TD Place scoreboard will be a sight to see

By: Santino Filoso

20140429-215307.jpg

It’s often said that the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. A while back I started wondering why we hadn’t heard anything yet about the new scoreboard for TD Place stadium at Lansdowne, so I tweeted at the Redblacks asking for some information. The Redblacks social media team has been lights-out so far and I wasn’t disappointed as my query was quickly answered.

Coming in at 60 feet by 40 feet means that R-Nation will have a glorious 2,400 square-foot screen overlooking the western end zone. Oh, and did I mention that it’s HD? Nothing like seeing the Redblacks run up the score in high-definition and watching the tears streak down opposing fans faces as they cower beneath the Redblack attack!

Comparing it to the old scoreboard that we had at Lansdowne during the Rough Rider/Renegade eras isn’t even fair. Kinda like:

20140429-215415.jpg

The big thing is the new scoreboard. The little blue thing is the old one.

For those of you who are more visual, our scoreboard will be exactly the same size as the one used by Georgia Tech at their stadium. Now I realize that in this picture their scoreboard doesn’t look incredibly imposing, but you have to remember that their stadium seats 55,000, more than double the capacity of TD Place.

20140429-215701.jpg

Having a quality scoreboard is something that really enhances the game-day experience. Nobody wants to be squinting to see a pixelated replay. Just ask Sens fans about the new scoreboard they got in 2011.

To sum up, TD Place’s scoreboard is going to be big, in HD and create even more excitement going into this inaugural Redblacks season. Yet another reason July 18th can’t get here soon enough!

@RedBlackGade

Advertisements

CFL Mascots 101: What they didn’t tell you in the media guide

By: Santino Filoso

Welcome to Defend the R’s first annual (and completely unbiased) CFL Mascot Power Rankings. We’ve got the inside scoop on all the things left off the mascot scouting report. If you thought you knew everything about these cuddly mascots, prepare to be surprised!

THE EAST:

4) Jason (Toronto)

20140413-235628.jpg

Jason brings up the rear in what can only be described as an extremely weak mascot division. This cartoony Argonaut suffers from multiple personality disorder. He carries a sword, wears a futuristic space helmet, only has three fingers and looks like he’s been trying to pinch a loaf since the start of the Trojan War. Jason needs to seek professional help. And if you’re an Argos fan, please encourage him to get it next time you see him fishing on Lake Ontario.

3) T.C. and Stripes (Hamilton)

20140413-235816.jpg

T.C. and Stripes, the love children of Tony the Tiger and Tigger, are the tamed pussy cats who can be found patrolling the Hamilton sidelines. T.C. , which cleverly stands for Tiger Cat (man, they got some thinkers in Steeltown), has been leading purrs of “Oskee Wee Wee” since the mid 80’s. Sadly, this feline’s best days are behind him and like John Henry giving way to the steam-powered hammer, it’s only a matter of time before Stripes (get it — tigers have stripes!) replaces him.

2) Touché and Blitz (Montreal)

20140414-000108.jpg

These identical unilingual twin birds representing the Als are a stretch at number two but by default they can’t rank any lower. Like junkies searching for their next hit (of worms), these birds have been known to draw flags for illegally entering the field. Lastly (and most worryingly), though they claim to be birds, Touché and Blitz have never been spotted airborne, leading many to question their true nature.

1) Big Joe Mufferaw/Grand Jos

20140414-001912.jpg

The gem of the East division’s mascots, this dashing lumberjack can do it all; whether it’s chopping down trees, exterminating rodents (he’s looking at you, Gainer), bird hunting, or causing French language controversies, Joe’s the man for the job. When he’s not being serenaded by R-Nation at TD Place, Joe can be found log running down the Rideau Canal or in Mattawa, where his winter home is.

THE WEST:

5) Gainer the Gopher (Saskatchewan)

20140414-002245.jpg

Though Alberta has successfully and meticulously prevented rats from entering the province, their watermelon hat-wearing neighbours to the east have fully embraced rodents – even selecting one to represent their fabled name-stealing team. Gainer, which is an anagram of Regina, struggles when trying to count to 12, and has two cousins named Leonard and Goof (seriously) who sometimes make watching the Green Riders lose a family affair.

4) Leo the Lion (BC)

20140414-002531.jpg

Leo is a lion who tragically can’t roar. When he’s not meowing to pump the crowd up, you can find the feline practicing ballet and avoiding Ralph.

3) Punter and Nanook (Edmonton)

20140414-002707.jpg

They say opposites attract, and boy oh boy is that ever true when it comes to the Eskimo Empire. You can’t expect a lot out of your offense when one of your mascots is a ‘roid raged football named Punter. The yin to Punter’s yang is Nanook, a polar bear who moved South to avoid the melting Arctic ice floes and because he heard so many good things about the sushi in the West Edmonton Mall.

