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Monday, November 30, 2015

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


SO LONG WINNIPEG

1. First of all, congratulations Edmonton Eskimos.  The Esks captured their 14th Grey Cup championship Sunday evening at a soldout Investors Group Field in Winnipeg (36,634) with a 26-20 victory over the Ottawa RedBlacks in the 103rd CFL title game.  The Eskimos are a first-class outfit from top-to-bottom and on Sunday they were rewarded for their efforts.  Hats off to President Len Rhodes, GM Ed Hervey, Head Coach Chris Jones, and their entire operation!

2. Kudos too to the Ottawa RedBlacks who classily represented the CFL's East Division in the Grey Cup and really came within a whisker of winning it.  They led for much of the game, including a 19-18 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.  However on this night, the better team won.  Will they be back for another crack at it in the 2016 Grey Cup in Toronto?  It's farrrrr too early to tell but this franchise admittedly exceeded even their own expectations in just their second season of existence.  It's small consolation, but they beat the spread (the Eskimos were favoured by seven points) and in doing so won me a $100 bet with Tiger Williams.  Thanks!

3. The Eskimos dominated the statsheet in the 2015 Grey Cup by out-rushing the RedBlacks (109-72), out-passing (269-220), Time of Possession (32:29-27:31) and they led in sacks (3-2).  Interestingly enough, the turnover battle was even (1-1) and Edmonton was able to pull off the victory despite two missed field goals from kicker Sean Whyte.

4. It was a pretty cleanly-played game as well with Edmonton only taking six penalties for 87 yards and Ottawa being flagged on seven occasions for 118 yards.  It appeared there wasn't even a penalty called until late into the first quarter.  And, perhaps appropriately enough, Eskimos coach Chris Jones is getting credit for a strategic victory by successfully challenging a pass interference non-call (after a timeout) which ultimately led to the game-winning touchdown.  The New CFL was on display before a worldwide audience and it hit a homerun when it mattered the most.

5. Long-time, and former Edmonton Eskimos play-by-play man Bryan Hall has attended over 50 Grey Cups and on Saturday morning in the Fort Garry Hotel restaurant, he sauntered over to my table around 8:00 AM and casually asked, "What do you think of this Grey Cup Week?"  I quickly turned the tables around on Hallsy, and asked him the same question before I even answered his.  "I think it's been great," Bryan stated, with his chest puffed out as usual.  "The transportation between venues has been well thought-out and it looks like everything came off without a hitch".  I concurred.

6.  But what makes a Grey Cup are the people.  The fans.  And, this was one of the lowest-attended Grey Cup festivals in 50 years.  The craziness and bedlam we're used to just wasn't there.  You could see it on national TV, as the TSN set at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Saturday wasn't as crammed as we've become accustomed.  When hosts Kate Beirness and Darren Dutchyshen broadcasted live on Grey Cup Saturday, there were only three people in view behind the adjacent barricade (well, four if you include the needless security guard).  There were no two-hour lineups to get into the parties and I'm told an autograph line for Rider star John Chick on Saturday only consisted of three fans before its scheduled start.

7.  You cannot blame the host committee for this, nor its head, Bomber President Wade Miller (whom we'll discuss in point #8).  The Bombers and Roughriders sucked in 2015 - both missing the playoffs - and this Grey Cup was sunk as early as Labour Day, as far as attendance goes.  Winnipeg did its best and for that, they should be commended.  It just won't go down as the greatest Grey Cup ever.  Not by a longshot.

8. Just a quick note on the Blue Bombers because they were as hot of a topic as anything else over the past week.  The Tiger-Cats and RedBlacks have some long-suffering fanbases but nothing compares to that of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  They haven't won a Grey Cup since 1990 and I dare say they really haven't been close to a favourite since other than the 14-4 Bombers who lost the 2001 Grey Cup to the 8-10 Calgary Stampeders.  Now it's up to President Wade Miller to lead them out of the wilderness and he's adamantly hitched his wagon to GM Kyle Walters and Head Coach Mike O'Shea.  The whispers in Winnipeg suggest that Miller is too "hands-on" but his detractors are few.  I like Wade Miller.  A lot.  And there's an incredibly fine line between "meddling" and "holding people accountable".  It says here that nobody knows more of what the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are all about, and success in business, than Wade Miller.  My fingers are crossed that they will return to prominence very soon.

