July 2016 – Poppvillo Daze

Why does anyone write a sports blog? Well, some folks appreciate the opportunity to write. I’ll take it whenever it’s given. Expressing one’s opinions unfettered, unfiltered and without the specter of censorship is always refreshing and rewarding.

But, fake journalist that I am, my greatest motivation is speaking TRUTH to POWER. That’s what REALLY grinds my gearbox. Rotates my rutabagas.

Unfortunately, one can ONLY know what’s REALLY going on from the inside. And once INSIDE, the punishments for filling the rest of us in are so OPPRESSIVE, well it MAY happen in occasionally in politics…but those of us in the sports world usually have to make do with innuendo, surmise, intuition and educated guessing.

So as we sit on the cusp of what MAY soon be a 1-5 record and likely FUNDAMENTAL changes on this team, I’d like to offer MY educated guess as to how we got here.

In Anthony Calvillo, Jim Popp identified the PERFECT way for him to realize his lifelong ambition: to become a legitimate and respected football FORCE in the CFL. Like his Daddy in the NFL. Think Devolution. Think Buono OR Hufnagel…with yoga.

Popp approached owner Wetenhall. It went something like this:

Popp: “Look Bob. Anthony’s in a bit of  a bind. He’s not exactly prepared for his post-football life. There’s his family to consider and let’s face it Bob, we owe him a LOT.”

Bob: “What do you have in mind?”

Popp: “Well. AC’s already the offensive coordinator. However, if I go out and hire ANY new Head Coach, he’s going to want to bring in his own people. At the very least he’s going to be DAMNED resistant to having a guy with as little coaching experience as Anthony as OC.”

Bob: “Right. Makes sense I guess. I’m taking your word on that Jim.”

Popp: “You know ME Bob. I’ve NEVER wanted to step as Head Coach of this team. But if I don’t, I don’t see how I can guarantee Anthony’s position.”

Bob: “So you’re saying you want to be Head Coach in 2016. We went through this when I hired Higgins…”

Popp: “I know, I know Bob. I’m not happy about it either. But it’s a situation we’re going to have to live with…for AC’s sake. I spend a season, maybe two as Head Coach. Then hand the reigns over to Anthony when feels he’s ready. So how about it, Bob?”

Bob(aside): “*(&^&^ (&$#^&**(%!!”

This ABSURD fantasy. The possibility that Anthony Calvillo had his job…his very FUTURE mapped out in someone’s ambition-adled mind. Perhaps EVEN before Calvillo retired. In some ways this may be as rife with corruption, nepotism and arrogant disdain as ANY political or business scandal in this beleaguered province. Anyone remember Larry Smith?

Calvillo may have been…might STILL eventually be a very good coach in this league. If only Jim Popp had given him a NORMAL amount of time to evolve and learn the profession. Such is the price of ambition.

Are the CFL and the Alouettes SO pathetically unimportant to Montrealers that THIS must be considered and accepted as business as usual? OR are the fans of this team SO blinkered by sentiment that ANYTHING is acceptable as long as their beloved AC is leading the team?

Even when through no fault of his own, Calvillo himself stands to lose a measure of the respect he gained over a 20 year playing career? EVEN when the ultimate result is turning the Alouettes into a league-wide JOKE  and this city stands to watch a CFL franchise go UNDER for a THIRD (and perhaps FINAL) time?!?

Unless a HUGE MIRACULOUS turnaround happens and this team suddenly becomes a well coached, disciplined force to be reckoned with, I can’t imagine Robert Wetenhall doing ANYTHING but pulling the trigger on what was a questionable decision in the 1st place.

You have 11 days…

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