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Doug Brown

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Doug Brown

VANCOUVER — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have a gaping hole to fill in the middle of their defensive line next season with the impending retirement of 11-year tackle Doug Brown.

Brown will play his final CFL game here at B.C. Place on Sunday against the B.C. Lions in the Grey Cup and then, win or lose, call it a career.

But it’s not like Brown will exactly fade off into the sunset.

The 37-year-old certain Hall of Famer will have all kinds of opportunities within the national media to do pretty much whatever he wants next season. He’d be funny and insightful on the TSN panel, it’d be interesting to hear him attempt analyst duties in the booth and his weekly column in the Free Press the past few years — which has become a must-read across the CFL every Tuesday — suggests he’d have a future in print media too.

But as much as the Bombers will miss him next season, the folks who make a living covering the CFL will miss Brown even more. For the third consecutive year, Brown was named the best quote in the league in this year’s 9th annual Grey Cup Media Poll, a collaborative project by the Winnipeg Free Press and the Calgary Herald.

A total of 38 media types who regularly cover the CFL from print, radio and television responded in this year’s poll and Brown edged out Hamilton’s Avon Cobourne as the go-to guy in the league when you absolutely, positively need a quote.

Which is not to say Brown will be missed by everyone. He can rub some folks the wrong way — there’s a fine line between confident and cocky — and in addition to also getting votes for the league ‘nice-guy’ award, Brown also got some nods as the ‘biggest jerk.’

There were repeated examples like that in this year’s poll results as individual voters frequently saw some issues — and some people — from polar opposite perspectives, perhaps unsurprising in a poll that had voters weigh in from all over this vast and disparate country.

Here’s the rest of this year’s poll results, with the accompanying vote percentages:

 1. Best quote coach or player:

1. Doug Brown 21.1

2. Avon Cobourne 18.4

Others receiving multiple votes: Nik Lewis, Henry Burris, Arland Bruce, DeVone Claybrooks, Angus Reid, Lance Frazier, Jon Cornish.

Behind the numbers: The academy appeared to be of two minds in this category, judging by the close race between Brown and Cobourne. The two men are very different quotes: Brown is cerebral and cutting; Cobourne is flaky and outrageous. They both make for good copy, though.

 2. Worst quote coach or player:

1. John Hufnagel 34.2

2. Marc Trestman 28.9

Others receiving multiple votes: Jerome Messam, Paul LaPolice, Romby Bryant

Behind the numbers: Calgary Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel breaks new ground, becoming the first person to ever win a category in this poll four straight years in a row. A richly deserved honour. Worth noting: Hamilton’s Stevie Baggs got votes in both the best quote and worst quote categories. Different strokes for different folks.

 

3. Next CFL player who could make it big in the NFL:

1. Jerrell Freeman 31.5

2. Solomon Elimimian 18.4

3. Jovan Olafioye 10.5

Others receiving multiple votes: Justin Medlock, S.J. Green, Chad Owens

Behind the numbers: Saskatchewan’s Freeman ran away with this category and that might not bode well for Winnipeg’s Jovon Johnson, who is up against Freeman for outstanding defensive player on Thursday night at the player awards ceremony. A lot of the same people who vote here also vote for those awards.

 

4. Do you believe we’ll ever see another Russ Jackson — a Canadian who stars as a quarterback?

Yes 26.3 No 73.7

Behind the numbers: Even the folks who answered a hopeful yes to this one didn’t seem convinced. "Yes, just not sure it will be in my lifetime," was one answer.

Anthony Calvillo

Anthony Calvillo

 

5. How would you describe the officiating in 2011?

Better 11.7

Worse 32.4

Neither 55.9

Behind the numbers: Here’s a sampling of some comments: "Same old (bleep)."; "Decent at most times, erratic and sometimes awful at critical, big, moments."; "It all seems to even out in the end."; "Inconsistent, but at least working diligently and with openness to improve."; "First, answer the following question: what’s pass interference?"

 

6. Most overrated CFL Player?

1. Stevie Baggs 27.0

2. Darian Durant 13.5

3. Buck Pierce 8.1

3. Ricky Foley 8.1

Others receiving multiple votes: Jeremaine Copeland, Andy Fantuz, Rob Murphy, Avon Cobourne, Odell Willis.

Behind the numbers: Winnipeg’s Pierce is an interesting vote. His passing numbers certainly weren’t much to brag about this season, but to be overrated don’t you have to first be rated highly? Pierce’s rep, I thought, was always that of lunch bucket guy. And that’s precisely what he’s been this year.

 

7. Most underrated CFL Player?

1. Andre Durie 13.1

2. Clint Kent 10.5

3. Brandon Whitaker 7.8

Others receiving multiple votes: Andrew Harris, Marcus Thigpen, Jon Cornish, Adarius Bowman, Johnny Forzani.

Behind the numbers: Pierce got votes both as the most underrated and the most overrated player. Clint Kent’s play at linebacker got overshadowed on the Bombers this season, first by the dominating play of the front four during the first half of the season and then by a secondary that simply took over.

 

8. The Nice Guy award: player/coach you’d love to sit down and have a beer with:

1. Anthony Calvillo 15.0

2. Geroy Simon 12.5

3. Buck Pierce 7.5

3. Travis Lulay 7.5

3. Gene Makowsky 7.5

Others receiving multiple votes: Jon Cornish, Doug Brown, Marwan Hage

Behind the numbers: You’d think Calvillo would have become jaded after all these years — or at least tired of the whole media process. But he’s always pleasant and thoughtful and seems genuinely appreciative that people are still interested in him and his remarkable story.

