Rod Black's Absence

So far, the absence of the notorious Rod B has provided us with far more focused play-by-play of CFL games on TSN. Far less clowning around, klutzing and making a sham of our historic game.

Only time Black's antics are missed is when there's a dud on the field . . . a game so bad a good announce team is unnecessary and a clown like Black could save things with his odd & somewhat scurrilous antics.

Last night Dustin Neilson (the youngest of the new CFL/TSN voices) was really into the game - - - really getting excited but unlike Black, excited at the right times, the right plays. Black didn't know the game, so he tried spontaneously combusting on just about every play yielding more than 3 yards.
The only sad thing is it took 20+ years to put Black back into the bad announcer's lock-box.

Recommendations for 2022 season:

  1. Put Awkward Glen (Suitor) into the lock-box.
  2. Give Dunigan a game of the week as a color guy.
  3. Test Milt Stegall on at least 4 or 5 occasions as a color guy
  4. Bring in the now-retired Bob Irving as a consultant to TSN to provide a few training seminars on play-by-play announcing & game-prep to existing and new TSN announcers.
  5. Announce a joint CFL/TSN scholarship that goes to a few young students annually to attend broadcasting schools (Canadian & American) where sports broadcasting taught.

I don't like Neilson. He keeps shouting at me and growling. At times to the point where he's obviously running out of breath and has foam at the corners of his mouth. I find it grating on the nerves.

Rod Smith is great.

Farhan is really good so far, surprisingly really good.


I have no problem with all of your suggestions.

Bob Irving is the pinnacle of CFL announcers. He has a deep knowledge of the game and I would describe his voice as the “Morgan Freeman” of CFL announcers.

I like the idea of trying Milt on colour as well. He seems to have that on air enthusiasm a la Dunigan. One rule, however, would need to be implemented. He can’t be allowed to talk about himself and especially how great he thinks he looks!


"A" game per week. Nothing more for me. I find it hard to listen to him bumble his way to explaining the play.

I will take Duane Forde over Dunigan for the Game of The Week.

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Wouldn’t it be great if Bob Irving called the Grey Cup? The whole country could then be treated to the best play by play man in the land.

I realize that he may not even want to or that contractual commitments might prevent it, at least this year. But having him do it at least just once would be epic. He would dwarf any other play by play man, at least since Don Wittman.

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Milt like Davis "Eggman" Sanchez have limited perspectives in CFL lore. Both were great players - Milt a Top 10 CFL legend; Sanchez an occasional all-star. Before being injected into the TSN panel both men didn't do any other CFL work - ie. scouting, training, coaching, assistant management, etc. Other than coaching - both Milt & Chezz would make for horrid CFL coaches I think its time at least 1 of them (Milt) branches out into color commentary.
Like Dunigan Milt could still work the panel when he's not working a game.
As for telling him he can't talk about how beautiful he is - thats like telling Justin Trudeau to go get a crew cut. Not gonna happen.

Milt is 52/53. Should diversify a bit.

I remember that Milt was pretty rough on air when he started. As you say, thrown in with no experience. As was Sanchez, who in my opinion is still pretty rough. It’s worth giving Milt a shot though.


Why not just move the cfl back with the cbc. And all your problems will be solved.

btw - of all the newer CFL/TSN announcers I would rate them as follows:

  1. Dustin Neilson
  2. Marshall Ferguson
  3. Rod Smith
  4. Farhan Lalji

Note: Of all the above guys, Neilson is the only one who emerged from an actual college broadcasting program and served his dues calling college football & hockey, not to mention some junior action. He's the only one who has improved significantly over the season. Last nite he was going beyond Rod Black excitement levels - only Dusty was doing it when it was appropriate, not just going nuts for the sake of it.
Ferguson was an above average CIS QB who just couldn't get the CFL break when he tried out. He's a bit flaccid but I've noticed an improvement. If he applied for a job with NCAA or NFL he'd be laughed at because if his failure to weave a narrative while calling a game. That said, still solid and his #1 positive is focusing on the game, its players, the strategy and the outcomes. Its basic, but its also super important. Something Rod Black abandoned.
Rod Smith is a TSN veteran who's gone around the horn - and back. Best voice of the 4 guys I'm analyzing but voice isn't always the important thing. (see: Rod Black). Now tending to make some of the critical mistakes I criticized Black for (premature enunciation of `1st downs or not, possessions, turnover descriptions, penalties, etc.)
Lalji - obviously has good knowledge of junior football in BC. A solid CFL sideline reporter taking his biggest career jump. While I wouldn't ladle him an F, it would be a stretch to give him anything better than a C-, most hard markers would have him at D or D-. Once playoffs hit Farhan will retract to his normal spot - the sidelines. Just too much fawning on non-game related matters (ie. the new BC owner, Ambrosie, ref history, players not in the game, etc.)

