As an American football fan, I have recently started to watch the CFL religiously. I have adopted the REDBLACKS as my favorite team. I love the uniforms and overall team name concept.

This past sunday, rather than watch the current slate of NFL games on Sunday or check on my fantasy team. I watched the eastern and western finals on ESPN.

The whole 3 down deal and two 50 yard lines threw me off for awhile but after being just a casual CFL fan, I am hooked now and love the league. It’s more wide open and fast paced than the NFL game. I also like CFL’s replay challenge on penalties. Lord knows the NFL refs botch penalty calls on a frequent basis. I like that the CFL coaches can actually challenge a penalty.

It’s amazing how long the CFL has been around, their loyal fan bases and how resilient the league has been through the years.

That brings me to this topic. I was wondering what CFL fans think of the launch of the Alliance of American Football in February of 2019 and the eventual launch of the XFL in 2020.

I know that the CFL has been through this before. Opposing leagues in the states who have attempted to pouch the CFL for talent like the Arena League and the original XFL back in 2001.

I recently heard an interview with The XFL’s commissioner Oliver Luck. He revealed their new league’s pay scale tiers for their players.

The top tier players are slated to receive 250k to 300k a season, not including weekly win bonuses. The second tier players are slated to receive 150k to 175k a season. This dwarfs all the reports of what the standard AAF player is slated to make. Their league is making players sign 3 year contracts averaging about 75k a season.

If The XFL’s salary pay scale is accurate. Could they target some of the CFL’s better players who are slated to become free agents in the spring. I know that the CBA could be an issue with the CFL this coming spring.

300k a season American not counting bonuses may not be enough to pry away someone like a Bo Levi Mitchell but for some players moving to the states and only playing 10 games might entice them. I have a feeling that the XFL is going to adopt some aspects of the CFL like the shorter pay clocks. They have mentioned a 25 second play clock and Doug Flutie is a part of their committee. It makes me think that they would be looking for some coaches with a CFL background like a Marc Trestman and be looking for CFL qb’s who have experienced playing in a fast paced offense.

If it’s going to affect the talent then I have to guess it will have an impact on the up and coming talent moreso than the established Americans in the CFL.
But if it sticks around for a while
(I hope it does) then it could hurt in the future unless the CFL becomes willing to work with players if the NFL is a possibility some may be hesitant to sign up.

But also think of the flipside if the CFL and the Canadian kids fresh out of school can utilize the spring league and improve on their skills to move up to CFL level that would be great.
But I don’t see that happening
No one wants a rotating bench of players and I get that so if the CFL starts losing talent they will need to figure out how to attract them

You bring up some good points.

I think that the difference between the XFL and AAF besides the big gap in top player pay is that XFL’s contracts are supposed to be 1 year deals where in the AAF, you have to sign a 3 year deal and you are not allowed to leave unless it’s for an NFL job.

The XFL also has hired optimum scouting services. They also have connections through the NCAA in Oliver Luck and their new VP of football operations in Doug Whaley is the current director of the The NFLPA collegiate bowl. There’s also mention of their league not having a 3 years out of high school restriction that the nfl and AAF has. So your point about upcoming talent is a strong one.

If the XFL is serious about their quality of play. They will probably attempt to entice a couple of marquee cfl free agents in the spring.

This forum is called “CFL Talk”, so maybe this thread about new American spring football leagues should be moved to a different forum.

No one wants a rotating bench of players and I get that so if the CFL starts losing talent they will need to figure out how to attract them
Great point dawg and this goes into the zone of what exactly is the CFL's mandate as it concerns trying to keep as stable of a roster as possible with a ratio and at the same time trying to have very skilled Americans come up here to make the CFL game more "skilled" "up to par" "more like the NFL" "easier to sell to Canadian fans to buy tickets if more Americans are playing" etc. whatever is the correct term here.

The CFL will need to come to terms with itself as competition continues to rear it’s head, ugly head some might say, but head from time to time with respects to other pro football leagues. I really fear for the future of the CFL if it can’t establish it’s mandate as the business world of pro sports becomes increasingly more competetive especially from how it’s viewed that unless the US is watching, it doesn’t really count as true pro sports in some peoples circles including media of course.

US significance on the world stage is becoming huge, I remember seeing recently some African country on the TV, some news forget what it was actually, a village with what looked like thatched houses and a kid wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey. That caught my attention I must say.

3-year contracts for a league that will be lucky to survive for that long.

The CFL needs to be aware of these leagues, but lets not forget something.
The US has not supported any football league for more than a few years not called NFL or NCAA.
Plus its a spring league which has not been successful as well.