2) Buzz and Boomer (Winnipeg)

20140414-002839.jpg

Ever since they flew the coop in Chicken Run, these poultry have been living large. The loveable duo never stop hatching plans to entertain the Winnipeg faithful because they know their team won’t.

1) Ralph the Dog (Calgary)

20140414-003002.jpg

You have to give respect where respect is due, and despite always looking like he just woke up, Ralph deserves all the praise he gets. As the CFL’s first and oldest mascot, Ralph has been eating Eskimo pies, chicken Alouette and gopher gumbo long before any of the other mascots showed up. Despite showing his age, this pooch is still top-dog in the West.

Where do you rank ’em? Let us know in the comments below!

 @RedBlackGade

Redblacks unveil jersey… numbers ;)

As if the excitement of their first official team activity wasn’t enough, the Ottawa Redblacks also gave fans a peek at what to expect from the team’s uniforms at their inaugural mini-camp this past week in Richmond, VA.

Here are a couple of photos that provide a good look (courtesy of the Ottawa Redblacks and the Ottawa Sun):

20140410-230209.jpg

20140410-230218.jpg

20140410-230228.jpg

For lots more photos, check out the Redblacks Facebook page.

As expected, the jersey numbers have the same saw blade slice style as the Redblacks ‘R’ logo.

20140410-231148.jpg

So, it’s not a traditional number style, but it definitely works on the practise jerseys. As long as there isn’t too much more going on with the jerseys, other than a little bit of shoulder striping, it should make for a great looking uniform. Hope they opt for a simple font for the player names as well.

As for the colour options, pretty standard stuff – black, white & red. Found this tweet particularly inciteful:

@OttRedandBlacks: @Redblacks dark practice jerseys are black so very likely the real jerseys are too. Every #CFL team follows suit with their practice jerseys.

Makes sense, although I still have a sneaking suspicion the team could go with a red home jersey, as opposed to black. At any rate, with a third jersey likely coming this fall, and with jersey combination mixing & matching becoming so commonplace in pro football, good chance we’ll see both black and red jerseys worn at home regularly.

With the jersey launch date rumoured to be May 10th, we’re now just under a month away from the big reveal. While we wait, whose name/number are you thinking about for your first Redblacks jersey? We put together a quick poll:

Mini-Camp Coverage

Couldn’t end this mini-camp post without a shoutout to the Redblacks social media team and The Ottawa Sun’s Tim Baines for the excellent coverage from Richmond. Both provided piles of great photos, videos, interviews and incite. Was fun to follow the action, giving fans a sense of the atmosphere and some of the personalities we have to look forward to this season.

Kudos to the Ottawa Sun for sending Baines to Richmond. Shame the Ottawa Citizen didn’t send Gord Holder or anyone else. The Sun’s domination on Redblacks coverage in the city continues.

Things we learned at Redblacks mini-camp

By: Santino Filoso

20140410-213134.jpg

The Redblacks took an important step in their development this week as the team came together for mini-camp in Richmond, VA. The historic gathering gave coaches and management their first look at their players on the field (albeit without any equipment, due to league rules) and allowed the team to begin developing some chemistry. Here are a few takeaways from the three-day camp:

Marcel Desjardins is the anti-Burris, in that he seemingly never cracks a smile. After all the tough legwork he’s done to get the franchise to this point, the guy has to be giddy inside to finally see his players on an actual field, doing football things. Not that you’d ever be able to tell from his body language though. I think Desjardins will only smile when the Redblacks win back-to-back Grey Cups, and even then only if they’re blowouts.

Henry Burris could make a hell of a weatherman. Smooth clear voice, check. Million dollar smile, check. Ability to concentrate in averse conditions (Fred Rouse), check. Strokes his audience’s ego with subtle comments, check. Interesting random prop (banana peels), check.

20140410-214743.jpg

– You heard it here first: there’s no chance Kevin Glenn shows up to training camp. This was the Redblacks first organized event in team history. You can’t overstate how important it was for all the guys to get together and to start building some chemistry. This would’ve been the perfect opportunity for Glenn to silence his critics and play the good solider until another team’s pivot went down, paving the way for him to be traded. By failing to show up at this mini-camp, he’s alienated himself from the guys on the roster and missed out on a crucial bonding experience. One thing’s for certain: with Burris, Thomas DeMarco, Matt Faulkner and the newly signed Corey Leonard, the Redblacks have a bevy of strong arms. The only person Glenn’s hurting right now is himself.

20140410-213147.jpg

Keith Shologan is happy to be out of Regina, even if it’s only for a few days. Who can blame him, considering the seasons in Regina are Winter (October to mid-May) and Spring/Summer (July to early September).

