Toronto Argonauts season ends on sour note both on and off field

Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive end Ja'Gared Davis (56) pressure Toronto Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson (4). John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive end Ja'Gared Davis (56) pressure Toronto Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson (4). John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Following their loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Toronto Argonauts had bigger issues to deal with than their play on the field.

After two quarters, the Toronto Argonauts looked like they had the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where they wanted them.

Then everything changed drastically with Dane Evans coming in for Jeremiah Masoli as a touchdown on the punt return and a “designed” fake field goal kick-started a second-half comeback for Hamilton. Unfortunately, Toronto didn’t have an answer, especially on offence as their season came to an end with a frustrating loss.

The struggles the Argos had on offence really speak to the problems most teams in the CFL faced. Too often, teams came away empty on drives in the redzone which was something head coach Ryan Dinwiddie alluded to in his final press conference of the season.

There really could be many factors that have led to the offensive struggles teams had this season. One that shouldn’t be overlooked is the fact that teams are hamstrung with the CFL’s cap on football operations staff, the talent on defence has surpassed the talent on offence in that it’s harder for teams to get the continuity on offence.

You look at Sunday’s game, the Argos did not score a single touchdown and it wasn’t for a lack of trying as McLeod Bethel-Thompson attempted the deep ball but couldn’t connect. The complexion of the game would have been different if the Argos were able to convert on the deep ball which was an issue for them all season.

There will be some conversations as to where the Argos proceed in free agency, Michael “Pinball” Clemons said the team has more players returning than other teams. Obviously, we won’t know until we see the list of free agents posted by the league considering contract term and salary aren’t public knowledge.

Some players have already noted that they will be back in 2022, 3DownNation has released their list of free agents here.

Toronto Argonauts altercation with Hamilton Tiger-Cats fans brin ging unneeded drama

If there is one thing people always say about sports is that those who let their emotions take over are bound to lose control. That’s exactly what happened when the Argos let their disappointing loss push them over the edge.

To make one thing clear, the players have to bear responsibility for their actions because they shouldn’t be in a position where they get into an altercation with fans. The CFL has always been proud of the fact that their players are accessible and as we saw at BMO Field, the Argos are quite close to fans when they make the walk from the locker room to the field.

In this case, we see Argos players climb the rail to get out of the “secure area” and confront fans who reportedly spilled drinks on the players. Chris Edwards would be approached by a fan resulting in Edwards take a swing at the fan, Dejon Brissett then jumped in to try to break things up, pushing the fan into a wall.

Before things escalated further, security was able to step in. Unfortunately, that was the least of the issue with another altercation happening closer to the Argos locker area with police seen pinning a person to the ground after he got over the security rail.

So far,  vice-president of player personnel John Murphy has been suspended indefinitely after he got into it with a fan and in one video you can hear him use a slur word. That’s not an ideal situation considering how much work Murphy does to recruit players which will impact their plans for free agency.

The unfortunate part of this situation is that these Tiger-Cats fans decided to go out of their way to throw beer cans at Argos players after a tough loss rather than go and cheer on their team after a win. It’s been made known that Toronto fans don’t like to make the trip to Hamilton for road games because of the way they are treated.

It would have been nice if the Tiger-Cats put out a statement to condemn the action of fans that were involved because their actions represent the team to a degree. This wasn’t one or two fans who let things get out of hand which is why this whole situation got out of hand, security could’ve done a bit better to diffuse the situation but there’s only so much that they can do.

Toronto definitely needed to handle the situation and that was made clear in Dinwiddie’s comments in his end of season press conference.

"“They’ve gotta understand that you’re hurting but there’s certain ways to react and certain ways not,” Dinwiddie explained. “Some of the terms that were used towards some of these players aren’t acceptable in any avenue of life. Should we have handled it better? Probably. But I think that everybody’s got a hand in this thing and figure out a better way to handle this thing. We could have been better, absolutely, and we understand that.”"

The Argos and the CFL need to learn from this situation and determine steps that can be taken that can hopefully avoid problems like this in the future. With the Grey Cup a few days away, this is the last thing they should want to be the main talking point going into the game.

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What are your thoughts on how the Argos season ended and the incident after the East final? What should be the team’s plans for the off-season? Let us know in the comments below.