55 Yard Line
Shea Emry takes part in Bell's Let's Talk campaign, shares his story of depression to raise awareness of and funds for mental health programsAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line11 hrs ago
Shea Emry did something bold Wednesday, sharing his story of bullying and depression with CBC Radio's Sheila Coles. Emry's talked about his battles with depression before, but his interview Wednesday is particularly interesting both for what it says about football and what he wants to encourage other men to do. Emry spoke as part of Bell's Let's Talk campaign, where Bell will donate five cents to mental health initiatives Wednesday for every tweet with #BellLetsTalk, every share of their campaign Facebook image and every call or text made on their network. He told Coles about his personal struggles, Bell's campaign, and his own foundation, The Wellmen Project, which seeks to help men discuss and deal with mental health issues. Go here to listen to the full interview, or read on for highlights and a discussion of his comments.
Arash Madani sheds light on CFL cheating, but the prevalence of CFL and NFL cheating is a bad reason to ignore it; why Deflategate still mattersAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line2 days ago
The NFL world has been consumed by "Deflategate" for the last couple of weeks, and some are starting to get sick of the endless discussion of if the New England Patriots intentionally deflated their game balls before the AFC championship game. One in that camp appears to be Sportsnet's Arash Madani, who filed an interesting column from the Super Bowl Monday, citing past examples of how frequently the rules are broken from his time working for CFL teams and his time reporting on the league. Many of the cases Madani discusses are quite remarkable, and they deserve further analysis. He's also correct that moves like changing air pressure or illegally taping practices (as the Patriots were caught doing in a previous scandal) do not make for a dynasty in their own right. However, his conclusion that Deflategate is all a bunch of hot air because all teams cheat seems flawed from this corner, especially as the CFL cases he discusses don't seem to provide as much of an unfair advantage as adjusting the balls could. (Also on that front, Dan Ralph's piece on how the CFL inflates and protects its game balls is a valuable read.) Thus, the Patriots' scandal shouldn't necessarily be written off this easily.
Human rights tribunal investigating Toronto Argonauts over alleged threat to cancel men's rights activist's season tickets following White Ribbon criticismAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line2 days ago
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is out of one sports arena thanks to foreign soccer players dropping their anti-turf lawsuit, but they're into another one, investigating a complaint by a self-described men's rights activist that the team threatened to cancel his season tickets after he complained about their support for the anti-domestic violence White Ribbon Campaign. Complainant Robert Heath argued to the tribunal the WRC "discriminates against men" and that his rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code were being violated by the team showing ads for the WRC during games. That complaint was dismissed earlier this month, but the tribunal allowed another one of Heath's charges (that the Argonauts threatened to cancel his tickets in reprisal, which they deny) to proceed, as The Toronto Sun reported Jan. 16. TSN, Deadspin and Matt English all weighed in on the story Monday, bringing it to a much broader audience, but it doesn't appear that the tribunal's issued any further decisions since Jan. 16. However, it's well worth examining this case, and just what it could mean for the Argonauts and the CFL.
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line2 days ago
This CFL offseason has seen more big trades than normal, with names like Maurice Price, Fred Stamps, Jasper Simmons and Kenny Stafford switching teams, but Sunday's deal that saw the Saskatchewan Roughriders send defensive end Ricky Foley to the Toronto Argonauts for linebacker Shea Emry might be the most remarkable yet. Both Foley and Emry have been league all-stars in the past, and if they can rekindle that form in their new cities, they might be huge additions for their respective teams. Even more importantly, though, both players are Canadians who play positions typically reserved for Americans. Thus, this deal may also have substantial impacts on how both teams set their import ratio this coming season.
Ticats release all-star corner Delvin Breaux, who's bound for the NFL, the next chapter in his remarkable comeback storyAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line4 days ago
From Louisiana flag football player to CFL all-star, Hamilton Tiger-Cats' cornerback Delvin Breaux has had a remarkable journey, and now it looks like his path will lead him back south of the border. The Ticats announced Saturday that they'd released Breaux, who would have hit free agency Feb. 10. The move is presumably to let Breaux sign with an NFL team early (a smart approach), and he should have no shortage of options there; over 20 teams have brought him in for tryouts, including his hometown New Orleans Saints. That's impressive for someone who didn't even play college football thanks to a devastating injury, and it says a lot about both how well Breaux has performed in Canada and about how CFL players are becoming more attractive to NFL teams. What's most amazing is how a guy who was almost killed in a high school football game is now set to make it to the NFL, though.
