PROPOSED THREE DIVISION CFL SET-UP February 28, 2022
I have enjoyed the watching the Canadian Football League since 1976. In many ways, I enjoy it more than the NFL. Things such as 3 downs, time-out rules, wider field and faster games are the best in my opinion. What I have a problem with is the cut and dried set-up of the unbalance divisions and the bland play-off format.
This proposal changes all of that and makes the play-off concept way more exciting as well as making ALL games down-the-stretch VERY important. It will boost fan interest and television ratings would max out. Please give them an objective view.
First-of-all, the current nine teams would realign to three divisions with three teams in each one. The three divisions would be the East, Central and West Divisions and be set-up as follows:
EAST CENTRAL WEST
Ottawa Hamilton Edmonton
Montreal Winnipeg Calgary
Toronto Saskatchewan British Columbia
Each team would play 18 regular season games, as it is now. Each team would play the other two teams in it’s Division 3 times each. They would play all the other teams in the League twice with each team having a home game. This would guarantee a true division winner and equal play against all the other teams for the entire League.
At the conclusion of the regular season, 6 teams would qualify for the play-offs; each Division winner would get a spot and the next 3 teams with the best records. The two Division winners with the best records do not play in the Semi-Finals.
If 2 of the remaining teams that qualify are in the same Division, they would play each other in the Semi-Finals. The 2 remaining teams would then play each other with the team with the better record hosting the game.
If all three teams in one Division need to play in the Semi-Finals, then the third-place team would play the Division winner. The other 2 play-off teams would play each other with the team with the better record hosting.
In the Finals, any two remaining teams in the same division would play each other. That would pit the remaining 2 teams against each other. The team with the best record would host in the Finals even if one of them is a Division winner and the other is not. The winners of these 2 games would play in the Grey Cup.
The following examples are at least 3 different scenarios that are possible with this concept:
EAST W L CENTRAL W L WEST W L
Ottawa 13 5 Hamilton 12 8 Edmonton 9 9
Montreal 10 8 Winnipeg 11 7 Calgary 8 10
Toronto 7 11 Saskatchewan 5 13 British Columbia 6 12
The 3 Division winners, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Edmonton receive play-off spots. The other 3 teams, because of their records, get the remaining slots. Montreal, Winnipeg, and Calgary. Because Ottawa and Hamilton are the Divisional winners with the best records, they win the bye for the Semi-Final round. The Semi-Finals would be Calgary at Edmonton because they are in the same Division and Montreal at Winnipeg. If Winnipeg and Edmonton won the Semi-Finals, the Finals would look like this: Winnipeg at Hamilton because they are in the same Division and Edmonton would play at Ottawa. Home field would go to Ottawa because of their better record. The winners of these games would play in the Grey Cup.
Another play-off scenario would look like this:
EAST W L CENTRAL W L WEST W L
Ottawa 14 4 Hamilton 11 7 Edmonton 10 8
Montreal 13 5 Winnipeg 7 11 Calgary 5 13
Toronto 12 6 Saskatchewan 5 13 British Columbia 4 14
In the case above, the three Divisional winners Ottawa, Hamilton, and Edmonton again, would be the Division winners. The other three teams that won play-off spots are Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg because of their records. The Semi-Final round would consist of Toronto at Montreal because they are in the same division and that would leave Winnipeg going to Edmonton. Ottawa and Hamilton get the byes.
If Winnipeg and Toronto won the Semi-Finals, then Toronto would play Ottawa each other in the Final because they are in the same Division. Winnipeg would play at Hamilton as they are also in the same Division. The winners of these games go on to play in the Grey Cup.
If Montreal and Edmonton won the Semis, Montreal would play at Ottawa because they are in the same Division and Edmonton would be at Hamilton because of the better record held by Hamilton. This just goes to show that no matter the records of the other Teams in the Division, the Division 1st place Team still has to keep winning because there is no guarantee they will play at home in the Finals.
There are many different outcomes and home field advantage situations from all these examples depending on which Teams win the Semi-Final round. This is a very interesting concept for the fans.
This is the last play-off situation that I am going to present (even though there are many variations that can occur within these 3 play-off scenarios):
EAST W L CENTRAL W L WEST W L
Ottawa 12 6 Hamilton 11 7 Edmonton 13 5
Montreal 6 12 Winnipeg 10 8 Calgary 11 7
Toronto 5 13 Saskatchewan 7 11 British Columbia 4 14
Besides the 3 Division winners, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Edmonton; Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, and Calgary won play-off spots. Again, because they had the best records after the regular season, Ottawa and Edmonton do not play in the Semi-Finals. Saskatchewan plays at Hamilton because they are in the same Division (the first and third place Teams play each other in the Semi-Final Round). and Winnipeg goes to Calgary.
Let’s say that Saskatchewan and Winnipeg won their respective games. The Finals would have Saskatchewan at Winnipeg because they are in the same Division and Ottawa at Edmonton. Even though Winnipeg did not have a home game in the Semi-Finals, because their record is better than Saskatchewan’s, they host a Final. Another interesting note here is that Ottawa had the second best record in the entire League, but they do not get a home game and have to travel to Edmonton. These are the drivers for Teams to keep their best players on the field throughout the entire season and to keep winning. No slacking at the end of the season when you know you are going to win your Division. Now you are competing with every other Team in the League. The Team with the better record against it’s opponent in the play-offs will host the game even if they are playing against a Division winner. You never know how the play-off picture will look….all Teams must keep winning!
I think this is a great system that would generate a lot of fan interest.