Friday, 27 February 2015

A Condemnation of Rider Nation

All fanbases have their obnoxious fans. The ones who, no matter what, refuse to believe that their team is anything less than perfect. Their favourite team will go undefeated and win the championship every year, and any time they fail to do so, it is always someone else's fault.

I hate fans like that, and nowhere is that attitude better exemplified than with the people who make up "Rider Nation."

Earlier this week, the team itself sent out a tweet and in said tweet they referred to themselves as "Canada's Team."


Sorry to break it to everyone, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders are not, in any way, Canada's Team. In fact, NO team in the CFL is Canada's Team. To be considered the nation's team, one would have to be beloved by a vast majority of the nation. No team in CFL can claim anywhere near 50.1 per cent of the national population as being fans of their team. So just cut this Canada's Team shit out.

But it is not only this Canada's Team nonsense that irks many about the Riders are their fans. No, it goes deeper than that. And the sad part is, it wasn't always this way.

For quite some time, if you asked a CFL fan who they liked besides their own team, more often than not their answer would have been Saskatchewan. They were the plucky underdog, the lovable loser, the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Browns of the Canadian Football League. The Roughriders WERE the identity of Saskatchewan (still are, frankly) and fans from around the country wished for nothing but good things for the team in green.

But then things changed. I don't know when it happened exactly, but that plucky underdog became a hypocritical, arrogant, insufferable juggernaut and fans turned. And I don't mean juggernaut off the field. Sure, the Riders have had plenty of success over the past decade or so, but no more so than any other team. No, it was the financial success of the team that turned their fans from fun loving into full-on jerks.

Now, I must stress that I am not trying to say every Rider fan is an asshole. This is about that segment of the fanbase that rational Rider fans probably despise.

Also, I do not in any way begrudge the Riders their financial success. I laud it, I cheer for it, as I would for any team (yes, even the Argos). I want every CFL team to be not just financially stable, but to be making money hand over fist. The better off each individual team is monetarily, the better the league is as a whole.

But it seems that once the Riders become the financial powerhouse that they are today, something changed. The fans become nastier, angrier and just downright rude to anyone who dared question Saskatchewan's superiority.

It is like they forgot that not long ago, it was their team that was on the brink of folding. It was their team that needed to hold a telethon in order to keep the lights on. It was their team that needed NFL money to help keep their team from going under.

And now, because they found stable footing and are rolling in money – again, good for them – they turn their noses up at the Hamiltons and Torontos of the league who have gone through tough times. You would think, or at least hope, that a group of people who so identify with their team would not wish the same on others. But yet, whenever someone dares say that the Riders aren't the be all and end all, one of the first things they thrown in your face is how much money they have.

Another point they love to make is how attendance goes up when the Riders are in town. There is no denying that Saskatchewan has a lot of fans nationwide, but so does every other team. I personally know Tiger-Cat fans in BC and PEI. I know of Cats fans who span the globe, be it in Taiwan or England (and these are just the ones I know personally, I am sure there are more). But the dirty little secret that Rider fans don't like to talk about is that all these fans around the country are not in Saskatchewan because they were forced to move to find work years ago. Saskatchewan is now a booming economy – and again, good for them – but that was not always the case. Many residents needed to move out-of-province in order to provide for their families. And they took their Rider pride with them.

But it is not just the arrogance, it is also the hypocrisy. The CFL has a salary cap, or more accurately a Salary Management System, and because it is not a hard cap, teams have exceeded the cap. In the seven years where data is available (the numbers from 2014 have not been released yet) there have been six violations of the SMS: one by Montreal, one by Winnipeg and four by Saskatchewan.


What also needs to be explained is that one of the teams who pushed hardest for some type of salary cap was...

The Saskatchewan Roughriders!

The Riders were so concerned that they couldn't compete financially that they essentially demanded that the league implement some type of salary cap to balance the competition league-wide and allow for more parity. They wanted to take away the competitive advantage from teams like the Eskimos, who routinely would just paid for all the best players, and make the league more equitable.

How the worm has turned.

Now that Saskatchewan is the financial workhouse of the league, you will often find Rider fans scoffing at the notion that they should have to play by the rules. And their four cap transgressions in seven seasons shows that their management is in lockstep with that idea. It is a horrible attitude and one that infuriates fans of the other eight teams.

So what you have is a team that cried poor and demanded some type of system that made it easier for them to compete becoming the one to basically say, "To hell with the rules, they don't apply to us because we're rich!"

