|CFL.ca's Brodie Lawson chats with CFL QB stars on Facebook Live|
1 - You could ask anyone who was there, but I think CFL agent Rob Fry said it best on Tuesday when asked his thoughts on the inaugural Marks CFL Week in Regina. "The CFL nailed it," Fry said on CKRM's SportsCage from Fan Fest.
Indeed, they have. Close to 60 CFL stars, staff from all nine CFL teams and thousands of CFL fans have descended upon the Queen City for this ground-breaking event.
It's immense, and incredibly impressive in its magnitude.
2 - Of course, the CFL has been conducting an event similar to this for years in Toronto but 2017 is the first year the League has taken this show on the road and opened its doors to fans. Many were leery of what to expect - which is understandable because it's the first of its kind - but just a few hours into Tuesday's Media Day, we knew this event was going to be a homerun.
3 - CFL staffers had hinted that this would have a mini-Grey Cup feel but in a way, it's better. I'm not sure even the Grey Cup itself would pull together this many of the league's biggest stars, and make them so accessible. If you're a fan of Canadian football and want to discuss it with the likes of Bo-Levi Mitchell, Mike Reilly or even Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge, this is where you want to be.
4 - So many people wondered what this was all going to be about, but now after seeing coverage on TSN and listening on 620 CKRM's SportsCage, even more fans are clamouring to get here before the week is over. As is the CFL's "all-inclusive" nature, they'll make room for you.
5 - Undoubtedly the busiest man is Commisioner Orridge, and I bumped into him at breakfast, on our radio show, and later at The Keg Steakhouse & Bar. He's been everywhere, and the week is just getting started. Likely the second-busiest man is TSN's Gary Lawless who's been starting his days at 6:00 am and his head hasn't hit the pillow until after midnight. And again, we're just getting going.
6 - And just like Grey Cup, while the fans are celebrating Canadiana and taking selfies with the players, the league power-brokers are huddled up at a downtown hotel meeting well into the night discussing league business. From what we've learned, the Rules Committee is kicking around ideas to make the flow of games better (like making amendments to the timing of reviews and challenges and tweaking the rules). CFL V.P. of Football Glen Johnson will meet with the media on Wednesday morning for a briefing on the committee's findings.
7 - It's my understanding that Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon will be arriving in Regina on Wednesday evening to participate in Thursday's panel on the Main Stage with TSN's Rod Smith, Anthony Calvillo and Mike Reilly.
Mr. Moon will be on the SportsCage Wednesday at 5:35 pm.
His agent? Leigh Steinberg.
8 - There's media here from all CFL centres and the coverage and exposure generated has equalled an absolute avalanche. It's a buffet of content for reporters, and the winners are the fans who devour our reports. Truthfully, this should tide us all over for a good, long time.
9 - The guy I was most shocked to see was former All Star Rider cornerback Omarr Morgan who unexpectedly jumped onto the SportsCage on Tuesday afternoon. He's at the combine scouting, but didn't mention for whom. Omarr absolutely grilled Kevin Glenn during our segment in Hour 2 of the SportsCage, and it's definitely worth a listen on our podcast at www.sportscage.ca. I felt like turning the entire show over to "O" because he was getting more out of K.G. than I possibly could have, but the quarterback didn't seem to mind.
Morgan was slated for induction into the Plaza of Honor two years ago but was unable to make arrangements to attend. Hopefully that matter is rectified in the near future, because he's definitely worthy. Omarr told us he's been busy running his store in L.A. and coaching his son in football.
He's so great.
10 - The player I enjoyed talking with the most on Tuesday (aside from our own guys)? Winnipeg Blue Bombers safety Taylor Loffler. He's my kind of football player. A throwback. Old School. He sauntered into the media room on Tuesday wearing a ball cap, Wrangler jeans and long blonde hair. But it wasn't a Fabio kind of hairdo ... more like Clay Mathews.
He seemed to feel awkward and out of place in that banquet room. Sort of like ... he only feels at home on the football field or on his ranch just outside Billings, MT.
And lo and behold, after I turned my tape recorder on, I learned the UBC product was born in Regina and considers Regina his hometown! "Pretty much all of my family is still here," Loffler said.
I hope, one day, he wears Green & White before his career is over.
11 - Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was booed loud and lustily when introduced on the QB Club panel with host Brodie Lawson Tuesday at 4:00 pm at Fan Fest. He loved each and every second of it. Sort of like a heel in wrestling.
12 - The Fan Fest doors open daily at 3:00 pm and remain open until 9:00 pm. There's a beer gardens on hand and tons of interactive exhibits. In that way, I'd suggest it beats Grey Cup because last year's event in Toronto didn't offer this much to fans.
13 - Day 2 on Wednesday offers another Media Day with players like Weston Dressler, Derek Dennis, Ernest Jackson, Ricky Ray, J.C. Sherritt and many more. They'll do their TSN video and photo shoots in the Credit Union Eventplex and then get turned loose on the fans.
14 - Tickets for the Regional and National Combines have become very hot commodities but if you weren't quick to snap them up at www.MarksCFLWeek.ca, you're likely out of luck. However there are a few floating around and we'll be giving some away on the SportsCage.
15 - You may or not be surprised to learn the #1 topic - in the circles which I've been in - is Vince Young. The players have been asked about V.Y. in their interviews and the fans are buzzing about him coming to the CFL as well. Unfortunately, he's unable to attend but clearly he's big news.
A football podcast from the United Kingdom called me up on Tuesday and we chatted about Young for a good 20 minutes. The mere addition of Vince Young has made the Roughriders a global topic.
You can listen to the podcast here.
3DownNation.com's Drew Edwards theorized on Tuesday that Vince Young's decision to come to the CFL may influence other former NFL stars like Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III to come noth.
16 - There was some concern way back when CFL Week was announced that this event would overshadow Round 1 of the Pats-Hitmen WHL Playoff series. I'm not sure that it has. In fact, there are thousands of people driving by the Brandt Centre ticket office on their way to Banner Hall for CFL Week. That alone should garner plenty of Pats ticket sales if the hockey team promotes it sufficiently.
Regina defenceman Connor Hobbs was on the SportsCage on Tuesday saying the club generally feels no pressure heading into the postseason, other than to continually prove they're the best team in the WHL which they've pretty much done all season long. Hobbs also noted that the Pats are a "mature team" heading into the playoffs unlike the past two years when they achieved the second round but no further.
Hobbs also stated the hockey club's slogan for the playoffs is "Do Your Job".
*That's all for now -- chat with you Wednesday from Marks CFL Week.
PHOTOS FROM THE TSN SHOOT AND FAN FEST
*Photos courtesy CFL