An official goodbye to Yahoo and The 55-Yard Line (update: or maybe not?)

Update, Jan. 27. I’ve since heard from Yahoo that there were “no plans to end the relationship” on their end. I made an assumption that the time lag in hearing from them and that their lack of requests for CFL content since November meant they didn’t want me any more; that turns out to have been incorrect.

I apologize for that assumption, and for the usage of “change their coverage model” in my original post. I have no knowledge of their future coverage plans, and should have specified that I was referring to how the coverage of the CFL and other sports on Yahoo Canada had changed over the past couple of months. Given the amount of change at the company during those months, that isn’t necessarily indicative of what they’ll do down the road.

In any case, I didn’t intend this as a shot at Yahoo, but as a way to say my goodbyes, goodbyes I felt it was time for after a couple of months without me writing about the CFL. I apologize if it was perceived as taking shots.  I’m open to further work with Yahoo if they still want me and if the fit is right, and I’m glad to hear that they plan to still cover the CFL, whether that involves me or not. It’s a great league, and one that deserves all the coverage it can get.

Original post follows:

As some may have noticed, I haven’t written anything at Yahoo Canada since a Grey Cup preview back in November. The new management there has decided to change their coverage model (and sadly, to lay off a lot of great, talented people), so there hasn’t been anything by anyone else posted to The 55-Yard Line since then either, and it looks like I’ve written my last post for them. The new editor said he’d be in touch in December, but that hasn’t happened, so that job’s probably over at this point, and I’d like to say some goodbyes and take a bit of a look back at my six years there.

I loved working at Yahoo, covering both the CFL and everything else on the Canadian sports front. The CFL is an amazing league, something uniquely Canadian with an incredible history, and I was very lucky to get the chance to cover it for a prominent outlet for six years. It’s football that’s a heck of a lot of fun to watch, and football with great stories about so many of the people involved in it. Thanks to everyone who helped make our coverage succeed; to my coworkers, to interview subjects, to readers, to PR people with teams and the league, and to other supportive media members.

I want to thank all the great people at Yahoo Canada I worked with for making it a wonderful job. In particular, Steve McAllister and Ian Denomme were the best bosses you could possibly ask for, consistently helpful, encouraging and invested in making our coverage better. Greg Hughes, Trevor Wilker, Sam McCaig, Sunaya Sapurji, Kaitlyn McGrath,  Jonathon Jackson, Andrew McKay, Alan Hudes, Chase Kell and others were terrific editors to work with, and Neate Sager, Israel Fehr, Dustin Pollack, Don Landry, Chris Zelkovich, Stephanie Myles, Jim Morris, Jamie Thomas, Sandy Annunziata, Daniel Nugent-Bowman, Neil Acharya, Andy Watson and so many others were excellent colleagues to write alongside.

I’m very proud of not only what I did, but what all those colleagues did at Yahoo over my time there. I think we often produced some of the best Canadian sports coverage out there, especially when it came to big events like the Grey Cup and the Summer and Winter Olympics. Thanks also to those from the Yahoo U.S. office I wound up interacting with, particularly Evan Doherty (who came up to do video with us for the 100th Grey Cup, and is an awesome guy), Greg Wyshynski (who continues to set the mark for blogging excellent in many ways, and has always been extraordinarily friendly and helpful), and Joe Lago and Melissa Geisler (who gave me the chance to cover the U.S. and Canadian women’s Olympic soccer qualifiers for the U.S. site as well as Canada back in 2012, one of my most enjoyable experiences at Yahoo.)

One great thing about working at Yahoo Canada was the ability to cover a wide variety of sports, especially after we launched the Eh Game blog. That led to me doing stories on everything from snowboarding to beach volleyball, from soccer to women’s hockey, and even on larger initiatives and issues involving FIFA, the Canadian Soccer Association, the Canadian Olympic Committee and more. While big events like the Olympics (I wound up covering three: London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016) were obvious highlights, there were great smaller ones as well. A particular highlight for me was always the Canadian university coverage I was able to do, an interest of mine going back to The CIS Blog, and it was awesome to be able to cover university sports as much as we were. Canadian university sports are a tremendous level of competition, but one that doesn’t receive much media attention, and it was fantastic to get some chances to change that a little bit here and there.

