Realty One

Access

Monday, July 10, 2017

OUT OF THE TUNNEL


With Out of the Tunnel’s debut last week coinciding with the naming of former CFL lineman and respected businessman, Randy Ambrosie to the role of CFL Commissioner, we thought an open letter to the new CFL boss would be an appropriate start to the week.

Dear Commissioner Ambrosie,

Congratulations on being named Commissioner of the CFL. This is a daunting role that will feel like a no-win situation at times, but if done well and with a little longevity, it will put you in rarified air in Canadian football.

Being a good prairie fellow (though we will try not to hold being from Winnipeg against you), we at Out of the Tunnel know you would be open to a few suggestions to make an already great game even better. Some suggestions are for the super nerdy types, some are for the fans on the fringes, but all will help improve the CFL experience year-round.

Make the salaries public domain.

More than just the usual three-year, $200-thousand statement, but the WHOLE salary experience. Having seen a PDF of all the salaries in the CFL and their respective bonus structures, we know fans could have some fun breaking it down on their own.

Let's take Sam Hurl as our example. For his Week 2 game on July 1st at Mosaic Stadium, the Blue Bomber linebacker would receive his base salary cheque. On top of that, he would probably receive a small bonus for defensive plays ($500) and his interception ($250). Hurl may even have week-to-week bonuses for sacks, multiple tackles (more than five) and special teams tackles. All of this on top of his yearly bonuses (report to play at training camp, off season bonuses and so on) would be his total salary from January 1st to December 31st.

This would allow fans to follow along and debate how close teams are from breaking the 2017 salary cap of $5,150,000.

This also eliminates the foul taste of “CFL insider” stories and tweets regarding salaries and contract structures. Much of the insider tips come from either the agent looking to boost other comparable player salaries, or the GM’s looking for an edge in a competitive free-agent market.

Let CFL teams play game highlights on social media channels.

TSN’s current broadcast contract does not allow CFL teams to “broadcast” any highlights on their social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) without written consent.

Despite this handcuffing, the social media teams in the CFL have done and continue to do a tremendous job promoting the league on those channels despite having limited access to a simple highlight or two.

Give TSN an exclusive 24-hour window from the end of a game and after that, allow the social media teams to do the dirty work.

This will help promote the teams, AND the TSN product. Fans could share the top highlights culled by the teams themselves, helping to improve fan engagement and in turn helping ratings to grow.

There is a generation of fans that could care less about watching the games on TV, but if you give them the best of the best each week on social media outlets, this game could see exponential growth.

Disclose teams' 45-player protected/negotiation lists.

Hamilton wowed the CFL world with their look behind the curtain at the negotiation list. It was fun … right!

Just think if every team did this. It would make a very long, boring off season a little more bearable. This is the easiest bang-for-your-buck change with the least amount of damage done to any CFL front office.

Naturalized non-imports.

Quality Canadian players are gold in the CFL. You need depth at a few positions to survive the season.

What is also important is to have an American player stay with a team for an extended time and make that place their home. It’s beneficial across the board; fans connect with that player, which leads to more sales of jerseys and player branded merchandise and just a better overall experience in the community.

So if an American player spends six seasons with one team, he would be considered a "Canadian" and not count against the game ratio on that seventh season and beyond.

But once that player leaves for another team via free agency, gives the NFL a try or isn’t on a CFL roster for one full season, that number resets and he would be deemed an import player again.

The argument against this is taking  jobs away from Canadian football players, but if an American makes a considerable commitment to that community, that commitment should be given in return.

A way to alleviate the previous argument would be to adjust the practice roster rules so that drafted players are protected for two seasons and cannot be poached off the practice roster by other teams. This will allow teams a better chance to develop said player.

Mr. Ambrosie, we understand the pressure you are under with bigger issues than this across the CFL, but please consider these suggestions to improve the fan experience and keep this league top of mind year-round.


A few notes from Week 3 in the CFL:

- There is no such thing as a “must-win” situation unless a loss means elimination, but Saturday night’s victory against the Hamilton Ti-Cats was a must-win game for the Riders. The heat the Green and White would felt during that week off would have been more stifling than the temperatures across the prairies. The next three games include a trip to Calgary, hosting an upstart Argos club and then off to Vancouver, so having a win in their back pocket to start that stretch will go a long way.

