“Live mic” experiment popular with fans but leaves teams vulnerable

“Hey, let’s go. Let’s go. Tiger, tiger. Hey one at a time man, one at a time. Let’s go,” Ticats quarterback Zach Collaros says to the offensive unit as they take the field for the first offensive series against Calgary on Sunday.

“F-line, trips left, 60 skin, indian q, backside double z post, on one, on one, ready?”

The result of the play was a nine-yard pass across the middle to Andy Fantuz.

Collaros and Calgary pivot Bo Levi Mitchell were wired for sound all game long as part of the CFL’s first-ever “live mic” broadcast. More than 2.4 million Canadians tuned into to TSN watch the game, making it one of the most watched telecasts of the season. But it wasn’t without its challenges.

Without knowing when the broadcast would be using their audio, both players had to watch every word that came out of their mouths.

“There are so many kids watching and I just didn’t want to cuss and have that slip out there so I watched what I said,” Collaros said.

“My mom texted me before the game and said, “Talk in the huddle as if you’re talking to your Nana,’” Mitchell told the Calgary Herald.

The audio addition was clearly a hit with fans, who enjoyed the added bonus of hearing the communication between coaches and quarterbacks. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive on social media.

However, Collaros felt differently.

“I hope I never have to do it again,” the 28-year-old said after the game

After the Stamps won 30-24, Mitchell went back and watched the TSN broadcast of the game and says he’s concerned opponents will be able to use what they heard to their advantage down the road.

“There’s a lot of stuff we have to change in our offence now and I think Hamilton will have to do the same,” Mitchell said. “I picked up a bunch of stuff with Hamilton’s offence just watching it one time.

“When it gives away strategy and things like that, it’s going to ruin the game.”

Insiders around the league felt terminology – plays calls and checks at the line of scrimmage – could be used against the Stamps and Ticats in the future.

“You could hear route concepts,” said a CFL personnel man. “When they go no-huddle you might be able to pick up pattern combos. With Calgary, you heard Bo’s cadence.”

“I understand that we’re trying to be creative and innovative, but the reality is that with the terminology most people watching wouldn’t even understand what’s being said.”

“Looking from the outside, do I think that the next opponents for Calgary and Hamilton got an advantage? Yes.”

It may be most beneficial for the next opponent on the Ticats’ schedule: Toronto on Labour Day.

Notes: Sources say Hamilton is set to sign former Argonauts and Riders receiver John Chiles, who posted a picture of a Ticats’ helmet on his Instagram… the Minnesota Vikings have released former Ticats receiver Terrell Sinkfield, who is now a CFL free agent.

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