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Friday, November 23, 2012

GREY CUP RODSERVATIONS

TORONTO - Some Friday notes from the 100th Grey Cup here in Canada's largest city:

* The party has started. It was rather quiet around here on Wednesday but by Thursday Grey Cup celebrations were in full swing. Downtown nightclubs and the various festivals were packed as football fans from across the country came to celebrate the game. Thursday night we were treated to a splendid time at the CFLPA Pro Players Party at Gretzky's on Blue Jays Way. Congratulations to CFLPA President Mike Morreale for putting on a spectacular event.

* The betting line has narrowed for Sunday's Grey Cup between Calgary and Toronto at Rogers Centre. The Stampeders are now favoured by 1.5-points, down from 2-points earlier in the week. Wonder what prompted the change?

* My radio partner Carm Carteri is always fascinated by the accuracy of the oddsmakers. The Stampeders were favoured by 5.5-points for the 2012 WSF against the Riders and wound up winning 36-30.

* Rider quarterback Darian Durant and his brother Justin of the NFL's Detroit Lions will be in attendance for Grey Cup beginning Friday night.

* 2007 CFL Coach of the Year and two-time Rider Grey Cup champion Kent Austin will be in Toronto for the festivities as well.

* With the Argos in the Grey Cup, demand for tickets is skyrocketing. Scalpers are reportedly asking, and getting, $400-$500 per ticket.

* The Argos aren't front page news this week (the Blue Jays are) but they are the talk of the town nonetheless. During a Thursday stroll downtown I overheard two city workers in orange vests discussing Sunday's game. "Toronto is so starved for a winner," one guy said. "If these guys win on Sunday they'll be heroes."

* It takes 58 seconds for the CN Tower elevator to go bottom-to-top.

* On Thursday I mentioned my visit with TSN's Paul Lapolice, the former Blue Bomber coach, at Argos' practice. I sauntered up to him on the sidelines and we chatted for 15-20 minutes. As expected, he's absolutely thrilled with his "Coach's Playbook" segment on TSN and would consider a future in the media one day. However, at 42 years of age, he's got SO much to accomplish as a football coach. Also, he's still bitter about how things ended in Winnipeg and doesn't want that to be his legacy. How did he respond to the Riders' 52-0 rout of the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic? "I celebrated with a Corona in the hot tub," Lapolice smiled. "And I thought to myself 'It's not my problem anymore'."

* Roughrider player rep Mike McCullough is in Toronto with his wonderful wife Laura. Thursday was spent in CFLPA meetings for Mike.

* Interesting note: Stamps coach John Hufnagel was the quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1999 when Argos coach Scott Milanovich was a Cleveland Browns quarterback.

* TSN analyst Milt Stegall called Stamps quarterback Kevin Glenn the "Rodney Dangerfield of the CFL - no respect" this week.

* McCullough reported the Fairmont Royal York is "insane" this week. It truly is the nerve centre of CFL types. Personally I'm quite enjoying the Delta Chelsea. It's a $10 cabride from Rogers Centre and a lot more quiet than what's going on on Front Street. It's a good retreat.

* If I ever had to point to one guy and say "That's a broadcaster", it would be Fan 590's Stormin' Norm Rumack. He's been doing the midnight-5:30am shift on that all-sports radio station for 20 years. How does it fill it? "It's a piece of cake!" Norm said this week. "It's nothing for me to do a 40-minute monologue."

* During an interview with a Toronto radio station this week I was told "This is an NFL city". I'll have to say it again; sorry, but you don't have an NFL team.

* During our visit on the Wolf 104.9 Thursday morning, Michael Ball was discussing the blizzard Regina has endured this week and saying a similar scenario in 2013 at this time will ruin Grey Cup week. He's lobbying for the CFL season to be moved up a month to start June 1. Sorry, not gonna happen.

