Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 3)

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The CFL is always an interesting study in franchises as some of the smallest markets are the best while the biggest has traditionally been the worst.

A place like Regina (pop of 193,100) dominates the CFL while a city like Toronto (pop of 2.6 million) struggle to fill even part of their stadium.

Yet the Argos remain one of the most important franchises in the CFL, whether fans of the Riders or Ti-Cats are willing to admit it or not.

The reason being that Toronto sits in the juggernaut of media markets for the CFL with all of the major national sports networks located in or around the city.

Without a team in Toronto that media market goes unused and national broadcasters lose interest.

Although the league may not die out without the big money deals from national broadcast rights it certainly won’t be as big as it is now.

Whether other fans like it or not the Argos are an essential team and the CFL knows this as they have tried to solve the Toronto problem for years.

In 1991 the Argos gained a new set of owners that changed the face of football in Toronto, Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky, and John Candy spent money to bring exciting players like Rocket Ismail to the Argos.

That filled the SkyDome to the rafters in the most successful period in Argos history. After winning their second straight Grey Cup in 1997 the Argos began to struggle both on and off the field.

The SkyDome, now known as the Rogers Centre, turned from a great new facility to a cavernous pit for a team that only drew 20,000 fans in a 50,000 seat stadium.

The city lost interest and ticket sales dropped, even while TV ratings remained high and do to this day, and for a CFL team no ticket sales is an easy way to die as a franchise.

Since their back-to-back championships every league commissioner has tried to make the Argos successful enough financially to make them a solid team.

John Tory, Michael Lysko, David Braley, and Tom Wright could not solve the problem.

Then came Cohon who solved every problem that the CFL had when he became the commissioner in 2007.

He brought back football to Ottawa and made almost every team a money-maker rather than a money loser. His lasting legacy may not be attributed to him though as he also seems to have solved the Toronto problem, the thorn in his side since taking the office.

Although Cohon left the league after last season he was hard at work in attempting to provide stability to a team that had to be bought by the owner of the BC Lions, David Braley, just to keep them alive.

Then Braley announced only a few years ago that he wanted to sell both of his teams within the next three years putting the Argos in a familiar unsteady position.

Cohon worked hard to help the argos find a buyer and a massive opportunity arose. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the organization that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, and Toronto Marlies seemed to express interest in purchasing the team and moving them to BMO Field, currently the home of Toronto FC.football-sidebar

Before the season the deal came to light as two of the three members in MLSE, Larry Tanenbaum and Bell Media, purchased the Argos and set in place a plan to move them to BMO field, currently halfway through major renovations, to start the 2016 season.

It was a lot of hard work from Cohon and from every party involved but the deal was done and stability has been brought to the team that is needed but never seemed to be on steady ground.

The move to BMO will also be big as the environment should be better in an outdoor facility that is much more intimate that the Rogers Centre.

In a big move that showed this new stability the Argos also hired Michael Copeland to be their President and CEO starting in the 206 season.

That announcement this week should give Argos fans plenty of hope for a new Argos organization.

Copeland has been a senior executive at the CFL head offices and in 2013 became the President and COO of the league.

He brings plenty of knowledge of the league to the Argos and shows that the new owners are looking to make the Argos a winner both on and off the field.

Fourth Down:
(Thoughts on Week 3 in the CFL)

A Good Start Cut Short
Ryan Smith has been tearing up defences this year for Saskatchewan with a highlight catch that could be the best of the year but those highlights were short-lived as the Riders placed their emerging star on the 6-game injured list

The Heart on the Sidelines
The Montreal Alouettes were bitten by the injury bug as well this week when the heart and soul of the defence made his way to the 6-game injured list as Bear Woods underwent surgery to repair a pectoral muscle

Durie Done Again
Andre Durie has shown great potential on the field but has rarely stayed on the field and will once again go to the sidelines after an ACL injury that has likely ended his season and added to the seasons lost to injuries for the slotback


Week 3 Scores:
Edmonton Eskimos 46 – 17 Ottawa REDBLACKS
– The REDBLACKS have stripped themselves of the expansion tag but they certainly looked like an expansion team again in Week 3 after two good outings while the Eskimos proved that their first week loss was just a fluke as Matt Nichols led the way

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 25 – 23 Montreal Alouettes
– The Montreal Alouettes were hoping that they had found a true top QB in Rakeem Cato and they still might have although he couldn’t get them the win in this one he still performed up to snuff in his second CFL game

BC Lions 35 – 32 Saskatchewan Roughriders (OT)
– The Riders were seeing déjà vu in Week 3 as they looked to recover from a Double OT loss against the Argos and once again went to overtime against the Lions after allowing 17 fourth quarter points and allowing a TD after kicking a field goal in the first OT

Calgary Stampeders 25 – 20 Toronto Argonauts
– Heading into the Monday Nighter the Argos were the last undefeated team in the league but they left with their first loss despite the fact that Calgary lost three offensive lineman and added up massive penalties in an ugly win

Week 4 Matchups:
Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Montreal Alouettes (Thursday July 16th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Alouettes are still looking at Rakeem Cato closely to see if he can bring another win as he faces a great defence in Hamilton with a little more time to impress as Crompton remains on the 6-game injured list

Edmonton Eskimos vs. Ottawa REDBLACKS (Friday July 17th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The REDBLACKS are currently sitting at the same win total from a year ago and thanks to Edmonton they could not pass it in Week 3 so they head home to a likely sold out TD Place looking to get that all-important third win

BC Lions vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Friday July 17th; 10:00 pm ET)
– It was a heartbreaker for the Riders in the first game as the Lions came back to tie in the fourth quarter and win in overtime but they get an immediate chance at revenge in playing the Lions again, this time on home turf

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Calgary Stampeders (Saturday July 18th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Bombers and the Stamps were able to get back on the winning track this week as they were able to get back to winning and hope to do the same here

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