I’ve been watching this game for a long time and as we come up to the 1/3 pole of the year something isn’t right about the league, I find myself not watching games, I feel bored watching them or exasperated by the length time it takes to play the game or frustrated by the endless amounts of penalties, there’s no flow to the game this year.
So here’s my bitch list of things that I believe are choking the life out of this game.
Reviewable Penalties: Slo-motion cameras, HD TV’s have increased our need for perfection out on the field. There’s not a week that passes that some fan or some team complains about some blown call. On how crappy the reffing is.
I don’t get it, we want perfection out of the reffing, yet games are not lost by a bad call by the ref, but in most cases, mistakes (big and small) made by the teams on the field determine the wins or losses of the game.
The CFL has taken the game out of the hands of the ref and his crew and placed a looming Big Brother over them. IF we are lacking in pay or training for our referees, I’m all in favor of cash being directed to them. We’re human we make mistakes, perfection is an unattainable goal – don’t drive my game over three hours with review after review. It bores the crap out of us and takes away the flow of the game. I’ll take the warts in the game for better flow and less elongated pauses.
Protecting the QB – This has got out of hand. If a player’s helmet, arm gets a whiff of the QB’s head, a flag comes out like a rocket. Roughing the passer should be called just for that, when a player goes over and above the actual tackle to sack the QB then they should be penalized. Do we want to place the QB above the other players? Make it a 25 yard penalty! ACTUALLY DISCIPLINE a player that acts maliciously. Let the defensive player do their job, let the fan see some consistency in the play and relieve the ref from throwing a flag every time a hard hit is placed upon the QB.
East – West Disparity - NO! I’m not calling for the resurrection of the Equalization Draft! I honestly don’t know about this one, there are some great football minds in all four teams out East, I think they can straighten it out:
Montreal – I believe there’s still lingering strife among ownership and management that’s affecting the product on the field, early returns shows that going all in with Troy Smith may have been the wrong choice. It’s never easy following a legend because of the inevitable comparisons Good news is, if he continues to tank and Montreal has to make a move outside the organization, there are some serviceable QBs (Tate, Glenn) that can elevate the team until they find the new “Next Guy”.
Ottawa – Fighting for 1st in their 1st season? Ottawa’s loving this lull right now, if they can get 6 wins they have a great chance of making the playoffs and they’ll only get better as the team gels and upgrades it’s personnel.
Toronto – They have no hope right now. How can you get behind a team in an awful venue that they don’t even know that they’re going to be there in a few years? The ownership issue needs to be resolved and they need to get the hell out of Rogers to a smaller outdoor stadium, CFL football can come back to Toronto despite all the latte drinking NFL lovers wishes are.
Hamilton – Man, these fans have suffered a bunch. Once they get into the new stadium we’ll see excitement generated there.
Injuries – I’m at a loss on this one. The turf is better, I’ll assume the equipment is better, why ALL the injuries? Tough from a fan standpoint to pick a favorite player when they can’t get on the field. I have no solutions for this, it’s definitely not moving to flag football like we are with the QB’s – it’s only leading to a malaise in the CFL.
The Strike Talk – I’d be a fool to think that there are no lingering effects of the strike on the attendance or the play on the field. Your work is cut out for you to get a new potential fan to the field in the spring with talk of work stoppage. Good news is, the hopes are that it lasts only a year.
Talent Drain – I didn’t expect this but when you have to replace over 12% of your talent through expansion, it going to affect the play on the field. I firmly believe this is temporary and the talent pool will be filled in 2-4 years.
CFL – I’m glad you’ve got that huge cash influx from the TSN deal, I hope you’re not just stuffing it in a mattress. It seems you were better at promoting the team in the 90’s than you’ve ever been. I see the local franchises putting the best foot forward in promoting the team, how about loosening a few dimes from that windfall to promote the league on a national level
Is it all doom and gloom? No, the season is less than half way through and I’m sure the pointy heads that tinker and adjust this league are looking at it too. Right now it's just boring. I hope they make the right adjustments. I’ll most likely hold my nose through this year and hope for improvement in 2015.