The 2009 Grey Cup will go down in history for no other reason than for demonstrating the importance of mathematics. Counting to 12 apparently isn't something that should be taken for granted.
As for counting, I kind of lost count of how many hours TSN's Grey Cup coverage lasted. Or was it days?. Some of it was very good and some not so much. Here are the observations that didn't make the cut for my Monday dead-tree column.
THE PROUDFOOT STORY: Rogers Sportsnet's Arash Madani's piece on former CFL defensive back Tony Proudfoot and his battle against ALS was one of the most touching and inspiring reports I've seen. It covered all the bases and never tried to tug at your heart.
YA GOTTA LOVE HIM: ESPN's Chris Berman can be a bit over the top at times (no more baseball, please) but you have to like an American who's got a soft spot for the CFL. He included the Grey Cup in Sunday's NFL Countdown segment on picking the winners and the panel played along, except for Mike Ditka. Da Coach showed as much disdain for the CFL as he did to defensive backs when he played and kickers when he coached.
GREAT STUFF: TSN's piece on a 108-year-old Stampeders fan was one of those feel-good features that a Grey Cup needs. ... Loved those Moments With The Cup spots on TSN, especially Sandy Annunziata and his wacky home videos. ... Inducting late TSN producer Paul McLean into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame reporters wing was a great move. ... Calgary quarterback Henry Burris showed some promise as an interviewer. He wasn't Mike Wallace, but he was entertaining. ... TSN got some pretty good moments from the coaches' pre-game speeches, though these things aren't quite the same as Hollywood portrays them. ... Thank God TSN avoided doing that annual story on the old Baltimore Stallions fans who trek to Grey Cup.
NOT-SO-GREAT STUFF: You know TSN's pre-game show has gone on too long when you hear a report on how much sleep Anthony Calvillo usually gets and how much he's getting prior to the big game. (Obviously, it was not enough as he didn't wake up until the second half.) ... Rod Smith and Darren Dutchyshen spent far too much time talking during Sunday afternoon's endless pre-game show. And who decided to put the studio in a space that had no more than a couple of dozen fans milling about? ... Maybe it was overload, but TSN didn't cover itself in glory with its Vanier Cup work. The worst moment came at half-time when TSN abandoned the CIS to promote the Grey Cup.
PLEASE BE GENEROUS: I have had the pleasure of deliving Star Santa Claus Fund gift boxes, something that opened my eyes. Just seeing the kids' reactions to getting something, anything, for Christmas was something I'll never forget. If you can afford anything, please make a donation. Go to http://www.thestar.com/santaclausfund and give generously to The Star's Santa Claus Fund.