If Arash Madani’s latest report is true and the GM/Head coach is about to sign another one-year extension with the Riders, then expect the heat to be cranked up on both he and upper management to get over the hump.
The team’s sub-500 record (regular season and playoffs combined) in the Chris Jones era have all the signs of mediocrity we saw before the Decade of Decadence started in 2007. Fans and media were okay with the Roy Shivers-Danny Barrett regime until they stopped showing signs of progress. Anything short of a Grey Cup appearance in 2019 would put Chris Jones in danger of falling into that same category of mediocrity.
Bottom line: Unless the Riders are playing in the 107th Grey Cup at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium in November, expect serious doubt to creep in as to whether or not Jones makes it to the final year of his new deal in 2020. This might look like an extension for 2 more years on paper but it’s really likely only one in reality as teams usually avoid going into a final lame duck year on a General Manager or Head Coach’s contract.
2. ED GAINEY’S TWEETS: The Riders best defensive back is mad as hell that coaches get to go and interview for NFL jobs but players can’t while under contract to the CFL. Not sure which coach exactly he’s referring to but I’m happy to assure Ed that CFL coaches (Marc Trestman when he was in Montreal) too have been denied the chance to interview for NFL jobs while fulfilling their contracts in Canada.The CFL wasn’t built to be the NFL’s doormat.
3. BC LIONS TWEETS: Leos personnel guy Torey Hunter gets a slap on the wrist for creating fake twitter accounts to dump all over his ex-bosses running the Edmonton Eskimos. Telling off your boss on the way out the door is hardly a rare thing (YouTube the Walmart guy quitting in Grande Prairie) and I’ve even done it myself. But to do it anonymously is just downright cowardly. I also think the Eskimos were dumb to fire Ed Hervey and keep Jason Maas but the fact Hunter would do this while hiding behind a different name says more about him than it does about the Esks front office.
4. ERIC TILLMAN: The fact he would quit his job to join a team that doesn’t yet exist tells me this Atlantic Schooners thing is totally happening. He’s had some success but he’s had some real misses too. All 3 of his Grey Cup wins (’94, ’97 and 2007) came with Kent Austin or Doug Flutie as his quarterback or head coach and payrolls well above the salary cap. Not saying he won’t do well in Halifax but his last expansion team GM job with the Ottawa Renegades doesn’t offer much encouragement. Great to finally see football in Halifax!
5. WORLD JUNIORS: The culmination of a month-long training camp and tournament doesn’t interest me nearly as much as the culmination of an entire season. The Memorial Cup is far more interesting to me than the annual Christmas cash-grab that has become the World juniors. Stop going to the same NHL cities over and over again and actually play this thing in junior hockey towns like Red Deer, Moose Jaw, Brandon and London, Ontario. They deserve it.
6. KOOTENAY ICE A JOKE: Just when it looked like the Kootenay Ice couldn’t sound any more bottom-of-the-barrel than this dumb idea of moving to Winnipeg, management totally outdoes itself by firing assistant coach (and one of my favorite Moose Jaw Warriors later traded for Wayne Gretzky in my youth), Roman Vopat for criticizing Team Canada head coach Tim Hunter on twitter. My brief experience around the WHL produced plenty of bush-league decision-makers but the crew running this outfit just make take that trophy.
7. WHY NOT MINOT FOR WHL?: It’s an underserved market of 40 thousand, perfect for a high-level hockey franchise. Would be great for the Saskatchewan teams to have another rival nearby, especially one pumping U.S. dollars into the league.
Think about it.
With Bismarck-Mandan close by as a possible future rival, North Dakota could be a slot machine for the Western Hockey League if they really want it to be.
8. U OF R RAMS NOT CAPITALIZING ON NFL PUBLICITY: Add Tevaughn Campbell to the list of Rams alumni signing in the NFL. Let’s see, him, Akiem Hicks, Jon Ryan, and Brett Jones. Think that doesn’t put the school on the map? And yet the University couldn’t bother to figure out who’s eligible and who’s not. I’ll bet it’s real exciting for people to buy season tickets for next year to see games that might or might not count. Pfft.
9. DID YOU KNOW: That legendary Montreal Expo manager Felipe Alou’s last name isn’t actually ‘Alou’? I’ve been reading his book and he explains how custom in his home land was to put his first name, last name and then mother’s maiden name. By the time his english was good enough to explain his real last name is ‘Rojas’, it was too late.
Reminds me of Jamal Richardson waiting 4 years to inform Rider management that his name was actually ‘Jamel’ and that his contract and name in the program had been spelled wrong all along.
10. XFL SHOULD TRY THEIR ANDREW LUCK: Hear me out on this. Luck’s father Oliver is the commissioner of the XFL, which is owned by billionaire Vince McMahon. Luck seems happy right now but has shown signs of frustration with the Indianapolis Colts bumbling ownership/management in the past and Vince McMahon just might be crazy enough to outbid the NFL for his services when Luck’s contract expires in 2 years.
Think about it.
The first version of the XFL loved publicity at all costs and this stunt might even gain them some traction.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)