Just before Rod Smith sends the audience to the site of the game, Smith reads off a potential winner in the Safeway and Sobeys' Touchdown To Win contest. If a kickoff is run back for a touchdown, the contestant wins a Visions $25,000 home theatre package. If a second kickoff is run back, the contestant could win $1 million.
Imagine you are Karen Kuldys of Winnipeg. Winnipeg's Ryan Lankford runs back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Your team is winning and you win the theatre package. In the second quarter, Toronto's Martese Jackson is running down the field. You're waiting for Chris Cuthbert to mention any flags on the play. Jackson scores. You are set to possibly win $1 million.
But wait. There is a late flag. Toronto Argos receiver Llevi Noel makes contact with the back of Winnipeg's Mike Miller. Miller falls down. The flag goes up.
The penalty didn't affect the play. If this were the NHL, both players would serve 2 minutes. The referee saw the hand on the back, and the other player fell. The call had to be made, even if it potentially cost Kuldys $1 million.
At halftime, Milt Stegall kept repeating "What About Karen?" which inspired a Twitter hashtag #WhatAboutKaren,
So Karen Kuldys didn't win $1 million, but the parties did help her out:
- CFL — Kuldys and her family will attend this year’s 105th Grey Cup in Ottawa as VIP guests.
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers — Season tickets for the rest of this season and 2018.
- Safeway/Sobey's — Free groceries for one year at any Safeway or Sobeys.
- Air Miles — (through which Kuldys entered in the contest) 500,000 free miles.
New CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie was at the game Thursday night. "I know Karen's a Blue Bomber fan and her son plays football, so we spoke with Wade Miller, the President and CEO of the Bombers, this morning. He immediately pledged to provide Karen with Bombers season's tickets for the rest of this season and next season as well. We all know these things can't compare to a million dollars but we wanted to do something to let her and her family know that we all wished she could have won last night."
As Kuldys told Andrew Nichols on CBC News Network, she was appreciative of the other prizes "but it's still not a million dollars."
Not a million dollars, but the CFL and its sponsors did rise to the occasion to do their best. Kuldys also gets the $25,000 home theatre system. And those air miles are worth $50,000. Their generosity felt instinctual, yes, even Canadian.
Canada has different rules about contests. You have to answer a skills question to win a prize in Canada. The questions aren't usually hard. But prizes are not automatic. The other fine print is that the $1 million is paid out over 20 years at $50,000/year. That could go a long way in Winnipeg.
This has to do with the Canadian Competition Act, Canada's anti-gambling law. Good to know that the CFL contest is available to those in Quebec. Often, contests are void in La Belle Province due to strict and minute rules for contests.
Since others are eager to help out Kuldys, we suggest Kuldys could cut an updated video with the Barenaked Ladies with their hit If I Had a Million Dollars.
The Canadian band sings about dijon ketchup to put on Kraft Dinner. Kuldys mentioned to Nichols on CBC News Network that she would have given her daughter more maternity leave from her job. Maybe she could mention a Winnipeg Blue Bombers Grey Cup win since the franchise hasn't won the Cup since 1990.
The last line wouldn't need to change, "If I had a million dollars, I'd be rich."
photo credit: CBC News Network
video credit: YouTube/dicka101