However if they'd like a catalyst to accomplish this, I'll offer two words: "Eric Tillman".

9. One area where the CFL could be vastly better is in the area of their awards.  When legendary Blue Bomber voice Bob Irving was awarded the Hugh Campbell Trophy for distinguished service on Thursday evening, I was sitting with a long-time Edmonton broadcaster who gulped, "I didn't even know they had a Hugh Campbell Award".  Sorting out who wins what and affixing appropriate names to the East and West Division Championship trophies would be a good start this off-season.  It would be excellent too if they could add a couple more awards like the NFL annually hands out for "GM of the Year" and "Coordinator of the Year".  If they were to have done that in 2015, my votes would go to Ottawa's Marcel Desjardins and Jason Maas respectively.  But again, they have to better publicize what they're currently handing out first.

10. We pulled up and headed out of Winnipeg Saturday before noon.  My partners Luc Mullinder and Carm Carteri agreed that we'd done our jobs, and there was nothing left to stay for so we made the five-hour trek home in the daylight.  I still don't feel like we missed anything however some media insiders told me Sunday there were some loose lips out on the town Saturday night.  That led to Sunday's national report that the Roughriders do, in fact, have Edmonton's Chris Jones on their wish list for the GM/Coach position.  Jones was elevated after John Hufnagel reportedly informed the Roughriders he plans to stay in Calgary.  So, we've got another few weeks of chasing this story and perhaps that Rider shortlist of four will ultimately come down to these names: Chris Jones, Jeremy O'Day, John Murphy and Brock Sunderland.

11. Star Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish told us on the SportsCage on Friday that he will make an announcement this week regarding his future.  Injuries and lingering P.C.S. limited his play in 2015 but here's hoping he's back at 100% for 2016.  The league is better with him in it.

12.  Friendly Manitoba indeed.  Just like the slogan on the license plates, the province didn't disappoint.  We were issued warnings instead of parking tickets in downtown Winnipeg.  GET THAT U OF S?

However others may disagree with my take on Manitoba hospitality.  There were a few stories of people being hassled or even assaulted for being Rider fans.  I didn't see any of that and can only speak of my own experiences.

13. The 2016 Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction class was announced at Friday's Legends Lunch, put on by the CFL Alumni Association.  The field includes James "Wild, Wild" West, Doug Brown, Derell "Mookie" Mitchell, Rodney Harding and builder Don McDonald (Saskatoon Hilltops).  The class had no one with a Roughrider tie-in, therefore the Rider Nation couldn't care less.  It's a shame, but that's my take on it.

14. The 2015 Grey Cup was the highest-ever attended by CFL Alumni members and Friday's luncheon was the first Grey Cup event to sell out.  The Angelo Mosca-Joe Kapp fight from 2011 gave this thing some much-need publicity and patrons have shown up every year since hoping for another scrap like that.

15. TSN's broadcast of the game was virtually flawless.  They generally save the best for last.  However the league governors will be on TSN's butt this off-season for not injecting anywhere near the resources they do for regional NHL telecasts.  One comment made to me was, "We haven't ignored the fact they failed to send the panel on the road for CFL games which draw a million-plus viewers but built a new set and send their NHL panel on the road for games which draw 90,000".   The fact Chris Cuthbert called three of four games one weekend this year will also be brought up.  TSN could be better but make no mistake; the relationship between the CFL and TSN is iron clad.  In fact I haven't seen a business relationship tighter than this one.  Money talks.  But I think Harvard Broadcasting (620 CKRM) gave the Riders almost as much dough in 2015 as TSN did.

------

ORRIDGE

I had to give this commentary its own section.

Friday morning began like all the others.  After my alarm went off - and before even wiping the sleep from my eyes - I grabbed my Iphone and began surfing Twitter to see what was hot.

