Three-time Grey Cup-winning head coach Marc Trestman opposes adding fourth down to ‘brilliantly conceived’ CFL game

Courtesy: AP/Paul Chiasson

One of the most successful coaches in CFL history is calling on the league to cast aside any conversations around adding a fourth down.

Rarely one to weigh in on controversies, three-time Grey Cup-winning head coach Marc Trestman took to Twitter to share his thoughts on a report that the league’s equity partner Genius Sports is behind a push towards playing four-down football north of the border.

“I am hopeful the CFL will remain a 3 Down League. It is a brilliantly conceived game. Going 4 downs will take away it’s beauty and nuance that makes it so special! Let’s find a better solution! ‘Together!’ Trestman tweeted tagging a number of CFL personalities including Glen Suitor, Rod Pedersen, Sara Orlesky, Henry Burris and Dave Naylor.

Currently an adjunct professor at the University of Miami’s law school, Trestman first arrived in Canada in 2008 as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes after a long career as an NFL assistant. The Alouettes won the East Division regular season title four times and claimed back-to-back Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010. He accumulated 59 wins in 90 regular season games and went 5-3 in the playoffs.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota native was then hired as head coach of the Chicago Bears in 2013 but he was fired after the 2014 campaign with a 13-19 record. He spent one season as the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator in 2015, but was fired mid-way through the next season.

Trestman returned to the CFL in 2017 as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts and took the team to a Grey Cup championship in his first season. However, his 15-23 overall record and tumultuous 2018 campaign ultimately led to his departure a year later. He last served as head coach of the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers.

Trestman has long been one of the CFL’s greatest supporters south of the border, so it should come as no surprise that he would oppose fundamental changes to the game that built his legacy.

It was reported in December that the CFL would be reviewing all aspects of its game, including the number of downs. Earlier this week, those fears were revived following a report that the league’s much heralded new data and technology partner Genius Sports, was pushing for the shift in the way the game is played.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has attempted to dispel the rumours, but avoided an explicit denial that a down change is on the table. Meanwhile, Genius Sports denied in a statement that it had provided any input on game-play.