Wed Nov 17 01:36pm EST
The 2010 B.C Lions' season was found dead in Regina's Mosaic Stadium Sunday afternoon. Authorities are still investigating and speaking to the 3.3 million witnesses, but they have laid first-degree murder charges against Jason Clermont. Multiple witnesses saw Clermont catch the critical pass that ended the Lions' season, and he was even caught on camera (right), so the case against him appears relatively open-and-shut.
Clermont has a long and troubled history with the Lions. They were in a serious relationship from 2002 to 2008, but Wally Buono then discarded Clermont for someone younger. Clermont found Saskatchewan on the rebound and appeared to have moved on quietly and amicably, but Sunday's arrival of his old team may have brought old history back to life.
Authorities continue to investigate rumours that others may have been involved in the death of the Lions' season. One target suspicion has centred on is Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant, who threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns against B.C., reportedly including the crucial pass that set up Clermont. Weston Dressler and Lance Frazier have also been cited as potential key figures in a wide-ranging conspiracy to eliminate the Lions' 2010 season.
The Lions put themselves in a dangerous situation Sunday, though. After leading 16-7 at the half, they gave up 20 points in the final two quarters and needed a final-play Hail Mary to Emmanuel Arceneaux to keep their season alive a little longer. There were questions raised about their abandonment of a successful run game and their inability to stop the Riders' offence. With a few different decisions and breaks, the Lions' season might still be alive today.
Many friends were surprised that the Lions' 2010 season lived this long, however. It faced significant illnesses and challenges early on in its life, including a 37-13 beating by the Riders on Aug. 12. A life-threatening seven-game losing streak was broken with an experimental treatment regiment that involved heavy doses of going against Chris Leak, and B.C.'s prognosis turned justifiably optimistic. Some notable high points followed, including two victories over the Stampeders in Calgary, their only two home losses of the year. The 29-10 thumping B.C. delivered on Sept. 25 seemed like a sign that their season had returned to help.
Even that wouldn't have been enough to save the season on its own, though, as the Lions then saw the return of a locker-room cancer. They only returned to health thanks to an emergency Printersdectomy and a desperate quarterback transplant. Despite the strong performance of the replacement part down the stretch, the Lions would not have made it to the postseason without the support of other teams, however.
In a cruel twist of fate, B.C.'s biggest supporter heading in to last Sunday had been Saskatchewan. The Riders helped defend B.C. from an Edmonton onslaught even though nothing was on the line for them, perhaps using some inspiration from Herm Edwards. They then turned on the Lions and destroyed their season Sunday. The Riders haven't commented on what caused the demise of the relationship between the two teams, but insiders are suggesting it had something to do with "playoffs".
The B.C. Lions' 2010 season will be survived by coach and general manager Wally Buono, who has been given custody of the Lions' 2011 season. His exact role in raising the young season is yet to be determined, however, although he says he's made up his mind and some are suggesting he may maintain sole custody.
Indications are that Travis Lulay (pictured, right) may play a substantial role in the development of the young season, but others have more questions about their position, including star receiver Arceneaux, who may be heading south for greener pastures. There is a lot of hope around the young season, but that has been heard before in Vancouver. We'll see if the 2011 Lions can escape the cycle of playoff losses that claimed their parent. In lieu of flowers, season-ticket donations to help raise the 2011 team will be accepted.