Bomber fans mustn’t be distracted by the beautiful celebrities

Ben Stiller’s Zoolander is one of my favorite comedies of all-time. Though it’s hardly a masterpiece, Zoolander, to me, at least, embodies the early 2000s in such a way that very few other films managed to do. Watching it now feels like traveling back to a simpler time — a time when Donald Trump was just a harmless business mogul (if such thing exists), the term ‘selfie’ had yet to permeate popular culture, and the Bombers won more games than they lost.

In the film, Stiller’s character Derek Zoolander is a superstar male model who has been brainwashed to kill the prime minister of Malaysia at a high-profile fashion show (just go with it…). While on the runway, Zoolander hears the voice of evil fashion mogul Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) in his head reminding him to focus on the task at hand. “Concentrate, Derek,” says the voice, “do not be distracted by the beautiful celebrities.” The ‘celebrities’ in attendance include Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, rapper Lil’ Kim, Lance Bass of N’Sync, and comedian Garry Shandling. As mentioned above, this movie truly captures the early 2000s.

Like Zoolander, so, too, must Bomber fans not allow themselves to be distracted by the beautiful celebrities. Allow me to elaborate.

Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun reported Wednesday afternoon that the Bombers were closing in on a deal with former Saskatchewan Roughrider receiver Weston Dressler. Defensive end John Chick, another recent cut of the ‘Riders, is also said to be of interest to the club. These reports come just one week after the Bombers were rumored to be courting former Montreal Alouette standout Duron Carter. Not to be forgotten, BC Lion running back Andrew Harris is set to hit free agency early next month and Winnipeg, his hometown team, is said to be the front-runner to land his services.

Dressler. Chick. Carter. Harris. These are big names in the province of Manitoba — bigger than Durst, Kim, Bass, and Shandling, anyway — and it’s easy to understand why a fan base as underserved as the Bombers’ would be excited at the prospect of adding them into the fold.

There’s only one problem: Bomber fans have read this script already. Twice.

Nick Moore, Dominic Picard, Stanley Bryant, and Marc Dile were all high profile free agents who signed with the Bombers over the past two off-seasons. None lived up to the hype.

Moore proved he’s not a top-tier receiver in the CFL. Picard was a shadow of the dominant interior force he once was. Bryant played nothing like the two-time CFL all-star he was paid handsomely to be. And Dile failed to make the Bombers’ final roster in his first training camp with the club.

There is only one true way to measure the success of a football team: wins. Wins in the regular season are good. Wins in the playoffs are great. Wins in the Grey Cup are the reason you play the game.

Thus far, flashy free agent signings have done little to increase the number of wins the Winnipeg Football Club has been able to accumulate since 2014. That isn’t to say free agent acquisitions don’t have value — Ottawa’s 2015 Grey Cup berth doesn’t happen without the additions of Chris Williams, Ernest Jackson, Greg Ellingson, and Brad Sinopoli through free agency — but teams have to bring in the correct players at the correct price and utilize them the correct way in order to be successful. Under their current regime, the Bombers have not.

As tempting as it will be for Bomber fans to fawn over whichever big-name free agents the Bombers are able to sign — I’m willing to go on record as saying they’ll land at least two — fans should be reminded that games aren’t won on paper or in February. As the old expression goes: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Who would you like to see the Bombers sign or avoid in free agency? Please comment below with your response.

John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk

Twitter: @BlueBomberTalk

Email: [email protected]

John Hodge

John Hodge

John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.
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John Hodge
About John Hodge (369 Articles)
John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.

9 Comments on Bomber fans mustn’t be distracted by the beautiful celebrities

  1. Don Rycroft // January 22, 2016 at 8:28 am //

    Don’t agree with your logic. Good coaching with bad players = bad results (see Toronto Maple Leafs). Bad coaching with bad players = bad results (see recent Blue Bombers). Good coaching (would love to see that in Winnipeg) with balanced players = good results. Try it another way, good resources in a bad management system will appear as resource performance problems (see yiur article above). Get the best players you can. But don’t ignore the management system or you’re wasting your money. Wade Miller talked a lot when he came in about creating a superior organization and it certainly has not happened yet. Excellence begins at the top. Not on the O Line, or re receiving core……

  2. Sebastien Ball // January 22, 2016 at 9:21 am //

    Of the four I’d take carter and Harris. Immediate upgrades and both have the youth to garner the paycheques. The sask castoff sate intriguing but age and cost are far too prohibitive in these cases. As far as d help I might look to other free agents likes shologan or capicotti(sp) if I want to spend big cash on a dliner plus they’re Canadian or nationals.
    Mostly I just hope we start to see more impact from our highly touted scout squad of Danny Ted and the kid. No splashy rookies come to mind over the last two years.

  3. Don Rycroft // January 22, 2016 at 10:45 am //

    Add on: I agree with Sebastien re: the failure of our “highly touted scout squad”…. Again part of the management system. I’m baffled by the talent other teams scouting groups are finding compared to the wannabe’s and retreads Bomber scouting is rolling out. Others are finding high impact players, and we have players (forgot his name already).. Big splash, future hall of fame quarterback at the news conference, and he never even gets on the field. And Paris Cotton is the best halfback we can find(?) when they’re supposed to be a dime a dozen. And…and…and…
    Management System!

  4. Sign some of these big named free agents and the worst that can happen is….another year without playoff games.
    Fail to sign them means fans lose all faith that th club is trying to improve. Attendance has dropped year after year and the new stadium is losing its glow because of all the losses.

    Can’t get much worse than it is now in the Peg, so might as well spend and hope for the best.

  5. It is a double edged sword … when it works, it works. When it doesn’t, it can be costly.

    Hamilton went through a string of high profile FAs that were supposed to save the day who didn’t.

  6. Good recruitment and even better drafting are the ways to build a team. IIRC, your draft pics over the past few years have been among the worst in the league (especially considering retention). Remember, anybody can BUY a team (cough cough Ottawa), but it takes scouting, drafting, recruiting, and retention to ensure consistent, long-term success.

  7. Disillusioned bomber fan // January 25, 2016 at 12:24 am //

    Hard to get excited about this offseason. Reminds me of the one before Mack’s last year, a sence that we’re going with the same group that failed in the past, and they are going to fail again. We’ll probably sign Harris and Dressler, fail to scout much new talent (again), and O’Shea and Walters will be gone at the end of the season. Then the trusty BOD will put the next doomed to fail regime into place. Should have hired Chris Jones.

  8. Dressler is officially a bomber, thus negating this whole article.

    • The point of this article wasn’t to suggest the Bombers shouldn’t sign Dressler, but to limit the wild, enthusiastic celebration in Bomberland when the club signs a big-name player. If anything, the article now has true context.

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