Wednesday 10 March 2010

What Could Have Been, Pt. 3: The Playoffs

This is the final installment of "What Could Have Been." Today we finally delve into the playoffs. For the first time in 5 years the Tabbies played a playoff game, and for the first time in 8 years they hosted one. The Lions came to town, having done so because of the CFL crossover rule that states if the last-place team in one division has a better record than the third-place team in the other division, the last-place team will cross over to the other division for the playoffs. I like the rule because it sets up (a) that the best 6 teams make the playoffs and (b) the possibility that one day we could have a Hamilton-Toronto Grey Cup.

Anyway, onto the culmination of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2009 Revised Season.

East Division Semi-Final vs. BC
Original Outcome: LOST 34-27 (OT)

The playoffs are here. Going into this game the Cats were on a roll. They had won three straight to make the playoffs, and were playing a BC team that was hardly a juggernaut. In the revised season I have the Cats steamrolling into the post-season on a 4-game winning streak. The Lions played with heart, and played like they wanted this game. The Ti-Cats played like they were just happy to be there.

One player who didn't play like that was WR Dave Stala. Maybe his years in Montreal showed him that just getting there wasn't enough. Stala played, I believe, his best game in Black & Gold that day. His first TD of the game was one of the prettiest catches I have ever seen a Ti-Cat player make.

As far as I am concerned that catch ranks up there with Tony Champion's catch in the 1989 Grey Cup. If any of you knew how highly I rank Champion's catch against the Riders, you'd realize just how awesome I think Stala's catch was.

But he wasn't done yet. With 0:22 left in the 4th Quarter, Stala did it again.

This score pulled the Cats to within a two-point convert of tying the game and sending it to overtime. On the two-point attempt, Kevin Glenn found a wide open Marquay McDaniel to tie the score at 27-27.

Listen to and look at that crowd. I was there; it was pandemonium. One of the coolest experiences of my life. Alas it was not to be. BC would score first in OT and win the game when Kevin Glenn's pass fell incomplete.

To change this outcome would change everything I experienced in 2009. As much as I'd like to continue to play "What If" and send the Tabbies to Montreal for the East Division Final, I cannot. They say you must lose before you can win. I believe that this loss to BC will keep the Tiger-Cats hungry and poised for even greater things in 2010. This one stays the exact same.

Revised Outcome: LOSE 34-27 (OT)

So that is it. The entire 2009 season as I believe it should have played out. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. Now that 2009 is behind us, we can all look forward to what I believe will be an even better 2010.

PREVIOUS: What Could Have Been, Pt. 2

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