Football: Dinos' dynamic Glavic revisits the Canadian QB question

Calgary has a unique QB/offensive coordinator combo, since Erik Glavic (in 2007) and coach Greg Vavra (in 1983) have each won a Hec Crighton Trophy. Vavra apparently believes Glavic is the better of the two:
"He has the whole package He's six-foot-six, with the ability to run. He evades pressure very well and you don’t find many guys with the physical tools he has. And he doesn’t rest on his laurels; he looks to improve and take a step forward every day."
There is the obvious jump-off question of whether Glavic can deliver a Vanier Cup win like Vavra did back in '83.

The other, of course, is the Canadian quarterback question, whether there ever will be another Russ Jackson. It comes up time to time while talking to more casual fans. The sentiment is the CFL would likely have to feel a need (economic pressure) to have a Canadian shine at football's glamour position and start trying to augment the grass roots, similar to how pro soccer teams run youth academies or how the NBA's Toronto Raptors have aligned themselves with Canada Basketball. (The pre-Rogers Toronto Blue Jays and late and lamented Montreal Expos used to invest in youth baseball too). It would help CIS football out tremendously if there was a deeper pool of quarterback talent and good players did not gravitate away from the position, but it is what it is until there's a time and place where it's a need for the CFL.

The CFL doesn't have that need, frankly. The new Personal People Meters used to measure TV viewership show the league is holding its own vs. the NFL. Fans are voting with their disposable income; they want to see teams try to win, not try to appeal to the point-out-the-Canadians patriotism we see during the Summer Olympics.

When former York star Ricky Foley makes a sack for the B.C. Lions, 30,000 people at B.C. Place do not cheer louder because he's Canadian. When the Saskatchewan Roughriders are on, it's easy to confuse No. 6 and No. 7, since Rob Bagg of Kingston, Ontario and Weston Dressler Bismarck, North Dakota are about the same size. (Bismarck is coincidentally closer to the 49th Parallel than Kingston.) Perhaps that's how it should be with the CFL.

It doesn't do much to stoke hopes of seeing a Canadian QB, though. We keep hoping for an outlier, but there is a feeling the parade passed.

(Another file-away from the article liked below: Glavic might appeal to get a season of eligibility back, since he played in only one game for Saint Mary's in 2008.)

Vavra high on Dinos' Glavic
(Sean Myers, Calgary Herald)
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  1. I can't agree with you here, Neate. I don't claim to speak for all fans of the CFL, but I much prefer seeing Ricky Foley sack someone than Stephen Williams, and I'd rather see Rob Bagg or Andy Fantuz make a big catch than Weston Dressler. Part of that's their CIS background, but part of it's also their nationality; I'll root for Brent Johnson over Williams any day. That doesn't mean I have it in for American players, but a big part of what I like about the league is its Canadian nature and the Canadian players who get a shot to prove themselves in it. I wouldn't enjoy the league nearly as much if it was played in Canadian cities with full rosters of American players, which is why I like the import rules. In my mind, it's a shame that Canadians don't count towards the import ratio at QB, as that would encourage unconventional teams to think about giving Glavic (or Michael Faulds, or Danny Brannagan) a shot. I think the CFL should change the rules, not to force teams to start Canadian QBs, but to encourage them to give Canadian signal-callers a chance.

  2. No one asked you to agree, sir.

    The question was never what you or I prefer to see as media wonk types. It was about the rank-and-file diehards.

    The CFL has not had a Canadian start at quarterback in more than a decade. Over that time, ratings, sponsorships and revenues have increased. One could take from that the CFL consumer has reconciled we won't see one of our own at QB. People have made their peace. They have voted with their disposable income, hey, we don't mind.

    The American QBs are better. It comes from the difference between the Canadian nature of sports and American nature of sports. In the US, they're big on early sport specialization.

    In that environment, a quarterback from the age of about 10 has a personal tutor. He plays on high school teams with bigger budgets and as many full-time salaried coaches as in CIS football, although we in Canada should be grateful for how much sweat equity our coaches pour into their teams. You could also argue our way lets kids be kids, and a lot of us are better off emotionally that we got to play different sports as youngsters.

    You want to romanticize it, that's Kool and the Gang, but some including Dan Brannagan who has already lined up a job at an accounting firm (The Queen's Journal, Oct. 2) are being realists.

    Saying you'd like Brannagan, et al., to get a CFL shot is nice, but it's What Should Be. The What Is is the CFL is a business and teams have to find QBs who are pro-ready. The law of averages would say they are more likely to come from the 250-plus FBS and FCS schools, not 27 CIS schools.

    We are seeing a lot of success stories in Canadian football, CIS guys in the NFL, ratio-busters in the CFL. Keep pointing out those Canadians to the people around you at a Lions game so they know where they are from and where they went to school and maybe some attitudes will change. Right now, I see CFL fans more focused on their team winning than the nationality of the players who score most of the touchdowns, as well they should.

    Sorry, it is not a shame.

  3. "In 1980, Dattilio took over the Als' starting quarterback spot from Joe Barnes. Dattilio seized his chance and was named the CFL's outstanding Canadian. He was also a finalist for the league's outstanding player award, losing to Winnipeg Blue Bombers pivot Dieter Brock." From online article.
    Obviously Sager has not heard of this great Canadian QB from Montreal who was so much better than the flashy overpaid NFL "superstar" Vince Farragamo, that it was an embarrassment to the ownership. So they traded him away and broke his heart. But check his stats--very respectable. Dattilio was very popular with the fans in his home town of Montreal. Farragamo was the one who should have been traded. After this betrayal by the owners of the time for "financial reasons", people stayed away in droves. I was one. Montreal football is strong again now but it came close to extinction for a time.

  4. Gerry Dattilio? Of course I have heard of him, but he didn't play collegiately in Canada and the fact you cite someone who last played a quarter-century ago kind of proves the point.