Here is a letter I wrote to the league back in March. I wondered what they thought of it all.
Dear Mr. Wright:
Re: Allen Hadleyâ€™s 2006 CFL State of Address
With the amount of letters and different types of correspondence I receive in my own career position, I will try to keep this letter as brief as possible. However, the more I think about what I want to say, the more long winded this may getâ€¦. Bear with me please, as all my comments are (in my mind) very important to the success of â€œCanadaâ€™s Leagueâ€?.
First and foremost, congratulations on a job well done as Commissioner. To whoever the naysayers were from each respective team during your contract dispute, please note that in Canadaâ€™s league, the league of people, the people are behind you. Stability and consistency are two major factors in the continued success of any business, and the longer you are able to remain at the helm, will only help in the eyes of the public.
Any true CFL fan not only wants their team to do well, but also wishes for the success of the league. The following comments are designed to give you and the teams a better feel for what has been done successfully and things to look at in the future.
- BC Lions
â€œThatâ€™s the Lionâ€?. This mantra fits the province of British Columbia too a tee. The Mountain Lion is sometimes unstoppable; its prey never having stood a chance. But like the animal kingdom, or Buono Ball, the â€œhit and missâ€? factor will be forever represent Canadaâ€™s further most western team.
Very Well Done: hearkening back to the orange jerseys. Solid Orange with black stripe on shoulder pads and the â€œpaw printâ€? helmet looks excellent contrasting with the new field turf purchased from the Big Owe, on television.
- Calgary Stampeders
â€œItâ€™s all about the Horseâ€?. With the exception of the Feterik years, the Stampeder franchise has been a model of consistency in the CFL. Sportchek Zone seats are a big hit; itâ€™s where I sit every time I come to the games.
The third jersey (solid black with pistols on the shoulder pads) should be accompanied with the horseshoe helmet of the 50â€™s.
- Edmonton Eskimos
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency. All teams in Canadaâ€™s League could learn valuable lessons from this franchise; from front office positions, to coaching staff.
Well Done â€“ team third solid yellow jersey.
- Saskatchewan Roughriders
Rider Pride. Enough said. Every CFL fans second favourite team (with the exception of myself â€“ Ottawa Rough Riders).
Possible Third Jersey (I donâ€™t believe they have one yet) â€“ Solid silver with green pants and old 50â€™s round â€œSâ€? logo on the helmet.
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Now that the $3.8 million dollar salary cap or salary management system is in place, it will allow smaller market teams such as Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Ottawa and Hamilton to compete with the rest of the league.
Very Well Done â€“ Winnipegâ€™s third solid gold Jersey and â€œWâ€? on helmet. The only true â€œGoldâ€? team in the league.
This jersey and helmet comment belies a much larger point and one which feel is very important to the Blue Bombers is Winnipeg vs. Manitoba. There is a lady from St. Malo, MB in my office who has absolutely no allegiance to (the big city) Winnipeg whatsoever. I believe the franchise must be renamed the Manitoba Blue Bombers to truly encompass the citizens of Manitoba. The aforementioned third jersey and helmet will still hearken back to the old Winnipeg days especially when playing the Labour Day game.
- Hamilton Tiger Cats
Local Ownership. Local Canadian Coach. Is it any wonder the city of Hamilton and surrounding area is now coming out in droves to support their team, even when the past few seasons have been less than stellar? This should be used to help the struggling Renegades (Rough Riders).
Third Jersey and Helmet Possibility â€“ Solid yellow with some black stripes and a solid yellow helmet with Tiger Cat logo on it (60â€™s and 70â€™s).
- Toronto Argonauts
North Americaâ€™s oldest professional sports franchise, and my only live and die by team. Local ownership, once again, has transformed this franchise around in the eyes of the people.
Third Jersey Possibility â€“ Solid teal uniform with 70â€™s football ship logo on helmet â€œPull Togetherâ€?.8) Ottawa Renegades
I have no idea who this franchise is or who the people running it are (me being the people). Thereâ€™s only one team in Ottawa and their name is the ROUGH RIDERS. Itâ€™s where all of the history is. Pay no attention to the fact that the Roughriders are also a part of the league. This remains part of the charm of the CFL.
