Winning turns Dunigan generous, a mood not matched by his coach

ON TH CFL

November 13, 1994|By KEN MURRAY

Caught up in the emotion of the moment, Winnipeg quarterback Matt Dunigan started heaving footballs into the stands last week during a 35-28 victory over Toronto that clinched the Eastern Division title.

The score was 35-11 when Dunigan rained four footballs on fans at Winnipeg Stadium. Once Blue Bombers coach Cal Murphy noticed, he promptly informed Dunigan the giveaway would cost him $200, at $50 a ball.

"Well, make it $250," Dunigan said, grabbing a fifth, "because here goes another one."

Dunigan then walked past the team's equipment manager and made a writing motion, using his hand as a would-be check.

Murphy, who has a reputation for frugality, later said it wasn't the cost that bothered him. "I was worried we were going to run out of balls," he said.

Man overboard

Calgary coach Wally Buono went overboard trying to make sure quarterback Doug Flutie beats out Baltimore's Mike Pringle for his fourth straight Outstanding Player of the Year award.

"It shouldn't even be close," Buono told the Calgary Sun. "Would you trade Flutie for Pringle? Well, maybe I'd trade Flutie for

Pringle, Tracy Ham, Chris Armstrong, Jearld Baylis and throw in a few more Baltimore players.

"No question Pringle had an outstanding season and broke the all-time rushing record. But if you want to talk about records, Doug broke the TD passes and passing efficiency records. Hopefully, the media has enough savvy to understand. Look at the facts. They're self-evident."

What is self-evident is that Calgary has the best team in the league, whether because of Flutie or the talent around him. The Stampeders led the league in 15 offensive categories and 12 defensive categories.

They get no respect

It's been a rough week in Ottawa, where the Rough Riders appeared dead in the water heading to Winnipeg.

After hearing all the cynicism, defensive tackle John Kropke said, "I know we get $1,800 [actually $1,900, for a first-round win], but I wonder if it's worth going through all the stupid questions we'll get asked about whether we deserve to go to the playoffs."

He should have consulted Winnipeg tackle Chris Walby, who said: "We've got to knock them early, demoralize them right away, let them know that, 'Hey, you don't deserve to be here. You're 4-and-14, you don't have any right to be in my ballpark.' "

Yeah, those stupid questions, John.

Star-gazing

It figures to be a fertile off-season for teams in search of offensive talent. Among those free agents available in February are quarterbacks Dunigan, Damon Allen of Edmonton and David Archer of Sacramento, running backs Mike Saunders of Saskatchewan, Cory Philpot of B.C. and Pinball Clemons of Toronto, and receivers Allen Pitts of Calgary, Eddie Brown of Edmonton and Rod Harris of Sacramento.

Defensive players available include pass rushers Tim Cofield of Hamilton, Rodney Harding of Toronto and Reggie Rogers of Shreveport.

Baltimore's success makes the CFLs an attractive option to any number of free agents. Among players who've already expressed an interest in signing here are Saunders, Pitts, Cofield and Harding.

Think, stupid

Speaking of insults, there was this one from Edmonton halfback Robert Holland after a pass by B.C. punter Lui Passaglia backfired and cost the Lions a 24-23 loss to Calgary. Passaglia had been honored for playing his 300th game, and received, among other things, a sofa and TV. His third-down pass came up short, setting up Calgary's winning touchdown.

Said Holland: "I don't know what he was thinking. I guess maybe it was the sofa and the big-screen TV. Maybe he was thinking about that. But that was a stupid play. So my advice to them is don't change a thing, come on down here and play stupid."

B.C. coach Dave Ritchie wasn't sure he disagreed. "Maybe the guy's right, maybe we are stupid."

B.C. edged Edmonton, 24-23, yesterday in a Western semifinal.

The check's in the mail

Ottawa continues to be plagued by financial problems. Players there have filed a grievance for an apparent failure by the club to pay deferred salary on time. The grievance claims the Riders are five weeks in arrears, and the total is reportedly in excess of $100,000.

Team president Phil Kershaw denies late payments, saying they weren't due until January.

On another fiscal front, College Militaire Royal says it is owed $35,000 from the Riders for training camp privileges, and threatens to sue the club unless the bill is paid by Nov. 26.

And, by the way, Kershaw said the team expects a loss of $1 million this season. Nice year.

That's a wrap

The Shreveport Pirates went through 174 players, from training camp through Week 18, but somehow middle linebacker Greg Stumon missed only three plays all season. Those three came against Toronto in Week 2 after he missed a tackle on Pinball Clemons.

After beating Ottawa in their season finale, the Pirates discovered two young women in their shower area, one of whom had removed her top. The women were quickly escorted out by a team official.

Audibles

* Commissioner Larry Smith said he was attacked in Hamilton by an irate fan in front of his wife and 11-year-old son. "That's when I asked myself for the first time whether this job was worth it," he said.

* Las Vegas coach Ron Meyer believes the CFL needs to change its image.

"It's like having an Edsel automobile, if you remember the Edsel," said. "It runs, it gets you down the road and it's a car, but I think we're going to have to redesign the car at this time."

* Winnipeg running back Blaise Bryant is out of the playoffs with a torn ligament, an injury he suffered in Week 17 in Baltimore.

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