The curse of the coin: explaining the Redblacks record at TD Place

In four short seasons, the Ottawa Redblacks have accomplished a lot.

On the field, they’ve won their division twice, made the playoffs three times, been to the Grey Cup twice and won a championship. Off of it, they’ve cultivated the league’s youngest fan base while simultaneously welcoming die-hard fans from the Rough Rider and Renegade eras back into the fold. They’ve also sold out nearly every home game in team history and developed a business model so successful that it will serve as the prototype for future expansion franchises.

Still, for all the organization’s early feats, there’s one glaring hurdle they have struggled to overcome; regularly winning at home in front of sold-out crowds. And if the 2018 Ottawa Redblacks intend to continue making post-season appearances and vying for Grey Cup championships, they’ll need to find ways to win at home.

The longer one studies the Redblacks’ lack of success at TD Place, the more puzzling it becomes. Across all of sport, playing at home is universally acknowledged as a positive, with a friendly sold-out crowd’s fervour often credited with spurring the home side to victory. No one in the country would dispute the claim that R-Nation is among the CFL’s rowdiest fanbases, and the team sells out almost every game. Yet for whatever reason, Ottawa has struggled to turn that energy into on-field results.

Given the incredible game day atmosphere generated by the fans at TD Place, it’s mind-boggling that in 40 home games (including regular season and playoff games), the Redblacks have managed just 16 wins. Of those, only six wins have come in the last two seasons.

But that’s not to suggest the games haven’t been entertaining, because, since 2015, the Redblacks have lost 11 games at home by a single score (seven points or less) and only lost four times by 10-plus points. Even if Ottawa’s failed to win the majority of their home contests, R-Nation hasn’t been subject to blow out losses. The fact of the matter is they’ve still been in nearly every game.

Plus, some of the most iconic moments in franchise’s history have come at TD Place. Jasper Simmons’ game-sealing interception gave the team it’s inaugural win, Greg Ellingson’s miraculous touchdown on second and 25 sent Ottawa back to the Grey Cup for the first time since 1981 and Kienan LaFrance ran roughshod over the Eskimos in the snow to seal another Grey Cup appearance.

More often than not, for the Redblacks, the difference between a win and a loss has come down to coming out on the wrong side of a play or two. The numbers back that claim up, as in the franchise’s 40 home games, the Redblacks have scored 1,013 points while conceding 1,023 against.

Taking all of the above into account, it almost begs the question: is TD Place cursed?

Before you scoff at the notion, thanks to an insider tip and a bit of investigation, the question isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

Let’s set the scene. It’s late May 2014 and Lansdowne is a beehive of activity. Construction crews race around the site, working overtime to ensure TD Place is ready for the inaugural home opener.

The time had come to lay the field and Scott Bradley, a passionate member of R-Nation, suggested in a letter to OSEG President Jeff Hunt that it might be a good idea to bury a 1976 Canadian silver dollar at centre field. He hoped it would bring luck to the team in the same way a loonie frozen into the ice at the 2002 Olympic Winter games helped the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams win gold.

Hunt agreed, thinking it was a perfect way to tie Ottawa’s storied CFL history to the present. After all, R-Nation had been re-living that 1976 Tony Gabriel catch for 40 years.

The day before the turf was set to be installed, OSEG put together a small ceremony for the embedding of the coin into the asphalt. They invited Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson, former Rough Rider and CFL legend Gerry Organ, Bradley and a few photographers to cover the event.

At the time Hunt said

“Whenever we win a close game in the dying minutes of play I’m sure a lot fans will remember the Tom Clements to Tony Gabriel pass that won the ’76 Grey Cup for Ottawa and the karma of the coin embedded under the turf.”

Before the coin was fully covered, those present had a chance to take numerous photographs. Then, Bradley began to bury it. But that’s when a simple action might have reversed any good that may have ever come from placing the coin there to begin with.

After being buried, one of the photographers present decided that they didn’t have enough pictures and asked for the coin to be removed for one last shot. Despite objections from some of those present that it would be bad karma to now take it out, the coin was indeed fully removed.

So, there you have it. While it might be a long shot to blame an overzealous photographer for the Redblacks’ poor record at TD Place, it’s a good a reason as any to explain their home woes. At this point, R-Nation can only hope that four seasons of close losses is enough remittance and that there’s not still more to come.

Santino Filoso

Santino Filoso

Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)
Santino Filoso
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Santino Filoso
About Santino Filoso (222 Articles)
Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)

36 Comments on The curse of the coin: explaining the Redblacks record at TD Place

  1. If they played in the west they would of accomplished NOTHING

    • Seems to me, both Ottawa and Torontos accomplishments included winning the Grey Cup the last two years over Monty Burns and the gang.

      • Both beatings western teams, no less. (Ott: Edmonton and Calgary, Argos: SSK and Calgary)

        Annoying facts….

