Even as a kid, I was a pro football junkie. In the late 70s and early 80s, several high-profile NFL players like Vince Ferragamo and Billy "White Shoes" Johnson went north to play in the CFL. Since I liked the players, not necessarily their teams, I kept an eye on them whenever I could. NBC showed the games sporatically, as did ESPN for a while, and I read everything I could in Pro Football Weekly.
Maybe it's because I cut my teeth on Joe Namath and the AFL, I've always had an affinity for leagues aside from the NFL. I loved the WFL, USFL, and XFL and still follow the Arena League intensely. The CFL, to my mind, is the most entertaining of the lot.
Very nice Professor Bedell, very nice indeed. I also love football immensely, obviously being a member of this forum, and followed the other leagues as you mention besides the CFL and NFL. But the CFL is in my heart the most as I love most of the rules compared with the other leagues and the history of the Canadian game, a rich history even if it has always taken a back seat in this country to hockey, and most likely always will. But that is ok.
I'm a cajun, born and bred in south Louisiana. My people were kicked out of Nova Scotia in the 18th century, though, if that gets me any Canadian cred!
The only live game I've been able to attend was last year's Grey Cup, and it was hands down the best sporting event I've experienced in my life. As I said in my column after the game, I came away from Vancouver with even more respect for the CFL and for Canada than I had before, and that's saying quite a lot considering how much respect and love I already had for both.
I'm doing some guest teaching out in Portland this summer, and I'm going to attend the BC/Edmonton game while I'm out west. It'll be fun to see a regular season game live, since I'm sure it won't have all the pressure associated with it like the Cup did.
As much as I try to remain objective in the column, I do have a favorite team. I've followed the Als since I was a kid, first because of players I loved on the roster, and second because of my French heritage. That really made my trip to the Cup special last year, even though Montreal came out on the wrong end of a great game.
I'll most likely hold off on the defensive rankings until after preseason, since all of the recent personnel changes have made it really difficult to predict lineups. Secondaries, in particular, across the league have really changed appearances it seems.
Just in the last two weeks, there's been a real flurry of import defensive back signings with NFL experience. All this new blood should challenge for playing time, but I wouldn't want to bet on how effective the changes, like those in Winnipeg, will be until the season gets underway.
Thank you for sharing all that with us Jack. This promps another question however. How is it that a guy living thousands of miles south, whose official job has nothing to do with football and who had never attended a CFL game became a writer for CFL.ca. I'm not saying you were not a good choice, but giving so many people in Canada would dream of being involved with that wonderful league, how is it you landed the job?
CFL.ca was interested in having an American’s take on the league (in fact, that used to be the tag line on my columns). They liked my work as a staff columnist for www.ArenaFan.com, a popular Arena Football site, and they liked the fact that I was a devoted fan of the CFL, not some journalist looking for angles and distribution.
I’m also publisher/editor of www.CFLInsider.com, but I’m not sure the league will ever put those two website credits in my official bio. It wouldn’t make sense to send people to other websites like that. And they may like the uniqueness of having a creative writing professor penning the pieces.
Like 3rd & 10, was also curious how an English professor from way down south ended up writing here. Glad he asked the question.
Have enjoyed your columns. You are obviously a football fan (and a CFL fan). Your columns have a slightly different flavour than a lot of sports writers - likely the prof. thing - you can speak English (kidding). Your writing is clear and flows smoothly.
BTW - do you notice and get thrown by the differences in Canadian spelling (example - flavour vs flavor)?
I try to incorporate as many Canadian spellings into the column as possible, but CFL.ca's editor, Josh Bell-Webster, really saves me most of the time. He combs through everything to make sure I don't commit too many errors in that respect.
We Canadians don't really mind when companies plunder our fresh water to sell it to other countries, but we get really mad when a writer don't add the "u" in words like "neighbour", "colour" or "flavour"...
The Saints are definitely staying in NO until 2008. After that, the NFL will check our population and economics to see if the city's recovered enough from the hurricanes to support a franchise beyond that.
There's really no other stadium in Louisiana fit for professional football. The stadium in Shreveport is an ancient college stadium. And over half our population lives (or lived) in NO.
About the Hornets, I've heard rumors they're already gone. Attendance for Hornets games has fallen since their forst season, and comments made by the owners while they were in OKC didn't help matters.
Hopefully, we'll bounce back from the storm quickly, and the Saints will start winning.
according to this article, the honest are staying in NO, check it out.
Hornets report: Getting inside
April 20, 2006
The Sports Xchange
What difficulties could possibly await the New Orleans Hornets as they head into next season?
They're playing 35 of their 41 home games in Oklahoma City one more time, purportedly the last, if NBA commissioner David Stern can be believed.
The Hornets' lease agreement with New Orleans Arena and the State of Louisiana essentially binds the team to New Orleans through 2012. The Hornets are being allowed some leeway for next season while the city continues to repopulate, though. By the letter of the lease, the Hornets are immediately obligated to return to the Crescent City because the arena has been made "NBA ready."
That part of the agreement went into effect in March when the Hornets played three games to sellout crowds in the arena.
Folks in Oklahoma City are apparently under the mistaken impression that the Hornets will play in that city beyond next year.
Stern was recently asked if there was any way the Hornets' lease in New Orleans could be broken, and he said emphatically there were no plans to attempt such a move.
That means one more lame-duck season in OKC before a return to New Orleans for the Hornets, who were the surprise team in the Western Conference this year.