The Calgary Stampeders' trip to the Grey Cup for the first time since 2008 is inspiring plenty of flashbacks to that year, and one of the most interesting that's come out so far is Allen Cameron's Calgary Herald examination of Stampeders' head coach/general manager John Hufnagel's pre-game speech before that game. As Hufnagel told Cameron Monday, his inspiration came from a classic source:
When John Hufnagel joined the list with his inspiring message to the troops prior to the 2008 Grey Cup in Montreal, he wasn't channelling any coaches who'd come before him.
Nope, his "Men, we've got them right where we want them" speech was, in fact, inspired by a group of men who were more known for silly walks, dead parrots and lumberjacks.
"I was trying to use a little Monty Python humour," revealed the Calgary Stampeders coach and GM with a chuckle on Monday. "I'm a little bit of a fan."
Hufnagel was channelling the philosophy espoused by the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail — even when the odds continue to be stacked against you, keep fighting (after King Arthur cuts off both of the Black Knight's arms, the Knight responds: "It's just a flesh wound." You get the picture).
You can see video of that Hufnagel speech here. The part in question starts about 40 seconds in:
"We are playing Montreal, in Montreal. We are playing on the road. We are playing in a dome. We are playing in front of 65,000 screaming fans. Men, we've got them right where we want them." That is an excellent speech, and it's even better when you consider the legendary inspiration for it. (If you're one of the few people who's never seen the scene in question, shame on you, but you can watch it here.) It's hard to imagine why the media keep voting Hufnagel as the least-quotable coach in the CFL if this is the sort of stuff he can deliver. However, his speech for this week's game isn't planned yet, so we might as well give him some help. Here are 10 other Monty Python references Hufnagel could make.
—"Nobody expects the Calgary Inquisition! Our chief weapon is Kevin Glenn, Kevin Glenn and Jon Cornish. Our two chief weapons are Kevin Glenn, Jon Cornish and Maurice Price. Our three weapons are Glenn, Cornish, Price and Nik Lewis. Amongst our weaponry are such elements as Glenn, Cornish, Price, Lewis and nice red uniforms!"
—"If Chad Owens ever attacks you with a deep post route, just pull the lever and the 16-ton weight will fall on him."
—Call and response: "What...is your team?" "The Calgary Stampeders!" "What...is your quest?" "To seek the Holy Grail!" "What...is the airspeed velocity of a Kevin Glenn long ball?"
—"Ricky Ray is not the Messiah! He's a very naughty Eskimo!"
—"Those Argonauts aren't pining! They're passed on! They're no more! They have ceased to be! They've expired and gone to meet their maker! They're full of stiffs! Bereft of life, they rest in peace! If the league hadn't nailed them to the perch, they'd be pushing up the daisies! Their metabolic processes are now history! They're off the twig! They've kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! THIS IS AN EX-TEAM!"
—"I never wanted to be a head coach! I wanted to be...[/rips off shirt]...A LUMBERJACK!"
—"Gentlemen, it's now quite apparent that the enemy are not only playing this game on the cheap, but they're also not taking it seriously. First they release the league's leading rusher, and now they're doing very silly things in advance of the CFL's most vital game!"
—"Well, now, Kevin, Jon and Nik wait until the second quarter, then leap out of the rabbit..."
—"When I started here, all this team was was swamp!"
—"All right, but apart from the accommodations, the food and the chance to play for a Grey Cup, what has the CFL ever done for us?"