Realty One

Thursday, September 29, 2016



1 - Well, well, well.  What an interesting turn of events we've had in the Canadian Football League!  Chris Jones has passed the black hat to Kent Austin - perhaps only temporarily - as the CFL's bad boy.  Wednesday's news that the Tiger-Cats boss was fined $10,000 and "removed from the sidelines" for a game by Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge for contacting an official Saturday night has everybody talking.

You may be surprised to know that I feel Orridge got this one right.  For the most part anyway.  I predicted Austin would be slapped with a $7,500 fine given the fact he's a repeat offender (see last year's $5,000 fine for contacting the Argonauts' Dave Stala), but in no way did I think he'd be suspended and that's basically what went down on Wednesday.

Unfortunately this all boiled down to a "no-win" situation for the Commissioner, but it showed he's trying.

I'm told it'll take a lot for Orridge not to at least finish out his three-year contract and he's come off the mat swinging.

2 - This was a "no-win" deal for Orridge because not everyone agrees with Austin's punishment.  TSN's Mathew Scianitti called it "harsh and unfair" on CKRM's SportsCage on Wednesday, while TSN's Gary Lawless labelled the discipline as "ineffective"!  You can't get more opposite than that.

Perhaps the roughest criticism came from the Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones who Tweeted:

"The move by CFL Commish defines him.  No suspension for Austin.  Removed from the sidelines but can coach from the booth.  Does everything half way."

It doesn't help Orridge's case that the CFL bylaws have no clear-cut rule for a coach contacting a referee.  That is mind-boggling, and certainly not Orridge's fault.

3 - One thing the CFL head office can't continue to do is try to compare NFL vs CFL TV ratings (which they've done via Twitter), therefore perpetuating a competition between the two leagues in Canada.  That is a battle we won't win.  All we can do now is tweak the rules, improve the on-field product, market our game far better and let Canadian football fans decide for themselves which league they'd prefer to watch.  CFL games on Sunday afternoons in the fall certainly don't help matters either.

4 - We also can't let the NFL continue to eat our lunch, or we should at least fight fire with fire.  Former Rider Stu Foord was in his hometown of Regina last week - visiting from Kelowna - and reported that the Seattle Seahawks routinely offer a fanbus from Kelowna for home games.  That's a 10-hour roundtrip drive, not including the game, and it habitually sells out.  That's a punch-to-the-gut for the B.C. Lions who are struggling at the gate this season.

5 - There's one thing the Saskatchewan Roughriders can hang their hat on this dismal season: they're going to lead the CFL in attendance for just the second time in history.  Other teams have scoffed saying, "That's because of your Farewell Season" and to that I say, "So what?"

Once again, take a bow Rider Nation.

It should also be noted that CFL attendance is up 13% across the league from 2015.

6 - Calgary's Dave Dickenson is on the verge of setting another CFL record.  Dave's 11 wins in his rookie season as head coach are two off the CFL record set by Adam Rita (Toronto, 1991), John Hufnagel (Calgary, 2008) and Mike Benevides (B.C., 2012).  You go Dave!  The 2016 Grey Cup is Calgary's to win.

7 - Jacques Chapdelaine will make his CFL head coaching debut for Montreal this Sunday when the Alouettes host Toronto.  It's the 59th in-season coaching change in CFL history and the new coaches are 27-31 all-time in their first game.

The rumour I'm getting out of Montreal is that Anthony Calvillo will be the Als' head coach next season even if he's not entirely ready.  There apparently are two reasons for this: 1) Calvillo's the popular choice as a fan favourite in Montreal and 2) Defensive Coordinator Noel Thorpe would've been in line for the job but he fell out of favour after trying to bolt for Edmonton in the off-season.

My take is that if anyone can turn around the woeful Alouettes, it's A.C.
Jefferson on Wednesday

8 - The addition of defensive end Willie Jefferson by the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Wednesday cannot be overstated.  For a club languishing last in sacks in 2016, Jefferson will provide a huge shot-in-the-arm. The Riders have some holes in their roster as evidenced by their 3-10 record, but Jefferson can patch up more than a few rough spots.

