Thursday, November 18, 2004

Lock up your Cheerleaders!

Let the snickering begin anew in the Capital. Word leaked out on Tuesday that a name partially associated with the demise of the Ottawa Rough Rider franchise is back and making some noise. With a simple declaration that "we love the CFL", memories some good, some bad, flooded back to football fans in the Capital. The Glieberman's Bernie and Lonnie, are still fans of 3 down football, despite their heavy losses as owners of not one but two franchises in the CFL.

For those that have lost track, the Glieberman's were owners of the Rough Rider Franchise in the early 90's. Part of a string of owners, who in a short period of time who watched the once proud franchise spin into oblivion. Bernie and son Lonnie are best known for bringing the Dexter Manley sideshow to Ottawa and whispering the name of Mike Ditka into the ears of Capital football fans. Manley eventually disappeared much like the Rough Riders did and the only Iron Mike that Rider fans would recognize was that of Mike Keenan. But the Glieberman years were at least exciting, detrimental at times yes, but exciting none the less. Known for interfering with their coaches and the youngest Glieberman for his dating of cheerleaders, the jury is still out on whether they helped or hindered the CFL team in it's declining years.

The Michigan millionaires eventually took their act down to the Bayou, purchasing the Shreveport franchise during the ill fated American expansion years of the mid nineties, leaving the Riders to the likes of Bruce Firestone and a list of managers who eventually surrendered the franchise to the league.

Despite the lack of success both on the field and at the box office, the Glieberman's still have fond those fond memories of the game and say they wouldn't mind getting back into an ownership situation perhaps with the Ottawa Renegades, a team currently involved in a backroom power struggle for control. And the news of the Glieberman's resurfacing, is making a few ripples in the Ottawa area, with many remembering the side show atmosphere that seemed to permeate the Riders offices in those crazy days.

Yet there are some that claim the Glieberman's got a bad rap, they poured their own money into the team, tried to make some changes that obviously didn't work, but on the whole seemed to have the teams best interests at heart. They even managed to successfully win a lawsuit against the City Of Ottawa, so hey they can't be all bad right?

At any rate as the Big Show plays out in the bars, exhibition halls and field at Frank Clair some intriguing machinations are taking place inside the Renegades backrooms. Ottawa fans patiently await the resolution to the current problems and wonder aloud if the two Michigan money men might yet get another chance to run the Capital's CFL franchise!

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