Rob Vanstone: CFL types need to take a long, realistic look in the mirror
Rob Vanstone fears that a transition of the CFL to a four-down game would simply bring the league down for the count.
Naylor added: “Everybody in the U.S. prefers four-down football. It’s what they know, what they like. And there’s a significant number of people in Canada that prefer four-down football.”
The XFL, of course, plays four-down football — when it isn’t folding, that is.
The extent and nature of the relationship with the XFL’s new principals — Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital — has not been adequately explained by CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, who nonetheless keeps paying lip service to “transparency.”
Hence the rampant speculation, not to mention trepidation, about where the league is going.
Ambrosie is a champion of the international model, as evidenced by the CFL 2.0 initiative that forces teams to dress token foreign players who typically become sideline statues. This, we are informed, is progress.
At least that formula, as flawed as it is, does not strike at the very heart of the game. But now, without any reassuring words from league headquarters, fans are left to wonder whether anything is non-negotiable.
The XFL is already at two downs, as in: Down for the count in 2001 and 2020.
THIS is the salvation of the CFL?
We keep hearing about the vast influence and resources of Johnson, et al. But a comparable description is applicable to WWE supremo Vince McMahon.
If a marketing maven such as McMahon cannot make it work — twice — the alarm bells should be deafening. Yet, the CFL forges ahead with … er, what, exactly?
“The CFL is at a fork in the road where it needs to either become a smaller league or a bigger league,” Naylor told Nelson.
Therein lies part of the realistic solution. Surely, there is ample room for salary-slashing.
Guardians of the CFL need to take a long, honest look in the mirror and realize who they are, where they are, and what they should represent.
Check that. In one important context, the CFL should be different.
Its style of play must remain distinctive. Failing that, Canadians will indeed watch four-down football — as it is played at the highest levels, in the NFL and NCAA.
The CFL, without a niche and an identity, will inevitably expire. But, in an Americanized form, would it even be missed or mourned?