Ownership â€“ I have always been, and will continue to be an outspoken proponent of the Federal Government of Canada owning this franchise (especially now that the salary management system is in place). Federal Government is Ottawa, who are the people, who sometimes run roughshod over provinces (much to their dismay), and would provide the â€œlocal ownershipâ€? that is needed to steer the franchise in the right direction.
GM â€“ Eric Tillman
Football Operations â€“ Bob Nicholson
Head Coach â€“ Laval University (I cannot find the head coaches name â€“ multiple Vanier Cup winner)
Coaching Staff (experienced CFLâ€™ers from around the league â€“ i.e. Hamiltonâ€™s model)
- Montreal Alouettes
Smaller venue translates into huge success. Consistency in team ownership and coaching has translated into making great inroads into the community. The continued retrofit of Percival Molson Stadium will reap benefits into the future.
At the present time, I have no suggestions for a third jersey. A helmet that could be used featured â€œred wingsâ€? back in the 60â€™s (similar to the Philadelphia Eagles helmet).
- Maritime Marauders
The infamous 10th franchise. The name must encompass the whole region (i.e. New England Patriots). I only chose Marauders because it has a nice ring to it and it sounds seafaring.
Looking at the provincial flags of the Maritimes, most are blue, red, white, yellow and green. Uniforms must be derived from these colours. Helmet logos should feature the Bluenose (Canadaâ€™s .10 cent piece â€“ possible third jersey, helmet logo combination â€“ with permission from the Canadian Mint and Government).
Again, local ownership and coaching (St. Maryâ€™s head coach â€“ multiple Vanier Cup Winner) is paramount, although perhaps a community owned franchise may also be plausible. A truly great day in this country will be the BC Lions vs. the Maritime Marauders at the Grey Cup game in Winnipeg. Sea to Sea to Sea (have to include the Arctic and the peoples of the north â€“ latest media story).
To wrap up, I hope all of these comments have been viewed as positive. Being born and raised in the Lindsay/Peterborough area of Ontario and having now lived in Calgary for almost six years after graduating from college (the Alberta Advantage â€“ I got a job), I have been following the CFL ever since 1991 when Mr. Ismail was signed by Torontoâ€™s infamous three owners. My favourite memory still remains the Rocket returning a punt against Calgary at the Grey Cup game in Winnipeg and Bashier Livingston returning the opening kickoff against Hamilton in the East semi final in 2004 (can you say special teams â€“ thank you for addressing this at the league meetings this year).
Other points (now this is starting to get long winded) include, every team, with the exception of Edmonton must install field turf. It looks excellent on television and gives the players a psychological edge rather than astro turf. I wrote a cheque on Dec 26/05 to the Calgary Stampeders (addressed to Hellard et al.) for $30, their stadium improvement fee, to upgrade to field turf, which still has not been cashed. I wonder why that isâ€¦
We have Canadian players at every position with the exception of Quarterback. Third string Quarterbacks must be designated for Canadians. Can you name all the third stringers in the CFL?
And finally, the Vanier Cup being played in conjunction with the Grey Cup in Toronto in 2007. We must start developing grassroots football in this country and what not a better way than to see the two top university teams playing off when the whole country is tuned in for Grey Cup weekend. We are a value driven league and having this event adds a tremendous amount of it in the eyes of the public.
P.S. All helmets were researched on this website:http://www.nationalchamps.net/Helmet_Project/
cc Bob Ackles â€“ BC Lions
Ted Hellard et al. â€“ Calgary Stampeders
Hugh Campbell â€“ Edmonton Eskimos
Jim Hopson â€“ Saskatchewan Roughriders
Lyle Bauer â€“ Manitoba Blue Bombers
Rob Katz â€“ Hamilton Tiger Cats
Keith Pelley â€“ Toronto Argonauts
Stephan Harper â€“ Ottawa Rough Riders
Bill Smith â€“ Ottawa Renegades
Larry Smith â€“ Montreal Alouettes
Allison McCain â€“ Maritime Marauders