why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

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Hambone
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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

I went through the 9 team websites I found that 2/3 of the people holding GM and other Football Ops positions are Canadians. There's 10 guys holding either Director of Player Personnel or Director of Football Ops positions. All are Canadian. In Winnipeg McManus is the only non-Canadian in their FOPS org chart. In Calgary Huf's DPP and DFOPS guys are born and raised in the Calgary area. 6 of Dickenson's 8 assistants are Canadians. Canadians hold the GM posts in Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton and Winnipeg. O'Day counts as a 5th. He was born in the US and played college at Edinboro but was an NI who has spent the last 23 years of his life in Regina. BC has the job being split between Campbell who has been eating and sleeping CFL football since he was first filling a diaper and CJFL product McAvoy who has been a Lion for close to 25 years
Last edited by Hambone on Sat Dec 05, 2020 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

Hambone wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:36 pm I went through the 9 team websites I found that 2/3 of the people holding GM and other Football Ops are Canadians. There's 10 guys holding either Director of Player Personnel or Director of Football Ops positions. All are Canadian. In Winnipeg McManus is the only non-Canadian in their FOPS org chart. In Calgary Huf's DPP and DROPS guys are born and raised in the Calgary area. 6 of Dickenson's 8 assistants are Canadians. Canadians hold the GM posts in Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton and Winnipeg. O'Day counts as a 5th. He was born in the US and played college at Edinboro but was an NI who has spent the last 23 years of his life in Regina. BC has the job being split between Campbell who has been eating and sleeping CFL football since he was first filling a diaper and CJFL product McAvoy who has been a Lion for close to 25 years

Nice research.

SO - and an interesting idea might be to go again thru all CFL teams' actual football decision making staffs' - GM, HC, director of player personnel, and ALL coaches, and tell us the precentage of Canadian content. And then, for a 2nd project - find out what percentage of those CFL guys are ones that were not brought up thru the established CFL system (played in the league or had their first football ops jobs there) and compare that to the number of Americans first (came to the CFL out of US football) decision makers in the league.

The CFL is a small, close knit league, and IMO features a very deep, ingrained, standard operating procedure "thinking" mode. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that and a lot of that is to be expected, I guess ? But i have seen tons of American football first thinkers hired to key CFL jobs over the decades, and I just have not seen near as many Canadian football system first thinkers hired to important CFL decision maker jobs; but maybe I'm wrong there?

SO again, to me IMO anyways, it might be nice or interesting to see a CFL team with a Canadian owner hire a new Canadian GM, who hires a Canadian HC (not a guy from a CFL background - say a veteran successful Canadian college or even Junior ball coach) who in turn hires a majority of Canadians to his coaching / scouting / personnel staff, and see how they make out or if they do anything different that standard CFL operating procedure (in terms of roster and play-book/calling) I know i have got to witness all kinds of the opposite in the CFL past - Americans with zero to little Canadian football knowledge/experience hired to key CFL jobs (GM or HC), who hire mostly Americans as coaches, and they go and deploy standard CFL operating mode (always max. # of imports on the roster; usually only minimum # of Canadian starters; Canadians don't get to play certain positions; and same old CFL flavor to the day football style to play).

I'd hope you could entertain that something different might get tried in the CFL; or is same old / same old the only CFL way ?


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

So what you are suggesting then is some team should have the kahunas to staff their clubs top to bottom with FOPS staff totally cleansed of any association with the CFL or any other pro system prior to taking their jobs.

Personally I don't want my team going anywhere near hiring a HC directly from the college ranks unless he has previous pro experience as a HC or Coordinator. Be it football, basketball or hockey coaches who make that transition successfully are the very rare exceptions to the norm.


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

Hambone wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 11:38 am So what you are suggesting then is some team should have the kahunas to staff their clubs top to bottom with FOPS staff totally cleansed of any association with the CFL or any other pro system prior to taking their jobs.

Personally I don't want my team going anywhere near hiring a HC directly from the college ranks unless he has previous pro experience as a HC or Coordinator. Be it football, basketball or hockey coaches who make that transition successfully are the very rare exceptions to the norm.

No, that's not what I am suggesting at all.

What I am suggesting is that it might be nice to see a CFL team - just one even - put a real heavy emphasis on Canadian football people to form the majority of their football decision making team - GM, director of personnel, HC and the coaching staff.

