55 Yard Line
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line14 hrs ago
The Toronto Argonauts have been pulling out the marketing stops ahead of their first season at BMO Field, from their TV/radio/poster campaign to theirtakeover of the CN Tower and the Local Liberty Village pub. Sara Moore, the former CFL vice-president (marketing) who's now the Argonauts' senior vice-president (business operations) and the COO of the 2016 Grey Cup Festival, spoke to 55-Yard Line this week about what the team's doing to try and attract new fans. She said the ad campaign in particular came out of extensive research on how the team could attract younger fans to their new home.
- Chris Zelkovich at 55 Yard Line3 days ago
It's like some sort of holy jock mantra that every player recites, almost chants, as he anticipates training camp.
``I'm excited about the new season."
"I'm thrilled to see the great new players we've added."
"I just know that this is the year I'm going to be injury-free."
"I can't wait to get going."
Although on occasion, these pronouncements may even be true, there's a tendency to take them with a liberal dose of skepticism.
But when Brandon Whitaker talks about how thrilled he is to be heading into training camp with the Toronto Argonauts, there's plenty of evidence to back up the running back's optimism.
``I can't wait to get going," says the 30-year-old native of Edmond, Okla., as he prepares to enter his eighth CFL season.
As he begins to list the reasons, it's not hard to see why he's so enthusiastic.
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line4 days ago
Hamilton Tiger-Cats' guard and CFLPA VP Peter Dyakowski, known for his Canada's Smartest Person win, his Jeopardy appearance, his logic puzzle skills and his weekly stint as Maclean's trivia genius, put those smarts to good use to play one of the best pranks ever on the CFL media this weekend. Dyakowski first mentioned a fake study, defended it on Twitter, and then doing an in-character radio interview (under the name of Donald Trump's fake spokesman!) to support it. Dyakowski's timing was perfect, as this came around some discussions of University of Lethbridge professor Reginald Bibby's regular surveys on sports popularity, and it wouldn't have been too surprising to see someone actually do a survey about even as unscientific a subject as "the best fans in the CFL." Here's Dyakowski's tweet that started it all, the annoyed responses from Saskatchewan fans, and Dyakowski playing right along:
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line4 days ago
2016 is a huge year for the Toronto Argonauts, who are now under the ownership of Bell and Larry Tanenbaum and moving to BMO Field, and it looks like the new owners have given the team the marketing budget it deserves to promote these major changes. That's particularly notable, as marketing funds were especiallylackingfor the last few years under former owner David Braley. Under the new owners, the team's now doing some new and innovative marketing things, including buying fans drinks this past weekend and creating a large ad campaign on a scale we haven't seen from them in decades, including a new high-quality commercial that will first air on TSN during Monday night's Raptors - Cavaliers NBA playoff broadcast. Here's the commercial:
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line5 days ago
The Montreal Alouettes made a bold gamble this weekend, trading a 2017 first-round pick to the B.C. Lions for the rights to American quarterback Vernon Adams. For the Lions, this is a logical deal; they were unable to come to terms with Adams, it probably wasn't worth paying him what he wanted given that they have two established quarterbacks ahead of him (Jonathon Jennings and Travis Lulay), and they get a very good return for a player who hasn't played a CFL down or even agreed to terms. For the Alouettes, there's much more risk involved, but there's a chance of a huge payoff too. Much depends on where Adams winds up fitting in with the numerous other quarterbacks Montreal has under contract, though.
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line8 days ago
Former CFL and NFL defensive end Stevie "Shakespeare" Baggs Jr. has kept himself busy since his football career ended in 2013, writing a book, touring as a motivational speaker, running a foundation, being named Atlanta's "Health and Wellness Ambassador" and appearing in TV shows and movies. Now, he's the latest ex-CFL player to look for love on reality TV. Baggs, who played for Calgary, Hamilton, Saskatchewan, Edmonton and Winnipeg in the CFL, plus for NFL, AFL and NFL Europe teams, will star on season 2 of U.S. network WE tv's "Match Made In Heaven." The show premieres Thursday night at 10 p.m., and sees 18 women looking for a chance to date Baggs, who will get advice from Indianapolis Colts spiritual advisor Pastor Ken Johnson, host Sherri Shepherd and even his mother. Here's what Baggs told Amanda Remling of International Business Times about the show:
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line11 days ago
It's a fact of football life that when there are better openings out there, under-contract coaches are going to jump at them. The CFL has attempted to regulate this during this offseason following the kerfuffle over Chris Jones, Jason Maas and Noel Thorpe switching (or in Thorpe's case, unsuccessfully trying to switch) jobs, insisting that compensation will now have to be agreed upon in advance before guys move for a promotion within the league, but what they haven't been able to restrict is movement either into or out of the league from other levels such as CIS. The latest chain reaction was set off by Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive coordinator Tommy Condell suddenly resigning to spend time with his family in early April, which then led to that team grabbing McMaster head coach Stef Ptasek to replace him, and now McMaster has named Winnipeg defensive backs coach Greg Knoxas their new interim head coach. This makes sense for the Marauders, and it's potentially a good career move for Knox, so this move is highly logical even though the Bombers will now have to replace Knox late in the game. If this had been an intra-CFL move, though, it likely would have been banned unless the teams agreed on compensation.
- Chris Zelkovich at 55 Yard Line11 days ago
This year's Labour Day Classic in Regina is more than just another game on the CFL schedule, as anyone who's ever witnessed a rivalry game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers will attest.
The rivalry runs deep on the field and off. Fans may not teach their children to spit on the ground when the opposing city is mentioned, but the hatred is palpable -- at least on game day.
But as intense as the game may be, the intensity level is going to be elevated for Weston Dressler this September.
The 30-year-old CFL veteran receiver will be playing his ninth Labour Day Classic -- but this time not wearing the green-and-white of the Roughriders as he has done in eight previous matches. Almost unbelievably, he will be wearing the colours of the hated Bombers after the Riders unceremoniously dumped him over the winter.
``It will be different from any other game I've played," Dressler says, in typically understated Dressler style. ``For me, its going to be controlling those emotions ..."
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line12 days ago
Each team's true performance in the CFL draft is often only seen several years down the road, as some players are used in only small roles in their first season, while other draftees don't even enter the league right away thanks to NFL deals. The growing calibre of Canadian talent means that we are seeing more and more players who might be able to make a CFL impact right away, though, and it's not just guys who were taken in the first round; while those players are obvious candidates to be featured heavily, there are plenty of draftees picked later who might also make their mark on the CFL in 2016. Here are five, in descending order of where they were picked:
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line15 days ago
After months of anticipation and hints, the CFL fully unveiled its new lines of adidas uniforms and other apparel Thursday, first online and then in person at a launch party in Montreal. There's plenty to analyze here, with new stuff out for every team. (And, as previously announced, proceeds from cflshop.ca sales Thursday were donated to Fort McMurray wildfire relief efforts.) Keep reading for analysis of some of the highs and lows of these new releases, but first, here's a video with 360-degree images of players from each team showing off their new uniforms: