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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

TOP 10 CFL STORIES OF 2017

Photo: CFL.ca
10 - ED HERVEY IN BC/MIKE SHERMAN IN MTL: Whenever there's a GM or Head Coach hiring it's big news, and the Lions and Alouettes made it a December To Remember for their fans by bringing on two proven football men. Results to follow ..

9 - MOSAIC STADIUM OPENS: With apologies to Parliament Hill, Regina was the place to be on Canada Day when the Saskatchewan Roughriders officially unveiled glitzy New Mosaic Stadium to a nationally televised audience on TSN. The Blue Bombers spoiled the party with a 43-40 OT victory in a game the Riders still lament was the 'One That Got Away', but the game served up enough fireworks to last a lifetime.

8 - HENRY BURRIS RETIRES: Smilin' Hank pulled a Peyton Manning, riding off into the sunset with a championship trophy tucked under his arm on January 24. Burris departed after a 17-season career, 267 games played and three Grey Cup rings and made a seamless transition into TV broadcasting. Good things happen to good people. Next stop: the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

7 - JEFFREY ORRIDGE STEPS DOWN: For some reason this was a 'Where Were You When?' moment and I was sitting by the pool at the Mirage in Las Vegas on the morning of April 12 when I got word the CFL and its 13th Commissioner were parting ways. In football terms, the CFL punted on 2nd down. The New York product is a nice, highly-intelligent guy but never seemed to mesh in the role. Where does he land next?

6 - THE RIDERS SIGN VINCE YOUNG: The internet broke on March 9 when V.Y. - one of the biggest names in football - signed on the dotted line with Canada's Team after years out of the game. As we learned, it wasn't a hoax but the experiment ended on Day 11 of training camp when Young tore a hamstring and returned to Texas just a few days later. Never to be heard from again? We'll see.

5 - ARGOS HIRE TRESTMAN AND POPP: The pair who was synonymous with success in Montreal was introduced at a news conference in Toronto on February 28. They took over the CFL's worst club at 5-13 and we all know how it miraculously turned out nine months later. Was there egg on the Alouettes' face after this one? Marc Trestman and Jim Popp are too classy to gloat.

4 - RIDERS TRADE DARIAN DURANT: Appropriately enough it was Friday, January 13 when the Saskatchewan Roughriders did the unthinkable: trading their franchise great to Montreal in arguably the most-controversial transaction this franchise has ever made. The Als stumbled to a 3-15 record while the Riders posted 10 wins and appeared in the East Division Final with a stable of quarterbacks whose combined salaries didn't even add up to Durant's wage in Montreal. You don't hear much grumbling about The Trade anymore.

3 - KENT AUSTIN STEPS DOWN: It was August 24 when Hamilton's Vice President of Football Operations Kent Austin announced he was handing over the head coaching reins of the 0-8 Tiger-Cats to recently-hired June Jones. The Tabbies went 6-4 the rest of the way earning Jones an extension for 2018. Regrettably, it was August 28 that the Ticats hired, then un-hired, reviled figure Art Briles after a fan backlash.

2 - ARGOS WIN THE GREY CUP: Toronto capped off one of the best Grey Cup Weeks ever with a 27-24 comeback win over the Calgary Stampeders in the 105th Grey Cup in Ottawa. Despite a snowglobe setting and icy track, Toronto pulled off the unthinkable in a wildly entertaining finish. A popular rumour is that the Argos switched their footwear at halftime for better grip while the Stampeders did not. Who knows if that's true, but it certainly adds to Grey Cup lore.

1 - AMBROSIE HIRED AS COMMISSIONER: It's fitting that former CFL lineman and successful businessman Randy Ambrosie was named CFL Commissioner on Independance Day (July 4). The guy is as real as a heart attack. In just six months, Ambrosie's positive impact on the league has been staggering and he's got full support of the teams and their governors. The question still gets asked: How come he wasn't hired when he first applied two years ago? It doesn't matter now. Onwards and upwards into 2018.

RP
@rodpedersen

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

WIth all due respect Rod there is one topic you didn’t mention that I believe should be near or at the top of the list. Perhaps it can go under the Ambrosie hiring. The biggest thing Mr Ambrosie did, bar done, was get rid of that STUPID challenges rule. It was ruining the CFL and making the games unwatchable. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the severe restricting of challenges saved the league. The vast majority of fans were fed up; heck I wrote to Reynolds to let him know I would be cancelling my season seats if something wasn’t done. I certainly hope the league never goes back to that garbage (despite what foods like Derek Taylor think) as the current rule has made the games quicker and far more entertaining.

Mr Ambrosie is the Commish this league needed thirty years ago. Better late than never as he will take this game to new heights. Look forward to seeing what he has in mind next!


Gunderson’s Yorkton

Tinhead 296 said...

Totally agree. Ambrosie has done nothing but hit home runs all along. He has done more improvements than the last 3 or 4 commissioners combined. Same question. Why was he overlooked before? He is a breath of fresh air. Hope he can do something with the Canadian qb ratio.

Anonymous said...

#2 Footwear be damned.
I was at the 1977 Grey Cup in the 'Big O' when the Als put staples in their shoes and the Esks didn't. That was a footwear problem this last Grey Cup wasn't, it was a 'choke', in fact it was a 'double choke' (The fumble and the interception) by the Stamps and it had nothing to do with footwear.