He's also unselfish, and doesn't mind the rotation on the defensive line which Chris Jones likes to employ.

Kudos to Jones too, for out-recruiting Eskimo GM Ed Hervey for Jefferson's services.

9 - The last-minute nature of Regina-and-area sports fans is coming back to bite them in the butt this week.  They're clamouring for seats for this Saturday's U of R Rams-U of S Huskies clash at New Mosaic Stadium but it's a case of "You Snooze, You Lose".  The 16,500 allotted seats have been sold out for a month and it doesn't appear that more sections will be opened up by the City of Regina.  If you were left without, you'll have to tune into our television broadcast on Access/Shaw or listen on 620 CKRM.

10 - The lack of buzz around the World Cup of Hockey final is perplexing since Canadian hockey fans got exactly what they wanted.  TSN's James Duthie mentioned the empty seats in Air Canada Centre at Tuesday's Game 1 of the best-of-3 final while my friend Zig Fracassi of Sirius NFL Radio noted how quiet the atmosphere was.  He drove up from New York for the game.

Let me see, we opened the doors of the NHL to the rest of the world to "grow the game" and fill out expansion team rosters, and now the mystique of international players is gone.  Still, Canada is romping to the title seemingly untouched in this tournament but no one seems to give a damn.

The analysts on Sirius NHL Radio were saying on Wednesday that the NHL over-estimated the appetite for hockey in Canada in September and are now scratching their heads.

Hopefully we don't have to wait another 12 years for another World Cup of Hockey but when it returns, here's hoping there are several tweaks to the format and schedule.




Anonymous said...

And what makes you think Edmonton agressively went after Jefferson? They have Willis on one side, and Hunt on the other?
So who do the riders sit? Newsome or Norwood?

Brian Shepherd said...

Can I watch the Rams game somehow being far removed from Regina?

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the riders for signing jefferson the riders overpaid him and are now further over the cap AGAIN ,guess it doesnt help that your paying cappricotti 220,000 to be a back up and paying chambers 170,000 to be a spare reciever lol

Jordan P said...

If you paid any attention during Rider Games, you'd realize they rotate their D-Line in and out frequently. No one sits for long. It's why Lemon wanted out, he wanted to be out there 100% of all snaps.

Rod Pedersen said...

You should be able to watch it here:

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong about getting Jefferson but still believe he will be looking for the NFL just as your coach will at some point also...this isn't to run them down in any way but if/when you get contract offers from the NFL that is big money compared so of course they will most likely go. Saying the Eskies were after him aggressively though I don't believe, there line is pretty solid and need secondary help, Hervey has already stated he is leaving a load of money available for a player named Grymes from the start of the season so you guys taking on Jefferson's contract pretty much leaves Edmonton to front run pretty easily on Grymes unless you break salary cap as you have before.

Lyle Pederson said...

I think some don't understand Jones's approach. My sense is that he will keep signing players until there are no weak links. Win/loss, and cap be damned. Fans want to win but we (of course) lack patience. (Rod ... I think you are becoming 'the' CFL national blog)

Parkside said...

I know you have to talk about it. But it gets so tiring talking about CFL gates/ratings every season. Would be nice to just talk about the game. See:NFL.

Couldn't get excited about the WCOH. Only watched about 5 minutes of the entire tourney. Likely a loss on my part. But I'm not losing any sleep over it.

Rod Pedersen said...

Lyle - that's fine, but this blog is meant for Rider fans.

Anonymous said...

Gee now Rod is sticking up for Orridge a bit. Maybe their feud was just a ploy to get some hype going and people talking (ala Bret Hart and Vince McMahon with the Montreal Screwjob). All joking aside, if Orridge is motivated to put his foot down and assert himself as the boss by pushing past the jerks like Glen Johnson who only want to trash the league for their benefit, then that is a good thing. Rod raises a good point in that these rules go back even before Orridge was commish. Same can be said with the horrible marketing direction the league has been on. That is the fault of one Mark Cohon, he has to be the most overrated commish this league has ever had. Maybe it takes time to turn all this around but Orridge needs to make it happen. And if getting PO'd at all the criticism gives him extra oomph to get up and prove the naysayers wrong by being successful, all the better. Perhaps that was Rod's and Arash's and Dunk's intention all along. Smart fellas.

