Vancouver wins Bowl despite Grizzly record (Toronto Star)

Vancouver wins Bowl despite Grizzly record

Spirit of the West

VANCOUVER – How many Super Bowls is one team expected to win in a season?

The Grizzlies split the cross-country rivalry with the Raptors, but if you take into consideration the exhibition Super Bowl won by Vancouver in Calgary, the Grizz are the unofficial champs of 1996-97.

Yes, they have a worse record than Toronto. Indeed, they have the worst record in the whole NFL, er, NBA. But as any betting sports fan knows, the team with the best record doesn’t necessarily get the ring.

Raptors head coach Darrell Walker is surely wishing he had never used the football analogy after his team lost in Vancouver on Jan. 19. And the comments Damon Stoudamire made following the game were seen to be sour grapes. Mighty Mouse said that his team was a much better team than the Grizzlies.

With only 40 losses, as compared to Vancouver’s 52, one can see that the Raptors are head and shoulders above Vancouver. Certainly Toronto’s Super Bowl would have to be against such powerhouses as Dallas, New Jersey, Denver and Golden State.

“I believe that they’re playing like a much better team,” says forward Pete Chilcutt about the Raptors. “I don’t know if they have a better team. We have a lot of talent here that we haven’t really shown this year, I don’t think. We’re better than our record. We just haven’t been playing as well as they have.”

An interesting distinction, to be sure. “Yeah,” he concedes, “the team that plays with better chemistry is a better team. So as far as that goes, yeah, I think they are better.”

Blue Edwards agrees. “If you look at their record, it indicates they’re a better team. They haven’t had too many blowouts. And they’ve been competitive against a lot of the good teams and I think we have, at times, too. They may be a half step better than we are, but certainly not that much better.”

As for the rivalry, some embrace it, while others deny it even exists. When asked if the matchup is the Grizzlies’ Super Bowl, Anthony Peeler, whose hot shooting kept Vancouver close in Sunday’s loss, said, “No question about that. We gotta get up for a Canadian war.”

Eric Mobley concurred, although his ge0-politics leaves something to be desired. “To me it was (like our Super Bowl),” he says. “They’re from Toronto, we’re from Vancouver. It’s an inter-state game. We want to bring that trophy back here. So it’s definitely a rivalry.”

Chilcutt wasn’t buying into it, however. “I heard what they said about the Super Bowl. It was just funny. I don’t think players buy into that as much as the media thinks. We don’t say, you know, ‘For Canada! Let’s go!’”

Edwards sees the game as just another in a long list of potentially winnable games. “We went into the game thinking that we could win if we played well,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t like, ‘We have to beat Toronto.’ Some of the fans said that. We kind of laughed it off. Here we are getting beat by 40 to Utah and the fans are like, ‘That’s okay. Beat Toronto.’ We’re like, ‘Okay, okay.’ But we didn’t get especially up for it. It was no big game.”

Maybe that was the problem this time around. Watching the Grizzlies stand around watching the Raptors grab every loose ball, one could only conclude that this was indeed not Vancouver’s Super Bowl. Not even their Grey Cup. I’m not even prepared to say it was their Vanier Cup.

But the way Toronto managed to avoid the sweep, I’d be more than willing to say that it was definitely the Raptors’ Scott Tournament of Hearts.

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