Realty One


Tuesday, January 15, 2013


OTTAWA -- The latest suggested nickname for Ottawa's CFL expansion franchise isn't doing it for Russ Jackson.

The Ottawa Red Blacks was being mentioned prominently Monday in social media as a moniker for the CFL club slated to begin play in 2014. Neither was receiving much support from Ottawa football fans and Jackson, who led the Ottawa Rough Riders to three Grey Cup titles over his illustrious 12-year career with the franchise, wasn't big on it either.

"The Red Blacks, to me, seems to get you to a soccer situation,'' Jackson said. "I don't know of a professional North American football club that's named with just colours but that seems to be the one that's bouncing around.''

Liverpool, one of the English Premier League's top franchises, is called the Reds because of their red home kits. New Zealand's Test rugby squad became known as the All Blacks in 1905 when switching from white to black shorts to go with its black top during a tour of the British Isles, France and Canada.

The NFL's Cleveland Browns have brown in their colour scheme but the team is named after former head coach Paul Brown.

Unfortunately, the Ottawa club won't be called Rough Riders. A condition of the city's return to the CFL was the new franchise not use the original team name.

But Jackson, whose No. 12 was retired by his former club, would like to see the franchise maintain some traditions of the Rough Riders, which operated from 1876 to 1996 and won nine Grey Cups.

"I'm hoping they'll keep the colours - the red, white and black - which it sounds like they're going to,'' the Hamilton native said. "I also thought it would be nice if they could maintain . . . the big R that was always a symbol of the Rough Riders on the helmets.''

It's unclear when the Ottawa franchise will unveil a team name. Time is certainly on its side but the 76-year-old Jackson said a nickname is important because it can establish a team's identity, on and off the field.

"I think people relate to it,'' Jackson said. "I never did like the Renegades (which operated in Ottawa from 2002-'06), it never did strike me as something that really hit home for me.

"I guess you could pick any name and there'd be people who'd say it doesn't hit home with them where others would say, 'Yeah, I like it.' It's something you have to grow accustomed and used to. I just grew up with the Rough Riders . . . when you mentioned Rough Riders, you knew exactly what you were talking about.''

While a catchy team name is important, Jackson said the biggest factor in its success will be ownership. Jackson believes the expansion franchise is on very solid ground financially with Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt heading up the club's group of owners.

"They're Ottawa people, they're not taking this on thinking they're going to make millions of dollars,'' Jackson said. "I really think the group that's there now has the money to support it and is really interested.''

Hunt did not immediately return a telephone message Monday.

The Ottawa club is currently interviewing potential GM candidates. The successful applicant will not only be responsible for hiring a head coach but also begin stockpiling players.

Ottawa will select four NCAA underclassmen in this year's CFL draft, then in December participate in a three-round expansion draft of players made available from the existing eight clubs. Then in 2014, the club will take part in the league's Canadian college draft.

Again, Jackson said it's imperative the Ottawa ownership group selects the right GM to ensure the team has a talented lineup when it kicks off play.

"They're not going to be expected to win a Grey Cup right away but they've got to be competitive,'' Jackson said. "It's really important they have someone on staff, whether it's the general manager or a scout or whatever, who has that knowledge . . . because I think it's going to be really important to get some top-flight players, one way or the other.''

When the 2014 season begins, the Ottawa team will be the third CFL club to play there. Jackson said this will be the league's final try to put a successful franchise on the field in the national capital.

"I've always said Ottawa fans are great it was always ownership in my opinion that did them in,'' Jackson said. "This is it, this is their last kick at the can and they better make it work but I really think they will.

"They're going to have people in place with plenty of time to look at players and know exactly what they're looking for and how they have to draft.''

And Jackson, for one, can't wait for the CFL's rebirth in Ottawa.

"I'm looking forward to going up there and seeing them play,'' he said. "I'll certainly be there for the first game.''

© 2013 The Canadian Press


Anonymous said...

might as well call it Red Blacks White Trims

Anonymous said...

The would get more notice being called the "Red Green's"

Anonymous said...

9 Grey Cups for Ottawa yet Saskatchewan with 3 Grey Cups and none on the horizon tells them what their name can be. That's funny.

Hire Marcel Desjardins and get the right Head Coach in Paul LaPolice, and cross fingers it takes off.

Anonymous said...

Ottawa let the team die twice, so start fresh with different colours and name. The city flag is green and blue with a stylized white "O" on it, so why not a scheme ala Seattle Seahawks with an O on the helmet. Why not call them the Highlanders after Ottawa's official regiment?

