Saturday, September 30, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Don’t Drop that Ottawa football!

Due Diligence is one thing, but canceling your meeting with potential investors because of scheduling conflicts? Well let’s just say, the latest twist in the CFL’s quest for a new franchise in the capital is the kind of thing that can worry a CFL fan.

Shades of past incompetence rush back to ones mind, mis-steps along a rocky road of expansions past. Past rushes to judgment that gave the league the likes of Horn Chen the Glieberman sideshow, Murray the Pez and other colourful but less than long term proponents of the Canadian game.

With three apparently solid financial prospects in place, all that seems to need to be done is to match up the needs of the long abused Ottawa football fans with a competent owner and some local involvement. You would think that if the league had that option on the horizon they would drop all other projects to make sure that they not only get the right folks for Ottawa, but somehow keep the other two prospects interested perhaps in other locales where the Canadian game might have a future (hello Halifax, Bonjour Quebec).

But nope, instead scheduling problems end up leaving the prospective partners cooling their heels waiting for the official invite to the league office and a chance to make their case. Putting further behind schedule the likelihood that the league will return to Ottawa for 2007, a missed opportunity to move the league ahead and set the league up for more forward momentum.

In the CFL, as always, two steps forward always seem to come with that one step back.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Toronto’s NFL Dreams stir anew.

Stephen Brunt, running the risk of eternal damnation at the hands of Bob McCown has put a fairly well thought out piece earlier this week, about the never ending dream of NFL football for Toronto.

While it seems unlikely any time soon that the folks of Southern Ontario will end up with an expansion franchise (Los Angeles surely must be on the wish list of every network exec in the TV driven league), the possibility of franchise relocation seems to keep popping up from time to time.

Brunt points out that Buffalo may soon be seeking a new home, as the Bills owner, having decided it’s not financially sensible to turn the team over to his children may wish to move the team to where he can receive the best return for his early AFL: day’s investment.

This is where Toronto comes into the picture, with the duo of Ted Rogers and Larry Tannenbaum having formed a fairly financially hefty alliance to seek out possible options for the NFL in Toronto.

The Toronto option apparently came up for discussion during last years on the road season for the New Orleans saints, an un-named consortium in Toronto apparently offered up 1 million dollars to take the Saints away from the Bayou, a move that surely would have made Mardi Gras a no go zone for Canadians for years to come.

Nothing came of that as the NFL’S large imprint came down on the side of the people of Louisiana, a remarkable move for a profit driven organization like NFL football. Yet one that shows that the league office in New York realizes the horrible optics of moving a team out of a area that had suffered a horrendous disaster and seeming abandonment from its governments. Perhaps more proof that the NFL is a better run organization than most forms of any government.

For Toronto, if becoming carpet baggers are all they can hope for, then good luck to them. They’ll quickly learn that the only purpose they will serve will be to create a bidding war among deep pocketed millionaires in the USA looking for the best price for their team.

Brunt’s column is a pretty good look at the lay of the land, but we somehow don’t think that the NFL will be Toronto bound anytime soon. Argo fans should not make plans to surrender their season tickets in the foreseeable future.

Canadian NFL team may not be such a long shot
SEPTEMBER 25, 2006

There are all kinds of good, rational reasons why the National Football League won't be coming to Canada anytime soon.

But if someone has a billion dollars burning a hole in their pocket, you can throw all of them out the window.

And that would appear to be the case.

Monday, in a story about the NFL's return to New Orleans, Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported that Saints' owner Tom Benson had been offered that princely sum of money by a "Canadian consortium", hoping to buy the franchise in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and presumably move it to Toronto.

In the context of King's story, it was a throwaway piece of information in a report detailing Benson's strong commitment to keeping the franchise in New Orleans despite the many obstacles that entailed. But here, the implications are clear and profound.

Already, the partnership of Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Ted Rogers of Rogers Communications — not identified as the "consortium" in the story, but it's hard to imagine it being anyone else - has gone public about their plans for bringing the NFL to the city.

In any expansion scenario, they'd be a distinct long shot. The league isn't desperate to grow right now beyond its 32 teams, its first priority is to place a franchise back in Los Angeles, and it really has nothing to gain economically by coming to Canada, a market that doesn't serve its main benefactor, U.S. network television, and which it can already exploit from afar.

Plus, at least under the recently-departed commissioner Paul Tagliabue, there was an understanding that the NFL had no interest in harming the Canadian Football League, and in fact believed the benefits of having some form of the game played in as many places as possible outweighed any theoretical payoff from a Canadian franchise.

So no, the NFL probably isn't coming here as part of some master plan for world domination.
But this is an entirely different scenario, one which the NFL on some level might frown upon — at least for public consumption - but which in the end, it would not have the legal power to prevent.

New Orleans was a borderline big league market even before the hurricane hit. Though the game Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons, and in fact, this entire season at the Superdome, is sold out, there remain questions about the Saints' long-term viability in a city that will never again be what it was. Benson, for his part, is making no promises.

What's telling is that the Canadian group was ready to move so quickly, was ready to leap into a situation that would have been politically charged (the NFL would have taken plenty of heat for allowing a team abandon New Orleans at this point), and was ready to write the largest check ever for a North American professional sports franchise. (Daniel Snyder paid $800-million in 1999 when he purchased the Washington Redskins from the state of Jack Kent Cooke.)

So our wealthy countrymen, whoever they might be, are clearly aggressive bordering on predatory, and aren't necessarily worried about NFL protocol if it gets in the way of their acquiring a team. Where they turn their attentions next will depend on where an opportunity presents itself.

Right now, there are no NFL teams on the market, though there are other motivated buyers waiting in the weeds. There are franchises that might be vulnerable in the long term (Jacksonville comes to mind), but only one other than New Orleans which might be in play sooner rather than later.

Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills, is 87-years-old. He is already on record as saying that inheritance taxes are going to make it nearly impossible for him to leave the team to his children. And Buffalo, for all of the passion of its fan base, is a shrinking industrial city with a tiny corporate base, at least compared to the other places that currently house NFL teams.
Just as Cooke's heirs couldn't dictate who bought the Redskins, the Bills, after Wilson, are destined to go to highest bidder.

The team isn't worth a billion dollars in Buffalo. But apparently it is worth at least that much if it could be moved somewhere else. Since Toronto is just up the road, after the grumbling subsided, the NFL could try and spin it as a shift within the same general marketplace, a short drive for all of those long-suffering fans.

That's all empty fantasy, as it has been for the past thirty years plus, if the money and the will aren't there.

But it's becoming clearer by the day that they are.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Never mind knives they’ve pulled out the chainsaws in Edmonton!

