QB’s make us whole again

By Kevin Rothbauer

Have you recently found yourself cheering for the San Francisco 49ers? About a year ago, did you find yourself cheering for the Buffalo Bills? You’re not alone: you may be one of thousands of Calgarians doing the very same thing.

Get over yourselves, “football fans.” Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia don’t live here anymore. They don’t have a little horsey tattooed on their respective bums. Chances are, neither of them remembers Calgary. Wait: Garcia might–he still owns a restaurant here.

Calgary was just a little stop on Flutie and Garcia’s football adventure. As I recall, the former didn’t even wait for the NFL to come calling–he saw the bright lights of… Toronto… and headed east for the land of greed.

Does it legitimize Calgary to have two “sons” in the NFL? I’m afraid not. Does it make Calgary look like a global player when so many of its citizens are excited that a couple of guys who spent a total of around 10 summers here have moved on? Again, no.

Let’s compare our city to Houston. Houston has a team in the International Hockey League called the Aeros. The IHL, for those either unitiated or uninterested, is a second-rate league in which a few organizations serve as farm teams for NHL teams. The Aeros are not one of those teams. I don’t want to call the CFL second-rate, but the NFL does, and for the purposes of this argument, so shall I.

The Aeros have long boasted a high-scoring center named Brian Wiseman. As with any hockeyist of his abilities, Wiseman would probably like to join an NHL team. If, say, the Minnesota Wild (shudder) came calling and the money was right, Wiseman would ditch Houston without a second thought.

Do you see the parallels? Wiseman is Garcia, folks. Sure, he’d say something like “the people of Houston have been so good to me and I’ll miss them,” but would he mean it?

Okay, Wiseman is foreign to you and I’m only referring to him to look like I know something. Let’s try Theoren Fleury. Do we all love the Rangers for taking him? No, we hate the Rangers. Many of us hate Fleury. Just like him, though, Garcia and Flutie left Calgary for bigger bucks.

And Calgary is not a quarterback factory. Yes, our last two number one QBs made the big jump, but that doesn’t mean that scouts from every team are looking for the next Elvis Grbac (not Dave Dickenson), Drew Bledsoe (not Henry Burris) or Kurt Warner (maybe Mike McCoy). I will eat one of those ugly Stampeders helmet-toques if I ever see Dave Dickenson suiting up for any NFL team other than the Cleveland Browns.

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