It was March 29 of last year, Mark Cohon had just been hired as the 12th commissioner of the CFL, and he was sitting behind a microphone at his introductory news conference, talking a good game.
Someone naturally asked him about expansion to Halifax. This is an idea the CFL has kicked around for, oh, 35 years or so now, but Cohon sounded like a man finally about to transform the rhetoric into reality.
“We are thinking about … creating a strong league, coast-to-coast,” the commish insisted. “It will be one of my mandates.”
Well, nearly 11 months have elapsed and there is no sight of Halifax (or, for that matter, any other city in Eastern Canada) in the CFL. And, sadly, it doesn’t even appear to be on the radar screen.
Cohon isn’t talking a good game any more. He wasn’t even talking at all to me yesterday. Requests for a brief chat with the CFL’s bossman were rebuffed. But the message came back loudly and clearly that nothing whatsoever is happening for the CFL in Halifax.
“There is no news on that front,” CFL spokesman Jamie Dykstra informed me. Regarding “expansion out East, the commissioner and the (league’s) board of governors are currently focusing on other issues and opportunities.”
Like what? Getting hoofed in the proverbial butt by the NFL’s Buffalo Bills?
Seriously, what has Cohon done in nearly a year as the CFL’s man in charge?
He told us Ottawa would be back in the CFL in short order, but the word from Dykstra yesterday was that his chief is merely “continuing discussions with a potential Ottawa ownership group.”
Cohon told us before last season he’d be implementing a drug policy with the CFL Players Association but, incredibly, this still hasn’t happened. The CFL professes to be big-league, but name any major league in any sport that is devoid of a drug policy in this day and age.
Cohon told us before last season the CFL would be re-introducing an annual All-Star Game, but zilch on this, too.
And Cohon told us he’d market the CFL so efficiently that the league’s players would become household names.
Sorry, but the occupants of most houses I know couldn’t name 10 CFLers if their lives depended on it.
Cohon talks a good game — when he chooses to talk to certain media types — but I’m afraid, at this point, it’s all talk.
And, with the Bills likely making plans to escalate their invasion of Toronto, Cohon had better start turning his words into concrete actions — and fast.