A couple of weeks ago how many of us heard of Ben Volin?

I’m willing to bet unless you’re a hardcore New England Patriots fan and follow just about every single reporter imaginable, you didn’t know who he was.

Now, thanks to a bit of a one liner in a piece, we do. So, I guess that’s good for Ben.

You all know the “story” by now, American reporter takes shot at CFL, rabid CFL fans get angry, he kind of apologizes but not really and then doubles down on his original take.

I don’t get it, who cares?

Yeah, I get the irony in writing a column over a big “who cares?” kind of thing. But really, why do we care? Our big boss man Drew Edwards lined out those reasons in a video and they all make sense.

What Volin has learned, like many before him, a pretty easy way to get attention, especially in Canada, is to take a shot at the CFL. It’s a well that many in our country have gone down when looking for some attention. Sometimes, even on this website. Sometimes, even yours truly. (I do believe everything I write, but sometimes a topic is too good to pass up.)

That’s why after his non-apology, apology, he decided to dig up the stats from the game he attended. He also did admit that the Super Bowl was boring too, which it was.

If you really want this kind of attention-grabbing stuff that isn’t completely thought through (though we’ll get to that in a second) to go away, then it’s time we stop caring what the haters think. I basically wrote on this same topic three years ago after a great Grey Cup game.

Here’s what I will defend Volin on a little bit. I don’t think the CFL was all that exciting last year. Maybe it’s because I had to watch every Rider game, but having watched a lot of games last year, how many were that exciting? There was the June Jones debacle in B.C. and the game with no defence between Toronto and Ottawa. Beyond that? I don’t remember too many classic CFL games. A lot of well played games for sure, but nothing overly memorable.

I think a lot of us have an idea in our head when it comes to the CFL and it’s style. It used to be fast paced, exciting, come from behind football. Is it still though? It’s changing, that’s for sure. When was the last time we used #NoLeadIsSafe in a non-joking manor? Corey Chamblin used to say after the three minute warning is an entirely different game, it didn’t really feel like that last year.

You might disagree and that’s fine, but this is one man’s opinion and I know talking with some people I’m not alone.

As for the idea of downfield passing, the numbers may favour CFL pivots in terms of average pass attempt and the like, but the CFL is still a very east-west game and it’s just the nature of three downs rather than four. A little bit of context is required. The B.C. Lions put together a pretty good video on the subject, but again, most of the clips seemingly came from just a few games.

Was it just a down year? Perhaps. Hopefully it was.

I wouldn’t say it was boring though and Volin’s sample size certainly isn’t worth being used to form an opinion on the league. Just like I wouldn’t say the NFL is boring because the Super Bowl was a bore. Ultimately, both games are great on their own merits.

Volin might not have known how easy the CFL community gets their backs up sometimes. Now, like many others, he does.

The best way to stop it is to play it cool. Love the game, be passionate, defend or criticize the league when it’s warranted. Sometimes though, it’s better just to shrug and move on.


Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.