TLR

Anonymous said...

How is it that the Argos were the worst team in the league in 2016 when the Riders also went 5-13? They at least shared that title.

Rod Pedersen said...

Explain please why Toronto had the #1 overall pick in the 2017 Draft and the Riders picked #2? I'll be waiting!

RP

Anonymous said...

You know the answer to that one. But at only five wins each, that is really nitpicking. They were equally bad teams. "Marc Trestman and Jim Popp are too classy to gloat". But you aren't.

Scott Thompson said...

Can’t wait to see what the Commish will bring to the league in 2018. My wish is for a 10th team and stability all around. Onward and upward! Hope everyone had a marry Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year.

Jack Upshall said...

Was the signing of Vince Young a story? It made for copy granted but was hamstrung in the end. Rated too high maybe?

Anonymous said...

The elephant in the room why Orridge was picked and Ambrosie wasn't. I'll tell you why. He came from that corporate background of CBC where dead weight can hind all day long and take credit for a lot of things they had nothing to do with. He also sounds "taller" and for a league that prides itself on diversity there is a real guilt to want to make "taller" guys ascend to top positions.

Ambrosie on the other hand is basically a Jim Hopson type. Big, gruff, tell it like it is O-Lineman that made his way to the top in a business that demands bottom line metric results. He is not going to sugar coat and he isn't going to play politics, and if you're in the way fair warning get on board of get out of the way.

I can just imagine those interviews. Orridge was all polished and most likely talked about "consensus" where Randy was, "Here's what's going to happen and here's what I'm doing, oh and this is how much it's going to cost you to bring me on."

Anonymous said...

An excellent and must read book on football (and its history) that came out in 2017 was:
"Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Team" by Steve Sheinkin.

Anonymous said...

That 1977 Grey Cup Ice Bowl game was also the first Grey Cup game of many in the career of Edmonton's punter Hank Illesic. Hank had recently turned 18 years old and had a lot of work as the Eskimos got clobbered by Montreal.

Anonymous said...

For many in the Rider Nation the signing of Vince Young was an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice how the amazing catch by Texan's DeAndre Hopkins last night against the Steelers was somewhat similar to THAT one by Duron Carter?

Anonymous said...


Winnipeg had the #1 pick last year!

Rod Pedersen said...

Via Toronto.

Anonymous said...

Not really sure why there is so much talk about the canadian quarterback counting as a national , it was made that way not too long ago to promote Canadian quarterbacks. If the quarterback counted as a National starter then you would need a National to back him up , or even 2 nationals that is never going to be possible. It is best the way it is so Canadian quarterbacks now have a chance to crack the roster.

Anonymous said...

This argument dosent make sense. For example we could start Bridge next year, but if he got hurt u could go with another Canadian at say running back. You don't need necessarily another back up Canadian QB, you just need another back up Canadian somewhere to go in.

It gives u options

mister winnipeg said...

The Argos being purchased by MLSE got a ton of ink and belongs on the list.

Anonymous said...

Toronto did have first pick in the 2017 draft...now ROD you ask why the riders never had the pick? Well I am sure it works off the standings trying to make play-offs, if there is a tie between two teams they go by the season series and then if still a tie they go by who had more points against one another in that season series. So now to go through it...they had the same record through season, oh and they also beat each other in the season series so it's a tie again. Here is where it changes, points for Saskatchewan were 46 and points for Toronto in the series were 41 which leaves Toronto as the last place team in the league giving them the first overall pick. Look up the rules people this is easy to figure out without arguing over.

Anonymous said...

Number #2 should be renamed:

"2 - ARGOS WIN THE GREY CUP AND THE STINKS CHOKE ..... AGAIN"

Happy New Year Rod & crew, all the best.

Newt from YQR

Anonymous said...

What if you already are using a National at running back , typically when you start a national you would have his backup being a National too , otherwise an injury at one position would cause a cascade of changes , and what if you want to pull your quarterback and replace him with an import what then, you have to make changes across your starting lineup YIKES

Anonymous said...

There's the tiebreaker rule which comes into effect for teams in the same conference as in Wpg & Edm this year & to determine draft position. But Argos are NOT in the same conference as the Riders. They each had 5 wins, 10 points. So comfort yourself if you want by saying Riders were better but they were just as bad. Trying to make yourself look superior in this case is the typical loser mentality - lipstick on a pig, Rod. Sad, really sad. But.....whatever.

Anonymous said...

The riders were not as good as the Argos. They blew 2 games at the beginning of the year and then let Ottawa come back from a deficit. When it came time to make a play knowing Ricky Ray is going to be 100% you have to step up and they didn't. End of the day you can't expect Kevin Glenn to be the guy to lead you anywhere. if anything I think the riders overachieved.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line the Riders & Argos both won 11 games this year but only the Argos won a final & Grey Cup. No comparison - Argos were better this year.

Anonymous said...

Loser mentality is arguing a point that concerned the 2016 season. Move on!

Anonymous said...

Argos beat the Riders and the Stampeders as the old saying goes you have to be good to be lucky. bottom line Ricky Ray don't bet against him.