Nothing is ever “normal” in the travelling institutional calamity that is known as the Canadian Football League, and this week is no different, as the Toronto Argonauts have decided to play Musical Chairs: Covid Edition! with their coaching staff. The problem for the rest of the league is that this weird shakeup might create an unstoppable monster of a defense that could propel the Argonauts to the 2021 Grey Cup.
Okay—deep breath—apparently, defensive coordinator Glen Young and defensive backs coach Josh Bell were placed on leave. I don’t know what that means except that TV and movie cops who don’t play by the rules are constantly being placed on leave, and as far as I can tell, that means they must immediately get drunk, sleep with their ex-wives or a stripper with a heart of gold, and then go completely rogue and solve the crime anyway. In football parlance, I suppose placing these two coaches on leave means they will get drunk, sleep with an ex-cheerleader, and then show up at the next Argo game to coach the team to victory.
Huh. This stuff practically writes itself.
Coincidentally, these two coaches were placed on leave at around the same time MLSE made vaccinations mandatory for all employees, so there might be a covid-19 connection here. As a result, I don’t see either one of these coaches sleeping with any strippers.
In any event, the fun doesn’t stop here. Perpetual contract-breaker Chris Jones has abandoned the hapless South Pittsburg High School football team and is apparently being airlifted into Toronto as we speak (or read). Here’s a fun fact. South Pittsburg is not located in Pittsburgh (the spelling should have been a clue) and is not even located in Pennsylvania. It is located in Tennessee. What is it with American cities? Miami University is located in Ohio.
Anyway, keep in mind that Rich Stubler is a defensive assistant coach with the Argos. (How many defensive coaches does a CFL team need? They’ve chopped two coaches and it seems like more pop up like Hydra heads.)
Putting Mr. Stubler and Mr. Jones together on the same staff is like putting Dr. Frankenstein and Lex Luthor together in the same laboratory, or maybe Godzilla and King Kong rolling around on Tokyo or some west coast US city. Yes, they might team up, but a lot of stuff is gonna get wrecked and someone is likely to end up in jail.
The problem is that with an Argonauts defense that includes guys like Charleston Hughes, Henoc Muamba, Matt Boateng and Cameron Judge, this coaching move has the makings of an epic all-star 1970s disaster movie (think Earthquake or Towering Inferno) where the rest of the CFL will be left in a smoking pile of ruins while the credits roll.
For the time being, we don’t have to book the Toronto Grey Cup parade yet (besides, Canada will be frozen into a solid brick of ice by December). No football team—not even the mighty Tennessee South Pittsburg Pirates high school football team—can function properly when two coaches have been canned less than a week before their next game. The Toronto Argonauts will hobble along for the next little while as they recover from this… this… whatever happened here.
The short-term benefactors of this whatever happened here will likely be the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who will be playing the aforementioned hot mess Toronto Argonauts this Friday. I’ve never coached or played professional football, and as a member of Rider Nation, I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever seen professional football being played, but it is safe to assume that a professional football team needs an intact coaching staff to play their best football. The Argonauts will be travelling to the unfriendly confines of Mosaic Stadium without a chunk of their defensive coaching staff. That’s got to be demoralizing: two of your coaches fired and now you have to fly to Regina.
The Roughriders, however, have been relying upon dumb luck all season. First, they got to play Michael Reilly and the British Columbia Lions, minus Michael Reilly’s arm. Next, they played the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with half the team on life support. Finally, they were served up a heapin’ helpin’ of hot garbage in the form of the stumbling bumbling Ottawa REDBLACKS! And all of these games were play at home, no less.
So, in summary, the Roughriders could not have picked a better time to play the Toronto Argonauts. And unless the game is written by M. Night Shyamalan (to keep the weird and highly tenuous movie comparisons going just a little longer), they should be able to squeak out a win (unless Cody Fajardo is still concussed, in which case all bets are off).