Another year is about to come to a close and, for many, 2021 couldn’t come soon enough — 2020 was a difficult one for all of us.
COVID-19 disrupted our lives, resulting in the cancellation of travel, large events, and the entire CFL season. Millions of Canadians were laid off and underwent financial hardship, while many suffered from a virus that has killed well over 10,000 people across the country.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by the virus — particularly those who have had to deal with it firsthand.
Let’s take one last look back at 2020 before turning the page to what will hopefully be a better, safer, healthier, and happier year in 2021.
10. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie threatens to fine teams, staff members if further information leaks
It wasn’t surprising that this story was popular given that it involved the threat of heavy fines.
Sportsnet’s Arash Madani reported in October that CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie had grown frustrated with information being leaked to the media.
At 3DownNation, we report news all the time and we’re grateful for those who continue to leak things our way. Don’t worry — we won’t tattle to the commissioner on you.
9. Chicago Bears officially hire CFL legend Henry Burris as coach for 2020 NFL season
2020 was a pretty rotten year for most of us, but things could have gone a lot worse for Henry Burris.
Not only was he named a first-ballot Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductee, Burris was also hired on as a coach with the Chicago Bears.
The Bears didn’t have a great year, but it was great to see a longtime CFL player get the chance to coach in the NFL.
8. New York Jets’ receiver Jamison Crowder wears Winnipeg Jets jersey to media conference
It appeared that Jamison Crowder forgot which team he was playing for this year.
The New York Jets’ receiver took part in a media conference in November wearing a Winnipeg Jets sweater, an obvious play on the team’s shared name.
Unfortunately for Crowder, the Jets are 2-13 with one game remaining in the regular season.
7. Former CFL player David Sidoo released from U.S. prison
This retired six-year CFL defensive back made headlines for the wrong reasons in 2020.
Sidoo served three months in a U.S. prison after pleading guilty to a U.S. college admission scandal involving his sons. He was also forced to pay a $250,000 USD fine.
A spokesperson for Sidoo told Global that the 61-year-old has gone back to Vancouver where he will “return to his life as a private citizen.”
6. Riders’ QB Cody Fajardo: ‘I don’t think I could ever see myself playing for Chris Jones’
The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ star quarterback made a bold statement in October, claiming he couldn’t see himself playing for Chris Jones.
The former CFL head coach has a reputation for being tough on players, which Fajardo felt wouldn’t have been a good environment for him.
Fajardo seems happy with the Riders, while Jones is now in the NFL. That feels like a win-win for both parties.
5. Top 10 most popular Edmonton Football Team name submissions from fans
It was big news when Edmonton decided to retire its old name, so it only stands to reason that fan name submissions would be popular as well.
The top ten submissions were: Elk; Empire; Eagles; Energy; Elite; Edge; Express; Extreme; Explorers; and Evolution.
The team has said that they won’t announce a new name until April, so no decision appears imminent.
4. Former CFL player to make comeback at age 57
It turns out that old man strength is totally a thing.
Darin Burns, who played four seasons of CFL football back in the 1980s, spent 2020 in the gym after falling out of shape. He’ll complete the comeback by playing with the Moncton Mustangs of the Maritime Football League in 2021 at the age of 57.
What makes the story even better is that Burns’ son, Taylor, is planning to play one game with his dad before returning to McMaster University in the fall.
3. Franchise quarterback Mike Reilly files grievance against Lions for guaranteed money
Money talks and that’s certainly the case for the next story on our list.
3DownNation insider Justin Dunk broke the news in November that Reilly had filed a grievance with the B.C. Lions regarding a $250,000 guaranteed payment.
The situation came to a resolution in December with Reilly receiving the money along with a new two-year contract through the 2022 season.
2. 2020 CFL free agency day one: LIVE
The first day of CFL free agency is always a blast and 2020’s free agent frenzy was no exception.
Our coverage lasted twenty hours and covered the signings of over 50 players from around the league. Mark your calendars, folks — we’ll be doing it again on February 9, 2021.
Ironically, the player featured on this graphic — receiver Derel Walker — never signed a CFL contract for 2020.
1. Former Edmonton equipment manager Dwayne Mandrusiak: ‘I gave the 49 years, they couldn’t give me one’
Are you surprised that our No. 1 story of 2020 was about an equipment manager? We were too, until we considered how synonymous Mandrusiak is with the Edmonton Football Team and the CFL as a whole.
The veteran of 49 seasons wanted to return for one last year with the team but was permanently laid off in September. He helped Edmonton win eleven Grey Cups, including a string of five in a row from 1978 to 1982.
Mandrusiak was part of what made the Edmonton Football Team great with countless former players speaking out about his remarkable job with the team.
We’ll miss seeing you on the sidelines, Dwayne.