Sunday, 23 December 2012

The CFL Could Learn Something from the NFL

For those out there that don't watch the NFL, Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice's single-season record for receiving yards. Johnson topped Rice's 1995 record in Detroit's game last night. And what happened when Johnson broke the record?


Johnson went over to the sidelines, gave the ball to his dad and the game continued on as if nothing happened. Considering Johnson broke one of the records held by the greatest pass catcher in pro football history (don't bother debating this because Rice is the greatest ever and it is undeniable fact), so this was no small feat. This was something worthy of celebrating, but the NFL didn't stop the game to honour the milestone.

And that is the right thing to do.

One of my biggest beefs with the CFL is when a guy breaks a record, be it single-season or all-time, they stop the game to hold these elaborate ceremonies. It's awkward and, to be honest, comes off as a little bush league. When Chad "Look At Me" Owens aka "Overrated Owens" aka "The Cryin' Hawaiian" broke that meaningless record this past season, the Argos stopped the game to celbrate it. When Damon Allen broke the all-time passing yards mark, the game was stopped (and that game wasn't even played in Toronto; it was played at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Labour Day).

Contrast that to last night, and to when Brett Favre broke the passing yards and touchdown marks. A little acknowledgement, but no grandiose midfield celebrations. No stopping the game for 10 minutes to present either player with a plaque. A tip of the hat, likely an announcement in the stadium and the game went on as usual.

That's how it should be done. Stop halting games to recognize individual achievements, no matter how significant.

The CFL would be wise to take a page from the NFL's book on this one. The league needs to put its foot down and stop these game-stopping ceremonies. The next time someone breaks a record, I hope what follows looks like what I saw in Detroit last night and not what I saw in Toronto in November.

1 comment:

  1. Right on. I can't stand the celebration delays, no matter who it is.

    It also goes against the "team game" nature of football. More than most sports, it does take 12 players (or 11 in Johnson's case) to make a play.

    The individual's effort and skill certainly do matter, but for a receiver to succeed it requires a line to block, other receivers or the RB to present other challenges for the defense, and most of all a QB to make the right read and get the ball to the receiver. Consider the coaching as well - crafting the offense and calling the play.

    Similarly, the argument holds for passing records, rushing records, return records, and defensive records too. One could say maybe kicking is a little different, but even then the kicker has to be put in the position to make the kick.

    Spotlighting the individual minimizes all of that. Never mind the fact it can kill any momentum that his team has.

    But I suspect it has to do with the CFL trying to be "in touch" with the fans. Maybe some people enjoy seeing this, and it doesn't happen often, but some of us see it as a huge P.I.T.A.