Future of the CFL

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If you can jog 10 yards, you’re hired. If you have Canadian citizenship, that 10 yards is negotiable. Perhaps we’ll scale it back to a six-yard jog.

What’s in it for you? Here’s $50,000. You’re now a receiver in the Canadian Football League.

Don’t worry, no previous football experience is necessary. Heck, you don’t even have to possess the skills to catch a ball or understand a route tree. Just jog the required distance and we’ll take it from there.

Sounds like an exciting brand of football that is sure to reverse declining television ratings. Fans in disinterested markets like Toronto and Vancouver will be flocking to games. New fans by the thousands will be sprouting up across the country and in international markets.

This is the future of the CFL if Dave Dickenson and Chris Jones have their way and unless the league makes overhauling changes to the link between penalties and video review.

Over the past two weeks we’ve heard both coaches’ willingness to take advantage of a loophole in the league’s system, one that penalizes defences for the slightest touching of a receiver, whether he’s the intended receiver or just a decoy 40 yards from the play.

Both coaches believe this is the way to guaranteed success in the league, for an easy first down.

Receivers in Dickenson’s and Jones’ offensive schemes will simply jog seven or eight yards and bump into a defensive back. At that point, the receiver will flail his arms, perhaps fall to the turf and roll around like a dead fish.

This action will spur the head coach to throw a challenge flag, the play will be reviewed and, four to five minutes later, we’ll have a pass interference call.

This is the CFL. While other leagues are making every effort to speed up the pace of play, the CFL and its coaches are trending in the opposite direction.

It’s debatable whether this style of coaching is genius or lazy. Sure, chances are it’ll net your team a key first down, perhaps flip the field and keep momentum of a drive going.

But I would argue that it’s a bush-league style that not only hurts the league but also undermines the abilities of scouts, coaches and players.

Dickenson and his Calgary Stampeders have been the CFL’s elite well beyond this past decade, maintaining their dominance because of their keen eye to scout and develop new talent that makes immediate impacts in the league.

Jones, for some reason, is known for that too. Though Riders fans are still waiting for Vince Young’s impact to be felt.

But why bother scouting new talent? Why bother utilizing an offensive coordinator’s new schemes? Why bother placing confidence in your quarterback and offensive linemen if the head coach is relying on a challenge flag to overcome the opposition?

To hell with being physically gifted with speed and strength. Forget about out-coaching your peers and showcasing superior intellect with Xs and Os. Just throw a flag and we’re sure to win.

Sounds like exciting stuff. Buckle up, CFL fans. This is gonna be fun.

 

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