Geez, the land of perpetual Grey Cups is a tad ornery these days, what with their beloved Eskies looking like the old Ottawa Rough Riders (somewhere between Horn Chen and Bernie and Lonnie eras).

Un-accustomed to viewing the CFL West standings from the bottom up, Esk fans have developed a severe case of the gotta do somethings.

And when you have to do something, well you have to do something BIG.

The ink hadn’t even dried on the score sheet of Friday night’s embarrassment at Commonwealth Stadium, when the calls came out that changes must be made.

Never mind dumping Danny Maciocia, nor changing an offensive scheme that seems to have been drafted in Hamilton before their season imploded in August. Nope change at the top is the call of the press, (well Terry Jones anyways) with Hugh Campbell selected as the candidate most likely to receive the gold watch, the firm handshake and the boot out the door.

Campbell, who was elevated to a football position that seems to involve mostly furrowed brows and carefully worded statements to Brian Williams. Live on TSN Friday he just called for the Eskimo faithful to be, uh, faithful to the cause, not to be too demanding this year.

When asked about coaching, Campbell suggested that Danny Maciocia was not only safe for this year, but next year as well. Stating that sometimes teams have these kind of years and that things sometimes just go this way. Comments that have raised eyebrows and blood pressure in the Alberta capital and other Eskie outposts.

We don’t really think that the Eskimo rot can be dropped on Maciocia totally, after all his players seem to be the ones dropping the balls, missing their assignments, watching the other team run by and bungling the simple tasks learned in high school.

But it seems like nobody has an answer to the problems, which is why the multitudes are anxious. And why the knives have been replaced by chain saws.

For Eskimo fans this year must seem like Armageddon, the end times of what seemed like the natural order for Canadian Football. Especially galling for Edmontonians must be the prospect of the bumpkins from Calgary, laying claim to Alberta’s best football product and a pretty good option for Grey Cup success this year.

All of that is sending the panic across Northern Alberta like a storm blowing in from Jasper, the best indication the call for Hugh Campbell to be put out to pasture. Terry Jones probably spoke for many an Eskie fan with his column on Sunday, suggesting that the Eskimo organization has lost their focus and needs new blood as soon as possible to turn around a situation that has deteriorated terribly this year.

As the Eskimos stumble to the end of the season, the calls will no doubt become louder and more intense, but probably nowhere near as scathing in indictment as Jones column today. A blistering view of all that has gone wrong for the Green and Gold and a venting that many an Eskimo fan probably would concur with.

Time for Campbell to retire
By Terry Jones

Sept. 22, 2006 should go down as Hugh Campbell's expiration date. Not Danny Maciocia's.

Forget Maciocia not being fired now or at the end of the season. The focus must now switch to Campbell being retired. And now no punches can be pulled. He's gotta go.

Campbell, after not being around most of the year, just insulted the intelligence of the Edmonton football fan beyond belief.

Most wanted to see the CFL legend leave the Eskimos on top, celebrated for one of the most remarkable careers in the history of sports coaching and management in this country. Campbell should have taken his leave last year with a Grey Cup.

Now, he's going to have to be shown the door. It's time. This can't go on. I didn't ever want to have to write this column, but Hugh Campbell must be put out to pasture.

What we're dealing with here are the late, great Edmonton Eskimos. Not only in the standings, but with an organization which will remain as structurally dysfunctional as it has become as long as Hugh Campbell remains as CEO.

Friday night, after the Eskimos completed their first-to-worst, outhouse-to-penthouse trip and were booed off the field by their disgusted fans, Campbell decided to "announce'' that Maciocia was going to be back as coach next year. He didn't mention this decision was actually made a couple weeks ago with president Rick LeLacheur. Nor did he mention Maciocia would replace himself as offensive co-ordinator.

What Campbell said was that it would be "absurd'' to fire the coach after this season. He said that would make "zero sense.'' And that "somebody would have to explain to me why it makes some sense.''

The very night Campbell decided to tell the town that Maciocia was staying, was the night it became totally obvious to 36,406 fans that he had, in fact, lost his team - for very few reasons of his own making.

Didn't come to compete

Maciocia admitted it when asked if the Eskimos responded in any way to his ultimate challenge to show some pride.

"No,'' he said.

Urgency? "There was none.''

With the season and the team's 34-season record run of making the playoffs on the line, they didn't come to compete.

Campbell talked about "the enthusiasm this team has had.''

Enthusiasm? That's what's missing! And pride and passion and character and ...
Campbell talked about the idea not being able to make the playoffs every year, but to provide competitive and entertaining football. Like that's what they're doing?

The Eskimos are now dead last in the league! They can't beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats! That's competitive?

And entertaining? Anybody who thinks this team has been entertaining this season has their head in the sand at the lake in, oh, I don't know, Idaho.

"Sometimes you have to make a change because you're desperate,'' said Campbell.

"But the Eskimos have no reason to be desperate. We could do this again next year and not be desperate.''

Say what?

Who's running the team?

Here it's almost the end of September, the Eskimos' season is all but mathematically over, and we're back to trying to figure out who is running this football team again.
Campbell? Or LeLacheur?

Campbell shows up back in town and suddenly sounds like his game plan is to stay on as CEO and continue to do next to nothing.

This team needs to go out and improve the Canadian talent which has, other than Adam Braidwood, dropped back to near zilch again. It needs to replace receivers who, other than Jason Tucker, can't get it done anymore. Major reconstruction has to happen in the defensive secondary. And the return team, good gawd ...

The fans Campbell insulted would almost all do the same thing here, even if they had no option but to keep Maciocia as head coach.

* Retire Hugh Campbell.

* Put a working football man between
LeLacheur and Maciocia.

* Hire an offensive co-ordinator to bring Maciocia down to one job instead of three.

* Tell Rick Campbell it's time to go to work for another team.

* Tell Dan Kepley and Ron Lancaster Jr. that Hughie's gone, so there's no reason for them not to be gone, too.

That's just the start of a long list.

Tell the fans that all of that is absurd and that it all makes zero sense too, Hugh.

Listen to 'Terry Jones At Large' weekdays at 8:07 a.m. on 790 CFCW.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Signs of Hope, Signs of Doom

Two back to back games complete and two teams with completely different thoughts on where they stand at the moment.

For the Hamilton Tiger Cats, two huge wins against the Eskimos are providing a sign that all may not be lost in Steeltown, true there’s little chance of this team making the playoffs, they’ve played two more games than all others and find themselves too far behind the pack to seriously make a charge for a playoff spot.

