Most CFL Board of Governors members and fans of the CFL would come to the consensus that Mark Cohon is working hard and earning his salary as CFL Commissioner.
But that feeling is subject to change.
The events of late regarding fines and the window of change opportunities missed in the 2007-2008 off-season are the issues. The lack of significant change to the rosters—more specifically the injury list—and instant replay have some fans re-evaluating their previous sentiments.
Did the league pay its due diligence to the review process and make improvements over what some have called a disastrous 2007 season? They certainly looked at it, as has been stated by Cohon himself.
But fans and BOG members had stated nothing less than an NHL-like command center would suffice.
CFL Head of Officials Tom Higgins stated earlier this week, on TSN's Off The Record, that such a control center is still only a direction they'd like to go in the three-year plan for replay review.
He also said that the fan at home watching in High Definition has a technological advantage over the official under the hood. Where are the HD replays and hardware Mark? I bet you have one at home.
So I guess the message is, until further notice, we have good old human error and no penalty-specific on-field calls sometimes being overturned by worse calls from the CFL officiating supervisor in the booth?
And the injury list. Ohhhh the injury list.
Last season the Edmonton Eskimos got hit the hardest by the lack of a six-game injury list, and now it looks like it's the defending Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders' turn.
It happened to Saskatchewan in 2007 as well. With tons of injuries and extra replacements to pay, Eddie Davis and Yo Murphy were rendered ineligible to play by league policy despite match fitness.
But it wasn't just the organizations that suffered. It meant that certain players would have to sit out healthy because they could not play them for nine weeks if they didn't want the players salaries counting against the league's Salary Management System.
The SMS was designed to make the league more equal financially and teams closer in competitiveness, not to keep the best available players off the field.
In order to find the balance it was suggested that the league look at introducing an intermediate list of six games for injuries.
That, with the current three- and nine-game lists, would exempt the salaries of those on six- or nine-game lists, allowing teams to replace those injured players with something other than a periphery player who might only cost a team a few hundred a week.
These guys are certainly not the kind of players we want the CFL to showcase on a regular basis, if ever, if we wish to be known as a top end product for football fans in Canada and around the world.
Cohon must work with the BOG and GMs to find a way to make the SMS and rosters work in harmony with one another.
This week Saskatchewan's GM Eric Tillman was fined for his not-so-public, but not private either, comments regarding the offseason change. That refers to an allowance for one player per half-season to come off the nine-game list and be added to the active 46-man roster without penalty.
The organizations have been instructed by Mark Cohon that all questions and concerns are internal and should be brought up with the league office. And no media should be included in these matters under any circumstance.
I'm sure he echoed it amongst the league when news broke earlier this season that Argo QB Michael Bishop had been placed on confidential waivers after Week Two. It has been suspected it was a media leak, but those who aren't informed can only guess.
My question is:
Toronto Head Coach Rich Stubler announced to media that he was sending in tapes regarding questionable calls in the recent Toronto-Saskatchewan game. How is that comment and action not similar or worse than the statements of Eric Tillman? What does Stubler hope to gain from sending in tapes?
Does he want the outcome changed? It won't happen. Is he taking the league office for granted? Yes he is. Does it look poor in the eyes of fans and more importantly non-fans? I'd suggest yes again.
He said he wants it to be called properly next time. I'd say that qualifies as questioning the officials' and league's authority. But no fine. So Mark...
Go ahead and fine GM Eric Tillman for spewing his frustrations on a payed membership fan site. A comment regarding something he and the other BOG members, and those yet to be effected by the injury bug, have addressed in the manner you asked for in the past.
They expect you to make improvements and changes in the offseason window to that list and what did you do? Pretty much nothing, but the aforementioned one player per half-season exemption.
I'd be looking over my shoulder Mark. That job is pretty simple in a lot of ways. Start listening to the people with or without suits on.
Don't wait until the off-season! Have a conference call with the BOG's and make the six-game list retroactive to the beginning of this year! If no one is against it then what more is there to preserve but your ego?
The way thing are going the next thing we'll hear is that the CFL has fined this contributor a bundle.