Now That It's Over
Remember back in the summer when Ricky Williams signed with the Argos?
Let's say Pinball Clemons had introduced him in the following way:
"Despite being a major ball carrier in the NFL, we intend to mostly let Ricky block. By the end of the season, you can expect that he won't have managed a single 100-yard game and will have crossed the goal line just twice.
"When we get to the Eastern final, he'll score once more, but he'll also cough up the ball on a crucial second half play. He won't be anything close to a star in the CFL, but he's a really nice guy and that's good enough for us."
Had Clemons uttered those words, he would have left the Toronto sport community totally mystified.
Isn't this pro football where only winning matters? You know, just win, baby.
But after the Argos bowed out of the playoffs yesterday, there was Pinball explaining the team's experience with Williams as an "unorthodox win" and well worth the effort and money expended in bringing him to Canada.
It's wonderful that the Argos love Ricky. But in the wake of the running back's underwhelming sojourn into three-down football, this sounds an awful lot like rationalization after the fact.
The Argos don't put nice people ahead of winning. They may have quality individuals in the organization, or many of them, but this franchise wants to win.
They're not in it for the participation badges.
Had the Argos known Williams would have such limited impact, they never would have signed him.
Indeed, had they known his offensive contributions would be so pedestrian and that he would have no positive impact on the gate - Argo attendance actually dropped fractionally this season - you can bet owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski would have found better ways to spend money.
Otherwise, we should assume the Argos won't bother with college combines this off-season but will instead visit churches and yoga schools throughout North American searching out really nice, interesting, thoughtful folks to play for the team.
Look, it's quite possible Williams might have been able to do more with a team more committed to the run. Put him in the Alouette backfield in place of Robert Edwards, and perhaps Williams churns up the same amount of yards.
But it's also at least arguable that despite his talent he was ill-suited to the CFL game, or at least that he struggled mightily to adapt to the intricacies and unique challenges of Canadian football.
Had he been around for more than a year, the apprenticeship would have been worth it.
But he's gone. And while the Argos claim to have been thrilled just to have had the chance to spend time with the man, to most CFL fans he'll go down as just another Vince Ferragamo.