In favour of the 'Rough Riders'

No doubt, there’s going to be a fierce debate over the name of the new CFL franchise in Ottawa. Those in favour of adopting a completely new name will doubtless point out that the old names of ‘Rough Riders’ or ‘Renegades’ carry too much negative baggage with them. Furthermore, it would be silly to have two teams with the same name, in a 9-team league.

Well, this is an argument in favour of keeping the old name ‘Rough Riders’.

Apart from the historical significance of the name (more on that in a moment), is there any other professional sports franchise, anywhere, in any league of any sport, who can say they’ve had as rough a time of it as the Ottawa football franchise has? The name ‘Rough Riders’ would seem to fit this franchise to a tee.

Would it be quirky, having two teams with the same name? Absolutely! But rather than be embarrassed by this anomaly, CFL fans ought to embrace this quirkiness as being distinctly CFL. Hell, having two teams with the same name would be no quirkier than awarding a single point for a missed field goal attempt. It’s the oddities of the Canadian brand of football that keep it, well, Canadian. The more we try to emulate the NFL brand of football, the poorer we will inevitably look by comparison. I say, let’s celebrate the uniqueness of the CFL!

On the subject of rivalries, I think we can all agree that the more you have, the more exciting the game becomes. Despite being in two different divisions, there was always a natural rivalry between the Rough Riders and the Roughriders that simply never materialized between the Roughriders and the Renegades. Who can forget Russ Jackson leading his Rough Riders to victory over the upstart Roughriders, led by former Rough Rider (and current Roughrider) Ron Lancaster, back in ’69? (okay, so it was before my time, but that merely proves my point – the game was a classic.) Why would anyone willingly neuter such a great rivalry?

Which brings us to history and tradition. A lot of people will criticize the CFL for being ‘bush league’, but I wonder how many of these people realize that the CFL has a longer, more storied tradition than the more celebrated NFL? Rather than sweep the past under some rug, the league should be promoting its history. At the time the Rough Riders folded in ’96, they were the oldest professional sports franchise in the world. Think about that. It sort of puts the lie to the notion that the CFL is in any way ‘bush’, doesn’t it?

As to the argument that the fans wouldn’t support a team with the old moniker, I wonder how many fans have opted not to support the Senators for the flimsy reason that their team name was ‘ancient’ or somehow ‘archaic’. Not very many, I’m guessing.

So let the debates begin! I for one, firmly plant my flag on the side of ‘Rough Riders’!

And PS. The North Side still s*cks.

Ok, interesting argument. Here's the counter:

Take a good look at the demographics of those who are in favour of bringing back "Rough Riders". Most are the purists, who have been with the team through thick and thin, RR or Renegades.

Now look at those who are either in favour of Renegades/new name or mock the prospect of a RR return. They're either the casual fans or the vaguely interested.

We can talk about justice all you want, that sport should be loyal to the die-hards above all else, but purely from a survival perspective, which group is going to be vital to the survivial of this team? It's the casual fans and prospective fans.

This team is only going to survive if they can generate sufficient NEW interest in the CFL in Ottawa. The die-hards were there for the Rough Riders and Renegades, but those teams couldn't stay afloat. I know ownership was the main reason, but even the greatest ownership in the world couldn't survive with just those core die hards. Furthermore, it's not like you stand the chance of LOSING those die-hards due to a new name. They were there for the Renegades, they'll be there for the new team.

I think the best argument for bringing back Rough Riders is the experience in Montreal with the revival of the Alouettes. I don't have any response to this argument, except to say that the Alouettes didn't face the problem of having two teams with the same name in the league.

I'll never forget when I first told some of my fellow grad students that football was likely coming back to Ottawa. I'm the only psycho CFL fan among them, they're all vaguely interested. You know what their response was? "Well, if the do, they better not call it Rough Riders! Isn't there already a team called Roughriders? That would be so stupid!"

And so the customer has spoken, and the customer's always right. For better or for worse, these are the customers who are going to dictate whether this team lives or dies. Leave behind "Rough Riders" for the sake of the team's survival, and avoid the negative stigma of the "Renegades". Go with a new name for a new era, bring all the fans, old and new, together.


"No one has had as rough a ride as Ottawa" Wouldn't this technically mean they should be called the "Ottawa Rough Ridden"?? I can see the signings now: "Yes, I'm very excited to be one of the Rough Ridden" haha couldn't resist.

Well, I personally would love to see Rough Riders, just part of CFL history and history in and of itself is neither wrong or right, just the way it was. But just because that's the way it was, doesn't mean it should be that way.

Do an official name teaming contest and let the chips fall where they may.

Both Ravenwood and dmont make excellent submissions in support of their respective positions.

Given that, I think Earl's suggestion of a naming contest is the right way to go. Let the majority in Ottawa decide.

I understand your argument about drawing casual fans (which is a contradiction, as far as I'm concerned) but here's my take on that; On what basis should the LEAST supportive be in charge of that decision?

I think so-called casual fans want to be entertained. They don't care what school the QB played at or whether #58 is an import. I also doubt that the name is a huge deal to them for that very reason; they're "casual" fans.

