With MLB and the Blue Jays clearly losing mass appeal in this country — and with the NHL, NFL and NBA in their off-seasons — the CFL is looking at a wonderful window of opportunity to capture the hearts and interest of Canadians.
What the league is seeing on the window, however, are stains.
Despite the appointments of new offensive co-ordinators for all nine teams, and despite rule adjustments designed by the league to revive scoring, CFL games have been largely dull and one-sided in the regular season’s first two weeks. There’s really been no difference from last season, when drastically low offensive production resulted in a dearth of entertainment and decreased television ratings.
Of the eight games this season, six have been decided by eight points or more — including all four in the past week.
Half the games have involved teams that failed to produce even a single touchdown and, in three games, teams could muster only one TD — unheard of in the scoring-happy CFL before last season.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are so wretched that they haven’t reached the end zone in two games. The Montreal Alouettes, not much better, have scored only one TD.
Quarterbacking for most teams has been generally sup-bar and futile, even from the likes of Anthony Calvillo, Dave Dickenson, Henry Burris and Jason Maas, veterans who’ve enjoyed success in past years.
Rules were adjusted this season to create long, exciting punt returns — a CFL trademark in previous years — but they’re not happening.
To his credit, new commissioner Mark Cohon is on record as saying that improving the league’s on-field product is his top priority. Marketing, of course, would be so much easier for him if this would occur. Cohon knows the CFL’s window is here, now.
Anybody know any window washers who can work miracles?
• Looking terrific early is rookie Saskatchewan head coach Kent Austin, whose Roughriders are 2-0 after a 49-8 rout Sunday of the Calgary Stampeders. Austin was inexplicably fired as the Argonauts’ offensive co-ordinator last season. The QB he groomed, Michael Bishop, now starts and stars for Toronto ... Veteran QB Damon Allen, meanwhile, is sulking as a third-stringer, is in a cold war with Bishop and unwanted on the trade market. Won’t be long before he walks ... Mystery: The Stamps aren’t using ace receiver Jeremaine Copeland.
• And, from Roger Lajoie on The Fan 590 sports radio station:
“From time to time, it happens all the time ... We see it time and time again.”