Thirty years ago today - April 1 1992 - Larry Smith officially became the Commissioner. He oversaw the remarkable CFL expansion into key American markets and re-established Canadian professional football in Quebec. The renaissance in Montreal and at Percival Molson Stadium was arguably a life-saving factor for the League.
As a player Smith won a pair of Grey Cups with the Alouettes.
I don't know if Larry's in the Hall of Fame but I think if not he belongs there.
Crump didn't do much at all. He just rubber stamped what the governors wanted. He had no real effect, no direction and therefore was quite neutral to the league's course through history. He was neither good nor bad.
Smith on the other hand was very much pro Barnum and Bailey, which was the attitude that was killing the league at the time. It was only under John Tory post 1996 that the league turned around, because of Tory's initiatives to move to quality product and brand value over fly-by-night flash and dash circus promo marketing.
Well Tory did one good thing, he worked for a dollar. Any Commissioner is just the mouth piece of the owners IMO. But Larry Smith had a lot to do as CEO with the Alouettes, as to their attendance success as far as I know.
He was cracking corny jokes for almost very pick in the first round (such beauties as “it says your position is Right Guard, so does that mean that you use RightGuard deodorant?” or when one particularly large individual was drafted he sarcastically asked “do you work out by any chance?”)
He also kept calling former Rider and then Ticat coach John Gregory “Barney Rubble” over the microphone multiple times despite the fact that Gregory was not laughing, was staring him down, and after the third time, looked like he was about to Will Smith him.
An absolute surreal scene at a professional league’s draft
Who's done more to save the league in the past 30 years than David Braley? Larry Smith with his hairbrained schemes pretty much single-handedly drove Braley out of the league. After the CFLs worst era was over and Smith stepped aside, Braley came back and pumped his cash into it, saving BC. No commissioner has done more damage to the CFL than Larry Smith.
Again, I will say that I believe Smith was very well-intentioned, he was just wrong.