The CFL's 'reality TV' week | Football | CBC Sports

CFLThe CFL's 'reality TV' week

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 | 12:05 AM

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Jon Cornish of Calgary ran roughshod over Saskatchewan and ran afoul of the CFL and fans in Regina. Liam Richards/Canadian Press Jon Cornish of Calgary ran roughshod over Saskatchewan and ran afoul of the CFL and fans in Regina. Liam Richards/Canadian Press

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The past week in the CFL featured more than one storyline that had little to do with football tactics, but contained the drama - real and contrived - of so many reality TV shows.
While finding some down time this week, I found myself flipping through the channels trying to watch some mindless TV.
Is it possible for there to be more reality TV shows?

The basic premise: Invite anyone off the street to come and "compete" on live TV in order to capture some prize and seize their moment in the spotlight.

Although the original lure of the show may be the concept of the competition, what often keeps you watching is the skill of the producers to build intriguing story lines around the participants.

The best "characters" on a reality TV show are those who enjoy the spotlight and grab our attention because they are not only unpredictable, but willing to take that extra step and go a little too far.

Although I am frustrated by the number of reality TV shows, I have to admit that TV networks have used the same formula to keep us tuned into sports.

Yes, the game grabs our attention, but the building of story lines around the game and the deliberate development of the "characters" on the stage is what turns a sporting event into entertainment.

There has been a lot of media attention this past week on "non-football" related topics.

CFL Director of Officiating, Tom Higgins, had to clarify that hair is an extension of a person's body and therefore fair game when defensive players decide to pull players down to the ground by it.
No kidding? So I guess fashion sense and hair styles are topics that makes sense to talk about through the week.

BC Lions defensive lineman, Khalif Mitchell has effectively been cast as "the villain" as he took the stage this week against the Edmonton Eskimos and came face to face with Simeon Rottier, after attempting to tear his arm from his body in their last encounter.

As the stage is set the camera zooms in to see Mitchell staring down his foe at the line of scrimmage, waiving his arms in a manner to suggest he is ready and willing to allow the inevitable street fight to commence. Revenge must be on the minds of Rottier and his fellow offensive line teammates.

Mitchell's continual glare, assumes a violence that will be unleashed at the snap of the football.

This is some high drama stuff.

Mitchell was accused this week of making an offensive hand gesture. Of course, Mitchell's hand movement at his chest - or was it at his throat? - during the game was an attempt to communicate his violent intent, rather than simply crossing himself giving thanks to Jesus well... Because he is the villain.

Of course the CFL, the protector of justice, is out to crucify him like they did Christ as Mitchell later tweeted he feels he has been cast as the villain.

How much different is this than reality TV?

Saskatchewan head coach Corey Chamblin did everyone in the media a favour when he decided to publicly announce that the Rider defence would hold Jon Cornish under 100 yards rushing or players were going to lose there jobs.

No kidding. You do realize that Cornish ran for 159 yards the last time these two teams met? You do realize that Saskatchewan lost six of their next eight games after starting the season 3-0? You do realize that Chamblin has already replaced players on the field in order to be better against the run? You do realize that every team, every week has a defensive goal of keeping their opponent under 100 yards rushing?

So how did this "guarantee" become such a story this past week?

Enter the CFL leading rusher, Cornish, onto the Mosaic Stadium stage. The deliberate action of Chamblin to make Cornish the centre of the plot through the media effectively grabbed the attention of both the Rider players and the crazy Roughrider fans.

Rider fans did their part all game hurling insult after insult at Cornish in an attempt to get him off his game.

Let's face it, right or wrong, these "non-football" related story lines are what often hooks our interest.

Mitchell, Cornish and Chamblin are all colourful and unpredictable characters participating on the entertaining stage of football.

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