Remarkably, and surprisingly, someone had leaked the new CFL logo and its adjoining brand campaign which Orridge was going to unveil at the Commissioner's annual State of the League address in just a couple of hours.

Surely the Canadian Football League wasn't going to pull a fast one, and reveal an historic brand shift without telling anybody about it first would they?  You'd HAVE to think they would tease all of Grey Cup Week that first-year Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge had a "major announcement" planned for his first-ever presentation.

Nope.  And the WWMO hashtag doesn't count.

So I showered and headed over to the Fairmont ballroom Friday morning and found a spot in the second row at the news conference.  There were several seats between the fellows on each side of me (Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun and TSN's Rod Smith).  I wanted to absorb every word of Orridge's speech, with no distractions.

However as time went on during his hour-long lecture, I became more and more unimpressed.  His prepared speech was basically ripped from the CFL's weekly Game Notes package (i.e. scoring and penalties are up while attendance and ratings are down).  I thought to myself, "We already know this.  Give us something we don't already know."

Halfway through when Orridge invited questions from the 40 or 50 media members in attendance, it got worse.  The rookie Commissioner seemed completely caught off-guard when asked about player accessibility, the absence of a drug policy, scheduling and tampering.  When Sportsnet's Arash Madani asked Orridge if the CFL should adopt a Rooney Rule similar to the National Football League (NFL teams are required to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs), I got the distinct impression the Commissioner had no idea what the rule is.

I shot a quick text to a national reporter standing in the back of the room to ask if this presentation was as odd as it seemed.  "This is ridiculous," he wrote back.

Afterwards I asked one of Orridge's bosses how he felt the Commissioner did and he just rolled his eyes.

It was bad.  B-A-D.

A headline in the Toronto Star the next day blared, "CFL Commissioner Fails To Inspire" while Terry Jones wrote in the Edmonton Sun, "He was all style and no substance.  Or as we say in the west, all hat and no cattle".  The Vancouver Sun's Cam Cole wrote that he would've included a transcript of the address in his column but the readers would've wound up face down in their breakfast after just a few paragraphs.

Someone even wrote that the reporters in attendance knew more about the CFL than the Commissioner did but to me, that's completely unfair.  You're talking about some reporters who've covered the league for over 40 years while Orridge has only been on the job for seven months.

But for Pete's sake, at a reported $750,000 per year salary, I'd suggest Orridge be given a league history book, a rule book and a league directory on a Friday and told not to come out of his room till Monday.  And then he'll be given a test on it.

I discovered during Grey Cup Week that Orridge's code name is "The Ghost" due to his lack of visibility over the past few months.  TSN's Brian Williams said on a national radio show on Saturday that in his one-on-one with Orridge on Sunday's Grey Cup Pregame Show, he was going to ask him the tough questions like, "Why have you been so invisible?"

I watched that pregame show but unfortunately Brian didn't ask the question.  However it seems Orridge has spent the past several months coming up with this new logo and the marketing campaign, but not digging into the real issues which plague the three-down game.

Meanwhile in that same radio interview on Saturday, Williams along with TSN Radio hosts Dave Naylor and Matt Sekeres all said they gave the new CFL logo a thumbs-down.  Naylor went so far as to say it's unnecessary and I couldn't agree more.

Is it too late to change it back?  I don't think so.

There were plenty of branding and marketing experts - from other companies - in Winnipeg for Grey Cup Week and they scoffed at the new logo.  One said the style is en vogue now but it'll be passe within two-to-three years.

You need a league logo that's literally iconic, and can stand the test of time.  I don't know, like say, the one we had up until Friday?  That one was introduced by former CFL Commissioner Michael Lysko over a decade ago and still looks fresh.

In my lifetime, the NFL and NHL have each had only ONE logo.  Meawhile in the same time frame, the CFL has had three.

And, as far as the launch goes, reporters from across the country were Tweeting photos of the Investors Group Field endzones which still were emblazoned with the old logo as of Friday.  They were changed in time for Sunday's game but I've gotta think that was a last-minute scramble because of the backlash.  And as of Sunday, the old logo was still featured prominently on CFL.ca.

