I was glad to see how the front page of today's Globe and Mail had devoted an eye catching coverage on the CFL.
Basically dealing with the Top 10 kind, meaning there should be some positives as well as the much anticipated negatives, being the general past time and the usual whipping boy of Canadian media against the CFL.
Well, upon further review although some points are relevant and no doubt true, everyting is negative.
One look at the authors, Stephen Brunt and David Naylor and there is your answer. Brunt has been nothing short of abysmal in his negative slant on the league for the good little while. Meanwhile, Naylor has not been too far behind in a similar vain.
Here is the story, make up your own mind.


By the wild and woolly standards of the Canadian Football League, this year's Grey Cup week will surely seem dead calm.

At times in the past as the grand old game prepared to award its championship mug, league commissioners were being hired and fired, ambitious expansion plans were being hatched or were collapsing, wacky club owners were plotting coups, cash calls were being made to pay the bills and tickets were being hustled in desperate attempts to fill an embarrassingly empty stadium.

On the surface, none of that will be taking place in Winnipeg. Though commissioner Tom Wright will be making his farewell address on Friday after being handed his walking papers last spring, there's no hint yet of who might replace him. Returning a team to Ottawa, which seemed like a front-burner issue immediately after the Renegades breathed their last, is no longer such a high priority. It appears that the eight-team league will remain so, at least for the time being. And the announcement of a new television deal, one that might reshape the economics of the sport, is imminent, but isn't expected before the Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions kickoff the 2006 title game on Sunday. Beyond that, no bankruptcies loom. No one is suggesting it's time to put a team in Halifax or Honolulu. No Gliebermans are being welcomed back into the fold.

But the truth is, the CFL faces a series of fundamental questions now that, in their own way, are as crucial as those that were being asked during more obvious times of crisis.


Beneath the placid surface, behind Wright's winning smile, Canadian football is at a crossroads on several fronts, DAVID NAYLOR and STEPHEN BRUNT write.

The answers to these 10 questions will go a long way toward deciding its future:

  1. Who's the boss?

With Tom Wright's term about to end, there's no indication the league knows whom or what it wants in its next commissioner. Or, some would ask, whether it needs one at all? Some see it as a purely a ceremonial position, with no real decision-making power. Others believe there's no point hiring a commissioner without giving him the power to blow up the league's business model.

  1. What's the vision for the future?

Over the past 15 years, the CFL has been constantly striving to become something else. There was the U.S. expansion phase and the radically Canadian notion, followed by the goal of becoming a 10-team league stretching from coast to coast. That's now a pipe dream. Alouettes owner Robert Wetenhall, for one, wants the league to expand into cities such as Rochester, N.Y., and Fargo, N.D. So what exactly does the CFL want to be?

  1. What's on the television horizon?

The CFL is in the midst of negotiating a new television deal that many throughout the league believe will bring significantly more revenue its way. The league has been a strong property during the regular season, with its playoffs and Grey Cup anchoring its value. But with ratings down this season, what's driving this notion that the league is about to hit the television jackpot? And could it mean selling all of its advertising properties to the networks in order to drive up the overall price?

  1. Whither Ottawa?

The CFL announced its intention to return to Ottawa even before the smoke had cleared from last spring's collapse of the Renegades' franchise. Not everyone in the league was on board, however, then or now. Many see no point riding back into a market where teams have twice collapsed within the past decade and few fans seem to miss the game. There's one group at the table still talking about 2008. But unless the league gets a sweetheart deal, it's not going back to Ottawa any time soon.

  1. Does a $4.05-million salary cap make good business sense?

The CFL will debut its new salary cap next season. But in a league where most clubs continue to lose money, some wonder how that's going to change with player payrolls of more than $4-million. Just four years ago, the CFL was trying to operate with a $2.5-million cap. How it managed to increase that figure by 60 per cent in an environment with no inflationary pressure has many shaking their heads.

  1. What happened to all the fun?

There's no overstating how drastically the CFL's entertainment value dipped this year. The number of touchdowns was down, the number of field goals and penalties was up and big kick returns became nearly extinct. Most regular-season games varied from dull to unwatchable. The league intends to revisit the changes it made to blocking rules on returns. But it's going to have serious issues if it can't find a way to make the restore the entertainment value of its product next season.

