Posted by: Karlo Berkovich
The Canadian Football League in many ways represents what so many sports fans claim to want — a return to simpler times when athletes were less self-absorbed and when the players on the field actually earned, in most cases, less than the people watching them.
But the incestuous nature of the league does feed into the arguments of those who label the league bush. Even a Canadian Football lover would admit that.
For instance . . . The Saskatchewan Roughriders just fired general manager Roy Shivers. His replacement will likely be the CFL's resident GM for hire, Eric Tillman, who bounces back and forth from TV jobs to CFL GM jobs so often he should lay claim to Mike (Pinball) Clemons' nickname.
Then there's Joe Pao Pao, who has coached just about every CFL team — including teams managed by Tillman — never wins many games, yet this season finds himself as offensive coordinator of one of the worst offensive teams in the league, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
How does Pao Pao keep getting — and keeping — jobs?
And couldn't the Ticats do any better than bringing back Ron Lancaster?
How do so many of these coaches — Dave Ritchie, once the Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach and now the B.C. Lions offensive coordinator and, no doubt, soon to be a head coach somewhere else — stay employed beyond their best-before dates?
Danny Barrett is another one. The Riders make a big to-do about the fact he's coached more regular-season games than any Rider coach in history. They don't mention that in six seasons prior to 2006, Barrett has just one plus-.500 won-lost record as head coach and the team is 4-5 so far this year.
Recycled coaches and managers exist in every pro sports league, but this is one area where the CFL is definitely the unchallenged champion.
Perhaps all this recycling of old ideas is one of the reasons — beyond a current dearth of quality quarterbacks — that CFL games have been so uncharacteristically unwatchable this season.
A fresh approach is needed.