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 American football starting to look like the Canadian game

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PostSubject: American football starting to look like the Canadian game   Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:49 am

[i]Sixty years ago Tuesday, the first board meeting was held among the men who would put the B.C. Lions on the field a year later.

At the time, as near as Wally Buono can figure it, he was a two-year-old toddler on the boat coming from Naples, Italy, to Halifax and a new life.

Sixty years ago, the Canadian Football League was routinely outbidding the National Football League for players. Yes, that happened.

Today, Buono has come and gone from the field of play, he's on his way to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as the win-ningest coach in CFL history, and he has lived long enough - and so have the Lions, and the CFL - to see the day when once more they all have something with which to lord it over America's sporting juggernaut.

These days, it's the proverbial ant versus the elephant, economically, but after years of what sounded like envious claims by its diehard supporters that the Canadian game was more wide-open, more adventurous, more fun than the form-fitted American brand, confirmation has arrived.

It has arrived in the form of imitation, the sincerest form of flattery.

It has arrived in the emergence of 5-foot-10 Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and Carolina's Cam Newton before him, and the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III, and the election of Texas A&M's exciting Johnny Manziel as college football's Heisman Trophy winner.

It has arrived in the proliferation of pass-to-set-up-the-run philosophies, and in the hiring of Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman by the Chicago Bears, and in the running threat of San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, which so preoccupied the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game Sunday, they let the 49ers' other ball carriers beat them out of a trip to the Super Bowl.

"There's a transition going on in the NFL," Lions president and CEO Dennis Skulsky said Tuesday, at an elaborate state-of-the-team news conference kicking off what will be the club's 60th season.

"The game's looking different, the athletes are a little different at some of the key positions, and the coaching - Wally can speak to this, but we've had calls over the last little while from people wanting film from the CFL about defences and how to counter an attack that now has more of a flavour of the CFL than used to be the case."

"What's happened to college football is now happening to the NFL - it's almost like it's evolving into the CFL," Buono said. "This is what's amazing. If Atlanta had called us, the defensive coordinator, they could have stopped San Francisco's running game.

"You don't put the defensive end up on the quarterback, because when you do, the running back is going to cut off that guy every time. He's going to get big yardage. Right, Angus?" he said to the Lions' 36-yearold, freshly re-signed centre, Angus Reid.

"We all know that. They don't know that.

"These are all issues that in the 30-40 years that I've been involved with (the CFL), we've all had to deal with: the athletic quarterback that can put a lot of pressure on the defence," said Buono, who called the typical NFL attitude "isolationist.

"The running quarterbacks, it's like suddenly these [NFL] guys have found something nobody else had found. The 5-foot-10 running quarterback. The Heisman Trophy winner, did you see him? He looked like Doug Flutie, right?

"They're using our technology, in a sense. The formations, the alignments, the things that have made this league exciting, wide open, have now moved into their world.

"And when you look at the kinds of athletes this philosophy is producing, I think it's had a cultural effect on the whole of U.S. (football), colleges and pros. It's all predicated on the change in the offence. When the offence changed, the defence changed. When the defence changed, the personnel changed."

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/American+football+starting+look+like+Canadian+game/7858854/story.html#ixzz2JAh7FRgI

Steelers defensive coaches might have to start watching some CFL defenses to stop the more wide open running QB offenses.
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