CFL to go to 21 week schedule in 2018

CFL to go to 21 week schedule in 2018
Posted on September 13, 2017 by Justin Dunk // 2 Comments

The CFL and CFLPA are expected to make a major announcement shortly which will see the league go to a 21-week schedule – thereby adding a third bye week for each team – as well as eliminating shoulder pads from all practices after training camp, per sources.
The schedule changes will take effect in 2018 while the shoulders pad ban happens immediately.
The CFL and the CFLPA are set to make the changes official during an online announcement this afternoon.

Dave Naylor
TSN Analyst and Host
The Canadian Football League and Canadian Football League Players' Association will introduce changes to their sport later today that will improve player safety and could have ripple effects well beyond the league.
Effectively immediately, the league will no longer allow full-contact padded practices during the season, significantly reducing the number of collisions players sustain over the course of a season.

Teams are currently allowed full-contact practices during training camp, plus an additional 17 days during the season. While contact practices will still be permitted at training camp, full-contact practices during the regular season will immediately become a thing of the past.
Football at all levels has reduced and restricted the amount of collision permitted during practices in recent years as research has pointed toward a direct correlation between the number of collisions players experience and long-term brain trauma.
No league is known to have eliminated padded full-contact practices as the CFL will today.
The CFL will also extend its regular season from 20 to 21 weeks, significantly reducing the number of short turnarounds between games, such as teams having to play three games in 11 days or four in 17 days. Teams will now have three bye weeks instead of two. The number of games each team plays will remain at 18.
The CFLPA met with new CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie several times over the summer, with player safety being forefront of their discussions.
Ambrosie is the first former CFL player to be commissioner since Larry Smith in the mid-1990s.

I wonder if the season will start a week earlier or finish a week later?

Hopefully 2 weeks earlier!

Screw this.

They need to go back to a 16 game schedule. Pre-86.

No telling how much of an impact this will have, but there is plenty of reason to at least give it a try. If any of this doesn't work they can always go back.

Good to see the CFL willing to try new things to improve the game and player safety.

TiCat Tony Washington's wife

kerri Washington ??

16m16 minutes ago
kerri Washington ? Retweeted CFL
From the #cfl wives & Families, Thank You for thinking about the well-being of the men we love. Cant deny the #research @CFL

That would likely mean 2 more useless pre-season games and less regular season home games, the teams need the revenue.
I would like to see them start 2 weeks earlier and a 20 game regular season schedule.

I am not a fan of three bye weeks; I thought that 2 was OK. Wonder how it will work. Some weeks more than 1 team will be off.

Season will most probably start 1 week earlier.


I like it.

Start the season on Father's Day weekend.

Either more than 1 team off per week.......or 1 week with everyone off


What does having a 16 game schedule have to do with 2 extra PS games ?

I never suggested that. Have 16 games and keep the 2 PS games.

If the concern is player safety, 16 games is the way to go.

As for revenue loss, from 18, then we might as well have 20 games. ( sarcasm ).

I’m really excited about the change, it will really balance out the schedule more. Even if it means three weeks will only have three games, teams will have more rest. Given that the Grey Cup has already been announced for November 25, 2018, it means the season will move up a week, opening on the weekend of Friday June 15, 2018.

I believe there are two ways the schedule will play out:

Weeks 1-8: four games each week
Weeks 9-11: three games each week (week 11 is right before Labour Day)
Weeks 12-21: four games each week


Week 1: one game on, say, Monday June 18 with other team’s preseason games on Friday before
Weeks 2-21: four games each week

The first scenario lends to a balanced-looking schedule, but it still means that one team still has to sit out week one. It also means that every team gets a bye in August (since three teams are off each week for three weeks). The second scenario means that no one really sits out week one and we get four games every other week. Either way, I’m happy because it eliminates the Tuesday/Wednesday game followed by a random Monday. There’s much better spacing and more opportunity for standard scheduling.

While some will scoff at the details of this, the bottom line this is a very positive move for trying something to enhance player safety and shows increased cooperation between the players union and the league.

Pure positive cooperative behaviour despite some, as I say, not liking the specific details because of a narrow focus of vision.

Nice job!!!!! As Gorn says above, more spacing and more balance.

Saw on twitter, this is what the schedule will likely look like with only 1 game in week one. This was the way the schedule was in 1980s when they went to 18 games. other 7 teams get byes in week one so fans dont really notice the third bye.

League could schedule a Grey cup rematch that week 1 (June 15-17th).
Also gets the opener away from NHL Draft which is normally first weekend.
Training camps would start in late may instead of June 1.

Honestly, I think its better to put the one game week some time in August or your three 3 game weeks in August is a better suggestion

A few possibilities, but one is in 3 of the 21 weeks 3 teams could be on a bye; for 18 weeks only 1 team on bye each week.


Oh really?? That's interesting. I like it because the first three weeks are pretty even with one game followed by four games, followed by four games so that all teams will have played two games after those three weeks. The Grey Cup champion would host the game (similar to the NFL Kickoff game) and it would be an easier sell on a Monday because it's the game that they raise the banner and the first game of the season. Then, one team would play the following Sunday while the other would play 10 days later on Thursday. And the team that played the Monday then Sunday would take the bye in week three. In a perfect scheduling world, anyway..

I wonder when pre-season would start. We may actually see football in May! And you raise a good point, the further the CFL can stay away from NHL scheduling, the better.

I'm seriously just so happy there are no more five-game weeks. It was too much for the players.

I like it.It should allow them to straighten out some of the quirks in the schedule. Ottawa's schedule was rediculous this year,wasn't it 3 games in 11 days?I'd love to see the season starts 2 weeks earlier.

If they began around June 21, they could make starting the season a first-day-of-summer thing.

Apparently you can deny the research. Someone created a thread just to do that.

With 21 weeks and 3 bye weeks per team, the 2018 schedule could be as follows:

Weeks 1 to 7: 6 weeks with 4 games and 1 week with 3 games. Total 27 games and 1 bye week for each team.

Weeks 8 to 14: 6 weeks with 4 games and 1 week with 3 games. Total 27 games and 1 bye week for each team. To date: 54 games and 2 bye weeks for each team.

Weeks 15 to 21: 6 weeks with 4 games and 1 week with 3 games. Total 27 games and 1 bye week for each team. To date: 81 games and 3 bye weeks for each team.