Khari Jones should have been up for coach of the year.
No, that doesn’t mean I think Orlondo Steinauer shouldn’t have been. Far from it. In fact, I think Steinauer was the best coach in 2019 and by a wide margin.
But he should have been going up against Khari Jones, not Craig Dickenson, for that honour, and the only reason it was not Jones vs. Steinauer is because of the CFL’s continued use of an archaic method for handing out awards.
I love the team awards nominations. I really do. And I don’t want to see them go away. But we can have our cake and eat it too.
The CFL needs to ditch the strict East-West awards finalist and go to something better. There are a few different ways the CFL could go here.
The first is to simply say everyone is up for every award they are eligible for and let the voters decide. Then maybe narrow it down to a few finalists and invite them to the awards. If you need to think of a comparable for this, it would be like the Heisman ceremony. This would avoid a situation where like in 2011, when Anthony Calvillo was named Montreal’s MOP when his teammate Jamel Richardson probably should have been at least the East MOP for putting up 112 catches for 1,777 yards and 11 touchdowns, all of which led the league.
But if the CFL is steadfast in keeping the team nominees then another way of doing it is having three finalists instead of two. You could do that in a couple of ways, either by just letting the voters decide which three regardless of division should be up for the awards or by having one East rep, one West rep and a third “wild card” rep. Jones would be that wild card in this scenario.
The CFL awards are fun, but they could be better. Changing the format entirely would make things way more exciting, but they don’t have to go that far. A simple tweak and we would see even more players and coaches recognized for what they did in a given season.
Khari Jones should have been a finalist for coach of the year, and the only reason he wasn’t is because they CFL is stuck in the past when every game wasn’t nationally televised and the internet didn’t give fans access to every little bit of CFL information they could possibly want.
The CFL needs to change with the times and one good place to start is with changing the awards.