- There are not many in the CFL that would have predicted the incredible start the Toronto Argonaut offence would have to the season. They have the league’s top passer (Ricky Ray 1,199 yards) and two of the top ten receivers (S.J. Green and Armanti Edwards). Watching the Argos light up the Ottawa REDBLACKS defence for 25 second half points en route to their 26-25 win over the defending champs was something to behold. Under CFL offensive guru, Marc Trestman, this will more than likely continue throughout the season.

- On the flip-side, the Hamilton Ti-Cats have been shockingly abhorrent. Zach Collaros looks frustrated, they can’t/don’t run the ball, Speedy Banks hasn’t been able to get going and the defence has given up a combined 69 points and almost 1,000 yards opponents offence. The fall has been swift and brutal and let’s hope Kent Austin and crew can quickly improve because if not, it’s going to be a long season in Steeltown.

A Canadian to watch in the NCAA in 2017

Tyler Rutherford – RT
University of Connecticut
6’5” 320lbs.
Hometown – Markham, Ont.
Class – Sr.

One of the top prospects for the upcoming 2018 CFL draft started seven games for the Huskies in 2016. Rutherford is penciled in as the starter at right tackle, week one against Holy Cross on August 31st. He was the second ranked Canadian prospect by Canadian Football Chat in the 2014 recruiting class.

What to do between games this week:
Head to Inside the Pylon (www.insidethepylon.com) and follow them on twitter @ITPylon. Even though this is super NFL and NCAA heavy, they analyze and breakdown every position on the field and in the front office. Many of the pieces they talk about can get a little heavy, but if you want to take your football viewing and evaluations to the next level, this would be a great first step.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear New Commish Ambrosie
Not all fans agree with the "Out of the Tunnel" drivel. We don't care about exposing the individual salaries and the secret negotiation list players. Some of us HATE the term International and National Players instead of Canadian and American. Maybe ask the "elites" why they felt it was necessary to change a long standing tradition with dumbness.
If a Player wants to take out Canadian citizenship and become a "national" then and only then does he become a "national". Jeez I hate that term.Who is responsible for this change? What does it accomplish and why?
Your job is to promote the CFL and find new fans NOT piss off us older ones.
Just saying.

EasternFootballisajoke said...

Here's what mr ambrosie should do. Next tv contract divide the games between tsn and Sportsnet and CBC. TSN makes the games feel really lame no excitement from commentators. Move the Toronto Argos to Victoria. Believe me that city could get more than Toronto. Then put an expansion team in Halifax. Then replace every last member of your officiating department. Like every last person connected to officiating. Revitalize the BC lions. Seriously I live near Vancouver and nobody cares about the lions. Walk down any street in bc and you will see more riders, stamps and bombers gear than the lions. And lastly chill with the fines. Either fine everybody or nobody riders aren't the only team with roster violations.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the new commish fix the video review process.
Some rules have to be changed, what we have now ain't working and it's turning fans away.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I was one who bitched about oott being boring and just another news report.......this edition has some bite!!! Good job guys/gals?

Anonymous said...

The Only things I would add.

Sir
Please spend some time,and take a good look at the Challenge rules,Video Replay and the Command Center.

Anonymous said...

I very much agree with the posters about reviews and challenges. The command centre is largely a coin flip. You see that time and time again. I'm not saying get rid of it. But stop allowing illegal contact, roughing the passer, and plays away from the ball from being challengable. Only allow pass interference if the ball is thrown to a specific receiver. Too many reviews. Its a real turn off. Going to Commercial for a review is not an entertaining solution.

mister winnipeg said...

Naturalized non-Canadian is a great idea, but I can't see the PA going for it.

CM said...

good letter very good ideas. Nice win on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

While it would be nice to see what the players make, I do not think that the players would like to show the public how little they are actually being paid.

In regards to naturalized non-imports, if we are to do that, then the number of Canadians starting also has to increase. As this is the CANADIAN Football League we should increase the number of Canadian starts to at least 9, but included in that number should be the long snapper, punter and kicker.

