First time for everything!
I had the pleasure of calling the BC Lions vs. Calgary Stampeders game with Gord Miller on TSN on Friday night. You know, it's always good to get "Out of the Cage", so to speak, and take in the sights and sounds at the ballpark. What caught my eye on the night was the amount of firsts that took place. I'll be honest with y'all, at times during that game, it probably sounded like it was my first crack at doing colour commentary. Ha! I made a few mistakes but had fun once again trying to help you enjoy the game.
Here are some of the firsts I noticed:
1. Lions quarterback Kevin Glenn wins for the first time on the road in McMahon Stadium against the Stampeders.
You better believe that when an athlete has not experienced success against a particular team or in a certain venue or against a rival, they know when something like that is going on. For the first six seasons of my my career, I could never get a "W" while playing against the Toronto Argonauts at Exhibition Stadium! Thank goodness that place shut down and the Argos moved into the SkyDome! In fact, I played so consistently poor at Exhibition, Leo Cahill once said, "Dunigan could throw the football at the ground and miss". That's classic!
Hence, the story I told on national television, for the first time, about me once eating chocolate covered espresso beans with my offensive linemen before a game at Exhibition, trying to mix things up a bit in an attempt to change my luck at that horrible stadium. Ha! For those of you who didn't hear me Friday night, things did not go well in the first half of this game. I was chunking, whizzing, riffling balls all over the place. Missing receivers not by a little, but by five, six, seven yards. Shooting it way over their heads, into the stands, it was not pretty! If there was ever anyone who did not need extra hype, energy or adrenaline before a game, it was me. I can assure you that was the first and last time for this guy, as the lesson was learned!
2. Stampeders running back Martell Mallett rushes the football for the first time in 1,429 days. The last time Mallett (aka. Cognac) carried the ball was for the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL preseason game against the New York Jets on Sep. 2, 2010.
With 116 rushing yards on 14 carries, it was also Mallett's first 100-yard game since Sep. 25, 2009. On that night, Mallett was playing for the visiting Lions at McMahon Stadium. Different jersey, same dynamic performance!
3. Lions receiver Ernest Jackson earns his first touchdown catch of the season, blowing by Calgary's Brandon Smith and taking it 65 yards for the game winner.
4. On the defensive side of the ball, Lions LB Solomon Elimimian racked up 10 tackles, making it the first time he's had 10+ tackles in back-to-back games. Last week, Elimimian tied a career-high with 12 tackles vs. Winnipeg.
5. Lions first-year cornerback Ronnie Yell from San Jose State gets his first interception of his CFL career and it's a 34-yard pick six!
6. On that very play, Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell throws his first pick of the 2014 season! For those keeping track, that was also Mitchell's first interception after going 142 pass attempts without one since Sep. 13, 2013 vs. Hamilton!
7. Keon Raymond, strong side linebacker for the Stampeders, gets his first pick of the year and takes it 63 yards for the score. It was his first pick six since Oct. 20, 2012, when he took one back 100 yards vs. Hamilton.
8. Bo Levi Mitchell loses for the first time as a starter in his young CFL career.
9. Stampeders lose for the first time this season.
10. Shane Bergman, left guard for the Stampeders, made his first-ever career start and acquitted himself quite well. This considering he was up against two of the best defensive lineman in the CFL, Eric Taylor and Khalif Mitchell.
Those were some of the firsts that played out on a beautiful Friday night in Calgary, Alberta. If you missed it, that's too bad, because these firsts will never happen again!