Gunderson's Yorkton

Rudyman said...

Only reason I can think of for Austin to remain in the stadium for the game, is that they did not want to suspend him from his GM role. Not trying to justify it, just the only way I can think of why they would not fully suspend him./

Chad Cronk said...

Thanks for highlighting the situation in Kelowna. The Seahawks have been eating the Lions' lunch for years; they even have a marketing office in Vancouver! The BC Lions have lost a generation of fans due to a lack of marketing and promotion. Somebody needs to buy this franchise and not treat it like a money-losing tax write off! GO RIDERS!!'

mister winnipeg said...

Why oh why do sportswriters think that CFL ratings, attendance, etc. is something of interest to sports fans? You never hear the NFL guys mention it, let alone obsess over it. Is it just because our sports media guys don't know football that well so they just find it easier to write about attendance numbers? I suspect that is at least partly the case.

As for WCOH, I had zero interest in this stupid extended version NHL all star game. Did not watch a single minute of it. NHL can shove it.

Rod Pedersen said...

^^^^^ I advise taking some deep breaths and maybe going for a walk.

Anonymous said...

The NHL is so boring with it's check, check, check coaching. They're shooting themselves in the foot.

If Team North America had made the final you can bet the finals would be sold out. Those youngsters haven't yet been polluted by NHL coaches. Those kids played the game the same way the young Oilers did in the 80's. Fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy,

Defending Grey Cup chumps the Edmonton Schmos are being outdrawn by the 2-10 Roughriders. That's got to piss off your loyal Schmo blog readers Rod.

Just wait until next year when we're in the premier stadium in the league, and the Schmos fans are stuck in the worst stadium in the league. With the hurting Alberta economy, that isn't going to change anytime soon.

That's got to sting a little, eh Schmo fan.

3RD and 1 said...

You think the guy can only line up at end? Jefferson can and has lined up anywhere on the D-line. As can all of the other players involved. Many times Willis is lined up at tackle or a couple yards back of the line of scrimmage

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod do you get free lift tickets to Lake Louise with the advertising on your site. We're going this winter, hook a brother up!

Mike from Vita said...

Worst stadium will b McMahon in Calgary

Anonymous said...

Hockey just crushed the cfl , 270000 viewers for the Argo game. Cfl and mls are going to be battling for viewers .

Anonymous said...

Whomever put the NA stars vs Canada in the semi final vs the potential of them meeting in the final, should be fired. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Jefferson signing is great, don't see a down side as a 3-10 team. Management doing their job that's what we want.

Anonymous said...

Jefferson and Norwood rotating with Newsome should take things up a notch on our pass rush.

Anonymous said...

Great post Rod. You are being more than fair and most of us couldn't be such when it comes to Orridge. The fact is you gave the devil his due, something he does not deserve. Your olive branch only extends to this situation and your take is more than fair. Nevertheless the man has to "GO" and there is no question about that. That is now coming from all corners of the CFL.

A good signing with Jefferson and I'm thinking more to come.

Anonymous said...

Hobbs and Sam Steel assigned back to the Pats.

Heptiro said...

Perhaps the reason for the Riders being "last" in sacks could be because of poor defensive schemes like D linemen dropping into short pass coverage instead of rush the QB. (ie) rushing 3 dropping everyone else. How many times does a 3 man rush sack a QB? Can't remember any except when applied against the Riders who had a rookie O-line.
The CFL can't take on the NFL because the NFL markets the hell out of their game. They are superior in every way marketing the product.The Networks have an advantage showing better match ups. When did you ever see a Browns-Jaguars game? Nope not ever. In Canada we show good interesting and bad uninteresting games. No wonder the NFL wins !!