Aw, I love the CFL, even if it doesn't have:
- Nearly enough good games;
- A commissioner without lame-duck status;
- A franchise in the nation's capital or in the Maritimes;
- A players' union with any real teeth;
- Long or exciting kick returns;
- Enough sense to stop rewarding single points on missed field goals;
- Good-looking quarterbacks.
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All right, far be it for me to suggest that CFL quarterbacks lack good looks. Frankly, I've never noticed and, honestly, I don't care. I mean, to each their own. Heck, there's at least one woman with political power in this country who presumably thinks Tie Domi is handsome, so I would never ever try to be a judge and jury on these things.
But, believe it or not, I received an e-mail from a female advertising executive in Toronto who calls herself The Bitch and who tells me that it is difficult to find any CFL quarterback who looks good enough to sell a product in this country.
"I don't mean to be mean, but I know this will come across to you as mean, anyway," The Bitch writes. "It's just that, you cannot find a CFL quarterback with striking good looks. It's tough to get them commercials because companies, while not stating this bluntly, fear negative reactions when it comes to CFL quarterbacks.
(Toronto's) Damon Allen and (Calgary's) Henry Burris have commercials, but my understanding is that they aren't doing very well. Think about it. If you say there's one quarterback in the CFL with striking good looks, I don't think you're telling the truth.
"In contrast," The Bitch continued, "think about the quarterbacks in the NFL. Most of them, if not all of them, are gorgeous. It perplexes me that the quarterbacks in one league can be so good-looking and the quarterbacks in another league can be so unattractive. Marty, can you please explain this to me?"
Well, Bitch, let me use my best investigative-reporting ability to dig into this and see if I can emerge with some sort of answer. I'll get back to you.
Then again, maybe I won't.
But may I remind you right now that Jesse Palmer is on the Montreal Alouettes' practice roster?
• Sources tell me we are probably seeing the last of the CFL on CBC.
According to these sources, CTV has dazzled CFL governors with a multi-year offer worth megabucks to broadcast CFL games, starting next season.
The bad news about this is that, because CTV and TSN are owned by the same chaps, CTV probably will use the same TSN broadcasters, including Chris Schultz (yech).
Darren Flutie and Chris Walby, to name a couple, are CBC analysts and their work would be missed a great deal, at least by me.
Mind you, CTV could always make an intelligent move and try to hire them.
• The workload also would be increased for Glen Suitor, who already has an extraordinarily busy schedule as TSN's analyst.
Suitor, however, may not be available for CTV and TSN next season. That's because -- in all seriousness -- he is a leading candidate to become the CFL's next commissioner.
• I wrote last week that the Golden Gate Capital group, fronted by Ottawa 67s owner Jeff Hunt, was the odds-on favourite to become the owner of the CFL's next franchise in Ottawa, which will kick off in 2008.
Well, not so fast.
I'm told now that there's a bit of a scandal involving Golden Gate that the CFL may or may not yet know about. I'll try and deliver more details about this some time next week.
• And since I'm being so darned nasty in this CFL Report, I may as well resurrect for you this column, which I wrote for Metro earlier this week:
The CFL is a wonderful league, with mostly wonderful rules, decent players and loyal fans. What has plagued the CFL for as long as I've been covering it -- since 1979 -- have been the nitwits who've called the shots. Three of them are Hugh Campbell, Don Matthews and Ron Lancaster.
They are the CFL's old guard. They have, for decades, run their organizations in dictatorial fashion. They have bullied their colleagues and managed the media and they have, for the most part, had their way.
Well, no more. They're going down now. With a thud. And they're falling at precisely the same time.
Campbell is the former head coach and current CEO of the Edmonton Eskimos. After 34 years of playoff qualifications, the Esks are going nowhere this season and Campbell is being fingered as the primary reason.
Even Terry Jones, a columnist for The Edmonton Sun who has in my opinion been something of a public-relations extension for Campbell during the years, wrote this the other day: "I didn't ever want to have to write this column, but Hugh Campbell must be put out to pasture."
Similarly, Matthews is about to be fired in Montreal. The Alouettes have lost six consecutive games. The last time they did that, in 2001, Rod Rust was fired as head coach and replaced by general manager Jim Popp. Again, Popp is the likely candidate to take over. It's ugly in Montreal these days. Fans were wearing bags on their heads while the Als were losing to Winnipeg in Montreal last Sunday.
"This coach is killing this franchise," Montreal Gazette columnist Jack Todd wrote. "The Genius has run out of ideas."
And Lancaster? Well, The Little General has generally been clueless with the Pussy-Cats for years now and has no chance of returning as their head coach next season. Most likely, he'll be out of football.
Listen, we're not talking about The Three Stooges here. It would be foolish to ridicule all the accomplishments of Campbell, Matthews and Lancaster. They're all Hall of Famers, irrefutably.
The time, however, has come for them to get out of the CFL. They used to dominate the league but they've deteriorated into has-beens and they're embarrassing themselves, and, because the game has passed them by, they must go. And, sadly, they're not going out on top.
Message from Marty York:
After about three decades of covering the CFL in newspapers, magazines, on national television and on radio, the folks who run Metro newspapers have given me the opportunity to report on the league in a new and efficient way -- online, right here at www.metronews.ca. Here, I will have the space and freedom to cover the league the way that will best serve you. My reports will be updated at least twice a week and will include information you're not likely to find elsewhere. I will also give you my weekly CFL picks. And I welcome email from CFL fans -- send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish some from time to time. I'm very excited about this venture, and I hope you will be, too.