In the world of football, you’re always thinking about what could be coming next. Whether that’s on the field or away from it.
Given short careers, the nature of the game and non-guaranteed contracts, on any given day, without warning a players career can be cut short and it’s on to life after football. Some players move into the work force, others are lucky enough to remain in different capacities, while some, like former NFLer Jared Allen, think outside the box and do something completely unexpected.
Allen has picked up a few of his former NFL buddies and they’ve started a curling team with the hopes of representing the United States at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Do they realistically have a shot? Probably not. But it sure will be fun to watch them give it all they got. By all accounts, as natural athletes, there’s a few things they’ve picked up on and having 300-pound dudes crush you every week for a number of years pretty much eliminates any fear of falling on ice.
With the Scotties Tournament of Hearts underway and the Brier just around the corner, this got me thinking, what would an all-CFL rink look like? For this extremely hypothetical Josh Smith-like fantasy, I’ve decided to ignore things like territorial rules for forming eligible teams (whether this should be a thing or not is a topic for another day. Like perhaps a day in a few weeks during a one-off episode of the #8EndNation podcast with John Hodge, John Fraser and myself) and citizenship. Perhaps this team could challenge Allen’s team, it would certainly be more entertaining to watch than any all-star game.
Lead: Patrick Neufeld. A good lead does the little things for their team (putting up guards, sweeping forever) and doesn’t get much attention (unless you’re Lisa Weagle and have mastered the tick shot), much like an offensive lineman. Neufeld has been around the game long enough to know his role. There’s also a bunch of curlers with his last name, so it makes sense.
Second: Henoc Muamba. Muamba was the CFL’s second leading tackler in 2018, Alex Singleton might have got the job but his departure for the NFL makes him ineligible. As a second you’re often called upon to clear some rocks but still have to make the occasional finesse shot as well. As a middle linebacker, Muamba can do both.
Third: Andrew Harris. Much like the second, a third will have to throw some big weight at times, but also is expected to set up the skip for success ahead of the end’s final rocks. A good running back sets up his quarterback for success. Harris has the power to move some granite but probably could make some incredible draws behind cover or freezes just like he runs like a truck but also has the grace of a receiver.
Skip: Bo Levi Mitchell. Mitchell is arguably one of if not the smartest quarterback in the CFL. He’s often one step ahead of the defence and a good skip is always thinking one step ahead of the opposition. Mitchell was even able to play the Riders and Argos into making John Hufnagel pay him a few hundred extra thousand dollars over four years. He’s the mind I would want leading my team.
Spare: Kevin Glenn. I mean, is there anyone else? He’s been the league’s “ultimate insurance policy” for how long?
Coach: Brendan Taman. Yeah, Taman isn’t in the CFL right now but during my time on the beat, he would often want to discuss curling with Regina Leader-Post beat reporter Murray McCormick. Taman is definitely a fan and might know the game better than anyone in the league.