But, in two consecutive games they seem to have banished a good number of their bad habits and have had their quarterback rediscover some of the range and skill that made him the most sought after player last year.

The latest addition to the running game, Jesse Lumsden gave Ti-cat fans reason to re-subscribe to their season ticket package for next year, Lumsden in his CFL return bulled the ball down field through the game, crashing through the lines, able to slip behind the line backers to take the hitch pass further down the field. His presence gave the Cats a bit of an advantage in the early going, as the Esks were never quite sure what Hamilton was planning next.

Terry Vaughn collected his 1000th catch of his remarkable 12 year CFL career and reminded the CFL that he’s still a pretty good receiver when utilized, something that hasn’t happened near enough in Hamilton this season.

It’s probably a case of too little, too late for this year, a season that began with such high expectations, crashed and burned at mid season and finally seems to righting itself as the final third of the season winds down.

Four points behind the Bombers for third in the east, and having played two more games most likely rules out any post season activity for the Cats, especially since they have to play the high flying BC Lions twice before the final gun sounds on the season.

They will be more of a challenge for the Lions than they would have at mid season, but in the end it seems unlikely that they’ll be providing a huge surprise to the end of the season, but the prospects for 2007 are looking a lot brighter than they did in August.

For Edmonton, the two consecutive losses have only exacerbated an already frustrating situation for the Esks and their fans. Hugh Campbell joined in the chorus of Eskimo managers, going so far as to guarantee head coach Danny Maciocia his job for the rest of the season, management ut seens isn’t going to give the Esks a handy excuse of dumping the coach. Too bad they seem to play like they’d like just that.

Once again they failed to execute the key plays when needed, they let the Cats pick themselves up time and time again and take control of the field and the game at points. They seemed incapable of stopping Lumsden coming out of the backfield; the only success against his first appearance of the year was a touchdown saving tackle late in the fourth.

The offence is having problems getting untracked this year, something the Eskimo faithful is not used to seeing and makes no attempt to remain patient over. It’s most unusual to see an Eskimo team struggling to make a playoff spot; the perpetual playoff machine is normally well assured of at least a semi final appearance by Thanksgiving, but not this year. Suddenly the Eskimos are standings watchers, keeping track of both the Riders and the Bombers hoping one or the other stumbles a bit, in order that they may catch up. That 34 year record of playoff appearances seems in pretty dire shape all of a sudden.

Winnipeg seems to be the team the Esks have the best shot of tracking down; the Bombers have been too inconsistent in the last half of the season to be considered a sure thing. That crossover format may be the Esks salvation, providing they can get untracked themselves in time.

Edmonton has five games remaining, two against Toronto, one against Montreal and two against Saskatchewan, those two Rider games will petty well decide if they have a hope in the West, even a split skews things in favor of Saskatchewan. That means that the three games against the East are must wins in order to catch the Bombers.

It’s tough road they’ve chose to travel this year, sometimes when you watch them play you get the feeling that they’re tired of making the journey this year and would rather rest up for 2007. A few more losses and that will be exactly what they can do.

Results: Week Fifteen

September 24 Saskatchewan 23, BC 20
September 24 Winnipeg 17, Montreal 14
September 23 Calgary 39, Toronto 18
September 22 Hamilton 20, Edmonton 18

Looking for the greatest ones

The CFL and TSN are teaming up to research the fifty greatest players to ever pull on a CFL uniform. The project will go back to 1945 and continue through the decades to the present era, to find those fifty players that have made the CFL the success that it is today.

A panel of media, former players, coaches and executives will work their way through a list of 185 names spanning the ages of Canadian football history to compile their top fifty, which will be released during Grey Cup Week celebrations in Winnipeg this November.

Courtesy of the Canoe website you can check out the announcement here with Brian Williams of TSN explaining what the project is all about, TSN also has a fascinating feature with old video on the web showcasing the initiative.

It’s a great move for the CFL, which has found yet another fine way to honour those that played the game before and helped to shape the league of today. It should be just a wonderful addition to the Grey Cup week activities, giving Winnipeggers and those visiting, quite a show to check out

Friday, September 15, 2006

Results: Week Fourteen

September 16 BC 36, Montreal 20
September 16 Hamilton 27, Edmonton 22
September 15 Calgary 43, Winnipeg 9

Where to Grow, where to Go?

Fans of the CFL may have gotten a wee bit of a shudder earlier this afternoon, while conducting his ever popular roundtable feature of Prime Time Sports, host Bob McCown floated an idea that many a CFL fan probably thought had long been buried in the time capsule.

McCown, mischief maker that he can be at times, said that if the idea of further expansion of the league through Canada doesn’t pan out (and it’s been how many decades since that rumoured Atlantic team will take to the field) then the CFL should once again, revisit its American Experience!

Lock the doors, bar the windows and pass some ammunition, we need to nip this musing of madness in the bud. With the ghosts of Shreveport, Birmingham, Sacramento, Las Vegas et al, still wafting occasionally into a CFL conversation, we can only hope that the ole Bobcat was just filling some air time on a Friday afternoon.

To be fair, he did say that his idea would bring cities such as Syracuse and Columbus into the family and not venture deep into the heart of the south. But still, we have been down the road before and we’d just as soon keep the GPS above the 49th parallel.

The idea of expansion in the CFL is a must and if the folks in Atlantic Canada can’t find an owner and a stadium then perhaps it’s time to move on a little further west. We can see the CFL working in Quebec City, the market is as football mad as it’s ever been with the college game succeeding as it has the last few years, the rivalry with Montreal would be a natural and it would bring Quebec City up to par with the other large cities of Canada, something that would do a good turn for not only the city but the country as well.

Ottawa will no doubt be back in the league no later than 2008 (even if Bobcat says he’d forget about the market, with its fickle fans), so that would bring the league to ten.

But thinking on a larger scale, if Halifax ends up as a dead end, why not a team placed in Windsor, able to draw from Detroit and Northern Michigan as well as the Western half of southern Ontario. Stadium issues there are problematic but an owner with a bit of a marketing vision could bring the Canadian game to the gateway to Ontario and make a go of it.

Finally, to round out our musings for this topic, a twelfth franchise could placed in Victoria, Vancouver Island is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, from Campbell River down to Victoria the population is increasing every year, the need to catch a ferry to catch a game, makes it hard for Island fans to attend many Lions games in Vancouver.

Many have relocated to the Island from various parts of the country and would no doubt bring their football allegiances with them. The idea of being able to drive to a home game in less than three hours would draw fans from Nanaimo south on game day. The rivalry with the Lions would help to build up instant recognition and help to build the fan base in Victoria.