Shologan interview

– The numbers on the Redblacks jerseys are going to be unique in the CFL, as they’ll feature a small notch, just like the R on the buzz saw in the logo. Personally I love this touch and can’t wait to see what the finished product will look like when the uniforms are finally and officially revealed on May 10th.

20140410-213112.jpg

According to the Ottawa Citizen, Eric Fraser is the Redblacks CFLPA rep. Between mini-camp drills he took some time to meet with the Redblacks veterans and updated them on the latest CBA situation. From his tweets you can see that Fraser is a very intelligent and reasonable guy, and hopefully this translates in a positive manner during the CBA negotiations. Also he got sore feet:

– R-Nation cannot be contained and we are already everywhere. We’re going to have strong showings at every stadium this season so that our boys know they’ll never be alone in enemy territory. Zack and Erika Wood got an early start on the road tripping by heading down to Richmond to watch the Redblacks practice.

20140410-213209.jpg

– Remember the name Jordan Roberts (RB). He was an absolute monster in college putting up 50 TDs in just three seasons at the University of Charleston and sounds like he really had a strong camp. I think he’ll be an impact player and quickly turn into a fan favourite.

20140410-223132.jpg

– The mistakes the doomed the Renegades will not be repeated by the Redblacks. The team had a ton of French content in their camp coverage, with tweets in both English and French, interviews with players like WR Simon Le Marquand and FB Patrick Lavoie and used both languages in their daily video updates. Smart move by management to keep everyone happy.

20140410-213158.jpg

20140410-213124.jpg

– The Redblacks team Desjardins has put together looks very fast. Bodies have been flying around and everyone from reporters to coaches to the players themselves have been commenting on it. That being said, take it with a grain of salt as it’s easy to look fast without helmets and pads and when you’re not being fully jammed at the line.

– Lastly, there’s something different about this team, it isn’t your normal expansion group. The feeling of optimism surrounding the players and the quality of their resumes gives the Redblacks more than a fighting chance out of the gate and you could even make the argument that they’re already better than some teams (hint: Winnipeg). GM Desjardins hammered this message home at the team’s first meeting when he told the players that “from this point forward, we are the Ottawa Redblacks, not the expansion Ottawa Redblacks”. That’s exactly the mentality the team needs to adopt to be successful and it’s good to see it expressed from management.

20140410-213100.jpg

“From this point forward, we are the Ottawa Redblacks, not the expansion Ottawa Redblacks”.

With our first look at the team in the books, what position do you think is the Redblacks strongest?

@RedBlackGade

Hunt hints at possible Redblacks 3rd jersey in year one

A small piece of Redblacks news that may have slipped past most of us, what with the excitement around the sale of home opener ticket packs to the public and the “controversy” around the naming of the Redblacks mascot Big Joe Mufferaw, was OSEG President Jeff Hunt dropping a hint (or pretty much confirming?) a third jersey for the Redblacks in year one. In an interview with TSN 1200 (6-minute mark), Hunt indicates that home and away jerseys will be released in mid-May, likely followed by a third jersey release in the fall!

For a jersey/logo enthusiast (geek?) like myself, this was nearly as welcome as hearing the Redblacks, still over three months away from kick-off, are already pushing 13,000 season ticket holders. A third jersey in the inaugural season is a bit of a surprise, and a welcome one at that.

And now the big question: what might this jersey look like? A couple of things come to mind immediately. First off, a fall release of a third jersey in the CFL would most likely be centred around the team’s Labour Day Classic game. And what better occasion for a vintage jersey than a LDC game.

I’m thinking there might be some giddy former Rough Rider fans in Ottawa in September!

This move makes a lot of sense for the Redblacks. Releasing three jerseys at one time seems like overkill. And if the third jersey is indeed a vintage Rough Riders look, Hunt and OSEG will have once again proven that they get it. They understand this fan base and how important it is to link the new team with teams of the past.

DOES NEW GEAR HINT AT POSSIBLE JERSEY STYLE/STRIPING?

As part of the home opener ticket pack promotion, the Redblacks released an ad featuring QB Henry Burris sporting some gear we haven’t seen before. For those that haven’t seen it, here’s the ad:

20140323-235701.jpg

Specifically, the striping on the hat seems very reminiscent of Rough Riders uniforms gone by. Here’s a closer look at the hat:

20140323-235903.jpg

Notice the striping similarities with this jersey from the early 1970s (image courtesy Wikipedia):

20140324-001131.jpg

Kinda similar, anyway.

Probably reading too much into one hat, but it is fun to speculate.

Want more on Redblacks jersey concepts? Check out these past blog entries.

@OTTRoughRiders