Football: Hindsight is 20-20; Nill's call to go for 2 revisited

Two months later, Calgary coach Blake Nill is still being asked about his team's unsuccessful two-point convert in a season-opening loss at Saskatchewan, which ultimately decided home-field advantage for the Hardy Cup:
"The decision was made based on circumstances on the bench. At that point, we had a quick poll amongst the coaches and the therapists and felt that we were five yards from pulling this out. We felt that was our best opportunity to win the game. It's unfortunate that (play) held up this long. But at the same time, we're excited about coming down there. I love playing in front of big crowds, and I really enjoy playing in hostile-type environments. I'm just trying to get my kids motivated for what they're going to see."
It's the old no one gets ahead playing it safe, eh? It's not quite as notorious as future U.S. Congressman Tom Osborne's decision in the 1984 Orange Bowl, but it had repercussions as far as this season was concerned.

The simplest way to support Nill's thinking is that Calgary ended up averaging 8.6 yards per play; Saskatchewan allowed 5.9. You'd take a chance at getting five yards in a single shot. Hec Crighton-candidate QB Erik Glavic was playing his first game since major knee surgery. There was a concern about overextending players. It also didn't hurt the Dinos in any point-differential tiebreakers, since the score was recorded as 20-20 by Canada West rules.

Saskatchewan went on to skirt defeat twice, edging Regina 10-9 and beating Simon Fraser 24-18 in an another OT shootout. A play here or there and the Huskies might have ended up 6-2, behind the 7-1 Dinos. Regardless, there are two conference finals on Saturday between teams which had a one-point game in the regular season. That's pretty good.

Thank goodness Canada West doesn't have the old OUA rule of awarding a point for an overtime loss, like in hockey. Calgary would be home this week if that was in place. That happened in the OUA in 2005, when Western got a point for losing in overtime to Ottawa and received second place when both had 6-2 overall records.

Nill stands by call that cost Dinos top spot; Prepares to visit Dogs in Canada West final (Kevin Mitchell, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)
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  1. Good God Neate: Why are you so preoccupied with gushing about the Calgary Dinosaurs? They are a good team. They are so good that they don't need you using Glavic's knee as an excuse for their season opening loss to the Huskies.

  2. The point was merely to show there was a basis for a decision which didn't work out for Nill's team.

    It's not "gushing" when you cite a team's statistics. The point was, as noted, "Hec Crighton-candidate QB Erik Glavic was playing his first game since major knee surgery. There was a concern about overextending players." That alluded to Nill's comment about talking to the therapists. They were -- and I checked this with Calgary people at the time -- concerned about how Glavic's knee was holding up. They said, let's go for it and not chance another overtime. Both teams were deserving of a victory and Saskatchewan made a great play.

    No one, certainly not me, cited the condition of Glavic's knee as an excuse. It was a factor in when the game ended, but not in who won.

    It wasn't meant to compare the teams. That was your (mis)reading.