So there we have it, twelve franchises, you can keep the East / West balance or go to a three division set up. With apologies to the Bobcat, there’s room still to grow in Canada, a 12 team league would offer even more opportunities to Canadian University grads, increase the TV penetration even more and set the league up for long term success.

We look forward to the arrival of the league’s consultation fee, we were glad we could have been of assistance.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

Equipment for Sale

For Sale: Snazzy white helmets used by a (Professional?) football team.

Used for only 45 minutes.

For further details click on the link below.

Sorry Ti-Cat fans, couldn't resist the cheap shot.

Roar On, nice gesture though giving the proceeds to charity!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Asper to buy Big Blue?

A Story coming out of Winnipeg has David Asper, a well known Winnipeger, making plans to make a bid to purchase the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The story which first appears to have been mentioned on CJOB radio, has Asper looking at some kind of public/private partnership to run the main sporting attraction in the Manitoba Capital.

That would make for quite the change in direction for the Big Blue which have been a community owned fixture in the CFL for many years, it will be interesting to see how this progresses as the Bombers season moves along. All discussions were supposed to be held off until after the Grey Cup, but it seems that things are still being talked about behind the scenes.

Will it be a distraction as they strive to secure a playoff spot and possible Grey Cup appearance at home? And one wonders if it will increase or decrease the chances of a new or remodeled stadium for the years to come.

CJOB has two audio files for listeners to explore on the issue
1. Community ownership of Bombers coming to an end?
2. Katz not commenting on Bomber proposal.

The text of the story from the mayor is provided below.

Katz not commenting on Bomber proposal
CJOB Radio Winnipeg
September 7, 2006

Winnipeg's Mayor says he's not talking about a proposal for the Blue Bombers from former Bomber board member and executive vice-president of CanWest Global Communications, David Asper...

Mayor Sam Katz says he's seen a package from Asper about a public-private partnership for the football club, but can't give out any details.

As for whether the team should stay community-owned, Katz says a public-private partnership could be the same thing, but adds what 'community-owned' means should be defined first.

Katz says as far as he's concerned, the real issue as Mayor is to make sure the team is around for another 200 years and continues to prosper.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Casey, phone Henry.

Wally Buono won’t have any bling, bling to show off to his fellow GM’s as the CFL season wanders its way towards Grey Cup Weekend in late November.

The one Ace card that Buono might have had to play this fall has been put back into a deck held far away. Casey Printers, of whom the Lions hold the rights to, has chosen to follow the path of the practice roster QB in Kansas City. Printers who didn’t wow them enough for inclusion on the main roster, cleared waivers this weekend and signed on with the Chiefs to hold clipboards, watch film and run some practice roster schemes for the NFL season.

And while you wish him well in his NFL dreams, you have to wonder if ego is not getting in the way of practicality and playing time. Not many guys wander up the chart from practice roster QB to NFL star, the college industry churns out the next big star every year. If you’re not in the game, they tend to forget your name.

Printers may be about to learn a lesson that many have had to learn in the past, Henry Burris, Ricky Ray and Dave Dickenson all took their shot at the NFL, all saw less than regular action and all returned to the CFL to shine. It’s a lesson that Canadian QB Jesse Palmer has sat through for a few years and he may soon follow the road back north, if for no other reason that to actually throw a pass in active battle again.

Playing time trumps practice time, every time. Yes you can learn quite a bit on an NFL roster, even if hidden away in the basement with the used towels, rolls or tape and piles of video. But actual game time action, tests the abilities of QB ten times over. Printers is surrendering the chance to play every game, every down for that matter in a competitive environment. He is giving up the chance for valuable competitive experience that won’t be found holding a clip board, or playing the role of the oppositions QB in practices.

Printers of course showed quite a bit of promise in his break out year of 2004 leading the Lions to the Grey Cup but not getting to play in that championship game. The 2005 season was a year of tension, as opinion became split as the Printers/Dickenson controversy boiled in Vancouver. In fact, prior to his departure for Kansas City, it seemed that the Lions were destined to be Printers team. His departure from the Lions was not on the friendliest of terms.

His decision to test the NFL waters changed everything in Vancouver, the Lions went to plan B, keeping Dickenson and presently hold down first in the West, despite the injury problems that continue to plague their marquee man.

Had Printers decided to return to the CFL, there is no doubt that one of the seven teams would have been on the phone to Buono within minutes of the announcement. Printers was showing the signs that he could have been one of the dominant players in the league, despite less game in game out action. Given a full season as a number one guy in the CFL, there’s a very good chance he could have been the next star of the league. A situation that has worked pretty well for guys like Damon Allen and Warren Moon, one became a CFL and pro football record holder, the other one of the greats of the game in the NFL after serving an apprenticeship in the CFL.

The best example of recent time though is the Stampeders Burris, who took his shot with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Tiring of the position of clipboard holder and film critic, Burris returned to Saskatchewan and then moved on to Calgary.

The success of the Stamps this year is very much built upon the skills of Burris, who is quickly becoming one of the leading stars in the league.

In the end it comes down to the big fish in the small pond, Burris is fitting that role quite well. Printers will be less than the small fish in the big pond, maybe he’ll just be bait.

He should give Henry a call, he could save himself some frustrating years of inaction with a simple phone call, to find out what he's in store for.

Printers play is suited to the CFL; he should play to his strength.

The High Holy Days of Canadian football

Much has been made this weekend of the importance of the Labour Day Classics, the rivalries, the distances traveled by the fans and the large crowds that attend the match ups. This got me to thinking (which in itself is pretty amazing you know), if we had to rate the big events of a CFL season, how would we go about ranking those games that mean more than the normal regular season games.

So in order to generate some hate mail, here go my picks for the Highest Holy Days of the CFL calendar. From the home office in North Battleford, Saskatchewan; the Six Days of Celebration!

Number Six-Semi Finals Sunday, it’s the showcase of the second best. It’s that last gasp bid for the number three seed to climb to higher and lofty heights. Of vast importance to the four cities involved, it’s but a curiosity to the rest of the nation. Still gets our attention, but its not the thing of riveting drama, in a league of eight and occasionally nine teams, teams three through six don’t quite get the heart pumping yet. Now an upset heading for the Grey Cup that might be something to keep an eye on.

Number Five-The Season openers, like the league itself the opening week of the CFL season is a little understated. It’s slowly becoming more of a big deal, but for now the week one matches seem to serve as more of a way to ease the football fan into the New Year.

Number Four-Thanksgiving Weekend, not quite as revered as the NFL adoption of Turkey Day as a Football festival, we still celebrate our game and give our thanks on the Thanksgiving weekend. With the sesaon almost at an end, playoff positions potentially are at stake. The games are highly anticipated for the ability to either launch a team towards the post season or send them off to the movers looking for quotes.