This reminds me of Lonie's genius idea of the $99 seat sale AFTER the most loyal fans had paid four times that amount. You should REWARD loyalty, not take advantage of it and expect people to come back for more kicks in the nuts. Because casual fans only make the difference if they have a base of die-hards to stand on.

The current group has already started a seat reservation list. Let the people willing to put their money down make the decision. One seat equals one vote. Majority wins. If I'm outvoted, so be it.

lol CRF, I never said there was any justice in it. My position isn't based on what's right or wrong, it only considers the team's survival.

I will disagree with you on the name not being important to the casual observer. It's such a superficial characteristic of the team, when you put it next to team history and the x's and o's. But the casual fan ONLY pays attention to the superficial. Someone who's never supported the CFL before would, like my fellow grad students, take one look at a league that gives a team a name when it's already taken by a different team and say "that's stupid" and be completely turned off. In order to survive, this team will have to convert the mild interest of the average Joe-Ottawa into full-blown fan fervor.

It would be nice for the team to be able to reward the loyalty of past fans at the same time that they reach out to draw new fans, but I don't think that can be done here. If RR is adopted, then I strongly believe the teams ability to attract new fans will take a serious hit. The Dream Team has an obligation to reward the loyalty of their CFL fans-in-exile, and I think the best way for them to do that is to give this team the best fighting shot possible at surviving longer than 5 years. Key to that survival will be generating new interest, and new interest (in my humble opinion) will require a new name.

Also for this reason, I think a name contest exclusively for the people who've registered for season tickets is a bad idea. That group is likely to be heavily concentrated with the old die-hards, and a choice of RR is likely a foregone conclusion. The team has to keep in mind the need to engage the average joe, not just the die-hards. For that reason, a general contest in the media would be better, not perfect though, since die-hards are more likely to show an interest even in that contest, but at least its an improvement.

I think if the team is winning, the average Joe fan will support the team, regardless of what they're called. (This in itself might be too much to hope for...when was the last winning season? lol) I respectfully disagree with your view that the team name is somehow a 'superficial characteristic' (and in fact, I'm rather surprised to hear that coming from you - you've clearly put a lot of thought in to the London Pikemen idea). Ask the people in Cleveland whether or not the team name matters. Ditto Baltimore.

Nope - CRFAdmin is right on this one. The loyal die-hard fans should have more input into the team name than the casual fan who may - or may not - end up supporting football in Ottawa.

You also run the risk that the new name will not be very well liked. If the casual fan isn't really drawn by it, then you've blown that opportunity AND missed a chance to play up to your history. And most new names take some getting used to.

If they went with something new and I found out that the reasoning was to cater to the "casuals", I would be some kind of pissed. I've supported lousy team after lousy team and bent over backwards to either keep a team going or to revive it. For them to then turn around and basically kiss the asses of those who couldn't be bothered would basically be insulting.

Yeah I didn't explain that very well. Lemme put it this way: I suppose the team name thing IS important to everyone, casual fan or die hard. BUT the two-teams-with-the-same-name thing, while non-disturbing and even pleasantly quirky to us die-hards, seems to rub the casuals very much the wrong way. To some people this may qualify as screwing over the die-hards to kiss-ass to the casuals, but you guys have to consider that to do otherwise could jeopardize the future of the team.

My biggest worry is that this team wouldn't be able to generate new support if average joe hears that they've named them the Rough Riders. They'll say " 2 teams , 1 name = stupid bush league" and then not give the CFL the time of day, regardless of the product on the field. Sure the die hards will be happy that they got the name they want, but then the team faces a higher risk of folding. As die-hards, wouldn't you be most happy, in the long run, if the name chosen most ensures the survival of your team? It's my opinion that RR does not fit the bill. Lord knows, I've been wrong plenty of times, but I think you guys should consider the possibility.

Look at that TSN poll on what people think the team should be named. Sure, RR beat Renegades, but over half of voters said they should pick a new name. Guys, these are the people the team needs to stay afloat, you've got to think about them too.

But I'd be willing to bet that most of the people voting on that poll are not from the Ottawa area. Anyone can vote on that poll including mahy people who are not in a position to buy seats anyway because they live too far away. And, bluntly, who cares what they think? They're not the people that Hunt has to draw.

Anyone who does not support a team because of the name is just looking for a reason to not support it. You know another name for casual fans? Bandwagon jumpers. Put a good team on the field and they'll show up, ready to tell anyone within earshot that they've been supportin the team through thick and thin since 1906.

As a die-hard TiCat fan, and what I really mean is a die hard fan of the CFL team in Hamilton THAT HAPPENS to have been called the TiCats for many years here, if a new owner came in and decided to change the name to something else because the team was drawing so few fans and people weren't supporting the team, I would have no problem if a new name was chosen with a new owner who was willing to really make a go of the new team. Now if a new owner comes in and the team is doing well at the gate and such, why change the name, then I would be royally pissed but still probably go to as many games as I can. I think that's the definition of what die-hard fan means, it goes beyond just the team name.

