The 2016 Season: What Went Right
November 8, 2016
Hey Argos Empire!
The 2016 season has come to an end for our beloved Argos. I really don’t like typing that, but the fact remains,
Our Argos failed to qualify for the playoffs.
But rather than dwell on the doom ‘n’ gloom of the situation (there’ll be a post about that) let’s talk about what went right during this 2016 season. Let’s review, shall we?
The Move To BMO Field
With the purchase by MLSE, the Argos said goodbye to Rogers Centre & set up shop at BMO Field. Some Toronto FC fans weren’t terribly welcoming at first, but the grounds crew did an excellent job maintaining the natural grass for both clubs. There were those that believed the move to a smaller venue was the, “Magic Bullet” for the Argos attendance woes…But that’s for another post. What we got as Argos fans was a gorgeous field, natural grass, and Mother Nature. According to purists, it’s how the game should be played.
In an effort to bring out younger fans & duplicate the appeal of crossing the border to see the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, the Argos brought tailgating to Toronto for the 2016 season. Now, Ontario liquor laws prohibit recreating that Orchard Park, NY experience in its entirety, but the Argos were able to compensate with $4 beer delivered to your parking space. For those that don’t drive, the answer was The Shipyard; everything the tailgate offers but for foot traffic, plus live entertainment and several CFL on TSN live broadcasts. It also wasn’t the magic bullet to bring a tonne more folks thru the turnstiles, but as the Argos End Zone boss says, “An organization can’t control what happens on the field, but can create a positive experience off it with fan-friendly pre- and post game opportunities.” The Argos are working in the right direction to create that game day experience.
The second-year man outta Florida State has established himself as the go-to receiver in the Argos offence. What you see with Shaw is heart, determination, and talent on every play. Over the middle, down the sidelines, making ’em miss, and losing his bucket, he’s done it all this season. The lone bright spot in the Argos passing attack this year also exceeded 1,000 yards in receiving the first Argo to do so since Chad Owens’ 2012 MOP season. We’re all looking forward to watching him build on this validating 2016 season for 2017.
Acquired via trade just after Canada Day, Lemon was far and away the most disruptive defender for the Argos. On an inept defence that allowed the most points in the league, Lemon was tied for first in the league with 5 forced fumbles, and tied for second with 14 sacks. How did the rest of the team do in pressuring the quarterback? Lemon had more sacks than any three teammates…Combined.
One of the only constants in the Argos offence, Whitaker led the team in rushing and receptions, as well as finished second in the league in rushing, becoming the first Argo to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing since 2011. The numbers don’t show how effective he was as a blocker, bailing out his quarterback on a regular basis. Whether picking up the blitz, catching a pass out of the backfield, or leading the way in the ground attack, Brandon Whitaker was most consistent performer in an Argos uniform this 2016 season.
When over one hundred craft beers join with a comfortable atmosphere and world-class service, you know you’ve found the perfect pre- and post game location. The Craft quickly became the Argos End Zone crew’s go-to pregame destination (sorry, Shipyard) that delivered the perfect beverage & dining experience every time. Heck, they have my vote for Jube of the Year.
As always, this is just one Double Blue fan’s opinion. What do you think worked this year?