And maybe the craziest thing is, they still think everyone loves them. They remind me of Red Sox fans. When the Sox were going through their 86-year championship drought, many opposing team fans quietly cheered for them. When they finally broke through and won it all in 2004, a lot of people were happy. But then the arrogance kicked it. For some insane reason, they thought everyone loved them because people cheered for them in '04. They thought everyone was a Red Sox fan. That by not being the Yankees, they were seen as the good guys. They were the scrappy underdog taking it to the big, bad Bronx Bombers. But the '04 run was a one-off. It was not the beginning of a growing of Red Sox Nation, it was simply people who felt sorry that they went over 80 years between championships cheering for them one time. And with the Red Sox trying to make themselves out to be the anti-Yankees, it made them look like hypocrites. The Red Sox are exactly like the Yankees. They spend obscene amounts of money to lure the best players to Boston in the hopes of maintaining their winning ways. They became the very thing they fought against all those years. Sound familiar?

I am already prepared for the backlash this will create. Normal, well-adjusted fans of the Riders will likely view this and go, "Yup, he's right. We do have a bunch of assholes in our fanbase." To those people, let it be known that I am not talking about you.

But to the other side – the one who will claim I am a hater or that I am jealous or some other such nonsense – bring it on. There is a comment section below that you are free to fire back at me. But do me one favour, don't be a coward. Put your name on it. You want to be the big, bad bully, then don't comment anonymously.

So have at me, Rider Nation. I'm not backing down.


  1. Dear jealous loser,

    Your tears feed my soul.

    A fan of Canada's Team.

    1. Dear Coward:

      Sorry you don't know how to read - a byproduct of your education system mixed with a little sibling fornication, perhaps? - but if you can't be bothered to put your name on it, your response means nothing.

      If the verbiage is the problem, next time, get someone to help with the bigger words like "the" and "and."

      Someone who actually graduated from elementary school

    2. Please, stahp, my soul is getting too full...

    3. I notice the reading thing still isn't your strong suit, but now we also add in terrible spelling and poor punctuation. The trifecta!

      Saskatchewan: last in education, first in sibling marriages.

  2. One of the most pathetic things to witness is people with absolutely no trash talking game try to talk trash. I mean, given that your original post shows you to be a petty loser, even witty insults would be water off a duck's back to me. Going after the predictable, low-hanging fruit of the insult world just makes even less effective. Please, stahp, my soul's gonna burst from all your cryin'.

    1. What is actually pathetic is someone who is such a coward that they can't be bothered to own up to their comments. I put my name on this; I stand by my comments. But you want to hide behind your anonymity. You also haven't even tried to dispute anything, but hey, why bother doing that when you can just throw out ad hominem attacks, right?

      So we can continue this or you can put on your big boy pants and we can have an actual discussion. Based on the last hour, I doubt that will happen.

      But thanks, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous. A number of us have all had a tremendous laugh at your expense. Thanks for proving my thesis correct, too. Much appreciated!

      Enjoy the smell of your own farts while you have your head lodged up your own ass.

    2. Just because I know your name is Josh Smith and that you're a kneckbeard only makes you marginally less anonymous to me. This whole "ha you know my real name" stuff is pathetic piece of bravado. It's meaningless, and you're using it as a straw man argument.

      I haven't tried to dispute anything because you are not a rational person with a rational point of view. You are a jealous person with an irrational point of view. I'd as soon try to explain evolution to a young earth creationist as as I would explain to you how you are wrong in point by point fashion. You don't have a legitimate complaint so you don't get reasonable me. You have a petty complaint, so what you get is sarcastic me who's just going to point out how sad you are and happy your angst makes me.

      You could easily set your page to not allow anonymous comments but you don't because more people choose to post anonymously. Your blog would suffer without anonymous comments being allowed, so you're just ignorant hypocrite, I don't take your opinion seriously since it isn't coming from a serious person and so you don't DESERVE a quality response.

    3. And yet, here you are, under the veil of anonymity, replying at length. It's pretty obvious this blog did strike a nerve and you can't handle the opinion of someone who's not blinded by the green sickness.

      Arrogance is the stinkiest cologne of all. Enjoy reeking up everywhere you go with your Eau de Hubris.

  3. Gee bohs cems lyk ur ah bit uhpset. We duns gut us ah graht edumakacon. Ey tink use be needun a hug! By da wey tel ur mom I had a graht tyme lahst nyte!

  4. Wow take a breath josh. U must live a very busy life if this is the biggest thing I have to worry about!
    #firstworldproblems!! Lol
    Ticat fan!!

  5. Damn u rider fans I say damn u big bunch of meanies!!

  6. 4 championships in 100 years and I'd be a bit wound up too. . Luckily very few teams endure such a brutal display of futility. The Taman effect has already started to work it's way back in to this team and another 100 years of sucking is inevitable.

