CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge stepping down

CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge is stepping down as commissioner

The board of governors of the CFL and Orridge have agreed to part ways with an effective date of June 30, 2017, the league says.

“In his time with the CFL, Jeffrey worked tirelessly to promote player health and safety, the integrity of the League on and off the field, and the values of diversity and inclusion,” said Jim Lawson, Chair, CFL. “Jeffrey played an important role in developing the league’s strategic plan which has, in a short time, helped to elevate some key metrics that underpin the health of the league.”

“It has been an honour to serve as CFL Commissioner and help to prepare this historic league for the future by deepening our relationship with fans and sponsors, increasing its relevance with the next generation, and expanding our reach beyond Canada,” said Jeffrey L. Orridge. “While the Board and I have differing views on the future of the league, we both believe passionately in this game, its players, its partners and its fans. I wish the CFL great success in the future.”

“On behalf of the Board of Governors we wish Jeffrey continued success and thank him for his hard work and integrity during his tenure with the CFL,” said Lawson.

Orridge was hired as commissioner in April, 2015 and he’s had two tumultuous years on the job. The league’s feud with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport led the CFL to go without drug testing for more than a year while his comments last fall denying a conclusive link between playing in the CFL and developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) led to widespread criticism.

More later.


51 Comments on CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge stepping down

  1. Yahoo – with great enthusiasm!!!

  2. It’s about time. I can’t think of a more useless commissioner for the CFL. let’s hope the search committee makes the right selection and get it right this time!

  3. I was excited and proud about having the first Black Commisioner! I dont get it. Being a league commisioner is not a purely a popularity contest. Everything with any negativity has been inherited. Probably just because the Riders are ticked they got fined. (I am a Rider fan)

  4. Bring back Mark Cohon.

  5. frank sabados // April 12, 2017 at 11:03 am //

    Great news Orridge was useless

  6. frank sabados // April 12, 2017 at 11:05 am //

    worst Commissioner the CFL has has ever had Jeff Orridge good riddance

  7. Scottsask // April 12, 2017 at 11:09 am //

    I couldn’t have said it better myself Dick. Orridge was in waaaaay over his head. Cohon for Commish!

  8. Chopper11 // April 12, 2017 at 11:11 am //

    I don’t agree with all the “useless” comments. There were things that Orridge dealt with, that needed to be dealt with. I do know people expected more from him, but those same people have to realize that it’s a difficult task dealing with the board of governors. Going forward, I’m hopeful for perhaps a little more vocal commissioner.

  9. Stephen Fisher // April 12, 2017 at 11:18 am //

    Orridge is a marketing guy. Worth a try I guess. I’m a football guy. I don’t watch the halftime shows. I hope they find a strong football first commissioner this time.

  10. Not an Orridge fan, but other than Mark Cohon, the CFL has a revolving door at the position and no one will be successful without a clear run through 5 years.

    The CFL is managed and officiated by rank amateurs and Orridge was just another. The only saving grace to him leaving is that the damage done by his tenure is not enough to undo all the good done by Mark Cohon.

  11. Yesssssssssssss!

  12. Scottsask // April 12, 2017 at 11:37 am //

    Ok, ok, Cohon won’t be back. How about Glen Suitor?

    • I agree. Mr. Cohon won’t come back. I agree with the suggestion also that Glen Suitor would be a good candidate. He knows the football side and he could handle the political side of the board of governors. I can’t be easy trying to get agreement from all the different interests from all the teams.

  13. mr62 cats // April 12, 2017 at 11:48 am //

    The next time I would like to see the CFL go back to hiring a qualified Canadian Commissioner again…Orridge was the first one from the US. There’s more to the job than just being a marketer. They need someone who has grown up with the CFL and knows the League’s importance in Canadian sports history.
    Maybe they can find a modern day Jake Gaudaur, who was on the job for 16 years!

  14. I hope this doesn’t mean the CFL is going to go back on fan-friendly initiatives like CFL Week, Live-mic games, fantasy pools, media access, etc. If so, I believe that would be a step backwards. While Orridge definitely had some missteps on certain files like the concussion issue, I think he was a driving force behind making the league more accessible and inviting to fans. I hope the next Commish doesn’t take steps to reverse this

    • I agree with Richard. Would hate to see some of the fantastic things that have been put into place in the last couple of years disappear – cfl week, the live mic games & media access.
      CFL needs to have good marketing to bring in the younger people who aren’t attending the games. There are way too many empty seats in the stadiums. Need all the marketing that wIll pull the fans back into the stadiums.
      Mr. Orridge was not as vocal as Mr. Cohon but the board knew the type of personality they were hiring. I didn’t agree with all of Mr. Orridge’s comments but I did agree with his successful marketing plans.

  15. Scottsask // April 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm //

    Agreed mr62 cats, it would be nice to have someone qualified and keep them for at least 10 years.

  16. Solara2000 // April 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm //

    I don’t think the Commish was prepared for the varied dynamics of the job. I am sure he is a capable executive but each playground has its own culture and expectations.
    The role of the Commish is not a walk in the park given the competing interests of the 9 clubs and their fans , it’s sponsors and other stakeholders.
    The metaphor that comes to mind for me is having a game played with the officiating crew working from field level in the opposite end-zone.

  17. This was a guy that specialized in corporate speak and boardroom jargon. Unfortunately we all needed a couple of minutes after listening to him to digest and translate what he was actually trying to say. We certainly need a boardroom big thinker to run the league but it would help if this person could relate and communicate to CFL fans and most importantly the CFL board of governors.

  18. Clay Connor // April 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm //

    Stephen Brunt should be the next commissioner of the CFL.

