Hi guys, I recently downloaded the "Watch ESPN" app and they had a BC Lions vs Saskatchewan Rough Riders game on. I've always been intrigued by the CFL, but I've never had the opportunity to watch a live game: most of the games shown in America are replays and I don't really want to watch something that's already happened.
Aside from the goal posts being in front, a 55yd field and 20yd end zone, twelve players, and a wider field, what makes your game different? What are some techniques/tactics that are utilized in the NFL/NCAA that don't work in the Canadian game? How do one-point plays work (this is what baffles me the the most)? Also, when does your season happen, and what days do games fall on?
Sell your team to me! I'm leaning towards the Toronto Argonauts, only because my college team was the West Florida Argonauts. Stupid reason, I know, but I want to root for a team. Give me your fan break down, are Montreal fans nice, but BC fans snooty? Are Toronto fans arrogant but Hamilton fans loyal? When I become a fan, I like buying gear, tuning into games, getting the updates on my phone, the whole nine yards. It might even give me a reason to convince the fiancé to make the trek up north.
In American sports, I tend to root for the teams where I live, and I root for the underdog team if there are two options. So in hockey, I like the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning (and have a soft spot for the Islanders and Sabres, my dad's teams), in basketball I like the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic, and NFL I like the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (I lived in NY for half my life, Florida for the rest of it).
So what team has a good "blue collar" fan base that is somewhat of an underdog or a lovable loser? What are the histories behind some of the clubs
Great to see you're interested in our game! I have to get to sleep but I'll give you a few good reasons to be a Tiger-Cats fan!
Blue collar fan base. This is a hard working city and many times fans will come to the games still in their work clothes (I know I have)
Underdogs, lovable losers, check. Its frustrating being losers for the past decade, but we still love our cats.
History. The Tiger-Cats are the product of a merger between the Hamilton Tigers (since 1911) and the Hamilton Wildcats (since 1869) in 1950, making them the oldest football franchise in North America. We have enjoyed 15 Greg Cup wins, many coming from our most formidable years in the 60s and 70s. We have won a Grey Cup in every decade in our history except for the 2000s.
We have the Argos, so you have to give them up. As our rivals from down the QEW come to face us every Labour Day, we treat these games just as importantly as the Gray Cup and we are 29-15-1 overall on that holiday vs the Argos. We have also played Montreal 9 times instead on Labour Day, and our record against them is 8-0-1
Currently we have two home games remaining in historic Ivor Wynne stadium before it gets torn down and rebuilt for the 2014 season. Ivor Wynne opened in 1928, formerly under the name Civic Stadium until 1969.
Much like the Green Bay Packers the Saskatchewan Roughriders is by far the smallest market yet continues to have the most loyal fans across the entire country. Much like Sid the Kid brings in sellouts in the NHL where ever he goes, the Riders do the same in Canada. Matte dance at home games for all teams go up due to transplanted Rider fans attending the games when the Riders come to thier city.
If you saw the BC-Rider game you'll not see that type of home crowd any where else in the league. In fact the Riders sell more merchandise then all the other teams combined.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup ( our annual Superbowl) yet we have only won it 3 times. There have been some brutual long years where they didn't win yet the fans always keep coming out and supporting the team. Thankfully things are turning around lately but we are still battling to make the playoffs.
If you search the Archives you'll see some on the rules and strategy of the game. Quite a bit different then what your use too. These guys dont make nearly the amount that the NFLers make. We just had a gentleman from Ireland decide he would join the Green Machine and I hope you do too.
Before I get to more differences, first I'll say that of the things that you mentioned, the wide field (65 yds wide) makes the biggest difference. Also, the hashmarks are approx 24 yards apart, MUCH wider than on an American field. Chip shot field goals sometimes can have quite sharp angles, and an out pattern to the wide side can be a VERY long throw. There is more room to spread the defense as well as stretch. There's lots of real estate for the defense to cover.
