The Canadian Football League can be a place for former prominent NFL and college football figures to jump-start their careers.
The most recent example is now-Bears head coach Marc Trestman, who led the Montreal Alouettes to two CFL championships before landing with Chicago.
However, plenty of stories don’t end like Trestman’s. The CFL’s training-camp transactions are usually peppered with the departures of well-known U.S. players who couldn’t make Canadian rosters. The CFL game is no surefire springboard to Canadian success nor a one-way ticket back onto the radar of American football’s top decision-makers.
We come to the case of now-former Blue Bombers offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Gary Crowton, whom the club dismissed on Sunday. Crowton, who was the Bears’ offensive coordinator from 1999-2000 before moving on to BYU (head coach), Oregon, LSU and Maryland (offensive coordinator/QB coach), oversaw an offense that produced just five passing touchdowns in a 1-6 start before his dismissal.
The Bombers replaced Crowton with Marcel Bellefeuille, who has CFL coaching experience. Crowton didn’t have any upon taking the Winnipeg job. However, neither did Trestman upon taking Montreal’s coaching job. What did Trestman did have, however, was a franchise quarterback in Anthony Calvillo. The Bombers, meanwhile, have had uncertainty at quarterback throughout this season, and they lost starter Buck Pierce to injury early in 2012, too.
Would CFL experience help a coach in that league? Certainly. Could a lack of experience become a hurdle? It’s an interesting question; the Winnipeg Free Press, in a story published Wednesday, seemed to indicate that a lack of CFL seasoning was a factor with a couple of the Blue Bombers’ recent coaches.
The question now is what’s next for Crowton. Another collegiate coaching job would seem within his scope, but with the season right around the corner, that may have to wait until 2014.