I want to be very, very clear. This is not an anti-Rourke article. But Rourke played 56% of the season (10 games) and looked fabulous in 8 of them, bad in one of them (the July 9th game vs the Bombers) and terrible in the last regular season game vs the Bombers.
And who did Rourke beat? Mostly a bunch of mediocre teams:
*Edmonton twice who went 4-14
*Toronto that went 11-7
*Ottawa that went 4-14
*Hamilton that went 8-10
*Saskatchewan that went 6-12 Yes they did beat the 12-6 Calgary Stampeders once.
I did not drink the hater-aid, but with many in the media apparently clouded with Rourke-mania the other perspective must be presented.
Winnipeg Makes Quarterbacks Look Bad & Rourke Is In That List
I understand that the Bombers have made many teams and quarterbacks look bad this year, but some have done better than Rourke did vs Winnipeg.
*June 10: Masoli 24/34 completion 70.6% 380 yards
*July 17: Masoli 27/38 completion 71.1% 331 yards
*July 4: Bethel-Thompson 27/37 completion 73% 314 yards
*August 25: Maier 23/28 completion 82.1% 294 yards
*September 4: Farjardo 23/32 completion 71.9% 292 yards
*September 17: Evans 25/32 completion 78.1% 327 yards
*And Rourke’s numbers: July 9 16/25 completion 64% 278 yards
Sure, Rourke was lights out against other teams, but when it came to facing the Bombers he did not play as well as lesser quarterbacks.
His projected numbers were off the charts! I wrote about his projected numbers.
But a guy should not win an award based on projected numbers.
One Possible Explanation
I will make one case here. Rourke won the West bid only because there was not a better choice on the ballot.
*BC went with Adam Konar who is 29th on defence.
*Calgary went with Cameron Judge who is 8th on defence – top Canadian on defence which should count for something but maybe the voters were scared off by the 8th place (However, do not forget that Rourke was 6th amongst quarterbacks, so an 8th place Cameron Judge should not be written of).
*Saskatchewan went with Kian Schaffer-Baker 11th in receiving but second in receiving amongst Canadians.
*Winnipeg went with Nic Demski, and maybe that was a mistake. Maybe they should have gone with Brady Oliveira – “Oliveira becomes the 17th Blue Bombers running back dating back to 1950 to hit the 1K mark and only the third Canadian behind Gerry James, who accomplished the feat twice (1955, 1957) and Harris, who did it three times (2017-19)” – but he only got that in his last game.
*Correction: An earlier version of the story said Oliveira was the 3rd Canadian running back to rush for over 1,000 yards twice.
Average At Best vs Winnipeg
My wife told me that TSN was singing his praises during the game. If that is true, give the commentator a jock! Rourke was 7/11 – that’s a 63.3% completion rate – and only threw for 68 yards and 0 touchdowns! He threw balls into the dirt and tossed up a lame duck that was almost picked off.
That was all a result of the Bomber defense getting after him! Rourke ended his first series with being sacked and fumbling the ball! In his second series Rourke went 2 and out on 2 incomplete passes.
Rourke would end his third and final series throwing an incomplete pass but getting the Lions into field goal range. And yet, the coaches do not give him more playing time? Rourke can say whatever he wants to, that is his prerogative, but on the sideline he was demonstrably upset at his play multiple times. I know, I sit right behind their bench on the 50 yard line in Row 1.
If Rourke plays in the Wester Semi-Final like he did in Winnipeg at the end of the season then Calgary will demolish BC. That will only showcase my point to an even higher degree and would be a blemish on the CFL if he went on to win Most Outstanding Canadian.
56% Is Not Enough
In a spirited debate with two highly respected sports reporters (it was a private conversation so I will not name them) they both said Rourke was the right choice. When pressed on the question of how many games is enough to win the award they pointed to the number of games Rourke played and suggested that since he was nominated, 10 games seems to be the right number.
But where does that stop? What if he was nominated at 9 game? How about if he played the way he did for 8 games? Would you go as low as 7 games?
Giving a player the nomination at 10 games opens the door for scenarios I do not think we want to see. I would not be surprised to see a lot of backlash from the fans after this and the CFL impose a game minimum to be nominated for an award…and I hate that idea. I hate the idea that the league will set the minimum probably around 75% or 14 games (that is my guess). Why do I hate it, somebody is going to tear up the league at 13 games, and miss being nominated by one game. While 14 games is probably the right number to set as a minimum, if a 10 game player was not a heavy favorite by the voting media we would never be having this discussion.
Is Rourke a great player? You bet. Is he good for the BC market? 100%. Is he great for the CFL? Absolutely, no doubt! But putting a guy on the ballot that missed 1/2 a season is nonsense. Players shouldn’t be able to win awards based on projections.
In the same way the Grey Cup is not handed out mid-season, neither should awards be based on half a season. I know BC disagrees.
Philosophically and historically I have a really hard time getting my head around the idea that a guy who played only 10 games, and in his last game looked brutal should get the nomination.
If Stegall refers to MBT as the “best-worst quarterback,” then I’ll refer to Rourke as the “Most Outstanding Canadian for 1/2 a season,” unfortunately that isn’t what the award is called.
I could care less if Rourke won the Most Outstanding Canadian award for the rest of his career…as long as he played more than 56% of the season.
If Rourke does win Most Outstanding Canadian, maybe that highlights another problem. If 8 other teams each get to give a nomination for Most Outstanding Canadian, and combined cannot put forward 1 name that can challenge a player that played 56% of the season, maybe there are not enough Canadians at skilled positions.
Jake Thomas Was Right Leaving Rourke On The Floor
Me? I loved it, and I’ll say it louder for the people in the back….I LOVED IT!
Why? The Bombers were playing tough and sending a message all game long with their hits.
Many, many times in a CFL season you see a player from one team not help up a player from the other team…they just walk away and let that player’s teammates help them.
Why is this play getting more comments than other times?
Here is the two part reason. First of all because it is Rourke and a lot of people have crowned him king before he has really won anything. If it were a player like Simoni Lawrence, this would be a non-issue. Secondly, Thomas did not just walk away, he kind of waved him off.
Again, I love it!
This is a possible Western Final matchup. Rourke was hearing footsteps and seeing ghosts. BC receivers and running backs were getting smacked in the mouth. BC Defenders were getting run over!
Big brother (Winnipeg) spanked little brother (BC) all night long. In fact, Big brother smacked little brother back on July 9th when the Bombers beat the Lions 43-22 and Rourke was average at best with a completion percentage of 64%. Yes, he threw for 3 touchdowns but he also threw 2 interceptions, and 278 yards.
Thomas not helping Rourke up is part of sending that message. The “Canadian Kid,” was a kid playing a man’s game, he is going to have to fight his own mind if BC gets past Calgary.
Look no further if you want to relive all the highlights from that game!
Maybe you think I completely missed the mark on all of this.
What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.
Find all my articles here.
Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.
Stay with CFL News Hub for the 2022 season. Follow me on Twitter @DonCruickshank1
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