It was a tale of two teams during a rare Saturday matinee double header of football and hockey as both teams played at home with the games starting and ending at virtually the same time with the same outcome.
The main difference is that the Bombers were ending their tumultuous 2013 campaign by playing out the season against a Hamilton T-Cats team that rested 11 of its starters and played starting QB, Henry Burris (a potential Bombers QB next season) for a half. The Jets on the other hand are only two months into a marathon season spanning 82 games, 2 countries (3 for some players) and featuring a month long break for the Olympics in February 2014.
Unfortunately, both teams are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. The Bombers were officially eliminated with 3 weeks left in the season (some would say 3 weeks into the season but I digress) while the Jets inconsistent ways have them 6 points out of a wild card playoff spot and if you believe the ‘stats’ you may want to omit reading this section: Eighty percent of the teams in playoff position by U.S. Thanksgiving (November 28) make the playoffs, which does not bode well for this team that has had its fans on a roller coaster ride since its arrival.
The task at hand for the Bombers appears more arduous but clear cut. They need to rebuild on and off the field. They must name their new CEO, GM and then coaching staff. They also need players as in a bona fide starting quarterback to build around as evidenced by their last game of the season and Coach Burke’s comments earlier in the week regarding players having mentally checked out of the season. The Bombers have not won a Grey Cup in 2 decades.
The Jets on the other hand are at crossroads they were playoff ‘contenders’ in the East but are not thus far in the West. They have publicly stated they are building through the draft, which requires patience that the fans in Winnipeg are not totally buying into despite it working in places like Chicago and Pittsburgh. The fans want results but will settle for solid effort and competitive games over wins. The problem is that this team does not come to work every night and takes too many games off.
The fans are getting restless, the players are getting restless and the coaches are getting restless but that doesn’t change the results as building through the draft is taking time and the prospects cannot be rushed into action or else it could stunt their growth and set the plan back even further than it appears.
At the end of the day both teams want to win but go about business in different ways. The Jets seem to have a plan while the Bombers have had some success in spite of themselves. There Bombers 2014 roster will get a huge makeover that may or may not pay dividends while the Jets will take the path they have chosen that may or may not pay those same dividends and only time will tell if the teams can turn the trend around so that the best of times are ahead.