Madani: You can’t do that Mike O’Shea

Editor’s Note: Arash Madani is a reporter and commentator for Rogers Sportsnet. He is a weekly columnist for 3DownNation.

You just can’t do that, Mike O’Shea.

You just can’t.

You can’t send your kicker out – no matter how lights out, how dominant, how game-changing he’s been – for a 61-yard field goal attempt, with your season on the line.

You have third and four with 36 seconds left? You go for it. You send out your quarterback, who turned your season around and had completed eight of his last nine throws. You send out your tailback, who remains one of the league’s most bruising threats, who rarely gets taken down on the first smack of contact. You have Ryan Smith, money all afternoon. You went out and gave Weston Dressler big money in the off-season for moments like these.

You take one glance over and you see that for the first time this season Justin Medlock has reached for a tee, and you have to realize this is going to go awry. You know in your heart of hearts when you see that, even this ask is too much for the best kicker the CFL has had since Lawrence Tynes had a cup of coffee here more than a decade ago.

You make that decision, and here’s what happens: going into the off-season suddenly your players may have doubt for the first time. You now allow them to wonder that perhaps the stoic, unwavering coach, who hadn’t flinched in three years suddenly panicked.

You rarely saw anyone – inside the locker room, or out – question Mike O’Shea and his decisions. You can do that now for the next six months.

You may know this, but Steve Daniel (the league’s excellent director of game info and statistics) shared that in the history of the CFL, never has a kicker made a field goal indoors from 60-plus yards. Never. You can do the math: it hadn’t happened in… well, they’re celebrating the 104th Grey Cup in a couple of weeks.

“I thought our guys deserved better,” O’Shea said.

You could agree with him, had the Blue Bombers not blown a 25-6 lead. You’d nod along had they been more imaginative in using Harris in the second half, had they stolen a page from B.C.’s rush defence, and not let Jonathon Jennings and Jeremiah Johnson stomp all over them. You’d even acknowledge O’Shea was right, if at the end of the game, he called for his best two-point play and sent the offence out onto the field to get four yards.

You can’t. You absolutely can’t, though. You lose all benefit of the doubt when you send out Medlock to do something he’s never done before. You open yourself to all the second-guessing this winter.

“It gives us an opportunity,” O’Shea reasoned in his post-game press conference of his decision to opt for the field goal. “The kick gets off, it’s got a chance, right?”

You know it doesn’t. You know it wouldn’t. You saw it hopelessly fall seven yards short. You knew even before Medlock lined up for it that it didn’t have that chance O’Shea claimed it would.

You saw the Blue Bombers turnaround under his watch: 5-13 a year ago, 11-7 in 2016. You know this is a good football coach. You just can’t understand the thinking of sending out Medlock, and not Matt Nichols and the offence.

You hope that O’Shea, cards close to the vest, reveals more of his rationale when he meets with the media in Winnipeg on Tuesday. You know this has eaten at him, convictions be damned. You’ve gotten to know his DNA: fiercely defends his players, accountable, yet unrevealing in-season. You just want him to explain why he thought a higher percentage play was trying something not done before versus his offence getting four yards.

You know this much: the Blue Bombers did not lose their first playoff game in five years because of missed field goal. You also know this: they didn’t give themselves a chance to win it by attempting that kick.

You just can’t do that, Mike O’Shea.

You just can’t.


Arash Madani

Arash Madani

Arash Madani is a reporter for Sportsnet. He has staffed 11 Grey Cups & does play-by-play for CIS Football. His dream: the Gaiters playing for a Vanier.
Arash Madani
Arash Madani
About Arash Madani (15 Articles)
Arash Madani is a reporter for Sportsnet. He has staffed 11 Grey Cups & does play-by-play for CIS Football. His dream: the Gaiters playing for a Vanier.
Contact: Website

11 Comments on Madani: You can’t do that Mike O’Shea

  1. I was sure that Trick Play O’Shea had something up his sleeve on 3rd down with 36 seconds left. It turns out all he had up his sleeve was his elbow.

  2. Solara2000 // November 14, 2016 at 3:32 pm //

    I have a lot of respect for Coach O’Shea unfortunately Mike O’Shea the person made the call to try a 61 yard field goal. Wishful, hopeful and probably doubtful. Caught up in the moment taking ownership of a bad situation with minimal to non-existent chance of succeeding. The Casino dreamer.
    But Mike O’Shea the man is a coach that a team builds around.

  3. Marc Lebut // November 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm //

    Sorry to disagree, but here is something that could have happened despites the stats and that would have given the Bombers an opportunity. Medlock has as powerfull leg, so if he had tried more of a liner field goal, he could have made a single on the play and that would have tied the game. O’Shea was playing for either win the game or tie it. It just didn’t work as Medlock made a high kick instead of a more liner one. Not that much Medlock’s fault as he probably didn’t train for that, but the play call wasn’t completely out of rational.

    There were possibilities with the field goal that didn’t exist with the run or pass. Run or pass, it was success or lose. With the field goal, it was win, tie or lose.

    • Absolutely incorrect! The Lions had 3 people back near the end zone ready to get the ball out if need be. Medlock would’ve had to boot that ball 81 yards in the air and with a height of 9 to 10 feet as it is exiting the back of the Lions end zone making it probably a 91 yard kick.

      Medlock was kicking off with an average of 67 yards on Sunday. I’m not sure where people get this idea that kicking or punting for a single is some kind of an easy thing to accomplish. In order for you to be where you need to be on the field to ensure that you could kick/punt a ball out the back of a CFL end zone for a single without the other teams players getting the ball run or kicked out of the end zone you would already have to be nicely in field goal range already making it a moot point.

  4. antoine lussier // November 14, 2016 at 6:11 pm //


  5. DundasDude // November 14, 2016 at 6:58 pm //

    The Bombers needed Gus, the field goal kicking donkey to make one from that distance. Good game, except for the vicious hit on Manny Arceneau.

  6. Whattya all sayin? Of course the kick was more than possible – just didn’t hit it great.

    • It was almost possible Frank. In fact it’s never been done inside of a dome in the history of our league. It’s only been done once in the CFL period.
      In the NFL it’s only been done ten times with four of those coming in Denver (mile high), and only twice in a dome.
      If it’s your last play of the game then fine take that shot, but with 36 seconds left it was an astoundingly bad decision. Converting 3rd and 4 is your only hope at a realistic shot at extending your chances in this game.

  7. Oh my the gnashing of teeth the kick dirt and a silent cuss as fans that is head in to work in the AM as Manitobans hope beyond hope that the win is here. Turning on stadium and kicking at parking deciding to stay home isn’t risky to business but it follows a pattern in the CFL this season. Mike O’Shea did not win the game and if the 3rd down had done so with a more time consuming 1st down he may have. But if it all adds up to making the call with a kicker who just might think too much or get bluffed by Wally then Mike should have gone with his aces. Oh to think of the play again, and one great play by Jon Jennings is too much to say gosh darn it!

  8. “With due respect to Matt Nichols, who turned Winnipeg’s season around, Justin Medlock has to be the #Bombers MVP/MOP this season.”
    – Arash Madani

    Wouldn’t you want your MVP/MOP to step up when the game is on the line?

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