The GM or HC might be a guy with some previous CFL experience (player or ops), and so might a bunch of guys on the staff (but it would not be a prerequisite); the main thing would be that the majority of them were brought up in the Canadian football system and their only exposure to Canadian football "thinking" would not have been just thru the CFL. You know - the other end of the scale from Mr. Ed and Nice Hat Claybrooks types in charge; or Bart Andrus or Dan Hawkins, etc. - and we have seen that CFL movie so many times. I'd like to see something different - just IMO.

A new to the CFL GM with vast Canadian football experience could hire an HC like Stef Ptaszek for example - CFL player experience, a bit of CFL staff experience, but brought up in Canadian football with extensive (and very successful) outside the CFL experience in running a football team; and he could hire some other veteran Canadian football people (some might have some CFL experience, maybe some without) - with the point being: raised on and brought up in varied Canadian football.

I happen to like lots of variety in a complex game/sport like football; and I also like to think the Canadian Football League could have lots of Canadian content; sorry bout that. ;o)


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

I haven't read all of this but I would respectfully suggest that we hire the best people available to do the job at any time. I don't know that I care if they are from Canada, the US or outer Mongolia. I also don't care if they are men, women, persons of colour, trans gendered or anything else so long as they put a good product on the field and fans in the seats. A birth certificate doesn't necessarily increase the chances for success. You might throw it in the consideration hopper if that somehow contributes to their competency in doing the job but that can have it's pitfalls as well. For example, since a great many players in this league come from south of the border, is a largely Canadian management and coaching structure going to be limited south of the border because they may not have the depth or breadth of contacts in the US football community? Might not be an issue but it could be.

The challenge that all companies face is rigid thinking in what makes for competency. For example, why is the management structure for CFL teams almost exclusively male? Are there no female GM candidates worthy to be considered? If not, why not. It is time to forget some of the common wisdom in favour of being better in gauging the needs of any position and hiring the right people and putting them in right position to be successful. We have seen our fair share of football experienced types fail rather spectacularly when transitioning to other parts of the league. And you don't have to look far ,even in this forum, to find criticisms leveled at the commissioner in handling his role. A long time CFL'er, Canadian and now CEO. History is strewn with the carcasses of players that were supposed to be great who weren't. Coaches who were supposed to be great but weren't. It is also full of examples of so-so players who turned into great coaches and great players who turned into terrible coaches. In some ways, you might be inclined to think that football experience and by extension experience with the CFL might be one of the less important factors in determining success in management. Judging by how some teams have failed spectacularly over the years in hiring good solid management, you have to wonder just how robust the conventional thinking is when evaluating persons for management positions.


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

OV - 54:40 wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:10 pm What I am suggesting is that it might be nice to see a CFL team - just one even - put a real heavy emphasis on Canadian football people to form the majority of their football decision making team - GM, director of personnel, HC and the coaching staff.
Winnipeg is as close to what you are describing as you will currently find. Danny Mac has been in Canada for the past 30 years. I would be surprised if he maintains a home elsewhere but don't know.

One thing that has occurred to me over the years is that having O'Shea, Walters, and Wade Miller all play CIAU is that they have no connections south of the border. The recruitment history proves the point. Also not once since they started in 2013 have they ever brought someone in from outside their inner circle. A couple of ex Argos that played with OShea have been the only new hire coaches.

My opinion is that it has hurt the Bombers and they compensate by throwing money at free agents to remain competitive. They have been fortunate to be able to afford to play that game.


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

Murdoch wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 2:25 am
OV - 54:40 wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:10 pm What I am suggesting is that it might be nice to see a CFL team - just one even - put a real heavy emphasis on Canadian football people to form the majority of their football decision making team - GM, director of personnel, HC and the coaching staff.
Winnipeg is as close to what you are describing as you will currently find. Danny Mac has been in Canada for the past 30 years. I would be surprised if he maintains a home elsewhere but don't know.

One thing that has occurred to me over the years is that having O'Shea, Walters, and Wade Miller all play CIAU is that they have no connections south of the border. The recruitment history proves the point. Also not once since they started in 2013 have they ever brought someone in from outside their inner circle. A couple of ex Argos that played with OShea have been the only new hire coaches.

