Induce this team next

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

So Blue Bomber boss Paul LaPolice finally has his baby.

After a couple weeks of planning road trips around a possible birth, LaPolice and his Winnipeg-born wife, Tina, with the help of a doctor at St. Boniface Hospital, drew this play up perfectly, welcoming Joshua Grady LaPolice into the huddle at 4:22 a.m., Tuesday — a day off for the team.

That set off a flurry of jokes here in the toy department, led by the guy who apparently heard receiver Brock Ralph was at the hospital for a visit, only to drop the little lad.

I did a little checking and discovered there were, in fact, no players present, at LaPolice’s request — he didn’t want the baby unnecessarily roughed.

OK, we’re drawing the line at two baby jokes.

Now, can somebody please induce Coach LaPo’s football team?

You know, the one that sleeps through a large portion of road games, ditching its soother just in time to make things interesting, only to fill its diaper in the end.

Maybe it’s cute the first time, but here we are, nearing Halloween, and the coach’s baby still can’t sleep in a strange bed without soiling it.

After leaving another stain in Montreal, the rookie boss is eight-for-eight, one loss shy of managing the worst road record possible in pro football, also known in these parts as pulling a Reinebold.

The last guy actually didn’t stick around to see his team hit the perfect 0-9, but Coach LaPo is in no such danger.

Bomber GM Joe Mack would no doubt see the firing of his hand-picked coach as throwing out the baby with the bath water.

And while this team’s problems start from the top, where the GM hasn’t found good enough players, they settle at the coach’s feet.

If the second half of football games is about coaching adjustments, then the fact the Bombers are the CFL’s worst third-quarter team is a damning endorsement of the Big Blue staff.

If a team’s discipline is a direct reflection of its coaching, then what conclusions that don’t point to the sidelines can you draw from the fact the Bombers are the league’s runaway leader in major penalties?

No, I’m not saying it’s time to ditch the new daddy.

The guy’s an honest, bright, hard worker who’s still learning the job.

Sure, his record is looking awfully Reineboldesque, but there’s plenty of evidence he’s a better coach, better not only than Coach Harley, but Professor Kelly, too.

That’s not saying much. Nobody’s going to hold a party for a guy who’s only the third-worst coach in franchise history.

But the numbers scream it out like a newborn with gas pains: Coach LaPo’s Bombers, at a miserable 4-11, are still, incredibly, outscoring the opposition 411-407.

By comparison, through 15 games Kelly’s punchless ’09 crew was outscored 395-315, Reinebold’s a stomach-turning 479-301 in ’98.

It doesn’t matter if you lose by three or 30, you say?

It does to the people who do the firing and, I’m guessing, to those who buy the tickets. How else do you explain 25,000-plus showing up for that long-weekend tilt with the Lions last week?

These Bombers are providing just enough hope — not to mention entertainment — to keep most of the seats warm.

So the masses, as beaten down as they are after two decades without a Grey Cup, are obviously willing to give the man a mulligan, unlike the last guy.

Me, too.

That’s not to say these last three games don’t factor into the equation.

A 4-14 record, for instance, would erase most of the warm and fuzzies left, including those created by the newest addition to the LaPo family.

And leave us all wondering if handing this screaming franchise to a man who’s never handled one before was more than a little premature.

paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca


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