The 110 yard length makes no real difference. The large endzones make red zone play quite a bit different, obviously you can still run deep patterns inside the 10 yard line. But the posts on the goal line mean that once you reach the 40, you're pretty much in FG range.
The big big obvious difference is 3 downs. It forces the offenses to open up a lot more. Offensive play selection of 65% pass to 35% run is considered a balanced offense. You will see lots of blitzing on 2nd and long.
Another big one is unlimited backfield motion. You will see all kinds of motion before the snap. This is all legal. In fact on nearly every play slot receivers will take a running start at the LoS (the wideouts have to stay stationary on the line to make the formation legal) making it very difficult for the DB to get a jam. This technique is called the waggle.
The play clock is 20 seconds. You have to get to the line, set, do your motion, make your reads and snap in 20 seconds. The game moves much quicker.
Mostly its in the kicking game. It's less sanitized up here, more akin to rugby. There's no fair catch, instead we have a 'no yards' penalty, which is a 5 yard radius that the kicking team must give the returner until he touches the ball. Generally 15 yd penalty if caught in flight or judged as deliberate, or 5 yd penalty if the ball bounces around before picked up.
Downed punts don't really happen here either. The kicker is onside (just like rugby) which means he is eligible to recover his own kick. Also, any players lined up lateral or behind the kicker is also onside and can recover the kick. Onside players are exempt from the 'no yards' penalty. We have seen this recently in a couple of extremely windy games, where teams have lined 1 or 2 players up onside to hopefully recover their own short punt that would hang in the 30 mph (or 50kph : P) wind.
There is no spike to stop the clock. You get 1 timeout per half. There is a 3 minute warning instead of a 2 minute warning. The play clock is only 20 seconds, and with only 3 downs, kneeling the game out is impossible with more than 1 minute left, or even less if the opponent still has their timeout. Usually about 40 seconds. Also, if the clock runs down to 0:00 before the snap, the play still runs, so there's no walking off the field as the clock ticks down. We play right to the end.
If the ball is kicked into the endzone on a scrimmage play (a non-kickoff non-convert) and not returned out it is a single point for the kicking team. This is also known as a rouge (French for red) not sure why that term is used but it's still cool. So if you miss a FG and the returner fails to get out (or takes a touchback) it's 1 point. If the missed FG goes out the back of the endzone, it's 1 point. If a punt enters the endzone, goes out the back, or is not returned out, same thing, 1 pt. On kickoffs, the rouge is only awarded if the receiving team plays the ball first. So if the returner lets the ball roll out the endzone, there is no point, but if he catches it and fails to bring it out (a touchback) is 1 pt.
About once per year or 2, this happens ...
When the score is tied or within 1 point on the last play of a half/game, the receiving team will put 2 or 3 or 4 of their best legs in the endzone in case the FG is missed they can punt it back out to avoid giving up the point, then then the (original) kicking team will usually try to punt it back in to get the point, and sometimes it can go back and forth a few times. It is quite wild and totally unique to our game.
Because the league revenues are still largely gate driven as opposed to big TV money (although TV is pretty good these days) start times vary by stadium and time of year. There is always a 'Friday Night Football' match (sometimes double header, like this week) but the start time can vary a bit depending what time zone it is played in.
Training camp is usually late May with 2 preseason games in June and Week 1 starts roughly July 1st (Canada Day incidentally). Currently we play 18 games with 1 bye week before Labour Day. Labour Day is traditional rival matchups and these are a BIG DEAL. Winnipeg at Sask on Sunday, Toronto at Hamilton and Edmonton at Calgary on Monday, and almost always, a rematch the following week. The saying is that you could go 1-17 but if you won on Labour Day the season was not a washout. ; )
Top 3 teams in each conference (East and West) make the playoffs. If the 4th place team in 1 conference has a better record than the 3rd place team in the other, they cross over and take their playoff spot. First place gets first round bye. Second place hosts third place, with the winner visiting first place for the conference final. The two final winners meet in the Grey Cup, typically 'Last Sunday in November' although at times, if the game is played outdoors it gets bumped up a week in hopes of avoiding extremely cold weather.
