Tuesday 25 January 2011

Knowlton Extended

After a season that saw him take home the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player award, Markeith Knowlton has been rewarded with a contract extension that will keep him in Black & Gold through the 2013 season.

Knowlton was extended last season as well, so this new deal essentially adds another year to that extension.

With all the stadium talk (which I still have a moratorium on until an actual resolution is reached), it's nice to talk about football for once.

Extending Knowlton is a great move by the Tiger-Cats, who have been eerily quiet so far this off-season. This is the first player move the team has made since the season ended, while almost every other team has gone about re-signing some of their potential free agents. Perhaps this is the first move of many to come in the next few weeks. I wouldn't be upset if I had to write about an extension for another young, stud Linebacker.

Great to see Knowlton staying for the foreseeable future. He was one of our best players in 2010, and I expect him to continue that excellence in 2011.

Saturday 15 January 2011

World Championship

I have a lot of pet peeves in the world of sports. I hate the DH rule in the American League; I abhor shootouts in hockey and soccer; the last two minutes of an NBA game can be excruciatingly long. But all those pale in comparison to this one:

"The [insert NFL team here] are the World Champions."

No, no, no, no and no. Last year the New Orleans Saints did not win the world championship. No team in the history of the NFL has ever won a world championship. There is no World Championship in football.

I bring this up because when watching the Saints-Seahawks game last week I heard NBC's Mike Mayock and Tom Hammond repeatedly refer to the New Orleans Saints as "the defending World Champions."

Obviously, being a CFL fan, I take exception to the use of the term "World Champion" to describe the Super Bowl champions. You don't hear the Grey Cup champions being called "World Champions." Doesn't happen. In the CFL, a Grey Cup champion is crowned. Similarly, in the NFL a Super Bowl champion is crowned.

I have sent countless unanswered e-mails to many American writers who cover the NFL asking them to refrain from perpetuating this myth that the NFL in fact crowns a World Champion. They don't, or at least they don't crown one any more than the CFL does.

Aside from the hubris of it all, there is one other thing about this that really makes me scratch my head. The NFL is so image and marketing conscious that I do not understand why they would want the name of their championship game to be pushed aside in some silly attempt to brand their champions as World Champions. Doesn't it behoove the NFL to have the name "Super Bowl" said as much as possible? Wouldn't it make more sense to have that be repeated over and over to increase the connection between "football champions" and "Super Bowl"?

I have tried my best to get the writers and talking heads to stop using the term "World Champions" but to no avail. If you follow all forms of football like I do, I implore you to fill the inboxes of NFL writers to try and get this message out there.

Claiming that the Super Bowl champions are World Champions not only smacks of arrogance, but it is an insult to the CFL, its teams, its players and its fans. There is more than one championship game in football, and no league, on either side of the border, has the right to claim that their champion is world champion.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Hamilton's New DC and That Other News

Not Richie Hall.

Not Gary Etcheverry.

Not Brad Miller.

The man that will take over for the departed Greg Marshall is Corey Chamblin. The official announcement should come later in the week.

I don't know much about Chamblin. Sadly, I am not well versed on DB Coaches from around the league. Chamblin did apprentice under Chris Jones in Calgary, and Jones likes to employ a more aggressive approach. There will obviously be a change in philosophy from the past two seasons.

And before anyone asks, yes I am aware of the goings on with the stadium. But until a deal is signed, I'm not getting excited about anything. The Cats might stay at Ivor Wynne, and that's fine by me. But we've all seen the twists and turns, and we've all been on this roller-coaster ride, so we should all remain skeptical that a deal can get done until a deal is done. But this is positive news. Let's hope that this positivity carries forward toward February 1st.

Sunday 9 January 2011

The Week in Review

The past week was a very busy one for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

We had the long-anticipated announcement of Khari Jones as Offensive Coordinator. Anyone who has read me before knows that I am 100% behind this appointment. As far back as mid-November I said that Jones should be the next OC.

I'm not trying to pat myself on the back. I am well aware that I miss way more than I hit (an example of that is coming shortly), but I nailed this one almost two months ago. Score one for me.

But when talking about all-time whiffs, this one ranks right up there. I said that I would be stunned if Richie Hall was not the Defensive Coordinator of the Tiger-Cats should he not get the top job in Saskatchewan. Well he didn't – Greg Marshall did – and yet Hall will still not be joining the Hamilton coaching staff. He's headed back to Saskatchewan to be the Defensive Coordinator under Marshall. "Welcome to Tigertown, Coach Hall" might just be my "Dewey Beats Truman." Score one for real writers.

The question now remains: who does Hamilton hire? With Marshall being named the Head Coach in Saskatchewan and Hall following him, that leaves two names that I keep reading and hearing about to fill the void: Gary Etcheverry and Brad Miller. Etcheverry was the DC in Riderland last year, and Miller is currently the Secondary coach with the Cats. I think Miller has the inside track based on Head Coach Marcel Bellefeuille always preaching continuity, but I wouldn't mind seeing what Etcheverry could do with the talent the Cats have on Defense. I'm sure we'll find out before too long.

There is the whole stadium fiasco, but I've already wasted too much time covering that. Wake me when a decision is made on February 1st.

Lastly, I have touched on it, but Greg Marshall is, finally, a CFL Head Coach. He has been the bridesmaid so many times that it felt like he'd never get the chance. Now he inherits the two-time CFL West champions with a good chance to be successful right away. Should be interesting to see those two Hamilton-Saskatchewan matchups in 2011.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That

The Cats seem to have found their man to replace Bob O'Billovich when he decides to step down (probably after the 2011 season) in Joe Womack.

Womack has been hired to serve as assistant General Manager, and he will be the successor to Obie when he decides to ride off into the sunset.

I will freely admit to knowing next to nothing about Joe Womack. We'll see how he works out in a year or two.

In other news, the Argos are signing some of their potential free agents, but one seems to be hitting the market – one that would look phenomenal in Black & Gold. That one is Lin-J Shell.

I am a big fan of Shell. The Cats need help in the Secondary; Shell is a Defensive Back.

Yes, last year the Cats "raided" the Argos for two DBs, and that turned out terribly. But neither Jason Shivers nor Will Poole is as talented as Shell. I hope to see Shell at a news conference holding up his new Hamilton Tiger-Cat jersey sometime in mid-February.

Saturday 1 January 2011

Ooh Yeah, New Year, Next Phase, Begin

Happy New Year, everybody. Hard to believe that 2011 is already here.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday.

With the holidays over, it is time to get back into the swing of things.

We all know about the Tiger-Cats-to-Burlington stuff, so I'm not going to go on and on about it. My opinion: if the Jets and Giants can play in New Jersey and still represent New York, I don't see the big deal. It's not like Aldershot is Timbuktu. Any deal that keeps the Tiger-Cats in the immediate area is fine by me. Better Aldershot than Quebec City.

Secondly, it looks like Greg Marshall will finally get his chance to be a Head Coach in the CFL, as he is set to be announced as the man to replace Ken Miller in Saskatchewan. Good for Marshall. It also sounds like Richie Hall will not be coming to Hamilton, as rumours persist that he will take the Defensive Coordinator position with the Riders. Looks like Brad Miller has the inside track at becoming the Defensive Coordinator for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Finally, some sad news; the world lost a great man on December 31st with the passing of Tony Proudfoot. Proudfoot suffered from ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Proudfoot displayed class and courage in his battle. If there was anyone who finally deserved to be at peace, it was Tony Proudfoot. Rest in peace; you will be missed.