The cherry on top was the coin toss at Sunday's 103rd Grey Cup when Orridge was wearing a toque with the new CFL logo while head referee Al Bradbury was standing right beside him in a black referees cap featuring the old logo.

Oh, and the website.  The league's official website has been panned by fans and the media for months but truthfully I don't see what the problem is.  Whenever I visit it (which is multiple times daily), I always get the information I'm looking for but perhaps I'm behind the times.

While sitting at that State of the League address on Friday, I started rubbing my hands together and was rocking back and forth with my guts churning in a sure sign of the anxiety disorder I've recently been diagnosed with.

However the conclusion, and the only way to get it to subside, is to quickly realize the phrase, "Not my circus, not my monkeys".  You can only control what you can control and that's yourself.

But for anyone who really cares about the Canadian Football League, this was a tough weekend to swallow.

------

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY. SEE YOU IN THE CAGE AT 4 PM
RP
@sportscage

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Me thinks as a person who owes his livelihood to the CFL, he would manage to take in the big game? Heck, the way this league is operating you should start taking in these free games as they may not be around for many more years.

Rod Pedersen said...

Go back and read it again.

Anonymous said...

This re-branding (change logo) must be on page one of Corporate Management 101.
The Alberta based Canadian Professional Rodeo Association hired a new manager about the same time the CFL hired Orridge.
Believe it or not he has a Racecar background and comes from the Maritimes and the first thing he did was change the logo.
It's been downhill ever since. (No pun intended)
His state of the union address and question period three weeks ago in Edmonton during the Canadian Finals Rodeo went over like a lead balloon, much like you described the press gathering in Winnipeg.
Mr. Orridge, fix the problems, not the logo!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if those oskee wee wees are celebrating their big grey cup win right now... Oh wait my bad...

Curtis said...

Rod,

We all knew that Orridge had big shoes to fill, and we were all wishing he would do well, but after the first season, things do not look good. Thanks for putting into words what most of us have been feeling about the new commissioner. The question is if one of his bosses is rolling his eyes, what are the other 8 bosses thinking. When Orridge became commissioner, how many years was his contract for ? There must be triggers in his contract for reasons for dismissal that include drop in ratings or drop in attendance ? In your previous columns I believe you stated that the ratings are down 15 % over last year, if that does not earn him a negative consequence what will ?

In regards to the new logo it is LOUSY !! As you stated it needs to be iconic to stand the test of time. The logo like the league needs to stand for something. If the new logo is what the commissioner has been up to, that means he has had too much time on his hands. If the roll out of logo is any indication on how the league office is being run, that means it is utter chaos !!

On a positive note, when the CFL needs it the most, the Grey Cup game is at its best. When we know what the ratings were for the game ?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just wow! If re-branding the league is what's important to the new commish...the CFL just may not be around in a few years. I say fire his @$$ right now before he does irreparable damage! One would think that filling up that stadium for the game, working with the CFLPA to institute a proper drug testing program and gee I don't know...just about anything other than re-branding might be a lot more important.

Scary times in the CFL!

LA

Curt Dittmer said...

The Orridge interview with Williams was not a good sign for the league. He is a marketing guy who seems to think social media and digital branding is the key for the league's ills. I never once thought he understood the CFL. He passed off declining ratings as a data point and aberration this year when in fact the ratings have been declining for a couple of years. I 'm sorry but the Pan Am games did not take away from the CFL ratings. He really did not seem like he had a clue. He said that digital media platforms and social media are replacing conventional TV so that is also why ratings are down. I'mean sure that makes TSN happy as they are single handedly propping up the league. The majority of CFL viewers are still TV consumers based on their age, again he doesn'the get it. I polled my family and we were unanimous in that it sucks and is unnecessary. He needs to go now.

Anonymous said...

You come home Saturday when the story of the Grey Cup winning coach perhaps resurfacing in Saskatchewan has been prevalent all week. Lazy thy name is Pederson.

Rafal said...