Coach of the Year John Hufnagel cites turnover improvement and next-man-up mentality for the Stampeders' success, says farewell coaching season won't be about himAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line7 days ago
Calgary Stampeders' head coach and general manager John Hufnagelwon his second Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL's coach of the year Wednesday following a remarkable season where his team went 15-3 and won the Grey Cup despite incredible turnover of coaches and players, and he did a lot of different things to take his team to the next level this year. If you ask Hufnagel, though, the improvements were only in limited categories. On a media conference call Wednesday afternoon, he said the two differences that helped Calgary dominate this year were increased team health and decreased turnovers.
"Number one, we were more healthy, and number two, we took better care of the football," Hufnagel said. "The games we lost in the playoffs [in the past], the turnover ratio was embarrassing."
John Hufnagel wins his second Annis Stukus Trophy as CFL coach of the year, another reflection of the Stampeders' historic seasonAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line7 days ago
It's a good thing John Hufnagel didn't leave this year's coach of the year banquet early. Unlike in 2013, the Calgary Stampeders' head coach and general manager stuck around to the end Wednesday, and he was rewarded with the Annis Stukus Trophy as the league's top coach. Hufnagel's an incredibly deserving winner, considering that he put together one of the most dominant seasons in CFL history, and that he did so despite massive injury adversity. This wasn't a sure victory for him, though, as there was also a strong case for Edmonton's Chris Jones and the turnaround he performed (the Eskimos went from a basement-dwelling 4-14 team to 12-6 with a West Final appearance). In the end, however, Hufnagel's work with the Stampeders was tough to top.
Can new Ticats' quarterback Jeff Mathews move ahead of bigger NCAA stars? Will his Cornell connection to Kent Austin help?Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line8 days ago
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats' latest quarterback signing may provide another interesting data point in the discussion of where CFL quarterbacks come from. The team signed Jeff Mathews Tuesday, which is a notable move; while the team already has an established starter in Zach Collaros, they have two promising backups (Dan LeFevour and Stephen McGee) who could become free agents in February, and two others (Jeremiah Masoli and Jacory Harris) who are still under contract. Mathews' past performances are impressive; he threw for 11,284 yards and 72 touchdowns at Cornell, the most in Ivy League history, and he had stints with three different NFL teams this year. However, every other quarterback the Ticats currently have played at a higher level in college, and had their own notable accomplishments there.
- Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line10 days ago
The Seattle Seahawks have long received plenty of support from Canadian fans, but the support they got from Canadian players and former CFL players proved to be even more essential to their 28-22 come-from-behind overtime victory in Sunday's NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers. Punter Jon Ryan, a Regina native, threw a critical touchdown pass on a fake field goal, while tight end Luke Willson (who hails from Lasalle, Ont.) made a huge catch on a two-point conversion. Even an American who trained in the CFL got in on the action: wide receiver Chris Matthews, who's from Long Beach, California, but spent 2012 and 2013 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, recovered a vital late onside kick for the Seahawks. Each of these guys played a vital role for Seattle on Sunday, so Seahawks' fans can thank Canada for their victory.
Fred Stamps is off to Montreal: will we see him return to dominance, or is his 2014 more reflective of what he's capable of now?Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line12 days ago
It's been quite the week for CFL trades of well-known receivers from Alberta teams, with Calgary sending Maurice Price to Ottawa Thursday and now Edmonton shipping Fred Stamps to Montreal. The latter move went down Friday, with the Eskimos dealing Stamps to the Alouettes in exchange for fellow receiver Kenny Stafford. There are plenty of similarities here to the Price trade, with Edmonton freeing up some space at a crowded position and gaining some cap space as well while bringing in a prospect, and Montreal looking for a more proven option than what they had. However, this deal may be even more interesting considering just how good Stamps has been at times; some of his former teammates have already weighed in on Twitter on just how much they'll miss him. The key question in evaluating this deal may be which Stamps we'll see in Montreal: the guy who posted five straight 1,000-yard plus seasons from 2009-2013, or the guy who only notched 545 receiving yards in 2014.