TSN aired the first part of the four-part documentary series on the 2011 Toronto Argonauts titled "The Extra Yard." The series seems to be modeled after HBO's Hard Knocks series that follows one NFL franchise during Training Camp. This one will stretch much longer than that, but the premise is basically the same.
The show covered myriad subjects, including the QB battle between Cleo Lemon and Dalton Bell, Djems Kouame's attempt to make the team and the trials and tribulations of Nate Robinson – who could, at worst, finish third in a Rick Ross look-a-like contest.
It was gripping television that had me hooked from the first second. It gave great insight into what goes on during a CFL Training Camp and the factors that go into the decisions to keep or cut players.
Some things I was hoping to learn, I didn't. I'm still unsure of why Miguel Robede was released. Jim Barker's reasoning was less than convincing. But that was not a criticism of the show; that's a criticism of the Argos.
When the show ended, I wanted to see more. That's not easy for a Tiger-Cat fan to say about an Argo-centric show. But a good idea is a good idea, and this is a great idea. I hope that the ratings are through the roof so that the league and TSN will do it once again next year, preferably with the Tiger-Cats, but any team would be fine, other than the Argos. Not because I hate them, but because I'd rather see a new team every year.
In any event, "The Extra Yard" was fascinating. I know I'll be watching the second episode when it airs in August. Hopefully you will too, and hopefully this is the beginning of more great CFL programming on TSN.