  7. Anonymous jk Alan 'Dirt' Cooper28 February 2015 at 07:19

    I think these comments prove your point Josh!

    I put SSK fans up there with Montreal Canadiens fans, New York Yankee fans and Dallas Cowboys fans. Annoying know it als who think their team is the greatest thing to walk the earth.

    The best part is that they think their poop don't stink. Like you said, SSK has only been on solid ground the last 8-10 years. They used to be one of the lowest attended teams in the 90s and had to have telethons to save the team every year. Those who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones.

  8. There's a reason Drew is my source for ticat news. Time to get a life and have some legitimate problems!! See even we have arrogant fans!

    Ticats 2015!!

  9. Dear josh if it weren't for the fact you wear the wrong color paired with gold i think we could have been great friends. I myself have argued all the same points with rider fans and they never have a intellegent response. They just say im jealous. This fan of the one true green team the green and gold support your fight against the over the top rider fans

  10. While I agree with some of the points raised in the article, I think you could pretty easily say the same about fans from all teams. Including the author's very own Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The 2013 Eastern Final in Toronto had a large attendance of Hamilton fans. The entire game was a non-stop chorus of "Argos suck"...not "Go Ti-Cats" and hardly any "Oskee Wee Wee", just "Argos suck". And there was an endless supply of mockery about the Argos attendance and how the Ti-Cats fans turned Toronto into home field, laughing at the Argos financial and attendance situation. In short, the fans I witnessed at that game were a true display of fans who, by this author's own criteria, lacked class and reeked of arrogance. So yeah, the Riders calling themselves Canada's Team? Pretty arrogant, no argument here. But every team has those fans, and before you go bashing another team, you may want to examine your own fan base more closely.

  11. EVERY FAN BASE!! I REPEAT! EVERY FAN BASE HAS ASSHOLES WHO THINK THEY ARE THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD! NOT JUST THE SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS! -To come on here and post this drivel honestly shows you A). Have too much time on your hands and need to get a life and B). Shouldn't judge one teams fanbase WITHOUT examining the big picture and that is... -> Every team in the CFL has fans who have huge ego's who think their team is the greatest while at the same time being complete assholes towards other teams fans.. You really do sound like a complete jealous idiot spewing this crap to accomplish what? making yourself feel better?
    Well... get a life!

  12. I've toured the league to 7 of 9 stadiums now and I can confirm that in the majority of them rider fans have disdain from the local fans. I don't even have to bring it up - they do. Josh is 100% right in this article.

  13. Lol I've also been to my share of stadiums as well as local establishments before and after games it is most certain all teams have them if u think u don't just pay a little closer attention. We don't see it in our own teams cause we don't find it "annoying" when it our team it's more funny

  14. Well Josh Smith, this Stamps fans thinks your article is extremely well written, researched and bang on. You would think that two telethons and the "09 Grey Cup debacle would be a humbling experience for these arrogant melon heads but no. It is not to be. The one point that you failed to include and it might just be because you are a nice guy was that fact their dirt bag GM refused to suspend 3 players who were under indictment for aggravated assault. At the time all three had pending trials but were allowed to continue to play for their Grey Cup. SO to me personally. The 2013 Grey Cup should be forfeited as not only did they go over the CAP for the 4th time (both of their recent Grey Cup victories I might add) they were playing with players that according to the rider's own Code of Conduct should have been suspended.

  15. Excellent work. Pretty much sums up how the 8 other team fanbases feel about the "GreenWhites."

  16. Knocking the Riders for no good reason is the mark of a bunch of banjo-pickin' inbreds.[

  17. I'm a Rider fan. I have pride in my team, just like each person who cheers for their team. Every fan base has their crop of loud, obnoxious fans who seem to paint a horrid picture of the rest of that team's fans. I am heartened to know that you, Josh, were only talking about those Rider fans, and not the entirety of Rider Nation. Not all of us wish ill on the opposition (except for that opposition to lose on game day).

    As for the moniker "Canada's Team" - you have a point. It's not one that I had considered before, but I think you are right. "Canada's Team" should refer to a team that is supported by all of our great land, so that title should go to Olympic teams 'n such. Thank you for giving me something to think about.

    RE: cap overages - no, we shouldn't be over the cap, and the team has been fined accordingly. The CFL takes care of that. A poster above feels that the 2013 Grey Cup should be forfeited in part because of the cap overage. Considering that there is already a process to address cap overages, I will have to respectfully disagree with that poster.

    RE: Rider players - again, I will respectfully disagree with the same poster about our players being suspended from play. We are still in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. It is called due process. The Rider brass made their decision. As it turned out, 2 of the charged have since been cleared, with 1 player committed to stand trial. If he is found guilty, then due process will be served, and the Rider brass will do what they have to.

