No Grey Cup Bounce
Remember all that talk last November after the Argos hosted a sold-out Grey Cup - and won the game as well - about how it was going to translate into a more robust future for the club?
Well, never mind.
Fans have responded to that championship by staying away in droves this season. In its last four home games, the Argos have averaged less than 20,000 customers, a combination, undoubtedly, of many factors including an inability to secure consistent and appealing home dates from Rogers, which owns the dome but gives the Blue Jays preference.
So far the Argos have played on a Friday, a Thursday, a Tuesday, a Sunday, a Friday again and now a Tuesday again. And now, no "traditional" Labour Day date down the highway with the Tiger-Cats.
Lots of reasons. Still, the numbers are the numbers. The Grey Cup changed nothing. The CFL remains a very tough sell in this market, even with a star quarterback like Ricky Ray in town.
So it gets even harder without Ray now.
He's gone for six weeks, and Tuesday's night home start against Montreal will feature Argo backup Zach Collaros facing Alouettes backup Tanner Marsh.
Yep, I'm sure moms and dads will be taking the kids right from their first day of school down to the dome to take that one in.
Ray, who missed four games last year and one earlier this year, now has a "fairly rare" shoulder problem that will keep him out six weeks, worrisome for a quarterback who will be 34 in October. We don't know what he thinks about that because the Argos, determined to make sure they receive the least amount of media coverage possible in this competitive market, carefully hid him from the media after last week's game, through this week and even on Thursday when his injury was formally announced.
This is thinking right out of the bad old blackout days. But whatever.
You might say this is a good chance to develop Collaros, and maybe it is. He looked good in his first start earlier this season, not so good last week against Calgary.
The Argo way, of course, has always been to trade for a big name quarterback when the time comes. Developing one of their own would be new world thinking indeed.