Previous leagues have had big dollars behind them.
Previous leagues have had major networks behind them.
Previous leagues have had NFL connections
Previous leagues have had NFL coaches and players
Previous leagues have had NCAA coaches
Previous leagues have targetted regional representation before.
Previous leagues have paid more than the CFL

I am not against these leagues existing, it has benefitted the CFL in the long run, but lets see how things roll out. Personally as a football fan, I have watched and enjoyed some of the football played in previous collapsed leagues.

The XFL is going to present a bigger issue to the AAF than the CFL.
Their seasons are going to be at the same time and attracting the same players.

Good post. It’s a long shot that these new spring leagues will take off. The CFL players can benefit from it because it creates leverage. That’s if the CBA gets ironed out this spring.

The 3 year contract rule is silly. It’s a fear move by the AAF because they don’t want to lose or share players with other leagues. Their ultimate goal is to become the spring alternate/feeder system to the NFL.

Perhaps, I am not opposed to it but this is a big CFL issue going into the spring. Between free agency and the uncertainty with the CBA.

As a big football fan, The CFL has really caught my interest and earned my attention and appreciation in recent years. I think that more and more fans are going to catch on outside of Canada. Provided that the talent level, pay scale and quality of football continues to improve. These next two off seasons are crucial for the continued growth of the league.

Cemeteries are littered with upstart football leagues backed by big dollars and famous people.
There is no reason to suggest these 2 will fare any different.

I am in no way an expert on clothes that don’t get sold over here, but from what I understand unsold clothes are often sent over to poorer countries for use. I’m not saying this kid you saw doesn’t know who the Chicago Bulls are but more than likely he’s just happy to have clothing, no matter what it is. But I could be wrong.

Major differences being that:

  • I don’t think anyone had a big TV deal and deep pockets coming in
  • Nobody paid like these guys are. XFL was probably the best and it was on par with the CFL
  • None brought in this level of advisory personnel likeBill Polian. Not even close.
  • They are not trying to compete with any other league…at all.

Dunno if it will stick, but this is the most rounded approach I have seen. Perhaps the biggest thorn potentially holding it back is the XFL trying to restart in a similar timetable.

Fear of what? They are free to take on other contracts.

The 3-year guaranteed contract is a ruse. Let’s say their final roster is 40 players. If they sign more than 40 players for training camp, obviously somebody has to get released. Are they still going to pay the $250k guaranteed salary to players they cut in camp?

Let’s say they sign 40 players the first year, then in the 2nd-year training camp they can’t sign any new players because their roster is already full with guaranteed contract players?

Obviously AAF contracts will only be guaranteed for players who don’t get released and are on the roster for every game over 3 years.

The CFL has the same guaranteed contract for players that don’t get cut, but additionally guarantees the contract and bonuses of any veteran player for the remainder of the season, if he gets does get cut after Labour Day.

In my view, the only problem here will be one of perception. There are far more than enough good players out there, easily enough to accommodate all leagues. It will be good for football in general, and when fans get bored with American rules, the CFL will be there for them, driving interest on TV and driving up the cost of streaming rights. If the CFL can manage to add a small league, or even a conference, outside the country, the potential is there for significant interest and growth. I could see teams in India & China, Europe, Mexico, and Brazil, and best of all, international interest in the game will drive interest at home, especially in the Big Three, where there are significant numbers of immigrants from those countries and regions.


I started a very similar thread months ago here, with the purpose of discussing the impact of the AAF on the CFL.

Someone vehemently opposed having such a thread in the “CFL Talk” forum and the thread was moved.

I expect the same action for this thread - if only for consistency.

Start-up football league’s soon fail because of one thing, “they’re too big for their britches”. Too much money going out, not enough coming in. Fold the league.

AAF might break that tradition because of Bill Polian. He won’t try to compete with the NFL. He’ll keep costs low in relation to projected revenue, like he probably learned in the CFL. i.e. Tight fiscal control, minimalist salaries. The contract with CBS Sports will help too.

“3-year guaranteed contracts” makes great headlines but in reality costs AAF nothing. It also locks star players into $83k salaries with no increase until their 4th season. Genius!

The AAF could become a valuable recruiting tool for CFL teams. Their season is over by June and there could be financial pressure on the league to allow star players to “double-dip” in the CFL in the AAF off-season, like they’ll do with NFL signees.

Economics of this league isn’t really better than any of the previous attempts. CBS is under new management which may or may not be supportive of this project.

Good read rpaege.