The Als need a new face of the franchise: should it be Johnny Manziel?

Tracy Ham. Mike Pringle. Anthony Calvillo.

Since their reboot in 1996, the Montreal Alouettes have had three legitimate faces of the franchise. I’m talking about players that the team not only built the on-field product around, but also the marketing strategy. Since the retirement of Calvillo, the Als have essentially been faceless, with no one star standing out between the lines or in marketing efforts. Without this galvanizing talent and personality, Quebec football fans are struggling to find the motivation to tune in or attend football games on a regular basis.

With Mike Sherman now installed as the head coach, the focus has shifted once again to finding a quarterback who can light up the scoreboard and energize the fan base. Dare I utter the name of Johnny Football?

Indeed, Johnny Manziel’s rights belong to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but he hasn’t signed a contract. And guess who recruited Manziel to Texas A&M? That’s right. Coach Sherman had Manziel as a redshirt freshman, so there’s some positive history there. Seeing as Johnny could use as many positive role models and familiar faces around him to keep him straight, I’m betting he’d be open to playing in Montreal.

I’m not saying Manziel would dominate the CFL, or even be able to keep himself out of trouble. After all, Montreal is THE city in the league if you’re looking to get yourself in trouble (and a have a whole lot of fun along the way). But his talent and swagger are intriguing, particularly for a franchise that’s incredibly starved for offensive positivity.

The men I led off this piece with all have one thing in common – they are class personified, both on and off the field. Manziel doesn’t exactly exude those stately qualities. But maybe he’s the athlete that the league with an ageing fan demographic and the older Alouettes both desperately need at the moment.

The thing is, Hamilton hasn’t committed to any quarterback for the long haul and they clearly have been eyeing Manziel for a while now. So any price that Montreal would have to pay would likely be steep. Then again, whatever the Als would have to give up could probably be replenished eventually via Sherman’s NCAA roots and contacts.

Another listless 3-15 season is not an option for the Alouettes. They need a new face of the franchise and they need it now. Sure, the team won’t fold if they don’t make the playoffs once again. But you can bet that the fan base will further erode ever so slightly if boredom is the theme in 2018.

So am I advocating for Montreal to make a pitch for Manziel? You betcha. While he doesn’t speak French, the euphoria and excitement would begin the moment he would arrive at Trudeau Airport. Think half the reception that Didier Drogba got, which is still pretty damn good.

Just picture his first words as a bunch of microphones would be aggressively shoved into his face: I’m just a small-town kid from Kerrville, Texas. 


Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross is a radio host on TSN 690 Montreal and has contributed to the Montreal Gazette, and He's a native Montrealer and misses watching Anthony Calvillo just like everyone else.
Matthew Ross
Matthew Ross
About Matthew Ross (27 Articles)
Matthew Ross is a radio host on TSN 690 Montreal and has contributed to the Montreal Gazette, and He's a native Montrealer and misses watching Anthony Calvillo just like everyone else.

45 Comments on The Als need a new face of the franchise: should it be Johnny Manziel?

  1. Mathew , keep dreaming.There is no way after all Kent Austin and Eric Tillman have done in their pursuit of Johnny Manziel that Johnny wont play in Hamilton.

    • While I agree he will be given a shot … playing likely depends on whether he stinks out the joint, is okay or is lights out.

  2. Carrie Cueto // December 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm //

    My sources tell me that Manzeil is already signed, sealed & will soon be delivered to Hamilton. If your questioning my sources, just keep in mind that I get around … if you know what I mean.

  3. Bo and the red supremes // December 30, 2017 at 12:44 pm //

    I say Ham, Mtl or sask. These are the only teams that need to take a risk

    • Greenapples // December 30, 2017 at 5:59 pm //

      If he comes to the CFL I hope he ends up on a team with a good fan base. They would all be sufficient except Toronto or Calgary.

  4. Jake E Snake // December 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm //

    Hey Horsie, perhaps the Stamps should take a risk given their failure to win in big games… Just a thought.