Looks like a graphic design student designed the logo, not an agency. You want high ratings, start broadcasting games on basic cable, CBC and CTV, not everyone subscribes to TSN package. Remember that more people cut cable off every quarter and go FTA and online.

Rod Pedersen said...

I've been called a lot of things. Lazy has never been one of them.

Anonymous said...

Never lazy but lack of Research Rod, or Reseach Free Roddy and everyone's favourite Rod I don't need to Research are some of your better known alias's.

Anonymous said...

The league is in serious trouble with this guy at the helm, the CBC was thrilled to be rid of him and the board of governors should really disappointing in them agreeing to hire this guy.

Anonymous said...

Seems weird that you would spend the a few days in Winnipeg before the Grey Cup and then not stay to attend??
And you drove??
I guess times are a little tough in Harvard Broadcast land.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your CFL coverage again this year. You do a great job.

Anonymous said...

I want to be clear on a some issues here.

The criticism of the Commissioner is racism pure and simple. He's given a mandate by the Owners and has to follow it.

Darcy said...

the best thing about Edmonton winning the Grey Cup is that Rider fans can flush this season down the drain and it can only get better for 2016
PS - Also it will be so great not to hear Brad Wall and the SK Party adds while trying to enjoy a football game

Anonymous said...

Orridge is bad, the logo is bad. What's really sad though is if teams like Sask and Wpg don't start winning and become relevant again in their own markets, ratings will continue to decline. Plus I've never understood why it's fine for the Grey Cup to be on TSN and for the Super Bowl to be on CTV. Makes no sense.

Meanwhile as to the suggestion that Tillman would be a good fit in Winnipeg, Jim Hopson never should have chased him out of town in the first place. All I know is if O'Day is hired, the Riders and their popularity will continue to spiral downward which isn't good for the CFL.

@mrt_man said...

If you want to witness a bloodbath, listen to the podcast of Friday's cage. It was epic! I don't know if here was drinking and broadcasting going on, or if the guys just figured everyone would have 6 months to cool off afterward, but Friday's cage almost made this article seem complimentary.

Overall, we enjoyed our trip to the cup. We ran into a few riders suck ppl and f the riders folk, but nothing too out of hand. Went to the cheerleading extravaganza and it was awesome! It's amazing the routines those gals can put together with some open space.

By far the worst event we made it to was the vip tailgate party... the buffet was pitched as the selling feature, but over 90% of the seating area and mini tables was roped off for sponsors. This left those who had bought the expensive tickets, who did eventually make it through the half hour to get in line for no reason, with nowhere to go. Folks were grabbing what little food there was in the provided fast food trays and then gathering around the flat topped garbage and recycling bins to eat or around lighting platforms, moving decorative candles so as to have a place to set down their tray... some even sitting on the ground... it was not well done.

We enjoyed the schooners party and riderville... one of these times I need to get to spirit of edmonton, as it usually seems to get rave reviews, but it was a ways away from the other events this year.

The Schooners group has been at it for a while... any truth to the talk of owners not wanting another team, because they would need to split the TV money another slice? Similar to sk, it would be the only game in town, which one would have to think would lead to great fan support. It seems like talk of a team out there has gone pretty quiet though?

It was odd being at my first cup game without a dog in the fight. 80% of the folks in out section didn't seem to really care who won... it was a mixture of fans from around the league who were kind of cheering for Ottawa. I found myself thinking jeez, I bet that half time show looks cool on tv.

Seriously though folks... do yourself a favour and go back and listen to the podcast of Friday's sportscage. Trust me, it will be worth it!

Anonymous said...

Trudeau is the PM, the Eskimos beat Ottawa, and the Riders suck. Welcome back to 1981. Oh and Brad Wall who accomplished nothing - put an exclamation on that one, he accomplished nothing also got to run the economy into the ground.

He is an absolute embarrassment and he should join the federal Conservatives. Him and his buddy Tom the MP can make fun of gays and Ukrainians all they want then.

Anonymous said...

Special Rod Pedersen. A giant parkade right on U of S campus but you need the special treatment. Why are you more important than society?