Number Three-The East -West finals, they serve as the final invitations to the Big Dance one week later. Anxious times for the host team and their guests as an entire season of work could come unglued with one bad play, one missed assignment. It provides bragging rights for their division, but not quite the same as making it to the Championship game.

Number Two- The Labour Day Classics, we close out the summer and signal that the fall football season is about to begin. The ancient rivalries are played out as fans travel for hours and miles to be a part of the drama. Win and you’re a hero for the year, lose and it’s a very long ride back home. The weekend serves as the yardstick for a franchise, if you're in a tailspin by Labour Day you have work to do, gives you a good idea as to whether you need to call in the Airlift, or if there is a reason to. The games pack the stadiums, heat up the teams and normally provide some wild football.

Number One- Grey Cup Sunday- Really no contest here, it’s the Grand National Tradition. A Super Bowl as though organized by Socialists. In the CFL’s Championship week and weekend, everyone is involved. Unlike the NFL’s ode to corporate achievement and excess, Grey Cup Weekend is a pure people’s party. It’s Fan Friendly, refreshing (sometimes too refreshing) and celebratory of all that is good in Canadian Football. Loaded full with tradition, the week of activities keep football fans hopping from venue to venue. Local organizing committees work hard through the year to pull off the Awards show, the parade, the hospitality nights and of course the Big Game itself. Year after year, even fans who couldn’t tell you the difference between a shovel pass and an end run, will sit down and watch the national championship.

While hockey is said to be our passion, Grey Cup Sunday is our obsession. And still the best damn excuse you'll ever have to put on a hell of a house party!

So there you have it, feel free to offer up your own interpretations in the comments section below.

Now anyone can be the head coach of a football team!

There’s a delicious review of family bonding on the Slate website, as Felix Gillette not only reviews the new Madden Football 07 video game, but suggests that it’s taught him a lot about the nuances of the game that he may have missed in real life. It's apparently providing a number of lessons that have been well received, as the game has posted record sales since its release in August.

When he’s not recounting the fun filled moments of challenging his brother to an epic battle on Madden 07, he’s pointing some pretty valid thoughts about television coverage of sports these days. For a generation weaned on these game consoles, the coverage we receive these days on the tube is positively from the dark ages.

Folks that are growing up with the Xbox, the Play station and their other video cousins want those different looks, different angles, they desire more hands on participation, things that even with the advent of HD TV and internet broadcasts still aren’t there for us.

Now I’m not exactly the fellow to be reviewing video games, such is my apparent ineptitude in the art of digital gaming. On a recent Rupert monsoon afternoon my young one and I went one on one, cyborg to Jedi if you will, on his Star Wars Battlefront II game.

So sure was he of my inability to keep track of even the simple commands that he “neglected” to clue me in on some key points to ponder while maneuvering my way along the Star Wars front. Oh things like; if you step off the walkway you will die. If you take your fighter off into flight and rise to the roof you will crash, if you run out of ammo when a clone comes your way, its best to make your life insurance arrangements quickly.

Now to be fair, he’s absolutely right. The concept of clicking the circle button, the square one and that triangle thing, all while flicking the various flippers and pounding the remaining buttons just left me as a hopeless wanna be Jedi. If I had been working the war against the Empire, we’d all be hailing Darth Vader right about now.

But yet, I still want to be a gamer.

This leaves me looking for a game that may give me a hope in any rematches to come. So maybe this Madden thing will work for me, as I'm a long time football fan and think I know a thing or two about the sport. Though I like to run a simple offense, you know throw the ball, hope someone catches it and score a touchdown. It's probably quite an easy thing to defend, but I’m a simple run and shoot kind of guy.

Judging by Gillette’s review of the game I will have to modernize my plans. There seems to be quite a bit of thought involved in running the offence and setting your defences in Madden 07. Keeping track of the defensive schemes while you’re formulating a brilliant offensive move that will make the Big man himself go Wham! It’s a challenging game by all accounts, one that requires constant revisions of your plans.

But I think I’m up to the challenge.

If not, maybe I can pick up an old copy of Pong; I think I had that one figured out once upon a time.

The above post first appeared on my A Town Called Podunk blog, my little window on the world full of general information.

Monday, September 04, 2006

70,596 and counting!

Rewrite those record books, but use a pencil for now, there’s a new passing leader in professional football and Damon Allen plans on tacking on some mileage to the mark before he’s done.

Early into the third quarter of play, Damon Allen eclipsed Warren Moons professional football passing record on Monday, as he tossed a hitch pass to Arlan Bruce III, who scampered 29 yards putting Allen past the previous record of 70,553 yards.

When they finally pried the ball away from Bruce, they took time for a brief ceremony to honour the dean of the CFL and pro football’s passing leader. In front of a rather respectful Ti Cat home crowd (one of the signs of the apocalypse we suspect) Allen received his accolades and a football for his accomplishment.

Allen set his record on one of those days of Canadian football when the viewership is the highest, the Labour Day weekend is traditionally one of the big weekends of Canadian football, so it seems quite appropriate that Allen should take his bows against that ancient foe of the Argos the Tiger Cats.

They trotted out his old college coach Steve Mariucci and the Commissioner said a few words on behalf of the league as it acknowledged a remarkable achievement. Allen has played his entire professional career above the 49th parallel, an amazing talent who has outlasted all of his peers of the day and still shows he has the chops to a new class of brash young field generals coming up behind him.

He’s been one of a kind, by sheer longevity he’s led his teams to Grey Cups, set records along the way and has shown leadership and maturity to teams that at times seemed in desperate need of it.

He’s made the league a much better brand of entertainment and continues to make his mark and seems to be ready to make it a little longer. They say all records are made to be broken. But it’s going to take someone truly amazing to take the title from Allen once he’s finished padding those magical numbers.

Some of the press of this record setting day.

Hamilton Spectator-Amazing Allen gives fans something to cheer
Toronto Star-Exchange rate needed when comparing QB's
San Jose Mercury News-Other Allen makes mark in San Diego, Made in Canada
Globe and Mail-Ageless Allen eclipses Moon over the Moon
CBC Sports-Allens surpases Moons record

Three quarter football!

The Ti-Cats should petition the CFL league office for a rule change, effective immediately all CFL contests should only be three quarters in length, eliminating the need for a final fifteen minutes and the ever popular Ti-Cat melt down.

For Three quarters in front of the traditional sold out Labour Day multitudes at Ivor Wynne Stadium, the Tiger Cats resembled the team everyone thought they would see from Game One on.

