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A windy week 1: Did the Elks blow it?

Was the coin toss a factor in Saturday's game?
Riders vs. Elks Week 1

The Saskatchewan Roughriders scored a 29-21 victory to open the CFL season on Saturday in Edmonton thanks to scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The Elks shot themselves in the foot multiple times turning the ball over three times in the final 15 minutes but was there another more subtle blunder?

The weather wasn’t a lot of fun at Commonwealth Stadium with intermittent showers, heavy at times, single-digit temperatures, 8 degrees at kick-off, and a blustery wind from the Northwest. Considering those, a former CFL executive told me before the game that the angle that the wind would be blowing into Commonwealth Stadium was one of the most challenging to deal with. They went on to tell me that one of the biggest calls in the game would be the coin toss.

Edmonton won the flip, and they chose to defer their selection. Saskatchewan subsequently decided to take the football to start the game. When the captains reconvened at halftime Edmonton was leading 11-7 and they chose to take the ball, the Roughriders opted to defend the south end zone in the third quarter which meant that they would have the wind at their back in the fourth quarter.

So, what happened when teams were going into the wind? The Elks and Riders would throw three interceptions into the wind, one an underthrown ball by Trevor Harris that he concedes he was soft on but was the wind a factor? Also going into the wind in the fourth quarter Boris Bede missed his only field goal of the afternoon. He didn’t just miss it, the 48-yard attempt was way right and didn’t even make the goal line.

Taking all of that into consideration, should the Elks have opted to take the wind in the fourth quarter? Coaches that I have worked with in the past have told me that unless you are down by more than a converted touchdown coming out at halftime you want to have the wind at your back in the fourth quarter.

So, did the Elks underestimate the wind? Was the wind that much of a factor at field level? (the flags at the top of the stadium were straight out) Did the Elks blow it?

You be the judge.