My opinion is that it has hurt the Bombers and they compensate by throwing money at free agents to remain competitive. They have been fortunate to be able to afford to play that game.

Yeah, I suppose the Bombers are sort of there - at least with Miller, Walters & O'Shea at the top - and congrats to them for ending the Bummer GC drought. But the entire rest of their coaching staff now are Americans (and some brought in with zero previous Canadian ball experience), including the OC & DC.

Don't really know if lack of connections in the States is an issue there - they have brought in a lot of good new import talent over the past few years IMO - as all CFL teams usually do.

I believe Walters & O'Shea follow standard CFL operating procedure pretty strictly - in terms of roster and play-book thinking (Lapolice may have had a varied offence by CFL standards now, but it is still basically the same standard look offence all CFL teams deploy now); but hey, it worked for them to get a GC win.


I'd just like to see some different Canadian football thinkers get a shot to run a CFL team, and from top to bottom basically. Maybe we'd see some different offence - like more run game, a QB under center some; lots of use of a tight end or fullback (a full-time H-back?); and maybe we'd see more Canadian talent featured on the roster. But maybe they would adopt same old CFL ways as well; it;s not some CFL written in stone law that all are sworn to abide by though, is it ? ;o)


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

A very interesting post for sure. I just got back from living in Toronto for 14 years, having moved from Vancouver Island. As a die hard lions fan, and one of my best friends a die hard Riders fan, we both became Argos season ticket holders to support the CFL and to see first hand how the BMO field experiment was working out .

As I understand it, one reason the Argos are struggling at the gate has to do with their general lack of presence in the media. During Braley’s last few years as team owner they had 0$ marketing budget and played as unwanted tenants in a Rogers owned facility.

As for my one and only season as a season ticket holder, every time the Argos has an opportunity to make an impression, they would absolutely lay an egg. For example, their home opener was when Ray went down with a freak neck injury, and Franklin played the terribly.

Getting back to the media, for at least one season they had no one doing play by play of home games on the radio. No one. Sad. There is just zero interest in the mainstream media in Toronto about the Argos unless you’re TSN.

Another issue recently has been ownership by MLSE. They do have deep pockets, which is great, but they manage all their franchises as if they play for the same league. They let their long time marching band called the Argonotes go, in favour of a different group for no apparent reason, alienating a small group of loyal fans in the process. It’s tone deaf moves like that that have me shaking my head.

There is a small but loyal and passionate fan base in the city, and the potential is there. There is also hope with the hiring of Pinball and a young coaching staff. They also recently moved their practices to Lamport stadium , not far from BMO, which was a great move IMO. Then last session was cancelled so we’ll see.

Anyway, just my two cents worth 😉


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

Before writing the Argos off, they need several seasons of dominance. Stampeders-like success. They really haven't had that winning pedigree or stability for a great many years. Yes, they have won the Grey Cup here and there but mostly mediocre. But I am referring to several 12, 13-win seasons of exciting football in a row. If BMO is still half-empty, then there's a problem. But I suspect it won't be.


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

They may be on track now with ownership but they have struggled with continuity at that position since the early 90's. I copied one of Paul Woods Argofans posts on the topic: That many ownership changes had to have a negative impact on the fan base and football operations.

Without looking I believe the Argos were kind of lucky to win in 2004 and 2017 so even the successes didn't build momentum. As you said, several years. Personally I feel there will be more growing pains with Ryan Dinwiddie and Pinball. Hervey and Claybrooks as DC would be my choice for fast results.

Argos have never been "community-owned," per se. The closest was their first owner, the Argonaut Rowing Club, 1873-1957. Since then:

* A consortium led by John Bassett Sr. (and at times Bassett alone) 1957-74
* Bill Hodgson 1974-1979
* Carling O'Keefe 1979-1988
* Harry Ornest 1989-90
* McNall group 1991-94
* TSN/Labatt 1994-99
* Sherwood Schwarz 2000-03
* CFL (briefly) 2003
* Cynamon and Sokolowski 2003-2010
* David Braley 2010-2014
* Bell/Tanenbaum 2015-17
* MLSE/Tanenbaum 2018-present


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

Not disrespecting Pinball regarding his position as GM. I see him as more of a promoter of the organization rather than the builder of the team. He will be good for the team though and they already had Bill Manning as president

John Murphy brings a lot of experience and an under rated track record as a player personnel guy. His time with Craig Jones will serve him well.