    • ivan Diablo // December 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm //

      i do agree that calgary needs to take a look at bo – he doesn’t seem to be able to win the big game
      someting about leading a horse to water but u can’t make him drink

  5. ivan Diablo // December 30, 2017 at 12:57 pm //

    montreal would do very well if they could sign colin kapernack, a proven player, and the city of montreal has a track record with race relations with u.s. black players – think back to jackie robinson
    now whether montreal can afford him is a differennt story

    • Well, how patronizing. So the only relevant thing about Kaepernick is his skin colour?

      Secondly, can you name a CFL city that does NOT have a track record of good relations with black athletes?

      • ivan Diablo // December 31, 2017 at 12:39 am //

        i found the sept 2017 article in which kap states the CFL is not an option – too bad – i thought it was important for him to play and play as qb

  6. Philip Nicholson // December 30, 2017 at 12:58 pm //

    That’s five articles on this site all saying the exact same thing; maybe he’ll do this, maybe he won’t. MAYBE we can just wait for the ‘ten days’ Hamilton has to offer a contract run out and stop the non-story hysteria. Can’t wait for free agency signings to start….

  7. ivan Diablo // December 30, 2017 at 1:01 pm //

    i do agree that calgary needs to take a look at bo – he doesn’t seem to be able to win the big game
    someting about leading a horse to water but u can’t make him drink

  8. My bet is Collaros will land in Mtl. The question is what, if anything, will Mtl give up in a trade for Zach or will they take their chances of signing Zach if/when released.

  9. The Als have discarded QBs with reckless abandon since Calvillo. LeFevour and Crompton had/have great potential. They should have been given longer periods to develop.

    • ivan Diablo // December 31, 2017 at 12:40 am //

      i like lefevour when he was in toronto

    • Trouble with LeFevour was two years in a row with major injuries.

      Crompton has many years of being a 0.500 passer, including 3 of 4 years in college.

      • LeFevour has been injury free for two years. He’s shown very good mobility since his knee was repaired.

        Crompton wasn’t given a chance after he recovered from his injuries. Prior to being injured he showed occasional flashes of excellence and leadership abilities with starts in Montreal and Edmonton.

  10. Montreal is waiting at the curbside in front of Hamilton’s residence. Whatever the Ti-Cats discard, the Alouettes will perceive as recyclable.

  11. I think Jonny football will be a cat. Zac will be in Montreal I think. May be a out side chance in sask I still don’t see where Durant fits in. Sask needs another qb unless bridge is the guy. If Calgary does not want bo Levi there would be a welcome in sask for him. Calgary is not doing that. The next month will be interesting. Who knows bc might be looking for 2 qbs

  12. Sorry Bub (Matthew Ross). But the Montreal Alouettes face of the franchise is Darian Durant. Kavis and the organization signed him to big bucks contract. What a joke, signing a “less than mediocre” player for big dollars.

    • greenonions // December 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm //

      You’re right Niko. Unfortunately Durant IS the face of the franchise. The miserable season & the face of the franchise were a perfect fit.

    • How can Durant be the face of the franchise when his Head Coach refused to name him the starter? At this moment in time, the future of Durant will be decided by Mike Sherman. Sherman has 2 weeks to decide whether or not Durant get his offseason roster bonus. While Montreal would be insane to pay Durant the $150,000, the two side could agree to a paycut for 2018. But right now, the odds say Durant is no longer an Alouette after Jan 15.

      • ivan Diablo // December 30, 2017 at 5:18 pm //

        again, mtl would do very well to try to claim colin k
        durant is done

        • Kaepernick has already stated through his representatives that he has no interest in playing in the CFL. The amount of money he has given to charitable purposes is more than he could ever earn in the CFL. Once you have accumulated enough money, there is no longer any reason to subject yourself to a such violent sport.