  19. Peter Dyakowski would be good. Ed Hervey is looking for work.

  20. The guy was a hack….period.
    Ether way in over his head…or totally out of touch.
    Don.t hit your head on the way out the door.
    Bottom line…

  21. Dan Bombers // April 12, 2017 at 1:37 pm //

    Glen suitor would be a good choice plus it gets him off the tv so win win

    • Stephen Fisher // April 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm //

      Ha ha, Dan
      But kidding aside I think Duane Forde would be a very strong choice.

    • Eddy Rayner // April 12, 2017 at 9:24 pm //

      I was thinking Jock Climie – a variety of skills that would come in handy as a Commish … and it gets him off the tv …

  22. I wasn’t much impressed by Mr. Orridge, a virtual phantom throughout the season (or so it seemed). He may well have significantly contributed to certain initiatives; still, he just appeared not-quite-right for the position – don’t understand why he was hired to begin with. Hopefully, the league can secure the services of a truly passionate commish.

  23. If we’re going to mine the fetid swamp of TSN commentators, forget Suitor; you might as well go for broke and hire Rod Black.

    • Would be a great idea to hire Steve Armitage to be the director of communications to assist the new commissioner Black. Would be a few years of mass confusion accompanied with spontaneous yelling and grunting. Can’t be any worse than Michael Lysko.

  24. Dirty Thirty // April 12, 2017 at 2:14 pm //

    Farhan Lalji might be interested.

  25. Can the new CFL logo be scrapped too?

  26. mrnehnehincognito // April 12, 2017 at 2:50 pm //

    Good move this guy clearly wasn’t the right fit for CFL. He wasn’t incompetent just not the right fit. He wasn’t interested in fan engagement and generally seemed out of touch with the demographic of CFL fans. However give credit where it’s due. CFL week was great and he was active in trying to fix the Toronto. New person needs to engage with youth. I’m afraid Glenn Suitor should stick to color commentary. He’d only hire ex riders as his staff.

  27. DundasDude // April 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm //

    Instant replays, challenges and the resulting delay in games over recent years has been a disaster. Somebody had to walk the plank for these miscues. Hopefully 2017 will re establish the momentum the league had in 2014. If I wanted to watch the legal deliberations of a bunch of old men I’d be a lawyer, I want to see the players decide with reffing in real time. Down with challenges and delay.

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 12, 2017 at 3:02 pm //

      many of these things are not his decision alone. blame board of governors and head of officiating for these things

  28. mrnehnehincognito // April 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm //

    Chris Jones has already applied. He needs a change 15 months employment by 1 team is a long time!

  29. Scottsask // April 12, 2017 at 3:06 pm //


  30. Does this mean we’ll get the old logo back?

  31. Lets be honest Suitor or Forde have great knowledge of the league and the game it’s self but I’m sure they want someone with a degree, be it in law or marketing. Bad timing but I like the move. Guy was no where to be seen in two years. What really needs to be addressed is the officiating. I think (my point of view) from a fans perspective we have a great product on the field but the refs are a blemish most of the time. Now that doesn’t mean these guys can’t improve it means money needs to be spent to have our head refs as full time paid employees and get more training to these guys. Can cook an omelette with out a pan, point is give them the right tools and I believe we can see a better game all around.

  32. Orridge was terrible and I said on many occasions last year that the owners had to step in and stop his nonsense. I feel like a weight has been lifted and the dread I felt about having to go through another season like last year is gone. Now the game can be fun again.

  33. mrnehnehincognito // April 12, 2017 at 4:36 pm //

    I laugh at the names being mentioned here. Glen Suitor? Pinball Clemons? Duane Ford? These are ex players who have stayed engaged in the league one way or another however I doubt any have the ability to have both the charisma of Cohon or the ability to deal with 9 bosses of varying ego and wealth with 9 different agendas.
    What we need is Cohen’s personality with someone who can bring millennial’s dollars into the stadium. How about making part of stadium parking lots available free for car sharing services and discount the gate price to those who use them. Make certain washrooms gender neutral. The old attempts to bring in some hot band for halftime to bring in youth is antiquated. Appeal to core values of the next generation.
    Invest money in R&D and use chip and digital technology and be the first sport league to take human error out. Field goals, goal line touch downs ,and close plays can all have digital indicators to make things certain. That way we can also end a lot of the game delay challenge BS too.

  34. Sorry to have to say it but it is great news that Orridge is gone/leaving. Wasn’t able to hit the ground running. Initial commissioner’s message demonstrated he knew almost zero about the league, it’s history, challenges, fan base or the country. Probably his biggest mistake is putting Johnson (Howell wanna be) in charge of officiating. He needs to go too.

  35. Craig Maw // April 12, 2017 at 6:05 pm //

    What the new commissioner needs to do is add MORE TEAMS. Quebec City and Moncton to start. I am sure we could find a few homes out west as well.As
    well Teams should be able to carry a CANADIAN QUARTERBACK for development
    that does not count against the cap or roster.

  36. I agree that Jock Climie should get serious consideration

    • mr62 cats // April 12, 2017 at 7:24 pm //

      Climie would last for maybe a week as Commish. He would be arguing with every owner about everything.

  37. Solara2000 // April 12, 2017 at 9:33 pm //

    Why bother with a search – all these recommendations – anyone actually looked at the job description?

  38. His intentions may have been good, but the results didn’t measure up. Finding the Right Man or Woman for the job will be no easy task within the time frame of Now and his departure, June 30th… MY CHOICE OVERWHELMINGLY: Duane Ford…… My personal Beef was the Drawn Out & Embarrassing fight over Drug Testing, or lack thereof. It made the CFL look Minor League. For the most part we finally got it right after a year of No Control whatsoever.

  39. The replacement has to be an CFL ex-player with a strong business/marketing acumen and under 50 years old. Preferably from Western Canada.

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