At the present time QB's can be from any country. As such if a team does have a Canadian QB on the roster or heaven forbid starts a Canadian QB, it does not count against the total Canadians on the team or as a starting Canadian. This bias needs to change. Therefore, moving forward the QB position must count towards the national / international player numbers. The number of national players on the roster should increase by at least one and international by two. That would mean there would be 22 nationals on the roster and 22 internationals.

With training camp being so short, it is very difficult for rookies to make the roster. Therefore to assist rookies, training camp should open 10 earlier for rookies and the third string and lower QB's. Then after 8 days, there should be a rookie exhibition game. Then to expand the reach of the CFL, this rookie game should be played in non-CFL cities. The cities on this list could be Saskatoon, Halifax, Quebec City, Moncton, Windsor, Kingston, etc. Then main training camp would open up 2 days after this exhibition game. I understand that this would be difficult since teams are limited to the total number of players that they can have under contract, but this limit can be increased by an agreed upon amount. But this would revert to the current number once main training camp begins.

To make this a truly national league, the league does need to expand to a 10th team. This would assist the reach of the league and would also make it easier logistically. Sites for potential expansion include Halifax, Moncton or Quebec City.

One last thing, get rid of this lousy and stupid logo. The previous logo was FANTASTIC. So either revert to the previous logo come up with a new one, but this logo has to go away ASAP !!

Anonymous said...

Move the season up 2 weeks so the CFL is not playing in -25C temperatures for the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day there was a rule that teams could designate 1 or 2 Americans as Canadians and I believe George and Ronnie were the Roughriders choices. Does anyone remember this and the exact rule?

Anonymous said...

I think it is time for the CFL to correct the definition of national buy deeming that only those players who came up through the Canadian college ranks or junior football programs are "Nationals". It should not be about the birth certificate but about the Canadian football programs. As an example, it would mean someone like Akeem Hicks would be Canadian while a Cameron Judge or Brandon Bridge would not.

Anonymous said...


^ A comment about a supposed winning streak by the Stamps I keep seeing being posted on the game article and even on Twitter ........ the Stamps aren't on a 19 game regular season unbeaten streak. Bo Levi Mitchell is. The Stamps lost last years final regular season game. Drew Tate started.

^ TSN's contract is up in a couple years. They presently pay 40 million a year. Unless something changes drastically with the product on the field and increase viewers, the CFL is in serious trouble. TSN expected a growth is veiwers to continue to grow from year to year. That hasn't happened to the level TSN and the CFL expected.
Rumours this contract would be renewed at half the previous amount. A couple teams would be in serious trouble if their 3 - 4 million cut of the TV contract was cut in half.
Also, spreading the contract around to other providers only lowers the value. It doesn't increase it.

^ A disturbing thing i just found out regarding a vendor at Mosaic Stadium. DO NOT TIP at the Beer Brothers window. The owners of Beer Brothers are taking all the tips to put towards their profit margin. I get that they might need that money (possibly??) to rationalize their ability to continue be in the stadium but tips are intended for the employee providing the service. Just my take.

Anonymous said...

To Eastern Football is a joke:

Are you as dense as you appear to be? Do you think Sportsnet wants the CFL when they already have the NHL and the Blue Jays? Why on earth would they want the CFL? The CBC is a more viable option, but is there interest there? There has to be two sides to making a partnership. Ambrosie isn't just going to say hey guys, here's 20 games for you.

You obviously don't know a lot about business.


Terry

JackD83 said...

Get rid of coaching challenges on pass interference. Too many coaches try to fish a call which delays the game. Or give the team a delay of game penalty if they are unsuccessful

Anonymous said...

So don't call pass interference or illegal contact on a defence if the ball isn't thrown to him...are you actually serious? A penalty is a penalty, if the guy is interfered with or contacted and can't get open for the ball to go his way the qb may be forced to throw it a different direction becasue of that fact, it has to be called. Also stop calling roughing the passer...that is an actual dumb comment, qb's throw under alot of pressure not seeing guys coming at them so let's make them vulernable for a head on head or a dirty low hit...grab a brain.

Anonymous said...

Mr Commisionair de la CFLeague,

4 pertinent suggestions keeping it lite to start,

First and foremost, get rid of that hideous CFL logo. Second; that International, National crap has to go!
Third; that guy in charge of refferees Glen what's his name has to be canned asap! 4th do your job and get on the ball, don't be a flunky yes man.