Still hard to believe Sask traded Collaros when then did for what they did. Argos got a first for a fourth and Murphy stuck it to Craig Reynolds for picking O'Day. Giant rookie mistake by O'Day. Dave Ritchie said every first year player will cost a game. Just saying.


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

Murdoch wrote: Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:37 am Not disrespecting Pinball regarding his position as GM. I see him as more of a promoter of the organization rather than the builder of the team. He will be good for the team though and they already had Bill Manning as president

John Murphy brings a lot of experience and an under rated track record as a player personnel guy. His time with Craig Jones will serve him well.

Still hard to believe Sask traded Collaros when then did for what they did. Argos got a first for a fourth and Murphy stuck it to Craig Reynolds for picking O'Day. Giant rookie mistake by O'Day. Dave Ritchie said every first year player will cost a game. Just saying.
Trade values are not static. Usually what a player draws in return has a lot more to do with the needs of the team acquiring the player than the player themselves. In July there was no market for a wounded QB with an unknown return date. In October there was one team in desperate need for a QB who was able to return and had the ability to save the season for that team. Collaros' trade value was never lower than it was in July and never higher than it was in October.

When the Riders shipped Collaros to the Argos he was still out with a concussion. Concussions being what they are there is really no knowing when a player will be able to return to action. He'd been out for 6 weeks by then. With no immediate end in sight to Collaros' injury and his previous history I think the Riders were prepared to move on with Fajardo and take the best offer they could find to get out from under his contract. IMO getting a 4th for Collaros at that point in time was a steal for O'Day. For the Argos a 4th was reasonable price for a QB they might not see suit up for quite some time.

Fast forward 2+ months and there was Winnipeg sitting there desperate for a QB. Their starter Nichols had just been announced as done for the year. Ironically that announcement came down about the same day that Collaros finally returned to practice for Toronto. Streveler had replaced him but the Bombers were leaking oil bigtime having lost 4 out of 5. A season that saw them go 7-2 and looking like in great shape to win the West until Nichols was lost was coming unravelled. They knew they weren't going anywhere in the playoffs if they had to go with Streveler and Collaros was the only realistic option on the market. Until then it looked like Murphy had wasted a 4th for the privilege of eating Collaros' contract. He came out of that smelling like a rose not because of good work on his part but because of Winnipeg's misfortune. Had Winnipeg not run into the injury problem when they did or the trade deadline been a week or two earlier he would have been left holding the bag on Collaros for the rest of the year.


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

Good post Hambone. Let it never be said that you are not thorough.

or.... the Argos hang on to Collaros for the 4th rounder and he is an Argo. Seems that could have turned out good for them as well.

Either way it had to be Murphy that saw enough to swing the deal and it turned out Collaros was more highly valued than Matt Nichols judging by Winnipeg's actions. Not sure what became of the draft pick.

Some talk recently that Chris Streveler was playing with a fractured ankle which makes his accomplishments against Calgary in the WSF even more amazing. Sad that the Bombers would put an injured man on the field to be honest although I'm sure Streveler was willing.


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Re: why is CFL interest so tepid in toronto?

Your points are also very valid too Murdoch. I think Murphy and the Argos very well may have been content keeping Collaros at least until they had a chance to see if they couldn't do better in the off-season QB carousel. Bird in the hand theory so to speak. However I think if the right deal came along they'd be willing to roll the off-season dice without Collaros. When Walters offered the first that threshold was met. Streveler's health or lack thereof also must have played a role. He certainly showed visible signs in the playoffs that he was hurting. Given the style he plays and the punishment he took there's no way he was close to 100% at the time of the trade. He'd just started 6 straight games. The Bombers had to have serious concerns that he'd even survive the season much less be a factor in the post season.

It really turned into a brilliant move by the Bombers and win-win for both. Argos who weren't going to the playoffs scoop a first rounder minutes before the tradeline and Bombers capture their 1st Grey Cup in 30 years. What remains to be seen now is how both clubs fare moving forward now that Collaros is the Bomber QB and Nichols is running good ship Argo.


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