This is a appeal to the good sense of the people of Winnipeg, as well as the players themselves.
Folks, I think we all know that things are not well in the Peg. The current edition of the Blue Bombers is not a team for the ages. Changes are needed to make the team more competitive for the long term. Your head coach is "borderline" at best.
I believe we all recognize that it is in everyone's best interests for you to do the right thing this Sunday: namely, lose the game against Hamilton.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive. Lose and you're out of the play-offs. The players forego their play-off bonus, while the team misses out on the extra gate receipts. But it's the right thing for the long term.
Look what happens if you win. First of all, Mike Kelly most likely retains his job as head coach into next season. Deep down, is that really what you want? You must know how he feels about the fans, as he's made it abundantly clear. Similarly, Michael Bishop probably returns next year as the uncontested starting quarterback. Meanwhile, any free agents you may have this winter - the ones you don't want to lose, the Barrin Simpsons of the world - will be far less likely to sign on for Kelly 2.0. In other words, you will keep the worst elements of your team and lose the best ones. Inevitably, 2010 will be another write-off and the true rebuilding will not begin until 2011.
Believe me, as a Tiger-Cat fan, I understand how frustrating it can be to follow a team in perpetual rebuild mode. I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone outside of Toronto.
Finishing 7-11 likely buys the current regime a long, paid vacation. After all, didn't your organization fire last year's coach for going 8-10, just one short year after taking the team to the Grey Cup (and losing by a margin of one broken arm)?
In the core of your being, you know the outcome I propose would be for the best.
On the other side of things, look at it from Hamilton's point of view. Few teams in professional sports have had a worse run than ours over these past 6 or 7 years. Yet the fans - at least some of them - have kept coming. We need this win more than you do. We need to have a home play-off game. For the first time in years, our season was not over by early August. This is our year. We know it, and you know it. We're the feel-good story of the CFL. Fans across the country are rooting for us. But I'm pretty sure no one outside of Winnipeg is rooting for your guys.
If you're still not convinced, think of it this way. Winning the Grey Cup this year would be an insult to the memory of Milt Stegall, who never drank from the grail himself. You need to wait at least a year after he's retired. (In any case, do you even like your team? Stegall and Sir Charles are gone, while Goodspeed, Gauthier and Glenn all play for us now. Even Khari Jones and Greg Marshall have stepped into the light.)
For Blue Bomber players who might be reading this, I don't think I need to tell you how to throw a game. You're pretty good at losing when you don't even try, so imagine what you could do with a little conscious effort. For the fans, your task is clear: cheer for the visitors. Take away the home field advantage. Make noise when Bishop is calling signals; it will confuse him terribly. It there's snow, throw it at the home team's bench.
Do it for the good of the league. Darn it, do it for your country!
Thank you for listening. We'll remember your noble gesture fondly during the play-offs.