I have found the best way to avoid a parking ticket is, gasp, park properly!

Anonymous said...

The new CFL logo is just fine. The problem is this is what, the sixth logo in like 20 years?

The league has no long term identity and the logo will need a total re-fresh again in 8 years.

Anonymous said...

Chris Jones and others like him have a professional advancement clause in their contracts, so he will be available to the Riders if they're interested. Why wouldn't they be! The biggest thing he brings is the ability to rebuild a defence and the Riders are in dire need of a total makeover. He has done a rebuild and total turnaround of a team. I am think he might relish the dual role HC/GM and jump at the opportunity. If he's interested just hand him a blank cheque and make the announcement. He is the brains behind Hervey and tells him what he wants.

If Jones is indeed a candidate he is head and shoulders ahead of the other three mentioned. The other thing that happens in today's CFL is that it's hard to repeat with free agency, injuries etc. Just look at the other recent championship winners. He may want to leave on a high and make more money. To many he is evolving into what John Hufnagel has been for years.

If available Jones would be the right hire and a fantastic step in the proper direction. Alas though I think it may all be smoke and mirrors. I still believe the next GM was busy interviewing HC candidates. Most people are very skeptical about this process, and the result will validate this concern.

Anonymous said...

If the Hilltops were the thunder winning a Canadian championship then there would have been plenty of Sask conections to the riders. But alas they are from Saskatoon, enough said.
If employers are too cheap to pay for immediate and convieient parking don't blame the U of S. Either work for a professional company or pay your own way or form a union so that out of pocket expenses can be submitted or crowd source for the cash. Don't whine and expect some daddy to pay for you. But again the U of S is in Saskatoon and must not be a part of Saskatchewan.

Anonymous said...

Agree the Bombers have had a rough go, but are you just totally ignoring the 2007 and 2011 Grey Cup appearances, by saying they haven't been close since 2001.

Anonymous said...

+1 on Chris Jones. Hes clearly the best candidate to turn the ship around fast and sustainable. he just proved it. and hes a 3x cup winner.

Anonymous said...

When you see the new CFL logo and the previous one together, it is pbvious that the previous one is dynamic while the other one is very passive looking. The new logo does not scream "football"!

At the end of the game Orridge praised the fans in Winnipeg as being the greatest CFL fans. Is he really in touch with reality or the past? The attendance at that game was the worst in 18 years. Winnipeggers turned their back on the game and the amount of seats reduced when they were not being sold. Grey Cups in Regina have sold out regardless of how he Saskatchewan Roughriders have performed tat year. What Orridge said was an insult to Saskatchewan fans and a display of his lack of knowledge about the CFL.

That guy has to go!

Anonymous said...

Oskee WAAAAWAAAWAAA......crying clowns!

Anonymous said...

Oskee WAAAAWAAAWAAA......crying clowns!

Anonymous said...

Wow....you're quite the KNOB!

Adam Tkachuk said...

Kinda disrespectful towards Don McDonald to essentially dismiss him as irrelevant. One would think a guy who reps football in "Saskatchewan" would at least take a few minutes to recognize his contributions and identify why he's been elected to the Hall as opposed to just saying "not related to the Riders so nobody cares."

Anonymous said...

Would you like some cheese with your whine in Saskatoon. Feeling a little inferior to Regina are we?

Anonymous said...

Go Cats Go! Go Cats Go! Go Cats Go!

Saskatchewan Roughriders need not show their faces for the 2016 CFL season, they're a embarasment to professional sports. 0 - 18, possible.

Anonymous said...

Three questions came to mind when I saw the new logo:
- Is this one of those icon/logo naming games?
- Did this come from South Park?
- Why is the maple leaf so small?

I still haven't found an answer to any of them....

Hound Dog

Anonymous said...

Leave it to take a MMG and somehow turn part of it into a potshot at Saskatoon. You stay classy Pedersen.

Since Lawless' "breaking story" of firing Chamblin from an "unknown source", I take everything Lawless says with a huge grain of salt. I'll believe the Jones story once I hear he has actually interviewed for the position. For now, I don't see him leaving for a GM/HC position.

