This blog was originally titled “The CFL needs to fire Jeffrey Orridge ASAP” but then I went on his Wikipedia page and lo and behold, it was already announced that Orridge would be stepping down due to ideological differences with the board of a governors of the CFL. Usually, if I wanted to watch a bunch of old white guys rip on a black guy, I’d have to turn on Fox News but luckily for me, the CFL board of governors decided to follow CRTC regulations and keep all content in house, a rare victory in the battle between American and Canadian content.
Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking, why do I hate Orridge so much, under the guy’s 2 year reign, the CFL mustered up a deal with ESPN, moved a team to Ottawa and in a Goodell like fashion, questioned the link between playing football and CTE. A fair question in my mind, playing in the NFL may cause CTE, but the findings for the CFL are still inconclusive. Is it because American players are blatantly abusing Canada’s free health care? I don’t know, I’m not a scientist but if I had to guess, I’d say there’s a strong correlation between the two. How are we to know if an American player is concussed when he can’t even grasp the concept of the metric system. This all seems a little redundant IMO.
But back to Orridge, striking up a deal with ESPN is nothing to write home about. In the last decade, we’ve seen some of our strongest talent (Strombo, Jay & Dan) crash and burn in American markets. If some of our strongest imports are dead on arrival, how can we expect the CFL to compete with leading sports like the League of Legends World Championships. Summer is ripe with sports action, between the MLB, Esports, Arena Football and Lacrosse, the summer docket is just so jammed packed, that you can’t expect any sane human to be able to watch it all and just like time after time, the Canadians are the first ones sent over the hill and to their death a’la the Somme.
Then you have the return of football to Ottawa, moving a team to Ottawa in the CFL is the participation trophies of expansion. In my lifetime alone, Ottawa has been home to multiple CFL franchises. Each reincarnation with a dumber name then the last. First, you had the Renegades, which is a pretty cool name, until you remember Ottawa is this the country’s capital, so calling a team from Ottawa the Renegades is the Canadian equivalent of calling a team from Washington “the Rebels”. But somehow Ottawa managed to come up with an even worse name this time around, calling themselves the “Red Blacks”. Look, I don’t see colour, this is Canada after all, so please leave the race baiting to American teams and come up with something fun, like Eskimo.
But the real reason I’m angry, is due to the lack of hype for this years CFL draft and the horrendous time slot it was put in. No one loves the CFL draft as much as me, no one, seriously. If comedy equals tragedy plus time, then the CFL is pure unadulterated comedy. Instead of being in some giant hall or building like that of the NFL draft. The CFL draft takes place in a Bobby Fisher-esq bunker, where just the commissioner and esteemed pundits are placed, as the commissioner announces the latest picks into the void. It’s amazing and up until this year, I hadn’t missed a CFL draft in probably a decade. Now some people might say, I only have myself to blame but I couldn’t disagree more. It’s the CFL’s job to ensure that I know when their putting on their latest performance of self mutilation, not me. Not to mention, to put the CFL draft up against HBO’s Sunday lineup is like sending the lambs to the slaughter. If Game of Thrones was important enough to miss an hour of Game 7 of the NBA finals, then you better believe, ‘the Leftovers’, ‘Veep’ and ‘Silicon Valley’ are all important enough to miss the CFL draft. Hopefully the next commissioner realizes just that and schedules the next CFL draft on a Wednesday evening, where it belongs.