Grey Cup is a week long party. It's in Toronto this year. I recommend that you try it some time. Even if you don't have a game ticket. I've never been to a Superbowl, but from what I understand Grey Cup is much less corporate and much more fan friendly.
The Cup is over 100 years old. This year is the 100th Grey Cup Championship. Unlike the Lombardi, it's the SAME CUP that your heroes won. If you win it, your name goes next to theirs.
There are no fans that are any better than another if you ask me. If you want proof, do a Grey Cup. It doesn't matter who's playing, fans from all teams will be there, and we all just party.
My team is the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The green and white. The team is 102 years old (and not the oldest in the league). The smallest market in the league with probably the most dedicated fans. The Riders have sold more merch than the other 7 teams combined over the past couple of years. The team plays in Regina but represents the entire province. It's farm country, but a lot of folks from Saskatchewan have moved away, so you will see the green and white in every stadium, particularly Calgary. Playing there is like a home game. Rider fans make lots of noise and are known for wearing watermelons on their heads and playing the banjo (<-- long story)
If you are in the New York area, your closest team would be the Montreal Alouettes. They play in Molson Stadium, a very cozy university like atmosphere. They are maroon/blue/white/silver. Alouette is the French word for Lark, hence the angry bird in their logo. They have been a contender every year since 1996 and are the most consistently strong franchise on the field. Anthony Calvillo is the QB, the league's all time passing leader and he is highly respected league wide. He is the face of the franchise.
Ottawa is due to rejoin the league in 2014 as their stadium will be rebuilt by then. The name of the team is not yet decided although for 100 years they were called Rough Riders (<-- another long story). They will most certainly be black and red, and I for one am very excited to get them back in the league. If you want to cheer for an underdog maybe you'd want to get in on the ground floor with them, and they are not far away from Montreal. Big regional rival.
From Florida, as the crow flies, your closest teams would be Toronto and Hamilton. As for Florida players, the 2 most famous that I can think of would be Pinball Clemons, an electrifying 5'6 RB and kick returner for the Argonauts and a CFL icon. Tremendous personality. He's from Central Florida. The other is former Seminole QB Danny McManus. Held a clipboard in Winnipeg in '90, then engineered a huge playoff win in Calgary (in the snow) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tAwzfKFYzU and GC win in '94 for BC, put up soime big numbers in Edmonton and then finished up in Hamilton with another title in '99. Many say that Hamilton hasn't really had a QB since.
Every club has had its ups and downs, and right now parity is very high. Down right now are Winnipeg. The Blue Bombers are 3-10 but also have the longest championship drought - back to 1990. Over the past decade, the team that has fared the worst is probably Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They went through quite a woeful stretch, but have been quite respectable the past 3 seasons.
Your blue collar club would be Hamilton. The black and gold show their stripes. It is steel town, and the big rival is 'corporate and stuffy' Toronto just 60 miles down the road. their glory was the 60s, known for gnarly defense. Most teams have great character but probably none more than Hamilton. They have the second longest Championship drought, back to 1999.
Edmonton Eskimos have been a weaker team for the past 6 or 7 years but traditionally they have always been strong. The EE logo on the helmet stands for Evil Empire to most of us. They made the playoffs 34 straight years until about 2006. They won a record 5 straight Grey Cups from '78 to '82 (I started watching football in '79). Warren Moon was their QB back then. There is always a certain satisfaction in beating Edmonton, no matter what team you cheer for, after all the times the EE kicked everyone's butt back in the 80s, and early 2000s (and back in the 50s for that matter).
BC Lions, the orange and black, are the defending champs and it has been a while since we have had a favorite this clear. Still with parity the way it is and a one-and-done playoff format, anything can happen. They play in Vancouver, the west coast, the left coast. The 'California' of Canada you might say. I live here and this is a good scene.