BRAK

Anonymous said...

Jones is not going to be employed by the riders. Why would he leave a successful franchise that he built to come to one that is impossible to rebuild due to constant micromanagement. Hoppy was successful because he came from the education sector where micromanagement is the norm. It too flounders in the long term like the riders. Micromanagement is the sask way, just ask the over 400 municipalities ruining this province.

Anonymous said...

Chris Jones = 4 Grey Cup championships!

Anonymous said...

Money talks! Personal advancement, new challenges of opportunity, more achievment to one's chosen professional field. Chris Jones will interview for the GM/Hc position in Saskatchewan, he's payed his dues. Hopefully thereafter be announced as the successful candidate to take the reigns of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club. Duel responsibility, more money with the opportunity to build, now who in their right mind could turn that down?

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHA! Someone finally said what many have known for years.

Anonymous said...

Rod is always very quick to put down the job that other cities do when hosting a Grey Cup, however, I sat down at Grey Cup this week with a lot of people from different cities and listened to what they had to say.

Many people that have gone to a lot of Cups (including in Regina), some even more than 20, told me that the only city they would NOT go back to is Regina. Many of the reasons were what you would expect ... lack of hotels, no cabs, lack of transportation. However, many said their main reason was that they were made to feel very unwelcome and overly harassed. This included a couple of older gentleman from Montreal and three older women from Calgary.

Rod, next time talk to people other that Rider fans if you want to be a REAL reporter with REAL facts.

Anonymous said...

Rod,

You having Luc and Carm by your side might explain why you don’t get the grief the rest of Rider fans do in Winterpeg

Anonymous said...

Are you from Earth?

Anonymous said...

Regina is a difficult city for home games especially the Regina fan favourite night games. Showcase games like the grey cup and playoff games are always challenging for Regina and always end in embarrassment due to lack of facilities and hospitality. A new stadium does not address any of the challenges of a city woefully inadequate for the national stage. It is best to leave the bragging to others. Regina does look prepared compared to dog river but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

I have actually witnessed this happen, and yes there are many people who are made to feel unwelcome at a Grey Cup in Regina.
These people are more commonly known as "@55holes".
These are the people who have the audacity to whine about , complain and criticize anything and everything their hosts try to do, and are then shocked when they are invited to f#&k off and leave.
You can only be so gracious as a host, and these @55holes will not be missed at the next Grey Cup in Regina.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at how quick the race card gets played when most of our sports community is criticizing what Garth Orridge performance to date is. If his strengths are Marketing then you can see he has gravitated to his expertise. If changing a logo was what was most important why did no one else not see this? If I am to believe the sports guru’s the most important issues facing the CFL are:
1. What is happening in the Toronto Market. New ownership and a different playing stadium might work, but you better grow the fan base, similar to what Hopson and his crew did here.
2. A drug policy to protect these players from hurting themselves , but also a policy that protects and influences every child that loves and loved a CFL player.
3. Relationship with the NFL.
4. Developing internet resources. Yes Pedersen it gives you your pregame info, but go and see what the rushing stats are the day after or an hour after the game. If you use the Internet you expect instantaneous results. I find stat info is not updated until the following Monday after the games are played and the working staff have come back to the office to update the records.
5. Ensuring the best Officiating takes place in every game. Working with the NFL was one of the stupidest ideas ever. Why not use Baseball Umpires as Hockey referees? The CFL game is very different than the American Game and the leaders of the CFL should know this now.
6. Expansion of the league. We have Canadian Markets that are untouched by the CFL yearning for participation in Canadian Football. A team in Moncton, another in Quebec City and yes another in Saskatoon, in our Football saturated Province. Yes there is not enough Canadian talent, but this will develop over time. If you are worried about splitting TV revenue grow the Markets and the TV revenue will grow more. This should be seen as a long range vision, but growth is possible when you see what is happening in Canadian College Football.
Sorry I cannot see the benefit of a new logo when so much more needs to be done. The referees hats is laughable when the commish has a hat with new logos.
Garry

Anonymous said...