An offensive line suddenly remembered the name of their game was to PROTECT the quarterback, Jason Maas remembered that there were guys on his team that could catch balls. Corey Holms got to feel what a football felt like again. The defence found that knocking an Argo on his can was a fun feeling to have on Labour Day. They even managed to overcome the loss of Josh Ranek who suffered a ghastly looking injury on one of his trademark straight ahead runs.

For three quarters it was a football game, a low scoring smash mouth of a game, but at least the beer concessions didn’t have to close early in fear of a riot or because no one was left around to buy the product.

The Ti Cats resplendent in their fancy White helmets came out and roared on their very first set of downs, actually scoring offensive points in the first few minutes of a game. The first offensive points put on the board by an offensive drive in a long time. So long in fact that Ron Lancaster actually looked as though coaching might be a fun thing to do to help out his team in desperate trouble.

However, by the end of the game, Ronnie would look like he has on far too many nights since taking over from Greg Marshall, looking to the skies and seeking out signs that the Apocalypse is nearly over.

Things went down hill for the Cats right after Damon Allen made his latest mark in professional football, a slight little hitch pass to Arlan Bruce III early in the third quarter turned into a touchdown scamper, putting the Argos ahead for good and making Allen a record holder par extraordinaire. They trotted out his old college coach Steve Mariucci and the Commissioner said a few words (other than will work for food) on behalf of the league as Allen celebrated his eclipse of the Moon record of 70553 yards passing, now sitting at 70596 and counting!

The brief disruption in routine seemed to take all the gas out of the Ticat tank, from that moment on the game was all Allen’s and all Argos. They scored another 27 points before the final gun mercifully went off.

The Ticats couldn’t find the endzone once more, as the Argos continued their domination on defence if fourth quarters refusing to surrender so much as a single.

There were some bright moments for the fans of the Yellow and Black; Maas looked more like what Cat fans were promised than at any time in the season. The O line finally found a way to provide some protection, Corey Holmes announced that he wants the ball and knows what to do with it and the Defence refused to yield for 45 minutes. Things to work on we guess, as Dr. Phil might say Baby steps.

For the Ti-Cat fans it was a switch and bait kind of night, they were promised a never say die squad for three quarters only to see them expire in the fourth. There provided for so much promise early on, giving way to so much disappointment by games end. The game by the end served as a metaphor for the season so far.

For Ticat fans, it’s a single thought, if only the three down game, only lasted three quarters!

I need to check my mail more often!

Finally got around to opening up the ole twelve man mailbox, I need to do that more often I guess. After I deleted the 165 different spam messages, (Dear (fill in your name here) for the final time, No I don't want to help you get your money out of Africa, I have enough problems getting my own money out of my bank) I found some messages from other bloggers with a CFL addiction.

A couple of excellent outposts of the CFL brand, doing a great job of sharing the fun of the CFL.

There was the boatmenblog, which is a terrific resource for the CFL fan, far mor professional looking that the old Twelve Man. But when you check out the section that says about us, well lets just say that a writer, a lawyer and a banker probably have enough liquidity to make a blog look real nice and lawsuit free too, we might add!

It's good place to send your browser in quest of CFL news. Check out the archives for some entertaining posts of the past, in particular check out the D'Angelo posts, the Commisioner search post and Feuds and Grudges. It's a rolling party of a blog direct from the Big Smoke itself.

Just Three Downs comes our way from Winnipeg and a loyal Blue Bomber fan (one no doubt feeling a little uh, hmmm, sleepy? today, after the Big Blue caravan to Saskatchewan, guess it was the longest five hours this time around). It gives the CFL fan the viewpoint from Portage and Main (maybe he'll let you crash at his place on Grey Cup weekend eh!)

Nice to see some more CFL blogs making their way onto the blogosphere, if you know of any others that we should check out send us the link in the comments section.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

They're road hammers and maybe a little hammered

The Labour Day Classics bring out the best of Canadian football, rivalries stoked by enthusiasm and uh, er, other substances bring the crowds out in the most important weekend of football outside of the Grey Cup.

From rolling caravans down the 401, to the steady stream of traffic on the Queen Elizabeth Highway between Calgary and Edmonton it's a weekend where as they say, if you aren't excited about the game then somebody should check your pulse.

But perhaps the wildest, most intense weekend of partying and football comes with the trek across the flat lands of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. This year it was Regina's turn to host the annual gathering of the clans, and as the following article from the Winnipeg Sun's Paul Friesen, they were ready to party long before the ball got a hoof down the field.

For the 30,000 plus Saskatchewan fans who crammed into Mosaic Field the 39-12 win, guarantees that the party will carry on all night long and into Monday morning. For the Winnipeg fans, that bus ride east, back home to River city, is going to be a quiet affair. Which considering the amount of refreshments that the faithful have consumed may be a good thing after all.

Two games down, two to go. Prepare the nachos and sandwiches and chill that beer.

The Labour Day Classics, they're everything great about the CFL!

With a bit of booze, too
Winnipeg Sun (and Canoe)
September 3, 2006

Greg Partridge has this Labour Day thing down pat.

Wearing a toga over his shoulders and a laurel wreath on his head, Partridge climbed onto a bus pointed towards Regina yesterday, along with about 55 of his closest friends, confident he'd packed for the occasion.

Game ticket: check. Cooler full of beer: check. Jello shooters: check.
Jello shooters?

"We usually have about 600 or 700 on the bus," Partridge explained. "It's kind of become a tradition."

And so the rowdiest football weekend of the year, next to the Grey Cup, got rolling early yesterday morning.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have gone 15 years without winning a CFL championship, the Saskatchewan Roughriders a league-worst 18 years, but you wouldn't know it from the hype generated by the annual Labour Day Classic.

Sold out for weeks, Regina's Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field will be overflowing tonight -- and, yes, we use that term literally -- thanks, in part, to several hundred lunatics wearing Bomber colours who make the annual trek down the Trans-Canada.

"This is shaping up to be the best trip I've ever been on," said organizer Pat Rathwell, who gets together two busloads under the moniker, True Blue Booster Crew. "I could have easily done three or four. The team's doing a lot better. We're not going in there thinking, 'I hope we don't get killed.'"

Rathwell said his buses contain "the serious football fans," but, looking at his face, painted gold with a W on his forehead and a B on each cheek, it was hard to take him too seriously.
Then you talk to some of his passengers.

Like Cameron Caldwell, who's made this trip 22 times, but won't drive the 600 clicks himself, anymore.

"It's easier to eat kolbassa when you're on the bus," Caldwell began.

