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Former Riders QBs Headline Grey Cup

Published: Sunday, Nov 12th 2023, 4:11pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


The last two quarterbacks dubbed “the next one” here in Riderville will meet each other in the Grey Cup next Sunday in Hamilton. Zach Collaros makes his fourth straight trip to the big game with the hopes of cementing his name at the top of a Winnipeg Blue Bombers dynasty. On the other side, Cody Fajardo makes his second Grey Cup appearance, his first was a win with Toronto in 2017, but this is his first as a starter.


If there is one thing I have learned about Rider Nation over the years (and bless your hearts), is that you hold a grudge like no other. In a perfect world, neither of these quarterbacks would win the Grey Cup, but here we are. I asked on X (Twitter) who Rider fans wanted to see LOSE this game more and it was pretty clear that you don’t want the Bombers to win. I’ve always been of the mind that if my team isn’t in it, the other division needs to win. So I guess, allez les Alouettes!


But it’s frustrating as a fan when your team dumps away two quarterbacks in a couple of years and both get to the big game and one of them has a chance to win their third since you sent him packing. And you have to look at the decisions made by Saskatchewan Roughriders General Manager Jeremy O’Day. 


In hindsight, of course both look like bad moves when the Riders missed the playoffs with a 6-12 record for the second consecutive season. But at the time, both were the right decisions. Collaros got yet another concussion and his career was in doubt. In his absence, Fajardo stepped up and was on his way to his West Division MOP season. Trading away Collaros at the time made sense. The trade brought back a draft pick that ended up being Kian Schaffer-Baker. And it was clear that Fajardo was no longer in the team’s plans late in 2022 when Craig Dickenson benched him in favour of Mason Fine for the final couple of regular season games that the Riders NEEDED to win to make the playoffs.


Now, the Riders have said goodbye to Collaros, Fajardo, (Jason Maas), likely Fine and of course Coach Dickenson. And the GM that has made all of these moves was rewarded with a 3 year contract extension after back to back 6-12 seasons where the team lost their final 7 games each time. And when the Grey Cup is handed out, regardless of who wins, the amount of championships won by Collaros and Fajardo combined since getting shown the door by O’Day will be 3 in the last 4 seasons. The Riders have 4 in their 113 year history.


But at least this one can feel like a win for the Riders? Once a Rider, you know… sigh.


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