So a peak behind the curtain a bit before we get started.
My annual Christmas post is something I have enjoyed putting together the last couple of years. I consider myself a bit of a Christmas expert and have enjoyed adding a CFL twist to the Christmas festivities each year.
Last year, I compared CFL teams to Christmas songs. The plan this year was to do the same, except with Christmas movies, but then this happened.
— CFL News (@CFL_News) December 23, 2018
Yep, that’s an article from the CFL’s own website comparing CFL things to Christmas movies. While their premise isn’t exactly what I had in mind — I had the Redblacks compared to Love Actually because they are both the dirt worst — it was a little too close for comfort for my liking, so that plan had to be scrapped (even if comparing CFL things to pop culture things has been my gimmick for years now, I won’t call #GimmickInfringement just yet).
So like a shopper searching last minute for a gift and purchasing an old standby (usually a gift card), I had to do the same. Maybe we’ll get to that movie-team comparison one day, but instead this year I give you a gift card in the form of recycling my gift-for-each-team idea from a couple years ago.
I promise I will do better next year, but for now, it is on to the presents.
B.C.: a new (old) quarterback for their new head coach
Both Jonathon Jennings and Travis Lulay are slated to be free agents, and with a new regime in place, it is time for the Lions to make a change at the game’s most important position. While that new QB won’t be unwrapped on Christmas morning, I think Lions fans will be happy to wait for Mike Reilly to come back home to B.C. and make them an immediate contender in the West.
Edmonton: for B.C. not to get their gift
You know that gift I just gave B.C.? Yeah, Edmonton fans do not want that at all. If Reilly doesn’t land on the left coast, it is likely he returns to the place he won an MOP award in 2017 and a Grey Cup in 2015. Edmonton fans certainly hope the latter is the case.
Calgary: *shrug emoji*
I literally have no idea what to get the team that has won 10 or more games every year since 2008, 13 or more games every year since 2013, been to six Grey Cups in the last 11 years and won three. Oh, and they are also the reigning Grey Cup champs. There is nothing I can give them that they don’t already have. They are the most blessed team in the CFL already and really don’t need anything.
Saskatchewan: year free of controversy
Surreptitious Johnny Manziel workouts, pre-practice squads, essentially everything Duron Carter did while there. It has been an especially noteworthy era of Riders football under Chris Jones, and I am sure Riders fans (and probably CFL fans in general) would love it to not hear about something crazy happening in Riderville for once.
Winnipeg: Grey Cup championship
This will be my gift to the Bombers and their fans until it finally happens. I eagerly await the day when #1990 is no longer a thing.
Toronto: relevancy in the biggest market in the country
It’s Christmas, so we aim big. The Argos need a bigger presence in the Toronto market, and with MLSE’s might behind them, the Argos should be able to achieve that. Whether the Argos ever capture the imagination of the Toronto sports world again is something no one can predict, but it would be nice if the country’s largest city took it’s biggest national league a little more seriously.
Hamilton: 2020 Grey Cup
It’s been 22 long years (and counting) since the Grey Cup was last held in Hamilton, and with stadium hurdles out of the way and a bid in to host the game, it is long past due that the country’s biggest party heads back to the Hammer. Ticats fans and Hamiltonians have been waiting a long time to show off the new Hamilton, and 2020 seems as good a time as any to treat the country to what Hamilton has to offer.
Ottawa: starting QB back
I was going to be mean and say some sense after a few of Redblacks fans came at me for daring to criticize Greg Ellingson for refusing to provide a breath sample, but in the spirit of Christmas, I will be nice. Ottawa was tremendous down the stretch last year and will go into the 2019 season as the favourites to reach the Grey Cup from the East (and rightly so), but only if they get Trevor Harris back under contract. Harris’ performance in the Eastern Final was one of the best QB performances I have ever seen (up there with Vince Young’s tour-de-force in the 2005 Rose Bowl against USC) and if the Redblacks are to get back to the Grey Cup for the fourth time in six years they will need No. 7 back behind centre.
Montreal: stability at quarterback
The Als need a lot of things — a new GM should probably top the list — but since ownership isn’t going that route, the best they can hope for is some stability out of the QB position in 2019. I’ve lost count of how many guys have started a game for the Alouettes since Anthony Calvillo was forced from the game in 2013, but the number is high. Just last year they started Drew Willy, Jeff Mathews, Antonio Pipkin, Vernon Adams and Johnny Manziel. You can’t play winning football starting five different QBs in one year. Montreal needs to find a guy and stick with him.
Atlantic: about $200-million
This one was easy. Find the money, build the stadium and finally make the CFL a 10-team league. Simple (as in the gift, not in them finding the $200-million).
Bonus present for everyone: new CBA
Let’s just get a deal done that compensates the players fairly, changes the things that need to be changed, and makes sure the league is on stable financial footing for years to come. Easy, right?