“What has plagued the CFL for as long as I’ve been covering it ... have been the nitwits who’ve called the shots.”


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 a former 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 main 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 on 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.

NOTE: I asked readers yesterday to e-mail me their MVP picks for the CFL and MLB, but I provided an incorrect address. (Hey, I never e-mail myself.) The correct address is marty.york@metronews.ca. You still have time, as I’ll be printing the results and your best one-liners in the York Report on Friday.

Marty York’s column appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.