Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Jeffrey Orridge to Step Down Prior to Start of 2017 Season

Good day Canadian football fans! No, really. It's a good day for CFL fans. This morning the league issued a statement that Jeffrey L. Orridge will step down from his position as CFL commissioner on June 30th, 2017. 

The news deserves and will receive much comment and speculation from fans and analysts around the league. I'm way too negative regarding his tenure as the CFL top-dog to do so in a fair and just manner. Lucky for me, and you, my good friend Mark Stephen has nailed both and has graciously allowed me to quote his opinions on the topic. Here's his analysis:

"So that was quick. After barely two years on the job, Jeffrey Orridge is leaving as CFL Commissioner. Officially, he resigns. Unofficially, he just wasn't meshing with the board and it was time to move on.
There had been quiet rumblings about his situation almost from the start. However, with the wildly successful CFL Week in Regina, I thought those questions had been addressed and he would proceed on the job.
A few thoughts.

First, Orridge, his predecessors and his successors will always have a difficult task. Entering a board meeting, you are dealing with a group of people who all believe they are the most important people in the room. Tough crowd.

Orridge was off to a slow start with few accomplishments in 2015 and a poor performance at the State of the League news conference at they Grey Cup in Winnipeg. It should be noted the board wanted him to address the issue of attracting younger fans. The league, under his direction, set out a more aggressive social media policy and redesigned the logo. I could live without the logo change, but Orridge was following his mandate.
In 2016, he pushed through some player safety rule changes and more comprehensive drug testing policy. However, he seemed slow to react to a player lawsuit over CTE. This issue is the big cloud on the league's horizon.
Part of Orridge's issue was the fact, he was not the big persona of his predecessor, Mark Cohon. Orridge, in my dealings with him, is a pleasant and soft-spoken individual. However, Cohon just seemed to be everywhere all the time, meeting with fans. This is not a knocked on Orridge, but a reflection on Cohon setting the bar very high.
Orridge seemed to be fitting into his position and the recent CFL Week in Regina may well have been his high point.
However, there was always a feeling he just didn't fit in to the football culture. Maybe it was time for a break."

Stephen, a veteran sports broadcaster from Calgary, goes on to speculate about who may be next in line.

"Now the speculation game begins. Who is in line for the opportunity to succeed Jeffrey Orridge as CFL Commissioner?
First, if offered, I would take it! But, just in case they don't see the merits of my candidacy, here are some others thoughts.
One name that just jumps off the page for me, is Glen Grunwald. Grunwald is currently Athletics Director at McMaster University in Hamilton, but has a very deep and varied athletics career.
By virtue of being at McMaster, he has been exposed to a high-level USport football program, so has some familiarity with the sport. However, most of his sports experiences comes in basketball. He has been a high-level executive with three NBA teams, including the Raptors (during his time with the Raptors he became a Canadian citizen). That means Grunwald has extensive professional sports experience, combined with insight to Canadian Football League.
Prior to taking the position with McMaster, he was head of the Toronto Board of Trade. (He took this posting after being fired by the New York Knicks. Compared to the dysfunctional Knicks, the CFL Board of Governors looks like a playground squabble). Head of the Board of Trade in Toronto means Grunwald met many of the country most influential business leaders.
Plus, he has a law degree from Northwestern University, a trait that would help navigate some thorny issues that will face the league.
I have never met the man, so have no idea of his interest in this position. However, his resume screams an interview.
Others that have been suggested include Toronto legend Pinball Clemons, former Stampeder and current TSN analyst Duane Forde plus current CFL V-P Glenn Johnson. I am sure all would have their strengths but they should be approached only after Grunwald is vetted."

I couldn't agree more with the analysis and his suggestions. What do you think fans? Let us know in the comments!

- If you'd like to read more from Mark Stephen, he can be found on Facebook (Mark Stephen, Sports Broadcaster), and on Twitter (@markonfootball) -

- Thank you for reading! Please take a few seconds to "follow" and "like" on Twitter  @kbaleblog  and on FB  @kellysblogspot -


  1. This is a joke and they proved it today by firing the BEST commissioner this league has had in decades... only a rider fan would think he was not doing his job...

  2. I doubt that any more than of the CFL Boerd who dumped him is a Rider fan!