With GM Wally Buono on his annual Hawaiian vacation, there hasn’t been much news of late coming out of the Lions Den. But as we had into 2013, there are a few nuggets worth discussing including an attempt by a certain team to get Buono to move east.
Fabien Looking South
Scott Mitchell of the Calgary Sun reports that 2011 first round draft pick Kirby Fabien will have a chance to impress NFL scouts after being named to the West roster at the East-West Shrine game. The game includes the best that college football has to offer and is a high exposure event for players to get the big league’s attention.
The Lions of course are still hoping to have Fabien in their lineup, as soon as this year, and with uncertainty along the offensive line due to injury issues to Dean Valli and Jon Hameister-Ries, never mind the possible departure of Jovan Olafioye, Fabien heading south would be a blow.
That said it was the reason he returned to the Calgary Dinos instead of signing with the Leos last season. A chance to play in the NFL is every young players dream and you can’t fault Fabien for pursuing his for himself and for his family. If it doesn’t work out for him, Fabien told the Sun he has no issues with playing in the CFL.
“It’s a great option. It’s a great city and a great organization. If I play in the CFL, I’ll be playing for the Lions.”
Buono Approached by Ottawa Group
Tim Baines of the Ottawa Sun reports that Jeff Hunt and the Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group are leaving no stone unturned in their search for a quality football man to run their operation. Baines writes that Hunt approached the Lions about permission to speak with GM Wally Buono, who quickly informed them he was quite happy in Vancouver.
It’s of course a compliment to Buono and to the Lions organization that he was approached, but Lions fans everywhere have to be pleased it didn’t go any farther than a courtesy phone call. The Lions have a solid and stable football operations team in place, a luxury that many teams would love to replicate.
Growing the Brand
I recently attended a Seattle Seahawks game and couldn’t help coming away total impressed. I’ve been down before but this trip really hammered home how well the Seahawks have marketed the “12th Man” concept to the fans. Everyone there buys in and on game day it is an event all around the stadium.
From the Blue Thunder percussion group, the tailgating, Touchdown City and the raising of the 12th man flag, the Seahawks brand is everywhere. The city takes pride in having the loudest stadium in the NFL, and if you haven’t experienced it live, you haven’t heard loud.
Of course it’s a different league and a different culture south of the border; Saskatchewan and Winnipeg would be the smaller scale versions of the Seahawks model, with the Riders marketing their fans as the 13th man. With their new stadiums in the works, both teams have a real chance to build on the pride they take in having the loudest stadiums in the league.
When the building is full and the fans are into the game BC Place is a very loud stadium, but those occurrences are all too rare in BC. The crowd is good and becoming more involved, but it could be so much better if they felt part of the whole experience. The Lions were all over the media last off-season following their Grey Cup win, but it didn’t result in the increased attendance they had hoped for. As a fan you can’t help to be somewhat jealous of how passionate fans in these markets are about their teams.
It is up to the team to find something for the fans to get behind so they can help build and instill this type of passion among its fan base. They only need to look 2 hours south to get some really great ideas.
All the best to the Seahawks this weekend! Go Hawks!