* Argo coach Scott Milanovich gave his team one hour - just one hour - to enjoy Grey Cup festivities this week and it was at Tuesday's team pep rally at Yonge-Dundas Square. Other than that they've been in lockdown mode.

* Regina's Scott Flory has not yet decided if he'll return for a 15th season with the Montreal Alouettes. The offensive guard has spent his entire CFL career with the Als despite that 2004 snafu when he signed with the Riders but reneged. He thought Roy and Danny were trying to pull a fast one on him.

* The Toronto Sun wrote this week that TSN's Duane Forde is in the running for the vacant Assistant GM's position in Winnipeg.

* Speaking of comings and goings, I'm told former Rider coach Greg Marshall has received a buyout for the final year of his contract with Saskatchewan and is now a free agent to sign with whichever team gives him an offer.

* RUMOUR: Alex Smith, who parted ways with the Riders after 16 seasons as an assistant coach last week, will resurface in the CFL in 2013, possibly in Hamilton.

* Alouettes defensive coordinator Jeff Reinebold signed a one-year contract last off-season. The deal expires December 31.

* Toronto sun writer Terry Koshan wrote Thursday that someone with the Argos should tell defensive coordinator Chris Jones that "He's not bigger than the game". Koshan was unimpressed that Jones refused to talk to the media at Wednesday's East Division Champions breakfast.

* From Kirk Penton of the Sun Media newspaper chain: "As with every event during Grey Cup week, there was a handful of Riders fans in attendance (at the Argo pep rally) dressed in green from head-to-toe. You gotta hand it to their fans." NOTE - Penton is from Moosimin, SK.

* 49-year old Damon Allen told the National Post this week he feels he could still play in the CFL.

* That's all! Talk to you at 5:00 from the CN Tower!
RP

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

"This is an NFL city". I'll have to say it again; sorry, but you don't have an NFL team. You are so bang on on that Rod, Torontonians are just wannabees and still can't support NFL Bills in Toronto at Rogers centre that they are practically begging and calling people to come to the game. They lowered the prices so low that this experiment is a bust! Office talk of course is mostly NFL here. It is a weird city when it comes to football.

RDS

MurrayFischer said...

Rod,

Personally I wouldn't mind seeing Lapolice back calling the plays for the Rider offence. When he was in Regina, our offence was very fun to watch. Just my humble opinion.

Enjoy the festivities!

Murray from Brandon
/=S=/

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Murray Fisher.

Veeseven

Anonymous said...

$300 to $400 for a ticket isn't that much Rod. The face value of our tickets next year will be close to $300

Wallace the Wimp said...

If we have the type of weather we have experienced this week in Saskville at Regina's Grey Cup next year, it may be tough for scalpers to get $40 -$50 for a ticket! Yikes its cold.

Mike said...

Im with you Murray Fischer. We also need a new def. coordinator as well.

Anonymous said...

Tell Ballsy to stuff it up his ass. The guy is as annoying as Kelly Remple! The forecast tomorrow is for a high of minus 2. It will be one year from tomorrow that the game is played. If we have a high of minus 2 on game day, there will be nothing wrong with it. These people that sit there and just find ways to criticize this league is beyond me.

Thanks Rod!


Chris

Anonymous said...

Face value next year is 350 a ticket.

Anonymous said...

Something missing with years Grey Cup In Toronto, the Inclusion of amped up coverage from any media resources for the everyday fan back here In Saskatchewan/anywhere who are not In attendance down East. I thought I would at least see the CFL awards show broadcast live on some sport network, checking the TV channels to no avail, all NFL coverage. Disappointing to say the least. This league goin the way of the dinosaur, appreciate while you can I guess. League office not doing enough to promote the product, bring on the other television networks of Canada asap.

Anonymous said...

Right on Chris! Couldn't agree more!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, two of the biggest stories of the past week were about two different HORSES at the Grey Cup. I think the media has pretty much every angle covered.

Anonymous said...