HeHateMe

Anonymous said...

Roddy must be trying to get a PxP job in Vegas with all the generic news posts, lack of personal comment and therefore not running the risk of getting into it with posters.

Anonymous said...

Love the new stadium, however improvements need to be made to the concession line flow and increased speed in which people are served. As for the transit...City of Regina was simply caught with their pants down on this one. Movement to the game seems to run fairly well, however post-game is a complete debacle. I hope the thousands of followers of this blog call their respective Councillor, tweet/Facebook the Mayor & social media channels to force the City of Regina to improve things before Labour Day.

Thanks for providing us a place to vent Rod,
Jeff

Anonymous said...

Love the stadium, hate the water only rule. Won't spend a dime with any vendor inside until it is reversed.

Anonymous said...

Here is my proposal for the new Commish!

The CFL should immediately do like the NFL: NO coaches challenges in over-time. Any reviews done by the replay official only.

Anonymous said...

Another horse put to death at the Stampede's chuck wagon race! A bye week is here and it would be a good time for the Sports Cage to revisit this topic. Thanks.

EasternFootballisajoke said...

You could say the same about the Jays. I know it's a different situation and they already have a contract. But the Jays are an absolute joke of a team right now. No direction whatsoever just an awful team. Their so screwed when they suck next year cause all their fans are bandwagoners. If I was Sportsnet and I had to make a choice I would pick the CFL. Say what you want about that league but out of the two the CFL has a better chance at being around in the next ten years Have fun sitting in the AL basement for ten years and having 15000 fans a game.

Anonymous said...

What I what is the water only rule?

Anonymous said...

Well, a win against the hapless basement dwelling injury depleted Hamilton tiger cats........nothing to get excited about. It's the next 3 games that is gonna prove anything about this year's team's mettle or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

Stadiums should NEVER be built downtown where there is no parking!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the national and interna. I think it was a dumb idea, What was wrong with Canadians and Americans, very simple,. I guess they have to change something just for the sake of change , have to have something to show for their meeting s. I guess.

Anonymous said...

Please take the iPads away, let the players play and the coaches coach. The game is becoming too reliant on technology in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Dear Comissioner,
Please ban "green is the color" song at Roughrider games immediately. Dont they have a new stadium? but the praire bumkins still insist on keeping the lame old past of a day gone by. Watched the game on TSN, and kept hearing that lame tune in the background, ban it. Not a good image on a nationally televised sporting event.

Anonymous said...

Finally! An idea that makes sense!

Anonymous said...

Did I catch "ban green is the colour". Are your insane? Yeah new stadium so let's just pretend everything from 1910-2017 never happened. LOL. How about this, mute the game?

Dan said...

Love the song Green is the colour. Still gets me pumped up.

Anonymous said...

How come jones doesn't wear a green tee shirt at the rider games , ? He's such a rebel.

Anonymous said...

I'm ok with the pass interference challenge... but the illegal contact has got to be left up to the refs... nothing more frustrating when a play is called back on some minor illegal contact away from the play.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, build a stadium out-side of town so everyone can drive out there and line up in their vehicles to get in and get out. Worked well in Saskatoon and Ottawa. LOL

Anonymous said...

I know it seems impossible, but it would be a magnificent year if Kevin Glenn can win a Grey Cup as a Rider in 2017.

Anonymous said...

Who tips on a $9 beer?

Anonymous said...


RP:

Just heard your little story about CJME as I pulled into the driveway. Does it surprise me they would do something like that? Not one bit!

As a businessman in this town who owns a fairly good shop, I have had their people come in to visit from time-to-time. It gives me great pleasure in showing them the door and telling them I'm not interested. I then proceed to hose down the office to get rid of the dirt they brought in.

Their outfit is a joke! Their coverage of the Riders is third-rate and they really should give a pink slip to the assclown who does the Jones imitation. You would think with the working relationship they want to have with the team that they wouldn't endorse their employees doing this, but they aren't smart enough to figure that out. Why is that? Look at the top and your question will be answered.

Oh yeah, are they still going around town saying they will have the rights or have they transferred that talk to the Pats?

Love the show! Keep em comin!

Anonymous said...

When you have a guy like the NBA's Lowry almost making the same in one season as every player in the CFL combined (500 players +), you have a problem NBA.

