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Looking back at a memorable year for Canadian football

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TSN Football Insider


It was a memorable year for Canadian football.

The “Year of the Backup Quarterback” produced a Grey Cup-winning team that started three different quarterbacks for at least four games, two MOP nominees who began the season as a No. 2s in Vernon Adams and Cody Fajardo, and emerging potential new stars in Calgary’s Nick Arbuckle and Hamilton’s Dane Evans.

It was also the year of Andrew Harris, who earned distinction of being the league’s biggest newsmaker, along with being the first Canadian to be named MVP of a Grey Cup since Russ Jackson some 50 years earlier.

And while there were steps towards the establishment of a tenth team in Atlantic Canada, there remain concerns about the viability of a franchise in Montreal – a franchise that was run by the league this past season and remains without an owner today.

We also saw the first “global” players in the CFL and a slew of off-season head coaching changes for the second year in a row.

Here’s a look back on the biggest storylines of the year and where things may head in 2020.

Head coaching changes

There have been four new head coaches named this off-season, following the five changes that occurred leading up to the 2019 season.

The problem with that much turnover each year is there aren’t four or five new qualified head coaching candidates that emerge every season. The pipeline in Canadian football simply isn’t that big.

It’s also not good for a profession that is already volatile enough without teams turning away from head coaches after just one bad season.

The league’s football operations salary cap, with financially punitive measures for firing coaches with term remaining, doesn’t appear to have slowed things down.

A big part of this has to do with the CFL being a gate-driven league, where a coach’s popularity with fans inevitably comes into play with deciding whether he should stay or go.

But all of this ignores the fact that every team can’t win, and there are........