"You can have kolbassa in one hand and a beverage in the other."
Of course.

"This is Canadiana at its best," Caldwell continued. "It's a mini-Grey Cup. If you can live through one of these weekends, you can make it through a Grey Cup. It's a litmus test."

Not to mention a liver test.

Climbing onto another bus were a couple of guys with funnels attached to long tubes. I'm guessing they weren't for oil changes.

"It'll hold 15 beers," Kevin Lottis, a 24-year-old machinist, explained. "One-inch tubing, reinforced for pressure. A brass ball valve. This is the industrial-strength nozzle."
According to Brian Lafreniere, another funnel guy, it takes just three seconds for an entire beer to clear his device.

"I'd test it out for you, but it's a little early," Lafreniere said. "Wait until Brandon."
Wait a minute -- what about the football game?

"I think there's a game on the weekend," Kendra-Dee De Luca offered. "I think we've made it there a couple of times."

De Luca and a few friends were calling this weekend a girls' getaway. So what are they doing piling into a bus carrying mostly male football fanatics, many of whom plan on consuming copious amounts of liquor by the time they hit Elie?

"No drinking," De Luca insisted, her tongue nearly poking through her cheek. "Everyone sleeps. Watch a few movies. Play some bingo. A little Neil Diamond."

Sure. A real travelling salvation show. With football the religion, and more than a little communion along the way.

And what do the guys driving the buses think of all this?

"Everybody's rocking," driver Mike Moore said. "The music is blaring from Winnipeg to Regina. You get there in a split second."

About as much time as it takes to down 700 Jello shooters.

"The best part, honestly, is probably the bus ride out there," Partridge, the Jello guy, said. "Jello shooters aside, it's a perfect two-six, here to Regina."

Canadian college season set to begin

They’ll be football mad in Quebec City again this fall as the Laval Rouge et Or set out to begin the 2006 college season ranked as the number one pick.

The football program at Laval has quickly become one of the best in the country a fact that has been recognized by the crowds that trek out to the Laval campus on game days. Provincial rivals the Carabins of Universite de Montreal are ranked third, which should make for an exciting finish for the growing legions of football fanatics in Quebec this fall.

Last years defending champion Laurier Hawks hold down the number four spot in the CIS top ten as the season gets set to begin. The two month season leads up to the Vanier Cup this year to be held in Saskatoon where the second ranked Huskies will be hoping to be in the mix when the national championship is battled for.

The season kicked off in the West on Saturday with Saskatchewan topping Alberta 27-6, Manitoba defeating Regina 34-24 ( a poor omen for the Riders perhaps?) and UBC defeated Calgary 22-16.

If you live close to a Canadian college its well worth your while to check out game day on campus, the quality of the Canadian college game improves each year as can be seen by the large number of CIS grads who have made their mark in the CFL and those that have even moved across the border to test their skills in the NFL.

The Globe and Mail presented the top ten listings from Canadian Press in its Saturday edition.

Laval begins CIS football season at No. 1
Canadian Press

Ottawa — The Laval Rouge et Or open the 2006 Canadian university football season at No. 1 while the defending Vanier Cup champion Laurier Golden Hawks are fourth in the first ranking announced Wednesday.

The Saskatchewan Huskies, 24-23 losers to Laurier in the Vanier Cup last fall, are ranked second. They host this year's championship match at Griffiths Stadium on Nov. 25.
Laval led all 10 polls last season and is seeking its third title in four years after losing to Saskatchewan 29-27 in last year's Mitchell Bowl.

A 24-18 exhibition win over the Huskies on Saturday in Quebec City helped the Rouge et Or hold on to the top spot.

The Golden Hawks, who became the first Ontario conference team to win the Vanier Cup since 1994, slipped in the standings after graduating 11 of 24 starters, including quarterback Ryan Pyear and running back Nick Cameron.

The Montreal Carabins, now under coach Marc Santerre, are ranked third and should pose a significant challenge to Laval in the Quebec conference.

The Acadia Axemen, at No. 7, are the only top-10 team from the Atlantic conference. St. Mary's, a perennial powerhouse in recent years, fell out of the rankings following the departure of coach Blake Nill to Calgary.

Rounding out the top-10 are: Ottawa at No. 5; McMaster at No. 6; Alberta at No. 8; Manitoba at No. 9 and Western at No. 10.

Calling Air America

A number of CFL teams are watching the NFL waiver wires, keeping track of the bubble boys and crossing their fingers that some of our wayward sons might wish to come home.

It’s NFL cut down time (better known around the CFL as Airlift time), as those bloated NFL exhibition rosters get pared down to the regular season limit for next weeks season debut and leave a whack of football players looking to make some long term football planning.

This years crops of Canadians that find themselves outside looking in and elsewhere, include two high profile players that may just decide that it’s time to return to the home and native land. The Two Jesses' top the dream list for many a CFL GM as the summer wanes and fall football weather quickly approaches.

Quarterback Jesse Palmer was released earlier in August by the San Francisco 49ers, who decided that he wasn’t in their plans. Palmer who spent a few seasons with New York Giants may wish to actually get some on field experience now, having gone through the taxi squad, practice squad and depth chart positioning of the NFL.

Of interest to both him and Ottawa fans is the prospect of his father becoming part of an ownership group in Ottawa. Though they suggest their bid is not contingent on son Jesse coming back home, not to mention the fact that his CFL rights are held by Montreal. However, the lure of television may take him from the sidelines to the broadcast booth, he apparently has a standing offer from Fox sports to sign on as a talking head for Fox Football.

Palmer, if he comes back to Canada, would be the first Canadian quarterback to potentially start a game since Larry Jusdanis did back in 1995 with Hamilton. There have been a few flickers at times, Tom Denison got a look see in Winnipeg a few years ago only to be cut and go into some kind of Canadian witness protection program for former college QBs. Luc Tousignant, Chris Flynn and Dan Ferady were a possibility, but import ration numbers worked against them.

The lack of Canadian quarterbacks has always been the one sore point with CFL fans, who dream of another Russ Jackson one day leading the charge down the field. The rules almost dictate against a home grown QB these days. But talent surely would win out over numbers, and by all accounts Palmer has some talent, though he’s not been on display much in the last four years. One hopes that he and others soon get a chance to show their stuff in their own country.

Jesse Lumsden, who recently was released by the Washington Redskins might want to return to the CFL for a more elongated stay as well, Lumsden signed with the Ti-Cats last year but didn’t see a great amount of action in his short time back home. Then again the way the Cats are not protecting their running backs and quarterbacks this season, he might want to wait til next year. The scuttle butt around the Skins is that he may end up on the teams practice squad, saving him the need to return to the nightmare season in Tabbie land this year.

