55 Yard Line
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line1 hr ago
Heading into Sunday's Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, one team has a clear edge over the other in one category: CFL connections. The Panthers have the leg up there, withtwo players, one coach, and three scouts with CFL connections to none from the Broncos. (That piece lists linebacker Chase Vaughn as with the Broncos, but he was actually cut earlier this year and signed with Winnipeg in September.) Here's a breakdown of the CFL connections on the Panthers' squad.LiveCarolina0 - 3DenverFollow Game
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line1 day ago
With the fiftieth Super Bowl being played this Sunday, there have been plenty of retrospectives looking back at Super Bowl I, and one of those has a strong CFL connection. Bill Pennington of The New York Times wrote a fascinating piece this week on Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Willie Wood, who made a crucial interception to propel the Green Bay Packers to their 35-10 win in the initial Super Bowl, and then went on to be the first black head coach in pro football's modern era and the first black head coach in the CFL. The sad part, though, and part of the larger issues with watching football today, is that the 79-year-old Wood now resides in an assisted-living facility in Washington, D.C., has faced plenty of physical challenges, and now has so much memory loss that he doesn't remember playing in the NFL at all:
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line3 days ago
Things are hard out there for Canadian quarterbacks trying to make the CFL, but the road gets tough for them at an even earlier stage; the NCAA. By many accounts, Nathan Rourke looked like a potentially great NCAA quarterback; he shone in minor football and high school in Burlington and Oakville, ON, then transferred to Edgewood Academy in Alabama for his senior year and promptly threw 59 touchdown passes with just three interceptions, 3,789 passing yards and a 75 per cent completion rate while helping his team win the state championship. However, all of that didn't lead to a Division I scholarship offer ahead of Wednesday's National Signing Day, as Scott Radley of The Hamilton Spectator recounts:
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line4 days ago
The list of CFL players who have retired young thanks to concussions continues to grow, and the latest addition is another Canadian star who found success at a primarily American position. That would be Saskatchewan Roughriders' middle linebacker Shea Emry, who announced his retirement Wednesday at age 29 and became the third Canadian player to leave over concussions this offseason alone. He follows Calgary's Canadian running back Jon Cornish, who walked away at 31 in December, and Ottawa's Canadian receiver Matt Carter, who left at 29 in November, both thanks to concussions, and his retirement comes on the same day that degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was found in yet another former football player, former NFL quarterback Ken Stabler.
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line5 days ago
Marijuana got Ricky Williams into the CFL, and he believes it might be crucial to saving all of football. The NFL is facing a lawsuit alleging its teams "intentionally disregarded players' health by providing painkillers," which (along with the ongoing concussion crisis in both the CFL and NFL) has many worried about the future of football. Williams, who played for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts as well as the NFL's New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens, credits marijuana for preserving his health during his football career (even if one of the suspensions he got over it forced him to come to Canada for a stint that was more successful than many realize). Other players in the CFL and NFL are following his lead, and marijuana may be important for helping them avoid painkiller addiction as well.
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line11 days ago
Adele's "Hello" is an incredibly popular song touching on exes and moving on, so it's seemingly a fit for Weston Dressler's move from the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and his feelingsabout being cut by the Roughriders. At least, that's how the CFL's and Bombers' social media accounts discussed it Wednesday:
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line12 days ago
Weston Dressler is moving on from the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but staying on the prairies. Since the surprising decision earlier this month by new Roughriders' head coach and general manager Chris Jones to cut the veteran slotback, there had been rumours that Dressler was headed to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and those came true Tuesday with the team officially signing himto a two-year contract. Dressler also made further waves this week, speaking to Rob Vanstone of The Regina Leader-Post in his first interview since being cut and discussing his feelings on the Riders letting him go after eight seasons and with three years still left on the extension he signed last January.
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line15 days ago
In the wake of one star receiver leaving the CFL for the NFL, another who previously made that transition may be set to return. Stampeders' all-star wide receiver Eric Rogers, the CFL's leading receiver in 2015, signed a massive contract with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this week, and now Herb Zurkowsky of The Montreal Gazette is reporting that Duron Carter is close to returning to the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes. Carter spent 2013 and 2014 with the Alouettes, posting 1,939 total receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns (1,030 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014, the third-highest yardage total league-wide; he was also named a league all-star that year), then signed with the Indianapolis Coltsin February 2015. However, he was cut by the Colts in September, and although he managed to stick around on their practice squad all year, he was released at the end of the season. Now, Zurkowsky writes that Carter appears set to come back to Montreal, and to become the CFL's top-paid receiver in the process:
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line18 days ago
Ben Cahoon isn't catching passes any more, but the legendary CFL slotback is still going to have an impact on future receivers. Cahoon was announced as Brigham Young University's new receivers coach Wednesday, which is a return to the job for him; he coached the receivers at BYU (his alma mater) from 2011 to 2012. Before that, Cahoon had a remarkable 13-year CFL career with the Montreal Alouettes from 1998 to 2010, retiring with the most receptions in CFL history (1,017, since surpassed by Geroy Simon) and the most receptions in Grey Cup history (46 for 658 yards, still a record). Cahoon's career is proof of how unconventional receivers can excel in the CFL, and if he's able to pass his knowledge on through coaching, he could be important to developing future stars in the NCAA, NFL and CFL ranks.
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line19 days ago
When the Hamilton Tiger-Cats brought in Kent Austin as head coach and general manager back in December 2012, it looked like a significant gamble; Austin had no CFL personnel experience and only one season as a CFL head coach (although he did win a Grey Cup there), and his NCAA stints weren't overly inspiring, including an 11-19 record at Cornell in the three years before he came to Hamilton. Bringing him in in a dual role with that much power seemed potentially problematic despite his oft-stated confidence. Three years later, though, the extension (of undisclosed length) the Tiger-Cats announced for Austin Tuesday seems like a no-brainer given the success he's had. While he's only 29-25 in the regular season during his three years, that's despite an incredible laundry list of injuries (especially at quarterback this year). Even more importantly, he's taken his team to three East Finals and two Grey Cups in that span. How has Austin managed to pull this off so far, and will he be able to keep it up?