Anonymous said...

Cleveland Browns. There. Pro football team named after a colour.

Red Blacks is too much like Rod Blacks.

There's only one All Blacks. They are legendary. Leave it at that.

Ottawa Rouge would be great. I also like the Rivermen as a strong name.

Anonymous said...

The Cleveland Browns were named after their founder Paul Brown. Cleveland let pro football die and they were called the Panthers in the 1930s. Paul Brown wanted nothing to do with a losing tradition and reluctantly went with Browns. Cleveland lost the team in 1995, and came back as Cleveland Browns 2.0 Kinda like this version of the Winnipeg Jets. The results will be the same as the original.

Anonymous said...

Is there a football team name using colours... Yes there is - one of the best university teams in all of Canada for several years now - a successful team on and off the field with the largest attendance year in and year out... (although I am a Rams fan), come on folks...

How about the Laval Rouge et Or... please correct my French as I really don't know the language, but if I understand correctly is not that team named the Laval Red and Orange??? They are successful!

I think the Red Blacks would be just fine. Also, one of the top national rugby teams is the All-Blacks out of New Zealand (again correct me if I am wrong).

As for Ottawa, think of the marketing: using the same colours they always had, and managing to stick a big R on their helmets... I think they will do just fine as the Red Blacks...

Can anyone say something positive out there???

Kel in Victoria

Anonymous said...

Zero seasons above .500 in their last 17 years as the Rough Riders. We think the Roughriders had some rough years in the 80's and 90's but try to be a Rough Riders fan. As bad as the Roughriders were at times, the Rough Riders were worse. At least the Roughriders made it to a couple of Grey Cups in those decades. The Rough Riders were just embarrassing.

Y'know what? Let them be the Rough Riders. This is fun.

Seriously, Rivermen seems to be getting a bit of love. Let the fans make some suggestions, put it to a vote and you've got your team name.

Anonymous said...

If the double R thing is important my vote is for...Ranting Retards...(politically incorrect reference to pay homage to our elected officials)

Or to stay with the river theme...Rideau Rats...

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that vast fountain of knowledge named obama/dufus hasn't weighed in on this one. Surely he could solve this in a heartbeat.

The Woz said...

Ottawa is close to Quebec and most of Ottawa is bilingual anyway so why not go with a french translation - call them the Rouge et Noir (red and blacks). That would also be a good tie to the great CFL tradition of the single point or rouge.

Ottawa Rifles would also be OK and honour some of the great regiments in Canada.

The Rough Rider name had to go. It is all about branding these days and Sask has built the Roughrider brand over the last several years - so good for Hopson to put the brakes on that option.

Anonymous said...

It's red and gold, NOT red and orange!

jim in victoria... said...

the laval name is red and gold in english. your welcome.

Anonymous said...

I love when the Riders who missed the playoffs 12 straight years, and really when you look at it objectively have not accomplished a single thing in 100+ years pass judgement on other organizations.

It's always the same thing about how Toronto isn't a CFL town, meanwhile every number of years that franchise holds a Grey Cup parade. Hmmm makes you wonder is all.

Anonymous said...

The Riders have been a successful a point. They've played in more Grey Cups than Calgary and BC and the same amount as MTL and HAM but once they get there they seem to like to lose in gut wrenching, heartbreaking fashion.

At least we aren't on a 22 year Grey Cup drought.

Anonymous said...

Ottawa Rough Ridders !

Anonymous said...

To those that helped me with my French, thank-you... Yes indeed it is the Laval 'Red and Gold' (not red and orange); I stand corrected.

That said, I think the Red Blacks is not a bad name for the new Ottawa franchise. Similar to Laval, yes a Canadian football team can be successful using colours as a team name. I also sited the New Zealand 'All-Blacks' (rugby). Both teams have successfully marketed their team names - strange as it may seem - but using colours can work. And in the case of Ottawa, not only does it bring them pride for their old colours, but they could even stick an 'R' on their helmets and be happy doing so... R of Red, not for Riders.

Ps., please end the rhetoric re the old Ottawa name as the Rough Riders. From a marketing and position moving forward, when someone googles 'Roughriders' believe me, you want Saskatchewan to come up, not Ottawa...

Kel in Victoria

Anonymous said...

call them the Red Blacks & there will be another Ottawa franchise that will no longer exsist in no more then 5yrs after being created lmao

when will these dumb asses in the east get it, the world doesnt go around u like ur the center of the universe time to get over urselfs & actually think like ur just another 3rd world country.