Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself and no professional team wants to be pinned with such a label.
In Steeltown mediocrity has become the norm over the past three Canadian Football League campaigns. Evidenced by the Ticats 26-28 record over their last 54 regular season games, not to mention going 1-3 in the playoffs over that same span.
Yes, Hamilton has come a long way since owning the CFL’s worst record for four straight years from 2005-2008. And no one knows what those trying seasons were like better then offensive lineman Marwan Hage.
“It took a while to change the atmosphere here towards winning a Grey Cup,” Hage, a nine-year Tiger-Cat veteran, said. “We had some pretty good years to turn it around.”
» Burris sharp heading into Tiger-Cats regular season
After a tough 2011 campaign in Calgary, Henry Burris seems to have re-discovered his
game throughout the pre-season as he tries to take the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to
the next level in 2012.
With that change in mentality - paired with an upgraded roster - the 2012 edition of the Tiger-Cats have already received a lot of praise from many who cover the league around the country. Of course, to those of which much is given, much is expected. The organization will not be satisfied with another mediocre showing in the 85th and final season of Ivor Wynne Stadium.
On paper, the talent of players assembled in the Hammer rivals any other team in the league and nothing less than the first Grey Cup since 1999 for the franchise will suffice.
However, it remains to be game-tested whether or not Hamilton can ward off the plague of mediocrity and become a legitimate championship contender.
Inconsistency has been a roadblock for the Black and Gold in the way of taking the next step, to become one of the elite, in recent years. No better example can be found than looking at their playoff run in 2011.
Hamilton’s offence carried the team to a 52-44 upset win in the Eastern Semi-Finals over Montreal. One week later in Winnipeg, the defence held the Blue Bombers attack in check, for the most part, but had no support from the offence. The scoring unit mustered just three points in a 16-point season-ending loss in the Eastern Final.
“Last year our team was inconsistent and our record showed that, linebacker Jamall Johnson said. “We want to correct the inconsistencies and be more critical of ourselves.”