    • Enrico Della Penta // June 19, 2018 at 11:50 am //

      Wha, wha, wha from Ms/Mrs or Mr. Positivity. Well looks like the Argos from the East won it last year and the RBs won it the year before and a team from the East will probably win it again this year, unlike the Choke-steders who had a couple of shots at it.

      • No surprise , they get a free pass every year in the pathetic eastern division, don’t even need a winning record to win the division and get an undeserved home playoff game . Looks to be the same again this year time to change the format

        • Enrico Della Penta // June 19, 2018 at 12:42 pm //

          Like I said wha, wha, wha. The CFL has 2 divisions East and West get over it.

    • Tiger man // June 19, 2018 at 3:16 pm //

      What they’ve “accomplished came in a weak eastern division where the other teams lacked a starting quarterback while they had two number ones.

      That was their formula for success then.

      Notice recently that when the other teams here have quality starters, the two tones haven’t done much.

      Co-incidence….NOT…

  2. Omg !!! Guy….he’s just trying to get his point across….a little FUN story…

  3. Don’t worry Redblack fans.
    Victory coming Thursday night. Just keep that playbook under lock and key

    • I finally saw that Stamps catch from the weekend. It’s catch of the year SO FAR, but it wasn’t a TD so it’s not better than Carter’s.

      • Initially, I thought Brescacin’s catch was better, but looking at Carter’s again I changed my mind. Carter caught the ball with one hand, Brescacin brought the ball don with 1 hand, but had to use both to make the actual catch.

        • Bleeding Green // June 19, 2018 at 1:24 pm //

          I can’t believe they actually compared it to OBJ. OBJ landed on his back. In the end zone. Without touching the ball with his other hand. The stamps catch was cool don’t get me wrong but don’t compare it to that. It just makes the CFL look stupid.

  4. Hopefully the RB will lay a woopin on the lowly riders on Thurs, to shut their fans down on this site. They are way to cocky after one game that they barely won with a shaky QB.
    RB is ready for a big season with a superb QB and the best receivers in the CFL. Go RB.

    • Good luck with that. Harris will be running for his life and the RB won’t so jack. Ottawa fans, weakest in the league….

      • Enrico Della Penta // June 19, 2018 at 12:48 pm //

        Well at least the RBs didn’t need a telethon to keep them afloat like the melon head fans.

        • You’re right – they just folded their team twice instead.

          • Enrico Della Penta // June 19, 2018 at 12:58 pm //

            Merde happens, they’re back and unlike the melon head team don’t have a pot smoking receiver who don’t seem to know that the rules for pot have not changed yet and runs over coaches.

          • George Fogarty // June 19, 2018 at 1:04 pm //

            Fans where there owners not. But anyway glad to see the sliders make it to the finals and lose, probably following the Stump-eders playbook.

          • Merde happens.

  5. Hey yup!! You have the most childish posts of all rider hole fans. Using two of your favourite words
    BUGGER OFF LOSER!

  6. Unfortunately their woes will continue this week. Riders by 10.

  7. Blackhawk89 // June 19, 2018 at 12:40 pm //

    There is no curse. The fact of the matter is they are an average to below average football team , the grey cup win was them getting hot at the right time and stringing 3 wins together. Other than that they have been a .500 team at best.

    • Enrico Della Penta // June 19, 2018 at 12:49 pm //

      And won a Grey Cup.

      • Blackhawk89 // June 19, 2018 at 1:04 pm //

        The article is questioning the record poor record at TD Place team record since they came into the league 34-42-2 including playoffs that’s below average, which explains the record at TD Place.

        • Gotta remember, the first year was expansion. And they exceeded expectations there.

  8. Yes, they personify the east with an average at best record. Having said that… the West owns the regular season and the East has been owning the Grey Cups lately.

  9. Next Monday’s 3Down headline: Riders secret weapon: Playing at TD Place.

  10. Bill deHoog // June 19, 2018 at 1:43 pm //

    Lots of comments not related to the post. To be fair, take out the first season (2-16). Most of the games have come down to the last series, they are that close. Visiting teams love the atmosphere at TD Place, find the fans quite friendly. Likely a plus for the visiting team. Will see a better record with a more dominant defence.

  11. Rickyboy // June 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm //

    I know people in Saskatchewan have trouble with math, say like counting to 12. Since Ottawa returned to the league, they have a record of 30- 40-2. 3 trips to playoffs, 2 Grey Cup appearances and one Championship. Green guys 28-44, 2 playoff appearances and not much else.

    Ottawa won more Grey Cups with Rough Riders name than Saskatchewan ever will.

  12. George Fogarty // June 19, 2018 at 6:05 pm //

    Great article, there is no curse, just games lost by not playing a full 60 minutes of football on the RBs side. If they do this then this curse thing will be history and hopefully its starts this Thursday against the greenies.

Comments are closed.