Welcome Mikey to the world of Canadian football and the Canadian Football League and Grey Cup championship! Don't have time to get into specifics just yet, others here have and will do that far better than I could. But as far as buying the Argonauts, they are a white collar team in Canada's largest city with great fans but far fewer fans per capita for their city/area than any team in Canada by far. So you might get a good deal on them when they come up for sale.
BC: Nice success story of a turn-around franchise. Now great attendance, great stadium. But you can't start cheering for them; They're last year's Grey Cup champs, and no one likes a bandwagon-jumper. Plus they have an unfair advantage over Eastern teams due to thier timezone #quethecontroversy
Edmonton: A team that everyone seems to write off at the beginning of each year, yet seems to come back and overachieve. Also known as "Evil Empire" for their Grey Cup success. But screw them, obviously, because their fans snuck into the Argonauts' hotel the night before the '96 ('97?) Grey Cup banging pots together and waking up the players.
Calgary: One of the great up-coming quarterbacks in the league, I think, and should be fun to watch. Stadium is a little outdated, though, in case that factors into your consideration of which team you'd like to visit.
Saskatchewan: Love the fan enthusiasm and gameday atmosphere. Their performance is up-and-down, so climb aboard if you don't mind a lot of uncertainty on every game day. They're starting the process of building a big new stadium, so there should be lots to follow in the news if you like keeping up on the team in the off season.
Hamilton: Save yourself a lot of heartache and lost self-esteem: don't become a Hamilton fan. Apple's new map system recently placed Hamilton in the middle of Lake Ontario, which I took as more of a suggestion than a mistake. That's me with my Argo hat on. Argo hat off, they've been an underdog franchise for decades and had their share of struggles, but talent has improved and the team's bottom line should greatly improve once they move into their new stadium. Arguably the second most enthusiastic fan base in the league, although still an underdog franchise in the market place with the Toronto teams and the Bills right next door.
Alouettes: Perennial winner, no fun to root for. Anthony Calvillo appears to be something more than man, which is one reason to pay attention. But it's Quebec.... cough.....
WINNER: The Toronto Argonauts. Not much of a contest, really. You get to feel superior to every other team (because it's Toronto... and they're.... well, you know...) on the one hand, and an underdog at the same time relative to the other Toronto pro teams. Most Grey Cups, have struggled on the field recently but are turning it around under a new owner. Exciting new QB and head coach. Most accessible Toronto sports team in case you're the type who likes meeting the players at practice and after games.
Haha it kind of makes sense. It's in Pensacola, which was the first settlement in America, a working class gulf coast town, and a Naval Air Station is the backbone of the economy. Since the Argonauts were the maritime pioneers of Greek mythology, Argonauts is a fitting name for a school on the gulf coast.
Thanks for clearing up the rules guys. Prairiedog72, care to explain how they continued kicking? Sorry if you explained it, but I'm not sure what makes that legal/possible.
I'm beginning to lean towards Hamilton, but keep the suggestions coming
Another rule is that the defensive line must be one yard back of the offensive line. Because of this there can be a lot more pressure on QBs than in the American game. This favours mobile QBs who are able to rush (such as Saskatchewan's Darian Durant or Hamilton's Henry Burris.
Also a rule that makes onside kicks more exciting is that if the ball goes out of bounds (at any time) the last team to touch the balls is awarded possession (as long as it wasn't kicked out intentionally) This came into play last week as BC recovered an onside kick in the last couple minutes of the game due to the ball bouncing of their player.
Overtime uses a completely different format than the NFL. In our OT each team will get a possession that starts on the other team's 35 yard line. If a team gets a touchdown in OT then they must go for 2 points. In the regular season if the game is still tied after 2 OT games then the game is a tie (1 point in the standings) however in the playoffs OT can go on longer.
Now for some more info about the culture of the league and teams.
