And here I was expecting a slow December….
The tumultuous tenure of Mike Kelly in Winnipeg came to an end yesterday. And in true Mike Kelly fashion he went out swinging… literally. He was fired by the Bombers “based strictly on last year’s performance”… and in what is surely nothing more than a coincidence, Mike Kelly was charged with assault yesterday (just prior to being fired) after allegedly getting in fist fight with his ex-girlfriend.
Now the events leading up the firing are odd to say the least. Follow along if you can. On Wednesday, it was reported that Mike Kelly was going to return in 2010 as part of Lyle Bauer’s plans for the future. Thursday, Lyle Bauer abruptly resigns. A little later on Thursday news of Kelly’s arrest surfaces. Later that day, the Bombers fire Kelly.
This whole situation raises many questions (which I will do my best to answer)…
- Did Bauer resign to avoid dealing with the impending Kelly fiasco? Probably. There was speculation that Bauer was headed to Calgary to fill their vacant president role anyway so it was smart thinking on the part of Bauer to jump ship before this whole Kelly thing blew up.
- Was the arrest the reason for Kelly’s firing? No… but it definitely made the decision easier. Kelly was Lyle Bauer’s chosen one and after the gong show season Winnipeg endured Bauer was about Kelly’s only remaining supporter. With him no longer there to protect Kelly, he was most likely going to be ousted anyway. The whole assault charge just sped up the process and was likely the final nail in the coffin that Kelly had spent the last few months building for himself.
- Are the Bombers better off because of this? Absolutely.
- There’s a woman on this earth willing to date Mike Kelly? Seriously, that is mind boggling to me! Even just seeing him in HD almost makes me vomit. I can’t imagine any woman willingly subjecting themselves to a relationship with that man (or any football team for that matter). I mean unless he met her in Winnipeg I can’t fathom a woman with standards that low.
- Other than Kelly, who’s the big loser in all of this? Michael Bishop. Much as Bauer was Kelly’s only remaining supporter, Kelly was Bishop’s only remaining supporter. Assuming the Bombers hire a replacement coach with half a brain I’m guessing that the “let’s bring Michael Bishop to training camp next year” plan will be out the window… in related news, the Rider Prophet is heartbroken over this last development.
- Why wasn’t he placed on Administrative Leave like Tillman? Turns out teams are only interested in keeping you around during legal troubles when you are good at what you do.
On a side note: When did it become a yearly tradition for a CFL GM to be charged with assault in the offseason?
And so the man who brought us a lifetime’s worth of controversy in just 12 months will not be back for an encore performance (much to the chagrin of everyone outside of Winnipeg). But given Kelly’s unprecedented ability to make the news for all the wrong reasons, I figured that as we bid him adieu we should look back at the top Mike Kelly moments from this past year
Top 10 Mike Kelly Moments
10 – Taman and Napkins
Having only been on the job a matter of weeks, Kelly took a shot a Brendan Taman’s scouting abilities saying he must have kept all his notes on napkins. Thing is Kelly went on to do the same things as Taman (acquire other teams’ rejects, trade any and all draft picks for Americans and have no decent prospects on his neg. list) only he managed to do it even worse than Taman.
9 – Crotch of Canada
Kelly tried to pour gas on the Bomber/Rider rivalry by saying “We kind of raided the toothless, green, watermelon-helmet-wearing people from the crotch of Canada”. Thing is he really only made himself look like a dumbass since what he considers “raided”, the Riders considered “overpaying for 2 tackles not good enough to start on our team; trading away your best linemen for a receiver who had a severe case of the dropsies; and taking one of the worst DB to ever win an award off our hands”.
8 – Spying is a Non-Issue
Prior to a game against Winnipeg, the Ti-cats caught a Bomber scout spying on their practice. Kelly responded that is was a non-issue that was handled internally… and then went out and lost the game to the Ti-Cats. Generally the point of cheating is to gain the advantage over your opponent. It’s pretty bad when you lose in spite of spying on your opponent.
7 – Put your money where your mouth is
Whether it be for having QBs attend offseason camps or for making disparaging comments towards the league, its rules, its officials etc., Kelly ended up donating a lot of his salary back to the league in the form of fines. In fact at the rate Kelly was going the league could have afforded to build a new stadium in Ottawa by themselves if he had lasted the entire length of his contract.
6 – Endearing himself to the fans
As if fielding an embarrassing football team wasn’t enough, Kelly managed to further piss off the residents of Manitoba with his weekly call-in radio show where he would routinely insult callers who dared to question his coaching abilities. The ironic thing is that after spending most of the season insulting the fans for working at McDonalds, he might have to resort to a McJob himself to pay the bills.
5 – Shotgun… Not For Me
Despite its universal acceptance in the CFL, NFL, NCAA and pretty much any reputable football league, Mike Kelly stated that the shotgun formation was for “flag football and guys that haven’t coached quarterbacks very well”. Not surprisingly, while coaches who used the shotgun formation had successful passing attacks, Kelly’s passing attack ended up being by far the worst in the league barely averaging 200 yards per game.
4 – Barrin Simpson
Kelly made news yet again when he tried to place Barrin Simpson on the 9 game injured list. The problem was that league rules require a player to sign off on being placed on the 9-game and Simpson refused to do so… mainly because he was healthy enough to play. After the league determined Kelly couldn’t put Simpson on the 9-game, Kelly barred Simpson from practice only to end up calling him back and inserting him in the starting line-up a little over a week later when Joe Lobendahn go hurt. I doubt Kelly will be receiving a Christmas card from Simpson.
3 – Use LeFors
Kelly gambled big on the unproven south paw QB… and it was an epic fail. Not only did he trade multiple draft picks for LeFors he also made room for him by cutting Kevin Glenn (who ended up leading the Ti-Cats to the playoffs) and passing on Casey Printers (who ended up leading the Lions to the playoffs).
2 – Pacman Fever
Kelly’s most high profile blunder came just before Labour Day when word got out that he was going to sign Pacman Jones (what most people don’t know is that the move was part of the federal government’s stimulus spending as an attempt to jumpstart fledgling Manitoba strip clubs). The media furor which resulted caused the Bombers to reconsider the highly controversial move… which suited Pacman fine because he thought he was being signed by the UFL anyway.
To add insult to… well insult, Kelly also attempted to sign Charles Rogers (another first round bust) only to find out that he couldn’t because Rogers was currently suspended by the NFL.
1 – Michael Bishop
While certainly not his most controversial or high profile moment, the signing of Michael Bishop was my top moment. Mainly because a losing season in Winnipeg full of embarrassingly hilarious moments of failure.