Edmonton GM, players stand behind coach's disputed call
By JOHN KOROBANIK
The Canadian Press
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Print Edition, Page S2
EDMONTON -- Head coach Jason Maas has the full support of Edmonton Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland and both men have already moved on from the controversial call in the final moments of Sunday's 32-28 Western final loss to the Calgary Stampeders.
"Everything Jason Maas does is to win, and when he has a conviction about something I trust him and support him," Sunderland said on Tuesday as the players packed their bags and began another disappointing off-season. "The philosophy behind it, I understand where he was coming from and I support him. In the CFL in the last two years, only one coach has won more games than he has and that says everything."
Opinions on the call have dominated conversations in Edmonton since Maas elected to kick a field goal rather than gamble on a third-and-four situation inside the Calgary 15-yard line with less than two minutes remaining in Sunday's game. Edmonton's defence forced the Stampeders to punt with less than 30 seconds left, but kick returner Jamill Smith fumbled the punt and Calgary recovered to ensure their trip to the Grey Cup. Maas faced a barrage of media questions about the call on Tuesday and reiterated time and again that he doesn't regret the decision and he did what he thought was right at the time.
"I went back and forth on the drive home, talked to my coaches, talked to the players and at the end of the day, I made a decision," he said.
"There was a fork in the road. You could take one direction, I chose the other direction.
Quarterback Mike Reilly and other players who spoke on Tuesday all remained firmly behind their coach and his decision.
"It's always easy to question a decision after the fact when they don't work out, that's part of the game," Reilly said.