CFL Kickoff Game Concept

I think this has been discussed a bit before, but I thought I would expand on the topic. Currently, the league plays 81 games in a season, meaning that one week will feature five games. Rather than the poor Argos or some other team playing another two games in one week, I’m proposing that the league feature a stand-alone kickoff game at the beginning of the season when other teams are wrapping up their pre-season schedules. This game would feature a Grey Cup rematch hosted by the defending champion.

For example, for the 2017 season, Ottawa would host Calgary on Monday June 19 in game 1. Games 2-5 would occur Thursday to Sunday with Calgary playing again on Sunday (having a decent amount of time between games). And from there on out, there would be four games every week.

The preseason would feature week 1 with two games, week 2 with four games and week 3 with three games, with Ottawa, Calgary, and another team having a break in that third preseason week to prepare for the regular season game.

What do you think, would you want to see such a thing?

Good idea. Or it could feature two teams that met the year before in a division final if it was a close, emotional game. I know the league usually has a Grey Cup rematch in week one but a week to themselves couldn't hurt for publicity.

I like the idea of a stand-alone kickoff classic but would have it earlier than the Monday night of week 1 – like the preceding Saturday night. Bigger potential viewing audience on a weekend and it would give one of the teams a longer break heading into week 1. They would need to ensure that preseason games all end at least four or five days before the opener, so that all teams (including those playing in the classic) have a roughly equal chance to set their rosters.

But the first game of the year has been the Grey Cup, that's been going on for many years.
The first game this year was Ottawa in Edmonton, in 2015 it was Hamilton in Calgary, 2013 it was Hamilton at Sask.

I think it's a pretty good idea. It'd keep the traditional Grey Cup rematch to start the season and actually put even more spotlight on that rematch than current scheduling practices do.

One potential issue, though, would be getting the CFLPA on board since it would extend the season a bit. I also agree with pw13 that the GC rematch should be played on the Saturday night, or even Friday, rather than the Monday. Of course, the earlier the game is played, the greater the disadvantage to the two GC teams since their training camp would be that much shorter than other teams', unless they're allowed to start camp earlier, which again the CFLPA might not go for.

Not quite. There has been a Grey Cup rematch in week one for many of the past years, but it's not the opening game, that's actually pretty rare. In 2016 it was game 3, in 2015 it was game 2, and in 2014 it was game 4.

This format would always have it be a stand-alone season-opening game.

The only problem with starting on the weekend is that the league would lose momentum since the other games wouldn’t start for another week. If it was on a Saturday, the next game would occur in another five days (Thursday). By having this game on a Monday, you would only have to wait three days until the next slate of games. But I see the point you guys are making. Maybe it could be a prime time game on Sunday night, replicating the Grey Cup Sunday.

That’s also a good point with the earlier start to the season. It wouldn’t be by much, though. In this format, preseason would probably start on Sunday June 4, which would be three days earlier than last year (Started on Wednesday). The main goal of this is to almost intersect the awkward scheduling that comes with a 9-game preseason and 81-game regular season.

See the 2004 schedule here ( for an example of how this would work.