Hamilton Tiger-Cats may have just set a Canadian Football League (CFL) record - with three of our star players signing with National Football League (NFL) teams in a single off-season.
The cause of this phenomenon is money. The US, being the biggest sports market in the world with the most broadcasting competition bidding on the sports content, has the wealthiest sports leagues. The wealthiest of these is the NFL. So when talented CFL players such as Marcus and the Justins go to the NFL they do so because the salaries the NFL team pay are higher than the equivalent in Canada.
The benefit to the Tiger-Cats of losing the occasional player to the NFL is every American college player, and every player’s agent, will notice. The US having 10x the population of Canada, has, not surprisingly, 10x the number of college football players. CFL teams rely on attracting the most talented of these to play in Canada. So if you want to play in the NFL but didn’t get invited to a try out (only a tiny percentage of US college football players are invited to even try-out for the NFL) how do you get a second chance? The answer is obviously: come play for the Tiger-Cats!
Players we’ve sent to the NFL since 2004:
Justin Hickman to Indianapolis Colts
Justin Medlock to Carolina Panthers
Marcus Thigpen to Miami Dolphins
Garrett McIntyre to New York Jets
Ellis Lankster to New York Jets (spent last month of 2010 season on Ticats practice roster)
Bo Smith to New York Jets
Jesse Lumsden to Washington Redskins
Kahlil Hill to Jacksonville Jaguars
Tim Cheatwood to Houston Texans
I’ve been the fortunate recipient of a lot of great advice. From the classics such as “the early bird gets the worm” (it is true), to the golden rule: “treat others as you would have them treat you”, I cannot pick just one of the bits of life changing advice I’ve benefited from.
But I can tell you the most recent piece of valuable advice I have come across, and it came to me in 2009 via Bob O’Billovich, General Manager with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Bob credits a young Canadian Football League, www.cfl.ca, player with having taught it to him many years ago, but you’ll have to ask Bob that part of the story.
As you know, or should know, Bob is one of the most successful General Managers ever in the Canadian Football League, which is saying something in a league that features greats such as Ralph Sazio and Hugh Campbell.
Bob’s advice goes simply: “better is better”.
While it seems trite, it is very profound as it reminds us of an essential element of success, namely that success depends on continual improvement. No matter how good you are today, you and your team need to be better tomorrow.