Quarterback Justin Goltz was the man in the spotlight this week in Winnipeg, partly because of his encouraging performance in the Labour Day Classic in Regina, and partly because of his celebration of the two touchdowns he scored against the Riders.
The season has been a roller coaster ride for Goltz.
He was touted as the heir apparent at quarterback in the off-season, and got his big chance to start in Week 4 after Buck Pierce suffered an injury. But, when the Bombers lost his first two starts, he was demoted to the no.3 slot behind Pierce and Max Hall, with Hall getting a shot at leading the offence.
Goltz didn’t feel two starts was a sufficient period of time to prove what he could do and was vocal in his displeasure about the demotion.
Justin Goltz' “tie-straightening” touchdown celebration has become a new signature for the young quarterback but does his coach endorse it?
Hall turned in a decent performance in his inaugural CFL start, a 37-18 loss to Hamilton. But when both Hall and Buck Pierce were injured during the August 24th rematch with the Tiger-Cats, Goltz, by default, was handed the starting reins again.
He didn’t lead the Bombers to victory at Mosaic stadium last Sunday, but for three-and-a-half quarters Goltz played well enough to keep the Bombers in the game. Until he started pressing late in the game, he played with poise and confidence, rekindling the belief that he might indeed be the long-term answer to the Bombers quarterback dilemma.
But, in a year of turmoil for the Bombers, it figured that there would be controversy. And there was when some Bomber fans, and then head coach Tim Burke, took Goltz to task for a touchdown celebration in which Goltz mocked Saskatchewan running back Kory Sheets’ touchdown celebration, and added his own “tie-straightening” gesture after running in for two majors against the Riders.
Burke is no fan of touchdown celebration “gimmicks”, and he asked Goltz to cool it with the “tie-straightening” act, although Burke did admit Goltz’s celebration was mild compared to others he has seen in the CFL. Goltz said he would do whatever the coach asked him to do, but then blamed the media for “picking” on him, and for blowing the celebration out of proportion. It was the second time Goltz accused the media of making a mountain out of a mole hill, claiming they first did it when he was benched three weeks ago.
And so, there continues to be no shortage of story lines surrounding the Blue Bombers.
This week, no exception, with the arrival of a fifth quarterback in Winnipeg in the person of Levi Brown, who oddly enough was recommended to the Bombers by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he earlier spent some time. The search for a quarterback they can take to the bank continues. But it’s a search Justin Goltz could put an end to if he can continue to show improvement when the Bombers host the Riders Sunday in the annual ‘Banjo Bowl’.
And wouldn’t leading the Bombers to an upset victory give Goltz, and his teammates, something to truly celebrate.
Bob Irving has covered the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for CJOB Radio in Winnipeg since 1973. Bob is the Sports Director at CJOB and is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, reporters division. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobIrvingCJOB