Top 10 Tuesday – Wrapping Up The Football Season

Well it’s amazing that the football season has come and gone. With that in mind and a closer look at championship week here are my thoughts in no particular order on this top 10 Tuesday.

10 – Despite, from all accounts, no one in Toronto being aware that the CFL showcase event was on in their city the 104th Grey Cup game itself seemed to go off without a hitch. The question that will always hang over the game itself will be why would Calgary try to throw the ball on 2nd and Goal from the 2 yard line with their third string quarterback as opposed to running the ball with the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian (Jerome Messam) or having the league’s Most Outstanding Player (Bo Levi Mitchell) throw the ball.

9 – The play also should trigger the debate; why do CFL teams bring in their 3rd string quarterback to run short yardage plays? It seems that the risk for things to go wrong is much higher than the reward of keeping the starter healthy. I can’t recall a quarterback injured on a short yardage sneak.

8 – One troubling fact from the highly entertaining overtime championship game was that the excitement did not translate into television numbers. Viewership was down from 4.3-million viewers in 2015 to 3.9-million this year. Some are pointing to the idea that the game was anticipated to be a blow out. I wonder if TSN is the right carrier or whether or not the game should be broadcast on one of the big three national networks (Global, CTV or CBC).

7 – On the other side of the coin wasn’t it nice to see the video review used as it should be? No incidental contact reviews, no lengthy delays, no confusion in transmitting decisions. Those all should be a feather in the cap of the officiating crew headed by Andre Proulx. One does have to wonder, however, if the officiating was aided by the additional angles provided by TSN with the extra cameras that they brought in. Maybe that should be made standard throughout the season?

6 – Back to Calgary’s third-string quarterback who apparently needs an introduction. His name is Andrew Buckley. He was the winner of the Hec Crighton trophy, as the best CIS College football player in the country in both 2014 AND 2015. It blew my mind yesterday when a respected panel of reporters in Toronto didn’t know who he was and said, “he’s not a household name in his own home.” That may represent the disconnect between U-Sports (formerly CIS) and the CFL.

5 – That disconnect is truly a shame and I know that people are working tirelessly to attempt to change that and welcome fans to a hidden gem in U-Sports. The question is how do you gain traction in a populated space with a product that doesn’t even register in some of its own markets?

4 – Speaking of disconnect and some of the talking heads in the Big Smoke are still baffled at the refusal of CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge to confirm the link between football and degenerative brain disease. To me it seems pretty straight forward. The CFL is in the midst of litigation with former players on the subject. SO why would they admit guilt to the media?

3 – Last one from the Grey Cup and would it really be that hard to televise the player awards? A lot of work goes into the gala evening for the organizers why not showcase the league’s stars. The official broadcaster only has 5 feeds to fill. I’m sure that darts could be replaced on one for an evening, no?

2 – Back to U-Sports and the Vanier Cup game didn’t disappoint. Laval’s 31-26 win over Calgary was highly entertaining and truly showcased some of the top talent in the country. The big disappointment was the less than 5,000 fans that took in the game. It even prompted the official broadcaster to muse, “I hope there are a lot more people at home watching.” That woeful display hopefully will get U-Sports to contemplate moving the game from Ontario and Quebec or to consider non-neutral sites as hosts for the games to ensure a home crowd. OR maybe doing what should have been done along, stage the event in the same city/stadium as the Grey Cup.

1 – Staying with the Vanier Cup and another coach may be second guessed in Cowtown. Wayne Harris started an obviously less than 100% Jimmy Underdahl under centre in the championship game. Unfortunately, he reinjured his knee and was lost for the game in the first quarter. Prior to his departure the fifth year pivot was putting on a clinic. With that being said when he came out Adam Sinagra came in and failed to have the same success. One has to wonder if the preparation time that was taken away from Sinagra to give to Underdahl perhaps was a factor in the offences drop off. Keep in mind Sinagra was fantastic in the Canada West play-offs and the Mitchell Bowl to get the Dinos to the Vanier Cup.