    In summary - I, as a Rider fan, support my team. As a fan of the CFL, I support all teams and all fans in enjoying a wonderful game. Not to sound all kumbaya 'n such - but can't we all just get along and enjoy the game?

  18. Well Josh, Sounds like you have a lot of hate in you. I understand that it must be getting a bit irritating to watch the pride that Rider nation has for the most popular team in Canada. Maybe not Canadas team, but definitely the most popular.
    I have been a Rider fan since 1962 and have lived and died with many disappointments. But my Rider love has never wavered. Yes many CFL fans use to say the Riders were their second favourite team, but now have a lot of trouble knowing the success on and off the field the Riders now enjoy!
    For years there was no salary cap and teams like Toronto, Edmonton and BC spent much more than the few thousands of dollars the Riders have exceeded the existing cap. Edmontons 5 Grey cups started in 1978, the year Commonwealth Stadium was completed. They definitely had a relationship to the money the Esks spent.
    We all know that the Riders biggest export for years was their people and we are not going to apologize for that. Now we have seen our population grow and prosper and the rest of Canada seems jealous!!
    Yes other teams have fans on the road, but not like the Riders do! I am currently in Phoenix ( mar 3rd ) getting ready to go to a Rider event at the Coyotes vs Ducks NHL game.
    We have irritating fans, the same as every other team! I do not like to read the comments on TSN site, because of the dumb fans from all over.

    Why dont you take some of the energy your hate for the Riders generates and turn it into something positive for your own team.

    Rider Nation is growing and will not go away, so get use to it!!!

    1. The most popular team in Canada? What? It's all media hype and it gets rather tiresome after a while.
      This is a nine team league and I get rather bored with
      the media always going on and on about 'Rider Nation'.

  19. Well said Josh, could not have said it better myself.

  20. I feel like I wrote this blog myself. You hit every point, bang on.

    To clarify, I know some great Rider fans with whom I spend time with at every Grey Cup. Sadly, it's the obnoxious, arrogant ones that have turned more than a few diehard CFL fans against them. The Riders were once my second favourite team as well. That is no longer true.

    While the passion is great, which fans are are more dedicated? The ones who remain loyal to a team despite countless other sporting and entertainment options (Southern Ontario) or the ones who have nothing but one sports team? As a diehard Argo fan, I would challenge any Rider fan to live in a market like Toronto, deal with the indifference, entertainment options, and cost of living, and still remain dedicated not only to the team, but to the CFL overall.

  21. So, because the Ontario option is not positive for supporting the CFL....Riders fans are demonized and hated. We love our team and the CFL......We will continue to cheer loudly and proudly......and to the rest of the CFL we dont want to be your second team.....It wasnt any fun to lose and be patronized by you! Get use to the Riders competing and promoting the Canadian Football League, which it seems most of you are embarassed to!

  22. Hahahaha! You people are fucked!
    Green will be bringing the cup home again this year.
    Suck it!

  23. This Argoholic has been going to Grey Cup for almost 30 years and this blog is BANG on. The Piss Pil Swigging younger Rider fans tend to be the buttplugs of the league. I hate them to be honest. There are still some great older Rider fans who remember the tough times in Saskatchewan. The majority of the wagon jumpers will bail when the tough times return as they do for every team. These thoughts are shared by so many fans I know from every other city in our league.
    Enjoy your Big Green Incestfest while it lasts.

  24. You're probably not wrong, Josh, but you aren't exactly right either. I don't think you will dispute that the Riders have the LARGEST fan base in the league. Combine that with the decent amount of success, and you are going to get the situation you describe. The reason why I say you are wrong, though, is because I don't really consider those people fans. They're frontrunners. They won't be Riders fans if we ever go through another (heaven forbid) 11 year (that's enough) playoff drought. But, rest assured, obnoxious bandwagoners happens to all popular teams in all sports. If Stamps fans were the largest contingent, then there would be an annoying (and loud) segment of them as well. I guess my question to you is why does it bother you so much? Eskimo fans were annoying in the '80's, but then we got '89 and it was all good. Enjoy the good times, my friend; ignore the bad. After all, it's just a game.

  25.'re a clown and I feel embarrassed for your friends and family.

  26. Very sorry you are upset about the Riders not being lovable losers anymore. Great work painting all fans wearing green with the same brush. Never have I ever seen a Calgary, Edmonton, BC, Hamilton, or whoever fan being an asshole at games. Astute observation that the Riders have gone what, 1% over the cap and paid the penalties that are in place for that. Rider fans definitely don't travel better than every other fan base so the idea of Canada's Team is shocking and baseless.