July 2016 – “Cartergate” – OR How I Learned to Exploit My Opponent’s Character Flaws and Win a Football Game

Duron Carter is a MASSIVELY talented receiver. Tall. Runs like the wind. Can carry the ball like a running back or a kick returner. So HOWEVER has Jim Popp managed to snag this gem? WHY is this BEAST of a man NOT playing in the NFL?

When I was a kid I had a friend with emotional issues. Most of the time he was a perfectly nice person, albeit a bit hyper. When he got worked up however, he became TOTALLY out of control…his emotions ran away from him and ANYTHING could happen. While it’s certainly not a clinical diagnosis on my part, it would seem Duron Carter might be suffering some of the same issues.

In this clip Carter had JUST scored a touchdown. Carter decides to take a walk towards the Ottawa sidelines…presumably to talk a little trash.

Issue #1 Coaches on the Field

SECTION 11 — TEAM PERSONNEL

During a game, the area may be occupied only by substitute players in uniform and other accredited persons including coaches, doctors, trainers, equipment assistants and water carriers. All such personnel are required to remain within the rectangular area with the exception of the coaches, who may take positions between the bench area and the Sideline. The coaches shall not be permitted on the playing field at any time during the game, except with the permission of the Referee.

According to the rules then, Coach Campbell was illegally on the field during the game. Therefore Carter was WELL within his rights to go as close to the Ottawa bench as he wished, regardless of how bright the move might have been.

As he approaches the first coach, who then starts pointing to an official, it seems obvious Carter’s starting to realize his mistake. His body language instantly changes from “jacked up” and confrontational to “uhoh…get me out of this shit”.

Coach Campbell on the other hand seems to instantaneously sense an opportunity. So while Carter OBVIOUSLY turns his shoulders 90 degrees to avoid the Ottawa Head Coach, Campbell is miraculously knocked tits over tea kettle….apparently by the sheer force of Carter’s reputation.

And that’s where it starts to get dicey. Look. I’ve been an Alouettes fan for over 40 years. And despite my issues with the administration of this team, NO ONE can question my devotion. Still…even I was choking on bile at what apparently happened between Duron Carter and the Ottawa bench. Sure it was my own guy…but YOU DON’T HIT A COACH.

It can’t be avoided. It’s no secret. The CFL sometimes serves as probation officers for characters too dubious for prime time. As a “lesser” league who’s talent is inevitably gobbled up by the NFL…we take what we can get.

Still…if the CFL is the “dreg receptacle” of the football world, it’s hard NOT to think of Jim Popp’s Alouettes sometimes as occupying one “rung” lower on that slime-scale. Chad Johnson, Michael Sam, Troy Smith…there have been no lack of sketchy characters, talented and otherwise on this team. It might be suggested that as Popp ignores his GM duties for the “sexier” thrills of life on the sidelines…he cuts corners recruiting, evaluating and developing young talent, choosing instead to inflict whatever 3 time loser NOBODY ELSE WILL TOUCH on his team AND it’s devoted fans.

Campbell’s dive was canny. A classic move which in one fell swoop assured his team of a win, and put a hated rival in hot water. I’d suggest ANY intelligent coach would have taken advantage of the situation that Carter was stupid enough to walk himself into.

Speaking of coaching acumen, when after the game Jim Popp said, “Both sidelines are on the same side of the field.” one couldn’t help wincing at Popp’s apparent condemnation of his own incompetence: If he KNEW this situation exists (considering Molson Stadium is the Alouettes home stadium you’d have to think he was well aware of it)  AND he knew of Carter’s propensity for landing in shit stew….WHY THE HELL didn’t Head Coach Popp institute whatever was necessary to make certain it NEVER happened?

Speaking of getting out-coached. Week 1 Jim Popp was faced with a decision: a bit more than a minute left in the game, drive stalls in field goal range with the Alouettes up by one possession. A single point would have put the Alouettes up by 9, necessitating 2 possessions for Winnipeg to tie or win.

Popp elects to try a field goal and Bede misses. As a result, Winnipeg is given the chance to come back and with a successful TD drive with a 2 point convert would have tied. ANY well trained CFL Head Coach would have elected to kick the ball through the endzone for the rouge.

While the Alouettes STILL managed to win Week 1, the LITTLE things, like exploiting an opponent’s character flaws and reputation, ensuring your players DON’T continue to take meaningless penalties, OR making the right call on the field marks the CHASMIC difference between an Eastern Champion, and a perennial cellar dweller like the Alouettes under Jim Popp.

 

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