  1. What are the prospects for the 2007 Grey Cup in Toronto?

It's been 14 years since the CFL last dared to stage its big show in the Big Smoke. The 1992 Grey Cup week was a disaster, which is way the league cancelled plans to stage the '93 game in Toronto and moved it to Calgary. Now, it's back -- with a lot riding on its success for both the league and the Toronto Argonauts' owners, who also own rights to the 2012 Grey Cup, the 100th anniversary game. A good show would be a boon to the league's biggest market, but a flop would be a killer to a club trying to keep its off-field momentum going.

  1. What's the fan backlash going to be like in Hamilton?

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats created a lot of new fans when owner Bob Young took over three years ago and their attendance soared. But they've put fans through two of the most dreadful CFL campaigns in memory, 4-14 in 2006 and 5-13 in 2005. Fans were fed up this season and some were becoming cynical. How cynical will determine whether they come back next year.

  1. Where are all the quarterbacks?

Ten years ago, the CFL's quarterback stable looked something like this: Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia, Matt Dunigan, Damon Allen, Danny McManus, Kent Austin and David Archer. This season, just one quarterback -- Ricky Ray of the Edmonton Eskimos -- was nominated as his team's top player. The roster of up-and-comers doesn't get anyone excited. The CFL no longer can count on scooping up the athletic quarterbacks the National Football League used to shun. So who is going to make up the next generation of pivots?

  1. Is the threat of the National Football League real?

New NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has quickly proven he's not beholden to the views and ideas of his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue. Which is why the NFL might not be so opposed to one of its franchises relocating north of the border. There are those within the CFL who believe that day is coming and its best course is to make a deal with the NFL today that would protect the Canadian game's existence in the future.

Stephen Brunt, Allan Maki and David Naylor begin their Grey Cup blog today,

and will file from the streets of Winnipeg throughout the week at: GLOBESPORTS.COM

I have no use for journalists whatsoever

IF somebody gave me a globe and mail, (I would NEVER buy it) the only use I would use it for would be for the bottom of the budgie cage.

Don't get bent out of shape. The Globe and Mail has never been a supporter of the CFL so why would they start now. If you don't buy it, they wont get revenue!

You would think there would be the mention of the Argos and their feel good story of selling over 22,000+

seats for the 07 GC, an amount which is nothing to sneeze at and especially in Toronto.
Like I said, some of the stuff is warranted, but there are positives to each of their negatives and which is not even explored.
That's what I would say is trash journalism.
Why also send 3 G & M reporters to Winnipeg if each will do a hatched job on the league and game?
By comparison and in recent memory, I do not recall anything remotely close or negative printed on the NFL or even the NHL, during the lockout two years ago.

Very thorough smear job listing every possible or potential problem with the CFL during Grey Cup week. The only nit they missed was Ottawa drafting a dead guy, which Toronto writers usually bring up every week or so.

There stories often start like:

Everything is turning up rosy in the CFL these days. All the teams have great owners, terrific fan support and solid TV ratings...But there is few things I hate about the CFL, here is the complete itemized list in full detail...

...Stay tuned next week for the next installment on what could potentially go wrong with the CFL and our Top Ten CFL Nits of the Week.

You know, despite the facts. Like TV ratings which the CFL dominated again this weekend. And the Decima poll, which painted a damning picture of NFL interest in Toronto, it seems the same old writers keep writing the same old BS about the CFL.

Even funnier were the comments people made to the article. I made a few under the name Mike Berezin. But theres always the idiots who try to tell us that nobody cares. Or the league is dying. Despite the facts

I guess us CfL fans will have to endure this into eternity? Because nothing will stop these idiots. Not even facts.

Another 'gloom and doom' story. Are you really that surprised. Whether the topic is the CFL or the economy the media typically looks for the negative.

If the economy is bust, they wonder when if it's a bottomless pit. When we're in a boom the question then becomes when will the bubble burst.

I particularly like point #2. A difference of opinion held by the Al's owner is painted as a CFL in disarray.

Do yourself a favour, read the Globe with a grain of salt. Unless, of course, you're reading the comics.

The Globe and mail has comics? Other than their jack*** sports writers?

Well, after reading this article I’m just not going to watch Canadian football anymore since Canadian journalists really just know everything there is to know about everything, they are the epistemological guru’s as everyone knows. Man, are they ever smart dudes, I bet that no one will show up for the Grey Cup or another Canadian football game again. :lol:

Thank God for Google, Earl.

