Expansion thought

When I was a kid growing up (and that was a long time ago) all the talk around the Grey Cup game was East vs West. Who was going to claim glory for their half of the country. Now park that thought for a couple of paragraphs.
The discussion of today is getting a 10th team on the field to balance out the Eastern conference. And the issue is where does that 10th team go? We keep tossing about the hot potato should it be Halifax, Quebec City or another area in Ontario or the Maritimes and it seems we’re still at square one for decades now.
So my question I put forward is how many of the faithful followers of the CFL still see the Grey Cup as East vs West or do you see the game as the two best teams in country regardless of where they come from?
Getting back to my first paragraph, if consensus of opinion sees the Grey Cup as the two best teams in the nation why not amalgamate all teams into one division with a playoff format that finally comes down to the two Best teams in the country.
If you move forward with that idea all of a sudden expansion is not a big deal and moving forward if one or more cities within the country have the resources to get a franchise and build a stadium then they can fit right in without this need to worry about balancing the two divisions.
If everybody still feels the Grey Cup is an East West game then disregard my suggestion. I just throw it out to see how everybody feels about the Grey Cup Final.


For me expansion and having the two best teams in the playoffs are separate issues.

I don't really know of any valid expansion team in the west. Throwing out the territorial rule for a second, the best spot would be either Victoria or Nanaimo in BC. I think Victoria is the only one that could get temporary stands. I think TSN would rather have Quebec in the league. Montreal should be trying to grow the game in the city but I can't see them spending the money.

The cost of travel goes up if you get rid of the divisions so I don't see it happening.


What you are asking about has been debated quite widely, but unfortunately I don’t think there are any easy answers.

First, I personally don’t see the game as being East v West any longer. Perhaps others do, but I think that horse left the barn long ago. You can’t keep moving the Bombers into the East and permit crossovers and still say it is East v West with a straight face, even if most of the time it is. Winnipeg and Saskatchewan played against each other in a GC so there goes your proof.

In principle it is a no brainer that the two best teams should meet, but that is probably impractical in almost any league and virtually impossible in the CFL. The NHL and NFL can’t even guarantee that with the best of 16 in one conference meeting the best of 16 in the other conference. That is clearly not necessarily the two best teams meeting in the Final, but the volume of teams to draw from will normally make it reasonably close to the two best teams. In 2018 the two best NHL regular season teams, Nashville and Winnipeg, met in the second round, the penalty for being in what is perennially the league’s best division, which is easy to measure. If the playoff teams were ranked 1-16 then Winnipeg and Nashville would have had the same luxury that Toronto or Vegas gets in facing a lesser team in one of the two weakest divisions. (Sorry. Bad example. I am referring to the second round so I shouldn’t have mentioned Toronto).

The CFL is hooped because they have so few teams. There have been years where in my opinion the best three teams were all in the West. From a competitive integrity standpoint the East shouldn’t be given a pass to the GC in such a scenario. The imbalance could in theory also be reversed, I just haven’t seen it yet.

Having said that, and I like the idea of one division, that is impossible because the only way to do that fairly and retain competitive integrity and to ensure the standings reflect which teams are actually the best, is to have a balanced schedule. There is no way around that and I suspect that is why no North American sports league ranks teams 1-16, for example. There are many good reasons not to have a balanced schedule, including increased travel costs and less games against arch rivals, which would also translate into decreased attendance for many markets, Toronto being an obvious example of a team that would suffer even further at the gate if Hamilton played there only once or not at all in any given year.

In my opinion, the whole scenario is fraught with pitfalls. Bags of hammers everywhere. The present set up isn’t perfect, but neither is any alternative suggestion I have ever heard. I have given some thought to the factors that would need to be taken into account, but have made no effort to try and come up with the perfect set up , which I expect is not possible. Perhaps someone else can come up with a brilliant idea. Otherwise, I think that the lesser of all evils is the current set up. The CFL has the same set up in principle as the other leagues (except for the crossover) and I would suspect that many brains smarter than mine over many years have tried and failed to come up with something better. An expansion to say 12 teams to start would certainly help to improve the situation.


I doubt Victoria has the needed population and Langford Was expanded to about 6500 for Pacific FC so not sure if it can be expanded any further or not. If expansion happened today your right it would have to be Ontario and east as Saskatoon is the only city in the west that might have the population to make a go of it.