As mentioned before the league always starts on the Canada Day weekend (in recent years there has often been a Grey Cup rematch that week) and ends on the last Sunday in November. Games are typically played on Friday Saturday and Sunday although there are a few Thursday games, and there are two Monday games. The first of these is Labour Day which as mentioned before is the week where the games are always the same Montreal @ Ottawa (BC while we wait for Ottawa to return) on Saturday, Winnipeg @ Saskatchewan on Sunday, then on Monday Toronto @ Hamilton and Edmonton @ Calgary. The following week will always constitute of the same matchups, but with the home team reversed. The second Monday with a double header is Canadian Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October) however these matchups change every year. The playoffs start on the second Sunday in November with the division semi finals where the number 2 seeds host the number 3 seeds (however as mentioned above a crossover does exist, if you look at the standings, Edmonton would currently crossover Hamilton). The next week there are the division finals where the #1 seed in each division hosts the winner of their division's semi-final. And finally the last Sunday in November is Grey Cup Sunday.
Some of the culture of the teams: (will post for rest later, just don't have the time right now)
The Leos are the leagues youngest franchise founded in 1954 and play their home games in Vancouver. Currently they play in BC place, however they used to play in Empire Fields. The Lions have won 6 Grey Cups, and some of their best players of all time include Lui Passaglia, Joe Kapp, and Geroy Simon. Although the Lions currently have no Labour day rival they currently play the labour day game against Montreal, the Lions have also had a rivalry with the Roughriders. The Lions biggest moment ever was likely the 94 Grey Cup final where they defeated Baltimore on a a last second field goal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9yJSq8Ceks
The Stamps were founded in 1935 and have gone on to win 6 Grey Cups. Since 1960 they have played their home games at McMahon Stadium, however prior to 1960 they played at Mewata Park Stadium. The Stamps great players include Allen Pitts, Tom Forzani, and Normie Kwong. The Stamps main rival is the Edmonton Eskimos, however their second biggest rivalry is with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, as Rider fans always do a good job packing McMahon. Some of the Stampeders lore includes having the only perfect season in CFL history way back in 1948
The Esks or Eskies were founded in 1949 and have been the most successful team of the modern era winning 13 Grey Cups. Since 1978 they have played their home games at Commonwealth Stadium, but prior to that they played at Clarke Stadium. Some of the Eskimos greats include Warren Moon, Gizmo Williams, and Don Getty. The Eskimos main rival is the Stampeders, however like Calgary they also have had a rivalry with Saskatchewan. The Eskimos lore includes their 5 straight Grey Cups, and winning the 1982 "Rain Bowl". One of the greatest Eskimo games ever was the 2005 Grey Cup (the first one to go to OT) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3wjf1lU1HY
Toronto - Despite being the largest market in the CFL, the Argos in recent years have consistently drawn the lowest attendance numbers in the league. There are many reasons for this, but as a Hamilton fan my experience has been that Toronto desperately wants to be New York, they want a second hockey team because New York has multiple sports teams and many feel that they deserve an NFL team and shouldn't have to suffer a bush league CFL team. True Toronto fans are great die hards who love to take and dish out abuse from Hamilton fans. They are tied with Hamilton for the most Grey Cup victories (with 15 although some Argo fans would disagree). They are the Blue Bloods of the league, and I suppose if I compared them to an NFL team it would be the Giants. Oh, and they we originally a rowing club and their double blue colors were taken from the Oxford and Cambridge University rowing teams in England.
Saskachewan - Well if you are a Green Bay fan, you'll fit right in with the Riders. Like Green Bay, they are based in the smallest market in the CFL, they are community owned, they have probably the largest fanbase and they have fanatical fans. In Green Bay, you see the cheese heads, in Regina you see the Watermelon Helmet. Unlike Green Bay though, they have won the cup the fewest times of any team in the league with only 3 to their name.
Montreal - Montreal in the recent years have been the beasts of the east, with their seemingly ageless cancer surviving quarterback, Anthony Calvillo who holds the title of Pro-Football's all time passing yards. They are a team that if you let them get into a rythym, expect a lot of pain. I'd compare them to the New England Patriots, only with a humble QB. The team has folded and come back twice, but all of the teams incarnations have wont 7 cups.