Other potential Canucks that could go down the road back home include Jerome Pathon recently released by Atlanta, Steve Morley let go by the Jets and Brett Romberg who was released by Jacksonville.

One possible name to the returnee file, isn't Canadian, but is surely of interest. Casey Printers who was released by the Chiefs yesterday could be ready to return. But the story out of KC is that if he passes through waivers the Chiefs might sign him to a practice roster squad, so the BC Lions most likely won't have to worry about the Printers issue once again coming up during a playoff drive.

It will be worth watching to see how many of the Canadians and those Americans that left Canadian teams to try their luck in the NFL return north of the 49th to continue their football education.

A timely pick up by a team in September could make all the difference come playoff time in November. Let the negotiating begin, we can hear the cry now. Bring the boys home!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Results: Week Twelve

September 4 Toronto 40, Hamilton 6
September 4 Calgary 44, Edmonton 23
September 3 Saskatchewan 39, Winnipeg 12
September 1 BC 48 Montreal 13

The final snaps of September

September 30 "We're over that"
September 29 "Teams just play better at home"
September 28 "They keep saying 'Let's win the Grey Cup for Milt"
September 27 "I think some good will come out of the meeting"
September 26 "To me it is a huge change"
September 25 "That's the way winning teams win football games"
September 24 "A lot of things go through your mind right now"
September 23 "He's having a heck of a season and we've got our work cut out for us"
September 22 "There's not a lot of smoke screens and garbage stuff"
September 21 "I think physically, the break came at a great time for us,"
September 20 "My worst play as a pro"
September 19 "We were off on a couple things, but it wasn't like he was wrong on 50 out of 50"
September 18 "I am thrilled that Corey will be a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this season and in the years to come."
September 17 "It feels just great to win"
September 16 "I don't think the people in Edmonton realize that no streak lasts forever. Period"
September 15 "And from there, the board of governors will take the appropriate course of action"
September 14 "He will probably try to lie but there's a sheet out there somewhere that will prove I'm No. 1"
September 13 "We are 0-5 on away games, so we can't take anybody lightly"
September 12 "I think he's full of (expletive),"
September 11 "There's a way to kill the salary cap "
September 10 "And Eric is going to bring, I believe, that bully attitude into that offensive line group"

September 9 "Ricky is the best ever"
September 8 "Somebody is going to want to have control"
September 7 "My understanding is the NFL doesn't seem overly interested in expanding into Canada"
September 6 "We have some surprises planned as well"
September 5 "I'm going to have to find a basilica to visit in Edmonton,"
September 4 "I don't think I'll fully appreciate all this until I'm done"
September 3 "Maybe I should buy a Lotto 6/49 ticket"
September 2 "We're watching the guys who are on the bubble"
September 1 "I think we have watched one another's career from afar,"

Opening kick offs for September

September 30 Leos just keep on rollin'
September 30 Controversial call sets up Argos win
September 30 Eskimos say they have more confidence
September 29 Als back on top in East
September 29 Gizmo takes one more bow
September 29 Expanding the 2007 cap
September 28 Ottawa in a waiting pattern
September 28 Avery takes a seat for another week
September 28 Stampeders at full gallop
September 27 CFL fumbling the Ottawa football?
September 27 Argos looking to step it up
September 27 Stamps rising to fast?
September 26 C stands for Crazy
September 26 Bombers liking that 1st place feeling
September 26 Wally wears the goat horns
September 25 Riders stand behind their coach
September 25 The word they don't dare say in Hamilton
September 25 Calvillo and Als looking for answers
September 24 Show and tell week for prospective owners
September 24 Time to put Campbell out to pasture?
September 24 Reports of his demise are greatly exagerated
September 23 Runs and some fun for Ricky
September 23 Give Joffrey his due
September 23 Als look to work harder
September 22 Als deny coaching rumours
September 22 Stamps gain respect
September 22 Esks continue their slide
September 21 Gabriel's THE CATCH nominated
September 21 Burris is a fan
September 21 In Edmonton it comes down to pride
September 20 Ricky's ready
September 20 Berry blasts his Bombers
September 20 Danny's fate hinges on Rider run
September 19 Every little thing goes wrong for the Bombers
September 19 Gass gives a heads up
September 19 Geroy's long road to BC
September 18 Warm Bodies, Game Tapes and Resumes c/o Brendan
September 18 No love lost for Esks and Cats
September 18 Jesse may be eligible again
September 17 Eskie faithful in full panic
September 17 Stamps want to go Lion hunting
September 17 Holmes heading for a new home?
September 16 Simon steals the show
September 16 Ticats finally back on winning side of ledger
September 16 Same old problems for Blue
September 15 Leos look for seventh win in a row
September 15 Holmes to miss game against Esks
September 15 Copeland with a haul
September 14 Ricky's ready to race again
September 14 Steagall sets his sights
September 14 Davis goes back to familiar turf
September 13 Jesse's homecoming
September 13 Don't blink or you'll miss him
September 13 Maas meets his memories
September 12 In Ottawa the choice is obvious
September 12 Points for Palmer to ponder
September 12 Bombers look to stay on track
September 11 Looking for a kick start
September 11 Letters of intent on time
September 11 Scheduling starting to go Eskies way
September 10 As Wiltshire waits on tests, Lewis apologizes
September 10 Same old, same old for Ti Cats
September 10 Bombers battle more than football teams
September 9 Eskies holding out Ray of hope
September 9 The Birth of the Banjo Bowl
September 9 Damon Allen Day
September 8 Asper interested in Bombers
September 8 The Baron of BC gets better and better
September 8 Parker is in a zone
September 7 Looking for a HERO
September 7 Bombers welcome Big Eric back
September 7 Stamps streaking at right time
September 6 Looking for accountability in Edmonton
September 6 Blue set to make some changes
September 6 A CFL shopping list
September 5 Allen stands alone at the top
September 5 It can only get worse in Edmonton
September 5 Printers to stay with the Chiefs
September 4 Just plain awful I
September 4 Just plain awful II
September 4 Just a Marvel
September 3 Stamps can make Eskies season even worse
September 3 Everybody admires Damon
September 3 A long ride home for the fans of the Blue
September 2 Some Canadians pack their bags, others pick out apartments in the NFL
September 2 On Labour Day the rivalries are the thing
September 2 Complicating a capital return
September 1 Some facts about the CFL's Labour Day weekend
September 1 Chiefs to cut Printers, but he's not Canada bound!
September 1 Alouettes troubles continue with loss to BC