While the Saskatchewan Roughriders are taking some heat for one decision, they should be praised heavily for playing a role making another happen.
As first reported by 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk, former CFL on TSN and Sportscentre personality Derek Taylor is the new “voice of the Riders,” continuing their trend of putting “overall good guys” in important positions within the organization. I’ve had limited interactions with Taylor in my time covering the CFL, but by all accounts, he definitely fits the bill.
Yes, Taylor’s role isn’t quite the same as Jeremy O’Day or Craig Dickenson’s but it’s still a high profile job, one he very well could hold onto for longer than anyone currently in the football operations department. That’s the nature of the sport.
In an offseason full of change, this move was the one the Riders and Harvard Broadcasting had to do the most extensive search to fill the void following Rod Pedersen announcing he was ending his decades-long tenure as the main voice on the Riders radio network.
When the news did finally break, it wasn’t overly surprising. There were rumblings as far back as the Grey Cup that a change could be coming in the radio booth and Taylor’s name was being floated around as a possible heir apparent to Pedersen’s post. It took a little while longer than maybe someone of us expected, and for good reason: you don’t want to leave any stone unturned in these situations. All parties involved in making this decision also had time to make it and thankfully there’s no salary cap on broadcast crews just yet.
Tayor is a perfect fit for a new generation of football fans. He’s a numbers geek, something that is at the heart of a lot of sports analysis now. He’s well connected online and interacts really well with members of CFL Twitter. He thinks the game a little differently, like his campaign to end conceding safeties when you’re backed up and going for it at certain points on the field and in short yardage spots. Oh, and don’t get him started on field goals in the red zone. All of the “play to win” sort of stuff that I definitely think football needs more of too.
His passion for football, especially the Canadian game is quite evident. He’s also got a play by play experience, most notably doing some work in Manitoba in another life.
Like when a team changes a head coach, a different personality from previous guy is often sought out. Taylor is definitely different from Pedersen. That’s not to say that Pedersen was bad at his job, quite the contrary, he was outstanding. Their styles are just different. There were certainly times where I felt Pedersen was probably saying stuff he didn’t entirely believe for the reaction and it worked just about every time. There’s room for that in the media landscape.
I don’t think Taylor is going to be that guy, nor should he be. In order to step out of Pedersen’s shadow, he’ll have to forge his own path and be himself and I think he will. I expect a bit of a lighter tone, perhaps a little more fun, and a lot of math.
While we’ll definitely miss The Details on the CFL on TSN, I’m looking forward to seeing what Taylor does in his new gig.