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The Hamilton Tiger Cats are down to their ninth life as the team’s post-season hopes are quickly fading.
The team has to win its three remaining games and hope the Argos or Eskimos lose their last three to guarantee the Cats a second place finish in the East or fourth place via of the crossover in the West.
The way the Cats fell to the BC Lions last Friday night in Hamilton - it appears the Tabbies have already danced their final waltz of the 2012 regular season even though they have three games remaining.
A complete lack of effort in all three phases leads one to believe the players have stopped playing for first year head coach George Cortez. Aside from a three-game win streak in July coupled with novelty wins at home over Edmonton and Montreal last month - it appears the team has rarely locked into Cortez’s game plan all season.
While the offence has performed admirably - leading the league in points allowed - the defence has faltered yielding the most points per game of any team in the eight team league. Yes….Casey Creehan looks after the defence but when all is said and done - success or failure still resides with the head coach.
Maybe Cortez has spread himself too thin as head coach, OC and director of player personnel. It’s one thing to want complete on-field control as Cortez obviously does but it’s another thing to shoulder too much responsibility to the point that defensive input is obviously overlooked.

The move to hire Cortez last January was a good one. Her boasts a plethora of CFL experience as an OC and QB coach. His work south of the border also complements a nicely decorated resume`.  
But the difference between a coordinator and head coach is a great one and this was Cortez’s first assignment as the head man.
The non-challenge call in the season opener against Saskatchewan and later in August against Montreal indicates Cortez wasn’t ready to be a head coach or isn’t head coaching material at all.
His cantankerous attitude with the media - especially when trying to explain the non-calls - is always an indication the head man is feeling the “heat of the moment” because he lacks the necessary skills that go with the position.
No one can say for sure that a new head coach is going to be successful regardless of their credentials. Head coaches have come to Canada with no CFL experience and gone on to win Grey Cups. The accomplishments of Marv Levy in the 1970s and more recently Marc Trestman pay homage to the rookie head coach.
Maybe George Cortez can do justice to the long-term deal he signed last winter. With three games left the Cats are still mathematically in the playoff hunt.
Hamilton fans however, are fed up with the lack of results. The team can finish no better than 8-10 - the same record boasted last year under Marcel Bellefeuille.
As well as the team performed during the Bellefeuille/Kevin Glenn era - which included three playoff appearances and one win - the stench of a 15-57 run over four seasons last decade - coupled with a 1-17 mark in 2003 - has the local fan base very restless.
With the last winning season coming some eight years ago and the 1999 Grey Cup a long, distant memory - these are crucial times in Steeltown. Coupled with the entire 2013 campaign being played on the road in order to make way for a new and improved Ivor Wynne Stadium - the Cats could ill afford to have the season they’ve endured under George Cortez.
The Cats are down to their ninth life and it all begins Saturday night in Calgary.


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