For a minute there I got an idea that epistemological gurus
might be exalted mangods who spew golden showers on things.

Why should the Argos have dibbs on the 100th anniversary game?? Let cities that actually care about the CFL-- Edmonton, Calgary , Regina and Winnipeg bid for the game, where a good show will be put on in any of those places. Once again, the league makes a boneheaded move. :thdn:

ronfromtigertown wrote:

exalted mangods who spew golden showers on things

Nice! Ah yes, those golden shower days, fond memories.

Just ignore these idiots, they obviously have no idea that as long as there is beer and football there will be fans and that is the truth.

5. Does a $4.05-million salary cap make good business sense?

The CFL will debut its new salary cap next season. But in a league where most clubs continue to lose money, some wonder how that's going to change with player payrolls of more than $4-million. Just four years ago, the CFL was trying to operate with a $2.5-million cap. How it managed to increase that figure by 60 per cent in an environment with no inflationary pressure has many shaking their heads.

Not that most of the so-called points do not have problems, but I think #5 might just about sum up the "glass half empty" mentality of the Globe/TO media.

First, the NFL salary cap has nearly doubled in the same amount of time and I'll wager these guys see no problem with the "business sense" in that league.
It's called "TV revenue". Plus gate receipts are up across the league. The players sucked it up 10-15 years ago and took massive pay cuts to help the league regain its solvency. Now, with all teams in decent financial shape, and revenues way up, the players are getting their fair share.
Not only does this model make "business snse" but it is the only one that was possible.

Just to put a finer point on it, the claim is made that teams are "losing" money. Maybe some are, but most I suspect will break even or turn a profit this year. And that is at salary levels that already, on average, far exceed the 4.05 cap for next year.

So to sum up, if all ten points are as well considered and researched as point 5, then whomever wrote that column should be fired for incompetance.

Their is definitely a negative vibe running through the article and Brunt's always a downer when it comes to canadian football. But, I feel for these guys. I mean their big time sports reporters, some might even say 'world class' and they probably feel covering the CFL is beneath them.

Curiously, despite the limited, but mostly negative coverage of all three Toronto papers. The CFL keeps chugging along providing thrills and chills for millions of fans from coast to coast.

Long Live the CFL and the toronto sports media can go to hell!

Please guys, don't get down on these journalists. They are reporting about the league and they can't always write "everything is just all fine and dandy". That just isn't the way journalism works for the most part. It's not that they are focusing just on the negative, they are focusing on issues for the league and the sport. That's ok, makes everyone think a bit while maybe helping them sell more papers, which they need. They are really just doing what they have to do in this dog eat dog world out there.

I agree Earl. Brunt brings up honest questions that fans and the powers-that-be have to realistically consider.

Its the CFL's job to market themselves as fine & dandy... If they do a really good job of this, the good press will follow. The media is supposed to take an honest look.

I'm sold that guys like Brunt are CFL fans and care for the league. They're sober fans though and maybe adressing these issues will prompt league officials to do a better job of not making them issues.

I don't think Brunt's all that balanced lately. Nobody expects or wants a whitewash, but these guys defintely focus on the negative relative to the kind of coverage other leagues get.

The NHL has plenty of problems, but you don't get this annual state of the union address leading up to the Stanley Cup. The focus is on the game and players. I think it's become an annual tradition for the toronto media to do this kind of end of season analysis the week before the Grey Cup game. None of what's in the article is actually 'news'. It's a summary, a rehash, and anyone who follows the game is aware of everything in the article and has been for some time. Publishing it during Grey Cup week is just their way of pissing on the event.

These guys are ......party poopers!

Ruff I agree, you want a journalist to be balanced as you say.
No one wants an apologist or a chearleader, but these two writers from the G & M appear to go out of their way to be negative hence contreversial.
If you are going to do that with our league, then why not with others. The latter has not happened at the same extreme.

I think some of you have part of the issue.
Why don't we hear about all the "negatives" from other leagues, just the CFL?
But for my money, what makes it worse is they apparently aren't content with just discussing real issues like who will be the next commish, but are obliged to make up stuff like in point #5 that I discussed earlier.

There is nothing wrong with a little constructive criticism, but just being negative for its own sake is not helpful.

True jounalists would have examined these issues from both sides, providing pros and cons, and a little more indepth analysis would have been nice.