Bombers' LaPo in bad company

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:40 PM ET

Move over Jeff Reinebold and Joe Zaleski ó thereís another Blue Bomber head coach about to join you in the booth at the back.

Youíll like his company. Seems like a nice enough guy. Polite, loves his wife and kids, all that good stuff.

As you know, though, they donít stick you at the rear of Budís Diner, where the light is dim, the seats are torn and the bathroom is five feet away, for being a good guy.

No, this booth, where the stench from the next room rivals the stench of bad football, is reserved for the really bad coaches in Bomber history, or at least, those whoíve been at the helm of real losers.

Iím not just talking about teams that miss the playoffs, although in the CFL, thatís bad enough.

To join this group, you need to go one step further. Win just three or four games in a season.

Like you, Mr. Zaleski. Somehow, you managed the triple play of terrible, stringing together three of the most forgettable years, ever, from 1967-69.

Of course, in Bud Grant, who won four Grey Cups, you had a tough act to follow, the toughest of them all, actually. You obviously took the term ďno-win situationĒ seriously. How you lasted three seasons weíll never know.

You, Mr. Reinebold, could only dream of such patience from the boss.

Then again, you coached in the 18-game era, and still managed just four wins in your first season (í97), two in your second, before they showed you the door with four games left in í98.

No wonder. You didnít just lose, you stunk it up, your average loss by two touchdowns.

So I guess you wonít have much in common with the new guy about to join you and Mr. Zaleski.

His nameís Paul LaPolice, but you can call him Coach LaPo. He should be here shortly. Just has one more week to make it an official 4-14.

This guyís mastered the art of the close loss. Set a CFL record for them, actually, with eight.

Doesnít matter if he plays his No. 1 quarterback or the fourth-stringer, his team finds a way to blow it at the end.

If his offence doesnít screw it up, his defence or special teams will. Sometimes heíll even freeze up himself in the heat of the moment. Calls a bonehead play now and again. Misjudged, big-time, which quarterback to play a few weeks back.

Thatís one thing you and Coach LaPo will be able to chat about, Mr. Reinebold: misjudging quarterbacks. Seems both of you overrated the ability of your signal-callers, and as you know thatís the kiss of death in the CFL.

Coach LaPo figured Steven Jyles was ready to win games as a starter, but he was wrong.

Of course, it would have helped if he had a stronger supporting cast. You donít saddle a young pivot with two butterfingered receivers and an average O-line and expect results.

Donít expect Coach LaPo to join you guys, though, in bashing your GMs. Heíll say nothing but good things about Mr. Mack. After all, he still works for the guy. And the guy who hands out the pink slips is always right.

Anyway, enough from me. Iíll get the coffee on and put in three orders of humble pie.

And donít be too hard on the new guy.

Tell him even Bud went 1-14-1 once. And look at him now.

He owns this place.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


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