Johnny Manziel has suffered his first loss in the CFL… to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the B.C. Lions.
The game last Friday between to the two West Division teams drew an English-language television audience of 291,500 – despite a 10 p.m. EST start. That far outpaced the 163,500 the Ticats and Alouettes drew for Saturday’s 1 p.m. game in Montreal, a contest that was added to TSN’s meagre roster of pre-season games because of the presence of Johnny Football.
Now, some qualifiers. These numbers don’t include French-language RDS, which likely changes the equation somewhat, given that the game featured the Alouettes (though unlikely enough to close the gap.) It was a lovely summer day in Southern Ontario (and Montreal) last Saturday, meaning watching pre-season football may have taken a back seat to golf, patio beers or the list of honey-do chores for many.
The Ticats didn’t do TSN any favours by starting Bryant Moniz over Manziel, thereby robbing them (and everyone else) of the “Manziel to start second-ever CFL game” headlines (no matter how misleading.) Moniz got cut on Sunday…
And Bomber fans likely tuned in to see what their life looks like in the interminable period without Matt Nichols. (The answer: not particularly promising. But hope, as we know, springs internal in Bomberland. )
Anyway, things get going for real this week with Johnny on the bench and the eyes of most of America turned elsewhere. For now, anyway.