Monday Mailbag: the Elks stink, TSN’s ‘corporate pimping’

The 3DownNation Monday Mailbag answers questions from readers across the country every week.

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We’ve answered a handful of questions below. If your question didn’t get picked, don’t panic — we’ll save it to potentially answer here next week or on the 3DownNation Podcast.

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You and all of 3DownNation thought the Elks were going to be good but joke’s on you, they suck! Go Riders!

-Thomas S.

Thanks for the message, Thomas.

It’s true that your Riders have played significantly better than Edmonton through the first two weeks of the CFL season.

I was one of two 3DownNation contributors who predicted the Elks would finished first in the West Division and that prognostication is clearly going over like a lead balloon.

What’s baffling is the extent to which Edmonton’s offence has failed to gel. Trevor Harris is an all-star-calibre quarterback, James Wilder Jr. is good, the receivers are elite, and the offensive line is pretty good. Their defence is solid as well, particularly along the defensive line and in the secondary.

To me, it clearly looks like the problem with the Elks is coaching. Jaime Elizondo has had some growing pains in his first year as a head coach, including an abysmal challenge in Week 2 against Montreal.

The Elks need to trust their young offensive line and start airing it out on offence. Greg Ellingson had one catch for one yard in the team’s 30-13 loss to the Alouettes, which is embarrassing. He’s one of the best playmakers in the CFL and needs to be targeted downfield for big gains.

As for Saskatchewan, the team appears to have picked up where it left off in 2019. The offensive line has overcome injuries and retirements to provide solid protection for Cody Fajardo and open holes for William Powell. I can’t wait for September when the Riders and Bombers face-off in back-to-back contests — they should both be great games.

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Almost as ugly as the game on Saturday in Edmonton was the commentary from the panel and their not-so-hidden push from TSN to hype the new betting availability on CFL games. My views on gambling aside, this was corporate pimping as I’ve never seen it.

The cherry on top was in the last-minute (Kate) Beirness remarks that betting is now allowed following two hours of being inundated with “over/unders” and “who’s got the push” while shilling for their advertisers.

I know that the CFL needs the bucks, but this made me sick.

-John Whyle

Thanks for the message, John.

It’s totally fine that you’re not into betting on sports. You’re under no obligation to take an interest in the newly-legalized option to gamble on the CFL, be it game lines, the moneyline, over/unders or prop bets.

With that said, the league is currently going through a difficult financial period. TSN needs to maximize its revenues, as does the CFL.

Most media outlets have never pushed gambling in the past because of the legal question marks surrounding the industry, but times have changed. There’s money to be made and organizations can’t be blamed for taking advantage of that coming out of a pandemic.

This isn’t unique to the CFL, either. Football crazy states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, California, and Ohio have recently introduced bills to legalize sports betting, which will only further fuel the industry south of the border. We’ve never heard Al Michaels, Jim Nantz or Joe Buck talk about betting lines during NFL broadcasts, but it won’t be long before that becomes commonplace.

I appreciate that the on-air conversation surrounding gambling is new and disorienting, but it’s here to stay. Tune it out if you must.

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