fortunately they had the lowly argos and managed to gain some confidence but to me the game that told me they were for real was the game in Calgary. Paris Jackson, a veteran who hasn't said a word even though he was forced to take a paycut and lost his job came up with a huge field goal block which ultimately proved to be the difference in that game. Since then, BC has been a team on a mission.

That brings me to the best thing about this team. This is a working's man team. A blue collar group. How often do you see players of the caliber of Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce coming to block for their teammates? Or how about the veterans who lost their starting jobs to young players and instead of pouting, they remained team guys and supported the team. I'm talking about the Brent Johnsons, Eric Taylors, Paris Jacksons and Jamal Robertsons. That is special and only happens on championship caliber teams.

As Lion fans, we should really be proud of our team no matter what happens on Sunday. This is one of the great stories in CFL history.

"This is a working's man team. A blue collar group." ~ by geroy simon_081

Very good. I really liked that particular comment. I watched the highlights and saw how Bruce took out the guy so Travis could run it in for the TD. They also showed some other highlights [from a different game] where Travis himself, after throwing an interception sacrificed his body to prevent a TD. That was an injury waiting to happen but it didn't. McCallum has done the same thing! These guys are playing with heart, soul and tenacity. They are on a mission alright! And I have a warm feeling that the B.C. Lions will be the 2011 Grey Cup Champions! There is just something about the way things have been unfolding.

On a side note~ Though LaRose and Arakgi were taken out of the game due to injury the Lions remain very healthy. Hopefully LaRose and Arakgi will be ready to go next Sunday.

I've never seen the Lions more pumped for the finale on November 27. To be as strong as they are a this time, to be as healthy, to be playing in B.C. Place in front of 55,000+ hometown fans is simply magical. Talk about the perfect storm!