One of the biggest stories for me in 2017 was the disappearance of the Riders’ identity crisis.
In 2016, players such as John Chick and Weston Dressler were cut, and there was a sense Chris Jones was lukewarm on the popular Darian Durant.
There was even a time when the loyal fans of this community-owned team had to sign in, and show their drivers licences just to watch practices.
The Riders won five games in 2016. There was a different feeling in 2017.
Kevin Glenn returned for a third tour of duty. Hold over Naaman Roosevelt and newcomer Duron Carter became two formidable weapons through the air.
Brandon Bridge emerged as a Canadian quarterback who could win football games.
Six-year defensive back Ed Gainey was a hawk in the secondary, while one of Jones’ followers from Edmonton, Willie Jefferson, was a menace up front.
A five-win team turned in to a ten-win team and suddenly Rider fans no longer felt disconnected. Instead, they were part of a team that may take another step forward in 2018.