December 2016 – AGAIN with the Montreal Gazette Posts

Jack Todd wrote YET ANOTHER article on the MLS Montreal Impact supplanting the Alouettes in Montreal. I took exception, and wrote a response:

It’s kinda funny. Whenever an article like this appears the underlying assumption always seems to be: there are sports fans out there, or rather Sports Dollars, and each pro team in the city competes with the others for those dollars. And while there is undoubtedly some “bleed over” between sports, there are probably as many fans like me, who’s sports interests are limited to the sports they played in the past, or the simply those they prefer for whatever reasons, cultural or otherwise.
A more productive approach would be to examine in detail WHY the Alouettes have lost the city’s CFL football fans,  who once trudged, 70,000 strong…though a snowstorm and a transit strike to watch those Alouettes embed staples into their cleats and win the Ice Bowl at the Big Owe.
There’s no question that the Jim Popp dictatorship has infuriated Alouettes fans. The lack of a successor to Calvillo, better known as the blacklisting of Adrian MPherson, was NOT ONLY on Popp, but ultimately on Marc Trestman and Calvillo himself. The ensuing years have been lean indeed.
But it’s important to realize that by the time Trestman had arrived in Montreal, Calvillo was already 1-5 in Grey Cup performances, the Alouettes were STUCK in an offensive philosophy that while occasionally successful, often exciting, could NOT be expected to hold the attention of the public for 2 decades. What possibly could?
THIS can go a long way to explaining the relative lack of support for a Trestman team that won 2 successive Cups and had 3 GC appearances in a row. And the Alouettes STILL couldn’t fill a 25,000 Molson Stadium.
Sure winning is important. But even when AC and the Alouettes were tearing up the league with his pocket-passing DOMINANCE, the “ho-hum factor” of Calvillo passing for yet another 400 yards is the explanation for an Alouettes team that couldn’t pull a full house to save it’s life.


Enter Jacques Chapdelaine, Rakeem Cato and Vernon Adams Jr

Sure..I’m getting ahead of myself. But it was only last season that Rakeem Cato took on the defending GC Champs (Stamps) as a rookie and beat them soundly, creatively, excitingly. OR broke the dreaded BC Place Curse. OR won in Hamilton…something AC NEVER seemed to be able to do. The standing ovation that followed his creative and exhilarating performance against Calgary, was a spontaneous expression of relief…NOT only that the Alouettes had found a talented new quarterback, but that the BRAND of football was undergoing an exciting and radical change in this city.
The ensuing almost 2 seasons taught us some hardcore CFL lessons: that you can’t just simply APPOINT yourself Head Coach, or offensive-coordinator, and expect to be successful against teams where those positions are filled by professionals.That “coordinating” a quarterback like Cato (or Adams) with a philosophy more suited to a static, pocket passing skillset, is like letting your grandma drive your Lamborghini. That there are NO shortcuts to having a solid offensive line…and there’s NO winning without one. That signing players for their “draw” rather than their talent or compatibility in the dressing room is a recipe for disaster…not to mention being a smoodge shy of treating your fan base like mindless rubes. By gum Jim…you’ve taught us SO MUCH.
With a new GM looking to find this team exciting young talent, and with Cato and Adams at the helm, and Chapdelaine weaving some offensive magic, the future looks to be brighter than ANYONE could have hoped as little as 2 seasons ago. There’s EVERY chance the Alouettes will ONCE AGAIN be pulling HUGE playoff crowds in the Bog Owe.
I PROMISE I won’t even MENTION the Impact when that happens.

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