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I agree there is no perfect solution to this. Being an old timer I grew up with east vs west but today if two western or two eastern teams were the best overall that’s who I would want in the final.

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I agree. Best two regardless of geography.



I agree as well but realize that you cannot do this without a completely balanced schedule. Otherwise there is no reliable measure as to who the best teams are.

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The Winnipeg representing the east destroyed the myth of east versus west being vital for the Grey Cup .

The idea that a Toronto versus Hamilton or Montreal etc or a BC versus Edmonton would end the Cup as we know it are long gone with a world where young people today travel the globe like generations before visited a relative in a different town .

Now once there is more teams revisit the idea of divisions

but with nothing to lose today enjoy the variety and shake some things up ; it might actually create a new buzz with big time regional rivals playing against each other in the cup .

The World Series seems to have no problem . The Super Bowl , the one time NHL playoffs , ........ it was actually pretty good .

The other leagues still have National vs American (NFL and MLB) for their championship and East vs West (NHL and NBA) for their championship.

For the longest time (1984 to 1997 seasons) the NFC championship was considered the defacto Super Bowl as all NFC championship winners win the Super Bowl.

The current format in the CFL is doable with the crossover although I did like the 1986 format.

Or have more emphasis on divisional games and have the best 6 (2 div winners and the next 4 regardless of division).

The only thing I might ask is should there be a bracket or should they be reseeded for the 2nd round.

I could never get my head around the term “eastern champs Winnipeg Blue Bombers.” Made no geographical sense to me. How’s this for an idea to keep at least partial east vs west. As I suggested have the two best teams in the league play for the Grey Cup with the usual hoop la festivities that go with the week leading into the game. Now start the regular season one week earlier with the best team from the west (BC to Manitoba) and east (Ontario and Quebec (maritimes?) in a kickoff mini festival where all the teams would showcase what they have for that season. Try that for a few years and see how many fans would travel to party the start of the season. Maybe Moncton could be a home for this event. Might work since we all know Canadians like to party!

Also in the other leagues it's not possible for 2 teams in the same conference in meeting in the finals. Red Sox vs. Yankees is not possible, Lakers vs. Warriors is not possible, 49ers vs. Cowboys is not possible.

In the CFL with the corssover, it's possible for Elks vs . Stamps or Argos vs..Ti-Cats to be possible while keeping divisions.

No need for 1 division


If each team played a home and home game with the rest of the league don’t you have a balanced schedule or am I missing something?

The other leagues each a format similar to the CFL and yet they have an issue with the CFL format.

Geography does factor into this.

1942-1967 the NHL had 6 teams based in the North East.

NBA had 8 in the same area.

Let's get to 10 teams and see what happens.

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Colour me old fashioned but I want the East/West division to remain. What would I do without my 'East is Least, West is Best' motto, I'd be lost. I also don't want to look at a single long list of teams in the standings, break it down some, & East/West is the best & traditional way of doing it. Better for the rivalries as well. Even if just for the aesthetics. I would not object however to a new play-off format that might look at the league as a whole to ensure we'd get the best 2 teams at the Grey Cup. Porky has spoken😉


Again doing the same thing over and over again ain't doing it anymore not saying changing the format will make a difference but it ain't going to hurt it either .

At some point we need to alter a few things to get MORE interested in the league .

Selling The same stories over and over again is not the answer .


Like you I’ve been around awhile and I grew up with east vs west. Do you remember those turncoat football signs you wore around your neck and could switch alliance depending on how the game was going?

Well getting more people interested in the game comes right back to the head honchos at the CFL to market this game properly to get the interest back up.

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That would do it in a 9 team league with 18 games. Teams must all play the same opponents, or as much as possible and rotate from year to year if there are odd numbers. I would have no problem with doing this, but as I said above, I am not sure the league and many teams would be on board as it would increase travel costs and hurt attendance in some markets and also could diminish rivalries. Without a balanced schedule it is not possible to seed the teams fairly in a revamped playoff set up.

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They should call the East "Interprovincial Rugby Football Union" and the west the "Western Interprovincial Football Union." That way geography wouldn't matter as much.