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The ALSternative

Posted By Clifford Pine On Nov 13 2013 @ 3:41 pm In Montreal Alouettes | No Comments

The 2013 season is over for the Montreal Alouettes.  This time, it’s for real.

How many times this season did Alouettes fans think that this year was finished? It seemed like this season presented so many obstacles that would be back-breaking. But this Montreal team persevered through them all and would have kept the playoff party going, had their vaunted defensive corps had just a little more gas in the tank late in the fourth quarter.

But it’s over now, the season ending this past Sunday in a 19-13 overtime loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Lockers are now cleaned out and players are making their way back home, while Jim Popp has to take a long look at what happened in 2013 and what needs to be done before June 2014.


I missed the Eastern semi-final due to prior commitments, but from what I saw I didn’t miss much.

I can almost appreciate the irony of Montreal’s season starting and ending with a non-call of pass interference. This season has been a showcase of absolutely atrocious officiating. I understand it’s not a easy job to do and no one will ever be completely satisfied with the calls made. But even with the benefit of a neutral-site command centre overseeing every challenged play from multiple camera angles, many calls were simply missed.

This is easily among the top reasons why the CFL is considered amateurish by its many detractors (who ironically enough, are often Canadian). I’ve lost count how many times officials have missed blatant penalties and yes, I am very much aware that human error is a factor.

But when you have many high definition cameras filming the football field from several different angles, one has to assume that there should be sufficient evidence to make a conclusive call. And if there truly isn’t, then the call cannot be reversed. As an aside this happens in the NFL as well, expect it’s the referee who reviews and decides the call.

That is supposed to be how it works. But on more than one occasion it was clear as day that the call was wrong or there wasn’t enough evidence to turn it over, but the command centre stood its ground, almost as if to say, “We’re right, you’re not, nyeh nyeh”.  As a fan it’s frustrating and all you can do is hope that one day, they will perfect the technology to get the calls right once and for all.

All that said, Duron Carter was jobbed. The defender covering him never once turned around to see the ball and make a play for it. If the refs called it properly, Montreal gets first and goal on the one yard line and a chance to either go for it or allow Sean Whyte to kick the field goal to tie.

Yes, yes….spilled milk and all. What’s done is done. At the end of the day, Montreal had the lead and the defense simply ran out of gas. After playing so strongly, they couldn’t stop Henry Burris and Dan Lefevor from stretching the Alouettes’ secondary and eventually getting that touchdown.

It just wasn’t meant to be, Alouettes Nation. Too many injuries to key players and too many blown game leads are the reason this Als team is not going to win an eighth Grey Cup this year.


So now as I said earlier, Jim Popp has a lot to consider this off-season, as he wrestles with the idea of wearing both head coach and general manager hats again. At first he wasn’t wanting to coach past this season, but now seems to be fancying the idea again.

While Popp didn’t embarass himself on the sidelines for Montreal, his true talent is finding those players that slipped under the radar. And it was that depth that kept this team in contention. AC goes down? Enter Tanner Marsh and Troy Smith. Jamel tears his ACL? Hello Duron Carter! No B-Whit to hand the rock to? All of a (Tyrell) Sutton, we have a backup plan!

It made total sense at the time to have Popp as coach after the Dan Hawkins experiment fizzled. But I think that it’s in this team’s best interests to have someone else be the head coach. I adore Popp the GM. I can take or leave Popp the head coach.

One thing is for sure; Whomever the next coach of the Montreal Alouettes is, it won’t be some loudmouthed buffoon who’d been sitting in a TV studio and never once coached a professional player in any league.


The Alouettes season may be over, but The ALSternative is still going strong!

I will be doing a season-in-review post shortly and plan to cover more of what will be happening this off-season, including who I believe will be joining Ottawa from the Alouettes in 2014. I will also lend my thoughts to any other off-season moves to be made as well as what looks to be the inevitable retirement of Anthony Calvillo.

Be sure to check back here often or follow me on Twitter [1] for any news and blog updates. You never know what will happen next in the Canadian Football League.

Best of luck to the teams and fan-bases still in contention for the 101st Grey Cup. And if you are in the stands for that game, dress warmly. No such thing as too many layers!


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