The biggest focus of my time at Yahoo was on the CFL, and I’m so proud of what we did with the 55-Yard Line since founding it in 2010. I think we covered the league fairly from a national perspective, touching on everything from silly videos to serious issues, and doing everything from in-depth game analysis to advanced statistics to interviews. Thanks to all the aforementioned colleagues who helped with that, and to all the other media members who were friendly, welcoming, and supportive. Particular thanks on that front are due to Darrell Davis, Lowetide, Andy McNamara, Norm Rumack, Andrew Paterson, Gary Lawless, Scott Mitchell, Kirk Penton, Jamie Nye, Dave Naylor, Herb Zurkowksy, Terry Jones, Drew Edwards, Jason Strudwick, Marc Majeau, Corey Graham, Jason Gregor, Bruce Arthur, Michael Grange, Matt Sekeres, Roger Lajoie, Jim Tatti, Arash Madani, Justin Dunk, Cam Cole, Sean Fitz-Gerald, Chris O’Leary, Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor, as well as many others. Special shoutouts to Corina Mark for all her work with the Football Reporters of Canada (a very valuable organization), and to Ray Ratto for his tremendous Grey Cup coverage from an American perspective in 2015, and for being a cool guy.

The bloggers and podcasters out there deserve love too. Thanks in particular to Brian Wawryshyn, John and Tim Hodge, Joe Pritchard, Os Davis, Mark Fulton, the Rouge Radio team, Cliffy Pine, Daniele Franceschi, Eric M., Santino Filoso, Paolo Del Rio, and more. They’ve done a great job of covering this league too, and I hope to see CFL blog and podcast content remain strong in the years to come.

I should also thank those at the league who have been extraordinarily helpful to some random blogger over the years. That started with Jaime Stein and Jamie Dykstra, and has since extended to Paulo Senra, Olivier Poulin, Lucas Barrett, Clare Hutchinson, Max Rosenberg and many more. Thanks to all the past and present executives with particular CFL teams who have been helpful, too, especially Eric Holmes, Beth Waldman, Chris Jurewicz, Jamie Cartmell, Charles Rooke and others. Thanks to all those past and present at TSN who helped out, especially Greg McIsaac, Renee Rouse, and Rob Duffy. And thanks so much to interview subjects like Commissioners Mark Cohon and Jeffrey Orridge, CFL and Argos executives Michael Copeland and Sara Moore, former Riders’ coach Corey Chamblin, and to all the players I’ve spoken with over the years, especially Brian Bulcke, Peter Dyakowski, Rob Maver, Marco Iannuzzi, James Yurichuk and many more. Your time was always appreciated.

This wouldn’t be complete without a thanks to the readers, as you’re the reason we were able to have a national CFL blog for six years. Thanks to everyone who checked out The 55-Yard Line over the years, and thanks especially to those who came back. Thanks to those who engaged on Twitter; we had some excellent CFL discussions there, and I hope to have many more there in the future. Particular thanks go out to two special readers, Rob Pettapiece and Terry Ott, as they helped to create two of our most important pieces of coverage. Rob was consistently helpful with stats and analytics, and produced some of the best work out there on third downs and the CFL, and Terry led the way with his own reporting on the concussion lawsuits, which remain some of the largest issues facing the league. Thanks to both for their help, feedback and friendship. Also, my apologies to everyone else who has been awesome and supportive over the last six years and isn’t mentioned specifically above; it’s all been much appreciated!

What’s next? Well, I’m still writing, covering sports media for Awful Announcing and general sports and pop culture at The Comeback. I’ll still be following the CFL avidly, too; it’s a tremendous league, and one that’s always been a blast to watch, and you can bet I’ll still be tweeting about it at @AndrewBucholtz. If anyone’s looking for more than 140 characters of CFL insight, whether written, audio or video, (or for pieces on anything else), let me know; you can reach me at andrew_bucholtz@hotmail.com. If not, I’ll probably throw a few pieces on the league up over at my seldom-used Sporting Madness site when I get time.

No one ever knows all that’s ahead, and maybe this won’t be goodbye for me as a regular CFL writer, but maybe it will. It probably is my goodbye to The 55-Yard Line, though, which will likely make the bar and grill in San Marcos, CA happy.  In any case, I want to thank Yahoo for a tremendous six years both in general and with the CFL, and to thank everyone who’s helped along the way. So long, and thanks for all the fish.


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3 Comments

  1. Disappointed to read that the 55 yard line is coming to an end, I hope it will only be Yahoo’s loss and someother outlet decides to take advantage of your outstanding knowledge of the CFL, its many characters, current events and glorious history. Thank you.

    Like

  2. I loved the 55-Yard Line – it was one of my go-to sources of Canadian football coverage. In a CDN media landscape where the tone and approach of the coverage of Bell and Rogers outlets is always a naked reflection of who owns the rights to a sport/league, your coverage never seem tainted by corporate agenda. Hopefully there’s another platform out there for your informed and insightful coverage.

    Like

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