Flow of game more important, says CFL

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

It's a record that has stood for decades, football's version of the career home run chase.

But if the Blue Bombers' Milt Stegall breaks the all-time touchdown mark before an expected sellout crowd against the Montreal Alouettes tonight, the moment will go by pretty much like any other touchdown. At least, as far as the CFL is concerned.

And that is just another example of a league that keeps dropping the ball when it comes to marketing.

We found out yesterday the CFL has no plans to stop the game to honour Stegall's accomplishment, the way it stopped the game when Toronto quarterback Damon Allen set the all-time career passing record last season.

"Last year was different," spokesman Jamie Dykstra said from the league office in Toronto. "It's a new policy."

Should Stegall break the record, the league has a 30-second video on standby. No presentation from the commissioner. No hand off from George Reed or Mike Pringle, the two players who shared the record. Just a brief video, then it's on to the point-after.

In its infinite wisdom, league brass has decided to honour Stegall in whatever home game follows his historic moment. When the news is a week or two old and nobody, especially Stegall, is going to want to talk about it, anymore.

"We wanted to make sure we are celebrating Milt Stegall ... but keeping the integrity and flow of the game," Dykstra said.

The problem is, nobody we talked to yesterday was concerned about the game being disrupted.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Bomber quarterback Kevin Glenn said. "Who knows if the record will ever get broken again. So you want to try and cherish the moment. As professionals, we can take that and channel it... back into the game. It's an important thing for Milt and the team and the city of Winnipeg. As professionals, it wouldn't take away from the game if they stopped it."

Montreal head coach Jim Popp says a stoppage wouldn't faze his team, either.

"If they did, it would be no problem to us," Popp said.

As it is, the league will miss the boat on one of those rare moments where its glorious past intersects with its present.

If it happens tonight, or even the next week, it'll still be a special moment.

But it'll be up to Bomber fans to make it so.


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