Eskimos fans finally realize what they had in Ricky Ray
By Rob Soria
Well Edmonton Eskimos fans, what do you think of good ol' Ricky Ray now? After watching the former Esks QB pick apart the Calgary Stampeders, in leading the Toronto Argonauts to the 100th Grey Cup, one has to wonder what is running through the minds of those that had been calling for such a move to be made.
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Edmonton - November 25, 2012 - Well Edmonton Eskimos fans, what do you think of good ol' Ricky Ray now? While much has been made of the one-sided deal that saw the former Esks starting quarterback being shipped off to the Toronto Argonauts last December, it was a move that a rather large chunk of Eskimos fans had been asking the organization to consider for a few years.
What's that saying again...something about not knowing what you had until it was gone. Take note fans of the Green and Gold, what you had is parading around Toronto with 100th Grey Cup.
While it has become common place for the vast majority of Eskimos fans to complain loudly about former General Manager Eric Tillman's decision to move the future Hall of Famer, the fact they received so little in return, is what irked the masses most. By acquiring so little in the trade and not bringing in a true starting quarterback to replace Ray, it was an experiment that was doomed to fail in the eye's of the public.
Having said that, let us call a spade a spade. It was an awful trade but many of those so-called fans were the same crew that routinely booed Ray off the Commonwealth Stadium field in recent years and pleaded with the organization to start seriously looking at their options.
Anyone that has ever stepped foot inside Commonwealth in recent years, frequented any of the city's sports bar or listened to call in sports-radio, know exactly where I am coming from They honestly felt this organization should have turned to Jared Zabransky during the 2010 campaign, to replace the now three-time Grey Cup champion.
They are the same fans, who for reasons known only to themselves, still hold former quarterback Jason Maas in higher regard than Ray. Why you ask? That's a very good question and one that really has no good answer.
Apparently, leading Edmonton to three Grey Cup Finals and throwing for over 40,000 yards during his nine years in the Alberta capital wasn't enough to satisfy everyone, including some within the organization. After all, what did he really do? He "only" won two championships. The Argos seemed more than willing to take on the "aging" veteran and it turned out pretty darn well for them.
With Toronto's somewhat surprising run to the 2012 Grey Cup, there is suddenly this love-in for how good a quarterback Rick Ray "still" is. Funny thing is, his stats with Toronto in 2012 are pretty much identical to the numbers he put up in Edmonton over the last couple of years. Difference being, the Argos surrounded him with countless weapons and most importantly, a solid offensive line. Something that has been absent in Edmonton for many years.
One man's trash, is another man's treasure.
For the large majority of Edmonton Eskimos fans, the 100th Grey Cup was a rather tough pill to swallow. Not only did they have to watch the hated Calgary Stampeders represent the West but had to watch "their guy" ultimately win the third championship of his career, in a uniform he has no business being in. Many of those same fans will never admit to wanting to see Ricky Ray ever leave town but they know the real truth.
Congratulations on championship number three Mr.Ray and don't worry, the fans in Edmonton finally realize just how good you were during your time with the Eskimos and how good you will be as a Toronto Argonaut.
Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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