The revised Winnipeg Blue Bombers 2021 schedule features the usual annual highlights, some juicy divisional rivalry matchups and a serious ‘what the…?’ oddity. Yet, let’s face it, after a year and a half without games dating back to the 2019 Grey Cup championship, Blue Bombers diehards would likely still be doing cartwheels and high fives with any schedule announcement, even if it would have featured 14 intra-squad contests slated for consecutive Tuesdays with midnight kickoffs.
Just for the record, the 2021 slate of games will see the Bombers play three times on Saturday, twice on Friday and once each on a Thursday and a Sunday.
Here are 5 Takeaways from the Bombers 2021 schedule drop…
1. A MARQUEE MATCHUP TO OPEN
It’s become a bit of a CFL trend for the season opener to feature the two squads that lined up in the previous Grey Cup. That’s the case here, with the Blue Bombers playing host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at IG Filed on Thursday, August 5th.
Of course, the caveat here is no one expected that after the Bombers captured the 11th title in franchise history they wouldn’t begin defence of their title until 621 days later. But, at this point now, we’ll all take it.
Some players have changed since late November of 2019, but even with the long layoff many of the familiar faces will still be in place. In other words, this is absolutely the perfect curtain raiser for the ’21 schedule.
2. SOME THINGS SHOULD NEVER CHANGE
We’ve come to expect the Bombers and arch-rival Saskatchewan Roughriders meeting on consecutive weekends in September – on Labour Day Sunday in Regina and then the following Saturday in Winnipeg in the Banjo Bowl. Thankfully those two games remain intact, with the Labour Day Classic going on Sunday, September 5th and the rematch at IG Field six days later on September 11th.
Those are the only two meetings between the Bombers and Riders all year – unless they meet again in the playoffs.
3. WAIT.. WHAT?!
The revised/reworked schedule means some things had to go and, sadly, the only team the Bombers will not face in the regular season are the Ottawa RedBlacks. And you’re not alone if that seems like a huge whiff by the schedule maker, as facing Paul LaPolice and Matt Nichols at IG Field or in the nation’s capital – or both — would have made for a delicious showdown(s).
As it is, the Bombers will meet the Edmonton Elks three times, with two games each against the Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts, Calgary Stampeders, B.C. Lions and Montreal Alouettes and the one game against the Ticats.
4. OF BYES AND BACK-TO-BACKS
The CFL is cramming a 14-game schedule into a 16-week span – and without any preseason contests. The Bombers’ byes seem well spaced, coming in late September – Week 8 – and on Halloween weekend, in Week 13.
As well, the schedule features four back-to-backs with the same opponents – vs. Toronto on August 13 and 21; vs. Saskatchewan in the Labour Day Classic/Banjo Bowl meetings; vs. the Elks on October 8 and 15th and vs. Montreal on November 6 and 13. The Bombers open with three of their first four games at home at IG Field and conclude the regular season with back-to-back road trips to Montreal and Calgary.
5. PACK YOUR LONGJOHNS
If you’re convinced the Bombers will be on the field to defend their Grey Cup title first of all, we love your optimism. It’s also worth noting the 108th championship will be the latest in the title game’s history, as it is scheduled for December 12th at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Just FYI, the average December temperature in Steeltown is +1C, with a low of -5.
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