But at the end of it, I do think that a community name the team contest is better than a season ticket holder name the team contest. No method is perfect but you have to at least show the community it is their team even if they haven't yet decided on seasons tickets or purchasing tickets to any game, if you don't allow these people in the first place, you might not ever get them to think of the new team as their team. Very dangerous.

The new name thing was tried and it was no glorious success. We already know this. It was worth a try at the time and it really didn't amount to much. Even in their fourth year you'd still hear announcers refer to Ottawa as the Rough Riders. Renegades never felt right. That's because when you thynk Ottawa football, you think Rough Riders.

What hasn't been tried is truly trying to link back to the days when this team was the talk of the town.

Hey, I've never seen the Riders win so it's not like I'm trying to live 1976 all over again. But I remember the Riders far more fondly that I do the Renegades.

I'm 23 years old. You can't make arguments on demographics and not know the demographic. My friends and I ALL want the Rough Rider name back, with the R on the helmet.

None of my friends, or my peers, like the flashy names and logos of XFL style uniforms. I can't even tell you how many times we've all discussed how its absurd that the Blue Jays seemingly change their uniforms/logo every second year. Once a history is established with a logo/name their is important equity in that name/logo that you lose if you turn your back.

If the argument is that Rough Riders evoke poor memories; thats just wrong. Most kids my age and younger don't even rememeber the failures of the Riders. And this youth demographic is the target of the new ownership group according to the new ownership group.

There are countless compelling arguments for the Rough Rider name.

The counter arguments are weak, and flimsy at best. MLB does fine with two teams named SOX. College sports do fine with multiple schools sharing a name.

Ottawa Rough Riders.

I hereby vote to adopt the name, Ottawa Tiger Cats.

(Heh - just messin' with ya Earl!)

And that's something a new team can't buy; history (or tradition).

No matter what the new name would be, it wouldn't mean anything to anyone. It takes time to build a brand, and that is essentially what the new club would have to do. The Rough Riders name comes with built-in history and tradition and it would be an easier sell, I think. Even those who don't like it should at least be able to see some reasoning behind it. For that reason I think it's would be an easier sell.

i think that if you leave this decision to the people of ottawa, you'll quickly find that the majority
of people will vote on the only name that fits-rough least there's history there, renegades will always be linked to those 5 guys from toronto who came in as saviours but in the long run held out only for the grey cup payoff and ultimately the guys who started the downward spiral...oh and there should be ABSOLUTELY NO allegiance to the name with no history-renegades.all these name the team contests and other ridiculous name posts need to be put out of their misery.
these new owners, if given the chance to get to opening day will restore the name and the storied history behind it.

first home game in july 2010 should be the roughriders
vs. the rough riders on the first friday night football of the season.

city legend

How about a game between Saskatchewan and Ottawa. Winner gets to keep the name “Rough Riders” Loser has to change? :lol: :lol: :lol:

I’m a traditionalist. If you look at most of my posts, I generally hate change. I like to keep things as they are.

Over the many decades I could never figure out how we had two teams with the same names in the league. I read a history many years ago on how it came about. Names or trademarks get copyrighted. We had a small resteraunt up here called McDougals. Guess what, McDonalds shut them down pretty quick.

I remember the media and CFL doubters poked fun and riducled the league for having two teams with the same name. I honestly beleive in the BEST INTEREST of the league, a name other than Rough Riders should be used. Where the league struggles for positive media, and positive coverage, giving the anti CFLers more ammunition does not help the league at all. While I know the die hard Rider fans in Ottawa feel passionate about reviving the Old Riders, would that really be an overall benefit to the league and team?

Why not take your idea of an annual game, Rider vs. rider, and make it a real event?

It could be something like the Labour Day Classic, but better. Call it the 'Roughest Ride', or the 'Separation of the Men from the Boys', or the 'Showdown at the OK Corral' game, or 'The Battle of Rider Pride', or something - An annual showdown between two teams for bragging rights. While not necessarily losing the rights to the name 'Rough Riders' or 'Roughriders', the loser would - for the rest of the season - unofficially be known as the Pretenders.

I still don't understand why having two teams with the same name need be a negative. It can be a positive, provided you position it correctly. Make the most of it!

We are very much in agreement.

If the Rough Riders come back, the only happy people will be the die-hards. No one who is not currently a CFL fan will say "Wow, they chose Rough Riders, cool!" These people (which constitute a huge majority in Ottawa) along with local and national media will mock the team and owners. No new fans = 12,000 40+ year olds in the stands. The CFL is dubbed "for old people" in Ottawa, keeping away the young professionals, twenty-somethings, and teens. This means no new sponsors, and a quick demise.

I'm not going to argue this further because all we can do is speculate until the future unfolds. You guys have your reasons for what you believe would happen, I have mine. I just hope you at least try to see from the perspective of a prospective fan. This cannot be just for die-hards, if so then it'll fold real quick, and then where will you die-hards be? Think of whats best for the team, rather than your own personal preferences.

I'm 34. (Just turned 34 on Monday, in fact!) I hardly think I'm over the hill. Wise beyond my years, perhaps, not to mention incredibly handsome and intelligent, but hardly old.