 

Stevie Baggs

Stevie Baggs

9. Biggest jerk award:

1. Rob Murphy 12.9

2. Dwight Anderson 9.7

2. Cory Boyd 9.7

2. John Hufnagel 9.7

Others receiving multiple votes: Nik Lewis, Doug Brown, Jason Jimenez, Marc Trestman

Behind the numbers: Murphy is the Argos’ clown act who threatened Winnipeg’s Johnny Sears on Twitter following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Toronto QB Stephen Jyles last month. Still, it’s worth noting that Murphy also got votes in the nice guy category. Also getting votes in both categories was John Hufnagel, Kavis Reed, Marc Trestman and, as we mentioned, Doug Brown.

 

10. CFL coach or GM who did the best job with his team in 2011:

1. Wally Buono 41.5

2. Kavis Reed 31.7

3. Eric Tillman 14.6

4. Paul LaPolice 9.8

Behind the numbers: It’s interesting that LaPolice — who, with minimal personnel changes in the off-season, took a 4-14 team in 2010 to the Grey Cup this year — finished a distant fourth. Buono seems to be getting lots of love for turning around an 0-5 team this season and getting them to the final game. But doesn’t Buono also bear some responsibility for the Lions being 0-5 in the first place? Just saying...

 

11. CFL coach or GM who did the worst job with his team in 2011:

1. Jim Barker 51.3

2. Ken Miller 25.6

Others receiving multiple votes: Marcel Bellefeuille, Greg Marshall, Brendan Taman

Behind the numbers: How quickly the tide has turned: Barker won the 2010 poll as the coach/GM who did the best job with his team.

 

12. The next head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders is:

1. Corey Chamblin 36.1

2. Scott Milanovich 16.7

3. Richie Hall 13.9

Behind the numbers: Funniest answer to this question was one word: "Unfortunate."

 

13. Do you have any faith that there will be CFL football played in Ottawa by 2014?

Yes 56.8 No 43.2

Behind the numbers: Funniest answer: "Yes.. oh sorry.. I read that as 2114.. then no."

 

Wally Buono

Wally Buono

14. Best player-Tweeter:

1. Avon Cobourne 29.4

2. Rob Murphy 20.6

3. Henry Burris 14.7

Others receiving multiple votes: Geroy Simon, Tad Kornegay, Nik Lewis

Behind the numbers: Best answer award goes to the voter who picked Henry Burris and then added, "At least I think it’s him, but he’ll claim it wasn’t."

 

15. Where do you think Henry Burris will play in 2012?

1. Toronto 73.0

2. Calgary 8.1

Others receiving multiple votes: Montreal, Hamilton, Winnipeg.

Behind the numbers: Winnipeg? Hmmmmm. Funniest answer: "Nowhere; did you see how he played in the second half of the West semi?"

 

16. Does Moncton deserve an expansion team down the road?

Yes 47.4 No 44.7 Undecided 7.9

Behind the numbers: Closer than you might have thought. Strange place Moncton: the biggest tourist attractions used to be an optical illusion called Magnetic Hill and watching the tide come in — until they started getting Rolling Stones and U2 concerts.

 

17. Does Jim Barker deserve another year in Toronto?

Yes 58.3 No 41.7

Behind the numbers: Full credit to the academy for not forgetting they thought Barker did the best job in the league last season.

 

18. Assuming he’s available, would you sign Dwight Anderson?

Yes 39.5 No 60.5 ("Too hot to handle.")

Behind the numbers: Funniest answers: "Of course. If a guy will go as far as poking another player’s eyes, don’t you want him on your team?" and "(Yes), our touch football team needs a good cover corner."

 

 

‘You be the GM’ lightning round:

 One game for the championship, your coach would be:

1. Marc Trestman 55.3

2. Wally Buono 34.2

Others receiving multiple votes: John Hufnagel.

 

One game for the championship, your QB would be:

1. Anthony Calvillo 69.4

2. Ricky Ray 13.9

3. Travis Lulay 11.1

 

Kicker you’d most trust on a 40-yarder to win the championship:

1. Paul McCallum 75.0

2. Justin Medlock 22.2

Best answer: "Never trust a kicker."

 

Coach best suited to rebuild a program:

1. Kavis Reed 32.4

2. Wally Buono 26.5

3. Paul LaPolice 20.6

Others receiving multiple votes: Marc Trestman, John Hufnagel

 

Player personnel director who finds the best talent:

1. Jim Popp 45.7

2. Roy Shivers 20.0

3. Eric Tillman 14.3

Others receiving multiple votes: Paul Jones, John Murphy

 

First Canadian you’d sign if all were available:

1. Jon Cornish 51.4

2. Josh Bourke 16.2

3. Jerome Messam 10.8

Others receiving multiple votes: Andy Fantuz, Shea Emry

 

First import you’d sign if all were available:

1. Travis Lulay 40.5

2. Jamel Richardson 24.3

3. Brandon Whitaker 8.1

Others receiving multiple votes: Chad Owens, Solomon Elimimian, Anthony Calvillo.

 

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Paul Wiecek

Paul Wiecek
Reporter (retired)

Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.

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