either too small, too young, or too stubborn to play quarterback in the
NFL, so they enlist in the CFL, which could well stand for the Canadian
Foreign Legion. There a man can leave his past behind and plunge into
obscurity, no questions asked, as long as he pledges temporary allegiance
to the Calgary Stampeders, the Hamilton Ticats, whatever. About the only
thing a quarterback in the Canadian Football League can't be is Canadian.
The CFL is also a good place to find the answers to trivia questions
beginning, "Whatever happened to...?"
Holloway, the Tennessee quarterback several years ago, is an Ottawa
They came to Canada for a variety of reasons, most of which, when
elucidated, mean the NFL didn't want them. That's not so much an
indictment of the players as it is of the system. "I was drafted in the
12th round by the Patriots, and they let it be known they were going to
try to make me a defensive back," says Holloway. "So instead of wasting my
time and theirs—I don't want to tackle anyone anyway—I came up here. I
played against and best players who were drafted No. 1, but my stature
just didn't fit into the NFL computer."
Holloway's's current stature is that of the best young quarterback in the
CFL. (The best graybeard is 36-year-old
Wilkinson of the University of Wyoming, who led
Edmonton to victory in The
last year.) Holloway's coach, George Brancato, says, with a trace of a
sneer, "Connie's sure better than a lot of quarterbacks down there." Last
year Holloway and Clements alternated at quarterback, and they finished
1-2 in the voting for the best at the position in the Eastern Conference.
Clements, who is anxious to wear the uniform of the Kansas City Chiefs
next season, was planning to play out his option, and the Rough Riders
traded him to Saskatchewan, one of the worst teams in the league.
That left Ottawa with Holloway, but who's complaining? He was more than
enough to lead the Rough Riders to a 30-19 victory over Hamilton in the
season opener last week. The 5'10" water bug completed 14 of 24
passes—most of them thrown while on the run—for 244 yards and three
touchdowns. He scooted five times for another 47 yards and ducked out from
under a half dozen heavy pass rushes. And he didn't think he had a
particularly good game.
Canadian ball was made for Holloway, and indeed most running quarterbacks.
The field is 11? yards wider than it is in the NFL, which gives passers
more room to scramble and more time to spot receivers, of which they get
an extra one because each team has 12 men. There are three downs instead
of four, so the ball changes hands more often. Offenses are geared to
passing and big plays.
Moreover, CFL quarterbacks usually call their own plays, something their
NFL counterparts rarely do, because Canadian rules allow only 20, not 30,
seconds between plays. The defenses are not nearly as sophisticated as
they are in the U.S., which makes a passer's job that much easier. And the
end zones are 25 yards deep, offering a larger receiving area when the
ball is near the goal line. "It's just a whole lot of fun," says
Tony Adams, who is in his first year with the
Toronto Argonauts after sitting on the
bench for Kansas City for four seasons.