CFL: Danny Brannagan's Fate Is a Black Eye for the League

Steve ThompsonAnalyst IIIJune 25, 2011

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 25:  Kerry Joseph #4 of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders rushes against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the third quarter of the 95th Grey Cup on November 25, 2007 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

After one year, the Danny Brannagan Canadian quarterback experiment is over.

Last year, he was deemed good enough to make the Toronto Argonauts practice roster.  This year, not even that.

If his story doesn't provoke major reforms in Canadian football, nothing will.

Nobody can remember the last time a Canadian quarterback started a CFL game, and now, mostly old timers remember when the great Russ Jackson played for the Ottawa Roughriders.

Brannagan was considered the best Canadian quarterback in all of Canada when he graduated, yet somehow, that status means nothing to the CFL.

Brannagan would have had a better chance if he had attended an American college with a second-tier football program and sat on the bench all year as the third stringer.

If the CFL wants to plant roots of popularity throughout Canada, it's not going about it in the right way.

In its ranks, the key starring position of quarterback is forever barred to Canadians, and the second-best position, running back, is nearly closed.

Two things make this episode even more galling.

First, Brannagan's dismissal won't lead to any reforms.  Other past top Canadian quarterbacks in university have come and gone, and like Brannagan, have not caused a ripple of reform.

Second, there is no explanation of why, not even a starting point of where to begin.

How is it that the top Canadian quarterback is not as good as even a fourth, fifth, sixth string American?

If it is the type of coaching they receive in Canadian universities, there's no list of all the shortcomings and no strategy to correct them.

If it is the way the CFL is set up, there has been no attempt to define what the problem is and take steps to remedy it.

Nobody is saying bar all Americans from becoming quarterbacks in the CFL—just correct the situation so that Canadians can compete.

In hockey, there is no position barred to Canadians, and they are treated with respect.

In football, being a Canadian quarterback in a Canadian university is the kiss of death.

The happiest ending in this story would be for Brannagan to get a chance at and sign with an NFL team, and then through fate, become the starter and lead the team to the playoffs and then the Super Bowl.

It would serve the CFL right.