“You’re fired.” No one wants to hear it, but most of us have at one point or another, either in our youth for being naive to the dangers of the real word, or later in life for not adapting to our environment.
The 2016 season will show us which CFL GMs have adapted enough to give their team a fighting chance. Making the playoffs will definitely come into consideration before some will get the axe or resign from their position. For others, making the playoffs simply is not enough after years of misplaced promises and mediocrity.
CFL GMs Under the Axe in 2016
The Montreal Alouettes have been a team most would view as successful, as a blueprint for all other teams to follow in order to obtain productive seasons.
Popp has been the only general manager this franchise has known. After being hired in 1994, then as a member of the Baltimore Stallions, Popp has been head of the table ever since. It’s an amazing accomplishment, for the same man to run a team for 22 seasons; except what this team hasn’t accomplished lately: a winning season.
The last winning season the Als had was back in 2012, not to mention the last Grey Cup the Als have played in was in 2010. To put that into perspective, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been to the big show more recently than the Alouettes.
It’s tough to argue with Popp’s past success, however, but what has he done lately? Signing Chad Johnson and Michael Sam? Duron Carter was a bright spot, his return to the organization will increase fan support, and unlike the two aforementioned players, he will bring production.
Popp is currently living in salary cap hell, and after years of depending on Anthony Calvillo and the great fortune of being in a very weak Eastern Division, that is currently picking up speed, has left Popp seemingly confused, stunned and incompetent.
The blue print on how to improve a football team has evaded Walters to this point. The current general manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers has a current record in the CFL of 14-34, not respectable at all.
Coming off a 5-13 season in 2015 the Bombers are revamping on offence this off-season in free agency, signing big ticket names Weston Dressler and Andrew Harris in the hope of turning this franchise around.
Paul LaPolice is making his return to the sidelines as an apparent replacement for head coach Mike O’Shea, should the Bombers struggle out of the gate in 2016.
A constant revolving door of free agents entering the Bomber dressing room may be a reason for the lack of improvement. Typically you see a core of a team and a natural leader that are the main stays on a good team- Just look at Edmonton. However when you have nothing to begin with, it’s time to implode and start fresh.
Walters will need this team to not only make the playoffs but win in the playoffs to secure his job for next season. He was the man to clean up Joe Macks mess, get this team organized and build a winning culture in Winnipeg. Walters as an executive holds a .354 winning percentage compared to Macks’ .350 in roughly the same amount of time.
However unlikely it may seem to fire a Hall of Famer, Buono is on the hot seat in 2016. Appointing himself as head coach for the upcoming season could prove to be disastrous if he is incapable of creating a fraction of the magic his team had in 2011 when he was last behind the bench. They won the Grey Cup that year, and Buono has been in the front office ever since.
Loyalty remains something to be desired and rare in professional sports, and the re-signing of Travis Lulay is questionable, so is Buono running a team or a boys club?
The previous two seasons, the Lions have squeaked into the post season only to be obliterated in the first round. The B.C. Lions have not won a playoff game since 2011, and that is a long time ago and things need to change, fast.
The 2015 Lions managed two wins against teams that finished the year with a winning record, and that in itself shows what this team was. Buono needs to fix this, another poor showing could result in him being relieved of his duties. It’s understood that in a salary cap system a team winning the championship will eventually undergo a rebuild process, but five years of it is an eternity in Canadian football.
Only time will tell if these CFL GMs will be keeping their job after this season.