GM Ed Hervey responsible for Edmonton championship team build. Chris Jones his chosen head coach.

Anonymous said...

Great MMG as per usual Rod. To Anon #5: Calling the hardest working fellow in sports “lazy” has gotta be a new low… What a maroon. No wonder I rarely make it to the end of the Comments section.

T. Brown

Anonymous said...

I think Santa Claus will not be bringing any presents for quite a few people on here today!

Imagirl

Anonymous said...

I'm a shining star.
No to O'Day!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the GreenGolds on their Cup victory. Now, come out of the Dark Ages and change your name.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Rod's comments and I have been to two Grey Cups in Winnipeg they do an awesme job.. Rod keeps saying how we are the flagship team in the CFL why on earth would we want to hire O"day then??? Hire a proven winner and let O'Day learn under someone who is a winner. Hiring O'Day as GM would set this franchise back further.

Rally Driver said...

I'm an old guy, so my opinion may not matter to anyone at the CFL office. I'm not a fan of the new logo. To me the lack of points on the football suggests that there is no point to the league. The partial maple leaf suggests the league, or the country, is incomplete. The laces look patchwork like putting a band aid on a severed limb. Of course I am interpreting it incorrectly, but to me, the logo as a whole, says "turn out the lights, the party's over." As far as your anxiety disorder goes, I have those symptoms too. In my case it is triggered by long winded speech makers that babble on, displaying their amazing grasp of the obvious and leaving their audience with the "well that's a half hour I'll never get back" feeling. You will find that a good presentation will capture and keep your attention and you will appreciate the time you spent listening and learning. For the speakers that pontificate ad nauseam, check out the audience. If everyone else is in a glazed look trance, mentally seek your "happy place" and before you know it, polite applause occurs and you can return to reality. This is a far more acceptable approach than leaping to your feet and screaming "just shoot me", mid-speech. I've recently adopted the circus/monkeys approach and find it helpful.

Lewis Grant said...

The criticism of the Commissioner is racism pure and simple.

This comment doesn't even deserve a response. Do you realize that you're criticizing fans of the league that gave players like Warren Moon a chance long before the NFL would do it? Johnny Bright chose the CFL over the NFL in the 1950s because we were far more welcoming.

What an ignorant comment.

Anonymous said...

Rod,

How did this guy even land the job?
He was directly responsible for CBC losing the broadcast rights to NHL, CFL, and FIFA World Cup.

Additionally to be the commish of the CFL you need to understand and grasp the culture across the league. This is a fan base that is drastically different from coast to coast. Given the fact he has only lived in Canada for less than 8 years and spent most of his time in that capacity negotiating in a global capacity, I don't think he understands the culture here and won't be a good fit.

Here's hoping he's replaced this off-season as it could be a troubling future for the league if he isn't.

Anonymous said...

Actually it was Nancy Lee that lost CBC the CFL rights back eight years ago. That woman single handedly almost crushed CBC sports, with Scott Moore and Orridge left to pick up the mess. Orridge did win CBC back the Olympics and they did a fantastic job in Sochi. The NHL deal was more Hubert Lacroix refusing to relinquish exclusitivity to Saturday nights as Bettman was willing to help them out. Lacroix and his ego said nope and that went out the window.

I think Orridge is getting a bad rap. It's like Steve Simmons said this past weekend, let's give the man a year and see where things are. If they've gotten worse then action needs to happen. But if they've improved, I'm sure we'll all gladly eat crow.


Gundersons Yorkton

Pekio said...

Great blog. I found his presentation of the Grey Cup and speech extremely awkward and unprepared. He had the entire country watching and had a chance to really make an impact. Never happened. However, everybody deserves a chance before being thrown under the proverbial bus (or in this province, the Gainer car).

Anonymous said...

To this guy or gal;

"I want to be clear on a some issues here.

The criticism of the Commissioner is racism pure and simple. He's given a mandate by the Owners and has to follow it."


Did you ever think that maybe that's the only reason he was hired in the first place. Kind of 'reverse racism'.

People are calling for his head because he's incompetent.