Call it overhyped. Complain that the players make too much money. Fair enough. But even if you're an ardent CFL supporter, it's getting pretty hard to call the NFL game dull compared to the Canadian brand of football. (Google "NFL is boring" and "CFL" and you get 16,500 matches.) At any rate, this week's list will probably make a few people angry. Or should we say insecure?
Like lots of scoring? The NFL can accommodate that request
Consider the last two games the Green Bay Packers lost this season.
On Dec. 20, they traveled to Pittsburgh and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lit them up for 503 yards. Big Ben's last completion was a 19-yard TD strike with no time remaining to win the game. Final score: Pittsburgh 37, Green Bay 36. It was exciting.
On Sunday, the Pack went to Arizona for a first-round playoff matchup with the Cardinals. The two teams proceeded to combine for 1,024 yards of offence and 13 touchdowns. Final score, in overtime: Arizona 51, Green Bay 45. It too was exciting.
For a more macro argument, consider this: The New Orleans Saints led the NFL in points per game this season with 31.9. The Montreal Alouettes led the CFL with 33.3. Those numbers are close. (Closer when you take into account the single-point factor.)
Like it when teams air it out? NFL teams air it out
It's amazing that some people still think of the NFL as a running league. It's like saying small players can't make it in the NHL, or the automobile is a fad.
Look at the quarterbacks who led their teams into the NFL playoffs this year: Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb, and Roethlisberger. Those guys don't just manage games. Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco do, which is why the Jets and Ravens, respectively, are the two biggest underdogs still alive, despite their highly-ranked ground games and defences.
This isn't Trent Dilfer's league anymore.
Houston's Matt Schaub finished tops in the NFL this season with 4,770 yards passing, good for 298.1 per game. Nine other quarterbacks surpassed the 4,000-yard mark down south.
In the CFL, four pivots tossed for more than 4,000 yards in 2009: Ricky Ray (led the league with 4,916), Henry Burris, Anthony Calvillo and Darius Durant. That's a higher percentage of QBs with 4,000 yards or more, but Ray, Burris and Durant played 18 games, two more than the guys in the NFL get.
Schaub also led the NFL with 583 passing attempts, or 36.4 per game. Ray led the CFL with 596, or 33.1 per game. In the NFL, 14 QBs attempted more than Ray's 33.1 passes per game.
As for TD passes, Calvillo led the CFL with 26 of them. In the NFL, 12 QBs threw 26 or more.
Like big plays? The NFL has big plays
Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers finished tied for the NFL lead in completions of 40 yards or more. Each of them had 17, which is more than one per game.
Ten years ago, only six NFL QBs had at least 10 plays of 40 yards or more. This year, 10 did.
The CFL doesn't track those stats (well, it might, but the PDF files at CFL.ca were taking forever to load), so let's look at yards per completion. Burris: 14.3. Ray: 12.3. Calvillo: 11.7.
And in the NFL? McNabb: 13.3. Romo: 12.9. Rodgers: 12.7.
Of course, the CFL has much more entertaining championship games. Oh, wait, no it doesn't. The last two Super Bowls have been classics and five of the last eight have been decided by a touchdown or less.
But at least CFL players are out there for the love of the game and not the almighty dollar. Right, most of them wouldn't even take a call from an NFL general manager.
For the record, we like the CFL. We've traveled to Grey Cups on our own dime and had a blast. We're simply OK with enjoying both leagues. The more time watching sports the better[url=http://communities.canada.com/theprovince/blogs/kurtenblog/default.aspx]http://communities.canada.com/theprovin ... fault.aspx[/url]