Toronto, Hamilton CFL franchises losing money. It will only get worse for Ticats next year, possibly 2014 season as they move Into unchartered territory and minor league venue. Hardly anyone In the greater Toronto area know who the Argonauts are and couldn't care less. This league needs to have a consistent year round In your face marketing strategy and strong on field product by all Involved. Amalgomate the three major Canadian television networks that would share televising game rights.

Anonymous said...

Saskatchewan building a new one dimensional part time usage stadium worth millions of dollars for Roughriders franchise. Is the Canadian Football League even financially viable long term ? Who steps up to the plate when Mr. Braley decides to quit carrying this entire league with his generous pocket book ?

MurrayFischer said...

What kind of stupid comment is this; "Is the Canadian Football League even financially viable long term?" You do realize how old the CFL is, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Read Cohon on teams that are losing financially. Mr. Braley In Leader Post yesterday saying the only team he has never had to help Is the Edmonton Eskimos because of good administration. Realistically, business wise, who would Invest long term with no financial return on a losing venture with some markets not being viable with very limited fanbase support or anyone who cares or knows what the CFL Is In the first place. Times are changing and we all can't live In the past of the good old CFL.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to hear a definitive/acceptable answer to why the season doesn't/can't start (at least) one month earlier and the GC isn't played in October.

Other than... TSN says so.

AT LEAST play next year's game in the afternoon???? No? OK, we'll wait for the ten degree temperature drop.

The guy who says it's going to be nice "tomorrow" should wait until Sunday-- when the game will actually be played-- and then go outside and throw a football around from 6-10pm.

While it's technically "do-able"... You're not going to get the skill level that should be expected from a championship football game. And, I don't buy this "It's the same for both teams" arguement... It would be the same for both teams if they played the game on rollerskates in jell-o... But, they don't.

Tex.

Anonymous said...

I think football should be played in the elements...regardless of what those elements are. Watching Sportcentre's Top 10 Grey Cup plays last night I noticed at least 3 came from a game played on a snow covered field or in blistering cold temperatures (see Rocket Ismail's return in WPG).

Tex, I agree that the kickoff should be moved up when held outdoors but moving the game up a month guarantees nothing. I know we had a blizzard in Calgary leading up to Halloween and checking the weather in Regina it felt about -10C with the wind chill at that time (Oct 24/25)...and that WAS in the afternoon. That's the only counterpoint I have for that argument. I'm not sure what CFL/TSN's reasonings are.

Mike said...

Ya I agree with Chris. Kelly remple is annoying must be a moose jaw thing,but Michael Ball Is ok. We are Canadians we are tough. The Grey cup has always been played in snow when it was held outdoors since the league first existed. We are not wimps like those in toronto and BC.

Anonymous said...

I will agree that moving the season up about a month doesn't guarantee the weather will be better. But the odds of having warmer weather is more likely.

We can only hope that since we are having a crappy winter this year it will be nice next year.

Anonymous said...

If TSN was pumping big bucks into the league I could go with them calling the shots. But, they're not!!! I wish Cohon had the guts to tell the network executives when the game starts instead of the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Toronto getting an NFL team is no more dreaming than Regina getting a 400 M dollar stadium. Why is stupid only noticed from afar?

Anonymous said...

It'd be nice if Rogers opened their billionaire pockets and invested in the Argos rather than the Bills.

It seems like Rogers COULD play a huge part in the CFL if they had any interest in owning a team but much more likely with a TV deal on Sportsnet and The Score.

When it comes to the TV deal I would love to see more than one network just to see some competition to be the best...best production values, best announcers, best panelists/analysts, etc.

Could we ever see the day of our beloved Rod calling televised non-Riders games on a national level?! (If I had to guess I would think that wouldn't interest him) I'm selfish so I'd like to see him at CKRM until the day that NHL dream job comes his way.

CM said...

Until LA gets an NFL team, Toronto is just dreaming. And I live in Toronto. CFL needs a more competitive TV contract so players can get paid fmv. Until that happens the perception is low pay =small time.