Rod Pedersen said...

They're so fixated on us that it's creepy.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll bite. What did CJME supposedly do to Rod?

@mrt_man said...

FOR ME, THE AMOUNT OF NEGATIVITY ON THE OTHER STATION IS A BIG TURNOFF.

@mrt_man said...

"Love the stadium, hate the water only rule." - THIS IS NOT A RULE THAT IS NEW TO THE NEW STADIUM. IT WAS THE SAME LAST YEAR.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Immediately ban the tacky simpleton "green is the color" song. NO to mute the game.

PS, let's all forget 1910-2015 pre Mr Jones, Mr Murphy era. It was pathetic.

"In Jones We Trust"

Anonymous said...


"They listen to my show more than they do their own show!" #micdrop #rodout

3RD and 1 said...

Wow... Anon #1; what insite, what professionalism. Way to show the maturity level of what you call the older fan. Don't want to (as you say) piss you off. Seriously, How else do you promote the league but to bring change to a stale enterprise. To bring excitement by allowing the fan in through the back door. To make it a more intimate experience which brings the fans closer.
The fact of the matter is; if the CFL is to become current and relevant. The so called old fans do not matter. We are going to remain fans no matter what. It's already instilled in us.
Everything that was mentioned in the open letter will in fact help the league become relevant to the younger fan. Which at this point in time is the most important fans as they will carry the league for the next 40 years.
In the last few years I've seen so many Companies and Corporations ask their C.E. O. To step down because they are too old school and are slowly but surely drowning the Company in a time gone by.
Having an Import classified as a non import after 6 years in the league is brilliant. I'm so tired of watching a player who is not at the same talent level as the rest of his team. Or his career extended all due to his birth certificate.
Last but not least I'd Love to see the league divided into 3 divisions. East, Central and West. With the top team in each division making the playoffs and the wild card playoff team coming from one of the 3 divisions that has the best record after the top 3. If the wild card team has a better record than the lowest record of the top 3. Then the wild card team would take away the home field advantage from the lowest record of the top 3. It would make for exciting Octobers. Instead of 1 team possibly fighting to get into the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Move the team to Victoria?? Victoria has over 300 days of sunshine annually & there is LOTS to do outside besides going to a football game. About 20 % of the population of Canada lives in the Toronto area. That's why a network pays big bucks to the league. If you lose Toronto, the advertising revenue dries up. I doubt any network is interested in paying huge $$ to the CFL if Toronto isn't there. Regina may have the biggest fan base of all the teams in Canada but, I hate to say it, a league without Toronto isn't going to be driven by Rider fans. Regina means squat when it comes to sports networks making decisions on where to spend their money. A healthy Toronto is infinitely more important than Regina. If they had their druthers, any network would take a viable Toronto over a rich Regina any day. There's a big difference selling advertising to a market of 250,000 or so in Regina vs over 7 MM in the greater Toronto area. Let's not get carried away with our self-importance.

Anonymous said...

Wow you are an angry little elf

Anonymous said...

One thing Mr. Ambrosie can do in the off-season is to get rid of the rouge! Why reward failure?

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a toon town business, just more toon town envy.

Anonymous said...

Rouge???????????? What the hell is a rouge?

Anonymous said...

I think the NFL should add the "Rouge". It adds excitement.

Captain Canuck

Anonymous said...

Written the same, wasnt enforced

Anonymous said...

I agree, the NFL constantly steals from the cfl, the u.s. get all their good ideas from Canada, then they proceed to make them their own. Turn off ''''''''. NEGATIVE TALK RADIO , '''''''' 980 cjme, They really are the ones killing it here, way to much coverage . And why, fi don't get it, they aren't even the teams radio station, just wanna be's I guess

Doovy 49 said...

what the hell is the water only rule??

Tim from Kansas said...

I think the NFL has the rouge on field goals. I'm sure they don't call it a rouge though. Who the heck ever came up with that name??

The NFL uprights are at the back of the end zone so the kick always goes through the end zone, which is only 10 yards deep anyways. So the defense doesn't even bother putting a guy back, they try to block instead.

Watch this. I don't think the defense had a clue what was going on.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/san-diego-chargers/0ap2000000147584/Antonio-Cromartie-109-yard-field-goal-return