Well, it’s official - Tom Wright is not going to be back next year as commish of the CFL. So while there’s a bit of time left in his tenure, I don’t think we can expect anything of great importance to happen given his lame-duck status. With that said, here’s my “post-mortem” on the Wright dynasty:
1: Increased television viewership, and the television deal with TSN in particular.
2: Excellent job securing and promoting secure ownership in Toronto and Hamilton.
3: Excellent job growing the game on the west coast.
4: Encouraging signs of partnership with university-level football and other amateur football organizations (especially in Quebec).
5: Positive rule changes to prevent injuries to players.
6: Got a surprising amount done despite not having full support of the BoG.
7: Relative labour peace with the CFLPA.
1: Truly botched the Ottawa ownership scenario - seriously, the GLIEBERMANS?
2: Above paritally due to moving too quickly on eastern expansion.
3: Referees still absolutely brutal.
4: Couldn’t unite the BoG on anything, and actually seemed to alienate people as time went on.
5: Still no drug testing policy - now the only major sport without one.
Jury Still Out
1: Instant replay - it’s only just started, but it’s not exactly “instant” at the moment.
2: CFL-NFL relations, as I hear that many of the top NFL brass are very annoyed at the “suspended player” loophole that allowed Ricky Williams and Ontarrio Smith (LOL!) to come up this way.
3: Clarifying role of the Commish - Wright wanted to do this, but it never actually happened; however, the NEXT Commish will definitely ask about it.
4: Controversies were largely avoided but it always seemed like something was bubbling under the surface.
5: Ottawa being folded - if the team comes back strong in the near future, it was a good move. If not, it was a disaster.
All in all, we’ve seen far worse people sit in the top seat of the CFL over the years, but the instability that plagued Wright’s reign has to be a reflection of the instability in the CFL in general. As much as things seem very rosey, I’m left wondering if we’re all standing around waiting for the crash.
All the same, best of luck to Wright on his future endevours.