BC Lions - The Lions have always had a strong team, and are the reigning Grey Cup champions. They have a young QB who looks to be the next great CFL qb and the CFL all time recieving yards leader in Geroy Simon. I don't know if there is a team I could compare them to in the NFL, but I suppose the Denver Broncos fit. They have won the cup 6 times.
Calgary - The Stampeders are like the Cowboys (and not just because Calgary is the Cowboy city of Canada), in that every couple of years they have an incredible team and are a force and then fall into being a merely good team for a while. They have won the cup 6 times.
Edmonton - The Eskmios are streaky just like BC, only moreso. The Eskimos hold a North American professional sports record by qualifying for the playoffs for 34 consecutive years between 1972 and 2005 and are the mostt successful CFL franchise of the modern era. They have won the Grey Cup 13 times and are comparable to Redskins of the 80s.
Hamilton - Being from Hamilton I am a little biased, but the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are the oldest current professional Gridiron Football team (although Toronto disputes this fact as the team had two other Hamilton based teams merge into it) and are tied with the Argos for the most consecutive cups at 15 and while the league acknowledges this figure, some don't due to the merging of the old Hamilton Tigers, Hamilton Alerts and Hamilton Wildcats into the Tiger-Cats back in 1950. However in recent years, the team has had a run of bad luck although have begun to turn it around, making the playoffs the last 3 years. The comparisson to the Pittsburgh Steelers is a no brainer.
Winnipeg - The Blue Bombers have the longest cup drought with 24 years, although they have won a respectable 10 cups. They are community owned team and I would say are comparable to the Saints, in that they have had good teams but bad management and coaching have hurt their chances. They play out of Canad Inns Stadium, although they have a new facility in Investors Group Field that has nearly completed it's construction who the Bombers were supposed to play out of this year, but due to delays Canad Inns has stood for one more year.
I'm thinking, pick the Bombers. They are the team that is so far in the toilet, they will need the most new fans to keep any interest in the team after another season of rebuilding comming up in 2013. After that you may want to dial in to a Canadian radio station that broacasts curling matches, just so you don't get to bored after both Bomber highlights in a season. :lol:
The rule is that if a missed field goal or a punt (any kicked ball on a scrimmage play actually) is not returned out of the endzone, the kicking team scores a point.
The score was tied and it was the last play of regulation time, the Alouettes were attempting a FG, so the Argonauts did NOT want to give up the point (if it was missed)
On the vid you will hear Duane Forde's voice at the beginning explaining how Toronto will receive the kick if it is missed. The Argos first option is to run it out with no time left, even to the 1 yard line is good enough. That way they avoid giving up the point. However, if the kick coverage does not allow the returner to get out, the Argonauts will kick the ball out of the endzone in a desperate attempt to avoid giving up the point.
Duval missed the FG for Montreal, the Toronto returner felt that he could not get out of the endzone, so he kicked the ball back out of the endzone to avoid giving up 1 point and losing the game.
Montreal received the kick. At this point they can return it just like a punt, but judging that it was too difficult to run it in, and because all Montreal needs is a point to win the game, Duval kicks it back into the endzone, hoping that the Argonauts will not be able to return it out again.
The Argonauts receive this kick and again desperately try to kick it back out. Except that this kick hits a player and bounces around in the endzone. However a Montreal player recovers the loose ball in the endzone which of course is a touchdown.
If the FG was good, none of this would happen at all. The Als would win by 3 pts. But since he missed, Toronto keeps kicking it out to avoid giving Montreal a point. Montreal keeps kicking it in, trying to get a point. All on the last play of a tied game. You can see how mayhem erputs. :thup:
^Man I loved that game. I remember watching it at the Honest Lawyer in Hamilton with some buddies and I left to go home near the end. When I got home my dad had a chair pulled up close to the tv and I sat down on the couch and that final play happened… I love football