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Does Milt not have his own personal training business down south?

Good point. CBC could be part of the solution.
In a post-pandemic world the CBC has to deal with reduced crowd sizes as its largest demographic (folks 45 to 85) begin opting out of live attendance as they represent the most vulnerable group, even with 80% successful vaccines and optional masking (90% of people don't mask a live events).

So the answer is TV rights. Right?

With 10 teams or 5 games a week in the CFL's near future perhaps CBC & even Sportsnet (CBC's hockey partner) could be induced to participate in the games. Heck, maybe even Global could be induced into a small package of games.

Don't know what TSN is paying CFL now for exclusive broadcast rights but lets use 100 million for an example.

If we have 5 games a week:

  • Give TSN 2 games a week, plus option on playoffs for $70 million
  • Give CBC 1 game a week plus option for Grey Cup for $40 million
  • Give Rogers/Sportnet 2 games/wk for $35 million
  • Give Global a package of 4 to 6 unique games (heck, like TSN/Sportsnet have some of the announce crews able to move thru the platforms - like Jack Armstrong & Derek Devlin) for $10million

So if you add my theoretical figures via rights diversification figures add up to $150 million PLUS, vs current $100 million amount.

More money for all teams, players, coaches, stadium improvements, broadcast upgrades, etc. to compensate for falling crowd counts.

Most important thing is diversification means more outlets promoting the hell out of their newfound broadcast property. Might even lead to more fans (and new younger ones) returning to stadiums when covid-19 virus recedes in 3 to 5 years.

He did many moons ago when he first retired. Don't know if he still does. Even if he does - its just a matter of re-routing his planes to a CFL stadium vs. a TSN broadcast studio. Same amount of time - different utilization.

Dustin and Marshall will get better with experience

I’d give Mike Hogan a shot as he does an excellent call on Argos games

Sadly Matt needs to stay in Studio. The crew as it is…pretty much unwatchable. Stegall stays…Kate has done well too

There are many Community Colleges with Broadcasting Programs but I like the idea of a focus on Sports Broadcasting. Programs are usually 3 years so there would be an opportunity to have at least one year as a major

Showing my age here but growing up in Hamilton we were spoiled with the likes of Norm Marshall, Perc Allen and Bob Brattina. Over in Toronto there was Dave Hodge calling the Argos. Halcyon Days

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Stegall would be good as a color commentator. Barker should be in the studio. Sanchez ... I'm not a fan. Doesn't have good screen presence, and constantly fumbles his words.

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Agree on 2 of 3. I am not sold on Barker. His look and general demeanor is distracting and reminds me of Columbo. Or the poor man’s Craig Button.

Bob Irving has called the Grey Cup on radio but never on TV when he was part of the CFL on CTV broadcast team back in the 1980s.

Talk about going way back in time.

The CFL on CTV. Can that ever happen again in today's environment?

Sanchez is struggling. Kate Chucky, Milt, Barker trying to protect him with humor, nicknames & needling. When Sanchez is on, the panel is unwatchable - even with Kate screaming up a storm.
I have no doubt Milt would be good at color - especially since the bar is so damn low w/ the faltering Suitor and the laconic Forde.
If Plop (LaPolice) gets canned in the off-season he'll be trying for a soft panel spot vs. going back to being an itinerant assistant. That would put Sanchez in peril. When you see Sanchez perform you have a whole new appreciation for Henry Burris.


Yes I am aware of that. I just wish he would once call the big game on TV. I’m not sure he likes TV much though.

You'll remember when Winnipeg brought him in for an interview after they fired Mike "Maggot" Kelly and Lord Lyle Bauer fled the scene. The Winnipeg board of directors (hiring committee) said he showed up in Bermuda shorts & sandals for the interview. He was also well over 300 lbs. at the time. Rather than saying he was a fat slob they came up with the term "Too California". But I like Barker for the most part.

You’re probably right about Sanchez being in peril, but I have to believe they give LaPo more time, given what he inherited. He is an excellent coach.

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