Time has done little to diminish the disappointment of Dave Dickenson’s last Grey Cup visit to Ottawa.
Dickenson was the surprise starter for the B.C. Lions ahead of league MVP Casey Printers in the 2004 championship game. Dickenson, a three-time Grey Cup champion, played the entire game, but the Lions came up short in a 27-10 loss to the Toronto Argonauts.
“I remember the losses more than the wins . . . and ’04 stings,” Dickenson said Wednesday during the Grey Cup coaches news conference. “When you lose you look back in a different light and certainly wish we could’ve done things different.”
That win was redemption for Toronto starter Damon Allen, who’d been dealt by B.C. to the Argos the previous season after the Lions signed Dickenson as a free agent. Allen was named the game MVP after passing for 299 yards and a TD.
Dickenson, now Calgary’s head coach, returns to TD Place Stadium on Sunday when the Stampeders face the Toronto Argonauts in the ’17 Grey Cup game.
Dickenson began the ’04 season as the Lions’ starter before suffering a knee injury. Printers stepped in and was simply brilliant, completing 325-of-494 passes (65.8 per cent) for 5,088 yards with 35 TDs and just 10 interceptions.
But Printers injured his throwing shoulder in B.C.’s 27-25 overtime West final win over Saskatchewan. That forced Lions head coach Wally Buono to start Dickenson against Toronto.
“I remember Wally making the right decision starting me,” Dickenson said. “That was a weird week, a weird, weird week.
“Casey was the MVP that year, he threw the ball underhand during practice to save his shoulder. Now that I’m a head coach . . . I want to see what I’m going to get in the game in practice. When you can’t do that it makes it very difficult to have faith that person is going to get the job done.”
Dickenson, a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, finished 18-of-27 passing for 201 yards and a TD while running eight times for 36 yards.
“We did a lot of things wrong,” Dickenson said. “We had a fight on the bus the day before the game.
“It wasn’t the type of situation that I would want to happen for our team this year.”