Cauz: Why Montreal and Ottawa should be rivals

Editors note: A version of this story was posted in May, 2021 but is revisiting Matthew Cauz’s argument that Montreal and Ottawa should be official rivals ahead of their Mark’s Labour Day Weekend matchup on Friday night.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

You can't fabricate a rivalry, they just happen, kinda like... babies!


The Montréal Alouettes and Ottawa Rough Riders were indeed rivals until 1981.

To rekindle the rivalry, Alouette fans could sneer at RedBlack fans for being Federal civil servant types who don't even know what end of an axe to use even though they fantasize about being lumberjacks. "Hey, can you even tell a red oak tree from a white oak? Or even a white pine?"



I went back and checked and the last year where both Montreal and Ottawa had winning records in the same season was 1978. The 11-5 East Division champion Ottawa Rough Riders would go on to lose in the Eastern Final to the 8-7-1 Montreal Alouettes. Since then, there has been a whole lotta losing.

The above pretty much sums up why the rivalry is not particularly intense. The fact that both cities went without their CFL teams for several seasons didn't help.

I think one unintended consequence of adding a wildcard playoff spot has been that it's cooled down the sense of rivalry among East teams.

Having said that, I think the league can do more to foster and promote these rivalries.

Toronto and Montreal should also be bitter rivals but that just hasn't been there for the past several decades anyway.

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The only two teams with LCF on their helmets. League needs to do a better job of marketing rivalries.

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It's always the Leafs vs Canadiens rivalry that the main one with both of the teams being part of the NHL since 1917.

You are correct back in the 70's the rivalry was there as they both had decent teams that decade .

Then the East became a joke and the division system no longer swayed anyone to watch two losing teams playing in a playoff game really hurt credibility and fans lost interest further .

I really hope they never return to those days .

This is the 5th year in 7 possible years where the teams have played on Labour Day weekend. Keep scheduling them to play each other then and see what happens. The CFL literally has nothing to lose by putting them together and see what happens. There is no benefit to have them sit out on that long weekend.

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