CBC history out of focus

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

Some revisionist history is being peddled from the CBC's bunker regarding the network's CFL coverage in recent years.

Granted, the network and league have enjoyed a long relationship and viewer feedback over the "stadium experience" telecasts during the current lockout has been favourable.

But it's simply misleading for a CBC representative to boast about its commitment to the CFL.

"I think our 50-year track record speaks for itself," CBC spokesman Jason MacDonald said recently in a published report.

"We've been committed and good partners with the CFL. We recognize these are exceptional circumstances and the broadcast is not what it normally is."

Although the network is on board full time now, wasn't it the CBC that bailed out of regular-season CFL broadcasts a few years ago until interest built around Labour Day?

Where would the league be today if season-ticket holders chose to delay purchases until the second half of the season?

CBC's Labour Day Classic from McMahon Stadium drew a season-best 584,000 viewers. That's up from 580,000 (Aug. 27, Sask. versus B.C.) and 449,000 (Aug. 20, Toronto versus Edmonton).

All three games aired without announcers.

NOT A BRIGHT IDEA:

The Edmonton Eskimos organization hardly ever drops the ball but the team's BRIGHT YELLOW third jerseys, unveiled Friday in a game against the Stampeders, looked like a fashion fumble.

Top them off with the traditional yellow helmets and it's an assault on one's retinas.

Despite mixed reviews, the Eskimos merchandise supplier claims the new jersey is a hit.

"We had an excellent game for sales (last Friday)," Wayne Cuillerier, president of Game on Sports, told the Edmonton Sun.

"It was one of our highest games for retail sales in four years."

The Edmonton Sun's poll showed 59% of fans hate the jersey while 41% love the look.

Hurting the whole concept of a 'special' third jersey is the cookie-cutter design forced by the CFL's agreement with Reebok.

The Eskies will wear the new duds at least once more this season. Let's hope they install a dimmer switch.

CATS CRYING:

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats' whining after their 48-0 loss to the Argos Saturday is a little hard to digest.

An overthrown pass by third-stringer Charlie Peterson in the final minute left some Ticats fuming.

While Toronto coach Pinball Clemons admits he might have erred shooting for a TD late in the contest, the Tabbies' tears are bush league.

"It may not have been the smartest thing ethically," Clemons told the Toronto Sun, "but you have to give the guy a chance to play.

"We have a No. 3 quarterback, who was playing for the first time in the CFL. I told him you have to run the ball. But then finally at the end of the game, I said if you get into a third-down situation, I'll give one chance to throw the ball."

ROUGHIES BACK IN IT:

Written off a couple of weeks ago while in a five-game tailspin, the Roughriders are now gunning for third place.

"Our guys came off the break at halftime and knew what they had to do ... we kept up with Calgary in the West (both teams are 5-6) and over the last two weeks, we've stopped beating ourselves," Saskatchewan coach Danny Barrett told the Regina Leader-Post.

WINNING CONTAGIOUS:

The Vancouver media is already quizzing the B.C. Lions about a perfect season, although the 10-0 team is barely halfway through its schedule. It would be interesting to hear from head coach Wally Buono on whether he faced similar grillings during the Stampeders' unblemished 12-0 season in 1948.

Just kidding!

Buono's best start to a season in Calgary was a 10-0 kickoff to the 1993 season en route to a 15-3 campaign before being upset by Edmonton in the West final.

LUMSDEN INKS DEAL:

Former McMaster star Jesse Lumsden officially signed yesterday with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, cautioning he is "no saviour" for the struggling team.

Hamilton football fans expect plenty for Lumsden, who rushed for more than 1,800 yards last season with the hometown CIS Marauders.

"I'm going to continue to live my life the way I have lived my life for the past five years in Hamilton and I'm going to enjoy it," said Lumsden, a native of Burlington, Ont. "I'm no saviour, I'm a football player and that is all I am."

NUMBER 43

Regular-season games the Stamps have played since last winning back-to-back contests, dating back to July 11, 2003, in Hamilton. The streak could end Saturday in Steeltown.

ON THE FIELD

WEEK 13

FRIDAY, SEPT. 16

Winnipeg at Ottawa, 6 p.m. (TSN)

SATURDAY, SEPT. 17

Calgary at Hamilton, 5 p.m. (TSN)

Montreal at B.C., 8 p.m. (CBC, RDS)

SUNDAY, SEPT., 18

Edmonton at Sask., 2:30 p.m. (TSN)

Bye: Toronto

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

"You can't become preoccupied with fans and media and what they're saying and doing because they don't understand the situation you're in."

-- Winnipeg head coach Jim Daley, whose 3-9 Blue Bombers have lost two straight to plummet into last place in the CFL West.


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