Quality of Canadian Players

I've always been a devout defender of the CFL & its calibre of talent with respect to the fact that CFL teams staff their rosters to execute a game inherently distinct from American football. In this, I've maintained that not only is the talent disparity not proportional to the economic disparity between the CFL & NFL but that a great many players who excel in each respective league are the best because their skill sets and/or physiques are tailored for the particular game they play. Having said that, an NFL star wouldn't hypothetically be a CFL show stopper & more evidently, vice versa.

To offer the blanket statement, "The NFL has the better talent." is an unfounded because it doesn't address the issues I've discussed. However, what I haven't addressed is perhaps the most key difference in the makeup of rosters between the leagues. The ratio. Its no secret that Canadians just don't get nearly the same level of football training that Americans do. In the CFL, 19 / 42 players are staffed on the active rosters who are the product of the CIS, or of amongst what I'd guess to be 200 or so Canadians in the NCAA since, according to TSN.ca, only 70 are in Division I. Of those Div I NCAA Canucks, only 12 are starters.


The ratio is extraordinarily important in preserving Canadian football. It is very important in encouraging young Canadians to aspire to be good football players & to play Canadian football. Understanding that home-brew talent is amongst one of the biggest selling points for the CFL the question has to be asked:

Does the roster ratio diminish the talent calibre in the CFL? If so, to what extent?


Sure, the roster ratio diminish the talent calibre because superior players are passed in favor of Canadians. However the overall quality of Canadian talent is still acceptable, and the roster ratio deserves to be retained to protect Canadian jobs.

You could probably find better American players than 3/4 of the Canadians in the CFL. But the Canadians know the rules better and become comparable to young American players after a few years of seasoning, weight training and coaching.

I definitely agree with that point. I've found that many of these Canadians can play head-to-head with Heisman winners & NFL first rounders after a couple years under the wing of a CFL club.

Its another point often made in defending the CFL for its great athletes.

The ratio weakens the talent in the CFL, if we are honest about it. The biggest problem is depth, after you get by the top 50 -60 Canadians the talent level drops off IMO. But its works for all these years so no reson to change...maybe go to six starters instead of seven if the league ever expands to ten teams but keep 20 Canadians on the roster. Most teams start one extra Canadian then needed for flexability now, so maybe things aren't all that bad for finding talent.

I would say the majority of cdn starters in the cfl are on par with most of the US starters in the cfl. However, as mentioned before, due to learning curve that cdn kids have to deal with when going to pro ball. Where the discrepancy is, is the depth.

The quality of the Canadian game at the college level has never been higher than it is today and part of that is due to the fact that kids can aspire to play in the CFL.
As has been mentioned, the only real problem is in the area of depth.
If an American gets hurt, there are 10,000 more banging on the door that can step in.
There are only a few hundrd Canadians to pick from.

But everyone like to cheer for the hometown kid who makes good, and having a big Canadian factor within the Canadian game is huge in having a prosperous and entertaining league.

Plus, then when you see a kid like Jon Ryan go south and "kick" butt, you realize that the talent levels are actually fairly close!

i agree with arius. CIS is at it highest level that its even been at right now and they are producing alot of canadian talent. and although there are fewer canadians then americans there are still a great amount of very skilled canadian players.
I think that canadian players are very skilled in the CFL and have been making a name for canadian players in both the NFL and CFL. Just as canadians in the cfl like ryan make are making a name for the talent canadan produces in football players.