          • ivan Diablo // December 30, 2017 at 6:21 pm //

            the kap should run for office in usa – seems playing football is not a primary thing for his

    • Niko. They can release Durant and pay him nothing.

  13. here would be NO welcome in Sask. for bo his head won’t fit thru the tunnel anyway….

  14. I would love ti see Bo in Sask he good quarterback

    • Bo peep wouldn’t be welcome by this Rider fan as he can’t win the big game and always puts himself before his teammates. Heck, even stumpy pays homage to bo’s me-first attitude with his “new” 20th moniker.

  15. It makes little sense for the Als to hang on to Durant when they clearly are trying to rewrite the script, beginning with the out-of-the-box hiring of Mike Sherman. Montreal and Manziel are the perfect match. For the team, its fans, and the league.

  16. in the 2017 Grey Cup Calgary kicks a chip shot field goal and they go to OT ….but arrogant Bo Mitchell throws a bomb into double coverage to end the game, and he loses his 2nd Grey Cup in a row….as a radio host, I had a terminally ill teen come in to co-host…I asked Bo if he could call in and surprise the kid (would take 45 seconds out of his day) …he saw and ignored the message…Ricky Ray, class act, did call in though

    • ivan Diablo // December 30, 2017 at 8:53 pm //

      i don’t it was double coverage – the toronto safety came across to intercept the pass during the ’round’ ball flight
      gun slinger mentality

      toronto made a very bad coaching error beforehand by NOT running the ball and and running at least 12 more sec, off the clock before kicking the FG and giving the ball back to calgary

      i think calgary made a mistake by not just taking the ball at the 35 after the FG [save clock time and eliminates the chance of a penalty during the return]
      toronto made an error by not kicking the ball deeper as the clock does not start until any players TOUCHES the ball
      if toronto is willing to give calgary the ball at the calgary 43 why not just kick it high in the air ? no-yard does NOT apply to kickoffs – it sure would have surprised calgary and maybe toronto gets the ball back – calgary did NOT have their ‘hands team’ out there – maybe the toronto kicker didn’t have faith in his abilities

      • You’ve got a lot of opinions. You should read the rules about kick-offs after field goals in the final three minutes, and whether the receiving team actually has the option to take the ball at the 35.

        • ivan Diablo // December 31, 2017 at 12:36 am //

          i typed; “i think calgary made a mistake by not just taking the ball at the 35 after the FG”

          • Yes, I know. Not an option in the final three minutes of the game. Kickoff is mandatory.

            Common mistake – relatively recent rule.

          • ivan Diablo // December 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm //

            ‘Yes, I know. Not an option in the final three minutes of the game. Kickoff is mandatory.

            Common mistake – relatively recent rule.’

            bad recent rule change
            one of reasons some say the the CFL is bush league
            commish twitter is

  17. Jeremiah was a Bullfrog // December 31, 2017 at 5:04 am //

    This may sound mean and disrespectful. However it’s just the facts and until the owners of the Alouettes get it right. They are going to be the brunt of social media berating. As long as Kavis Reed remains the GM of Montreal. There is no way this team pulls itself out of the basement of the league. Johnny Manziel has done what is necessary to get another shot at football. The last thing he needs is to join a franchise that is completely diss functional. No other team in the history of pro sports advances a positional coach all the way up to GM. Even when Reed was the interm HC he proved his skills are far below what is needed. The only thing Kavis Reed does is look in a Dictonary or Encyclopedia to find words never used to describe football analogy. Then he presents his word in a whisper sounding voice that is actually speaking at normal volume level. When he used the word Forensic to describe a week of practice and how they would be ready to play. Only to see them get destroyed once again just proved why Kavis Reeds eyes are brown. It’s because he’s so full of sh… well you know what I mean.
    So just to end this properly. NO WAY IN HELL should Johnny’s Agent even speak the word Alouettes as a possible landing spot. Any other team in the CFL would give Manziel a 500% better shot at making a comeback.

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