"Resurgent CFL leery of NFL encroachment" - AP

Interesting article from Yahoo news:

[url=http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AuNXlV8WO9sn7gzp5IrVTUFIhgM6?slug=ap-cfl-billsintoronto&prov=ap&type=lgns]http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_yl ... &type=lgns[/url]

To my way of thinking, it seems pretty much bang on, and fair.

That's the thing, the CFL is about many other things and yes, we don't have the best talent because of a number of things but we do have what I like to call the best combination of factors to produce a great sports entertainment package that is focused on what I like to call the Canadian factor. And I like this, like it alot.

Me too Earl. There is much, much more to football entertainment than talent alone. The rules play a huge part, but so do the fans, the rivalries, the history, and the hard-to-define culture of football and even Canada. It all adds up to an extremely interesting game that has an abundance of soul — something that is lacking in the slick, corporate world of the NFL.

"Soul", beauty word rp, nice!!! Soul is to the CFL what corporatishness is to the NFL. I'd say.


I'm really starting to like this columnist. My favourite part is (quite fittingly) in bold red.

There's nothing big about this game

[url=http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=1039300]http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/stor ... id=1039300[/url]

Bruce Arthur, National Post
Published: Friday, December 05, 2008

[i]When it was announced that the National Football League was coming to Toronto for the first time in its incredibly lucrative history -- the NFL's, not Toronto's, though the description could apply to either one -- it was considered a Big Story. It was the kind of Big Story that spun the wheels of talk radio on both sides of the border, and demanded that newspaper columnists weigh in to predict success or failure, brilliance or farce. It was the kind of Big Story that prompted very rich men to say things like, "I think that's a lot of exaggerated hooey."

That last quote came in response to worries that the Buffalo Bills in Toronto could eventually hurt or kill the Canadian Football League, as well as hurt or kill the idea of the Bills actually staying in Buffalo. The remark was seen as a little disingenuous then, but given what has since transpired -- or in the case of the man who spoke those words, expired -- it might be right on the mark.

Sure, Buffalo's game against the Miami Dolphins at the Rogers Centre on Sunday will be a sellout, though belatedly, and not without some sleepless nights in the offices of Rogers Communications. Yes, plenty of media and patrons will attend, and the game will be on television, and so forth and so on. There may even be a degree of hullabaloo to the whole thing. Yes, yes.

But from what we have seen so far, the prospect of NFL games played in Toronto has done nothing to advance the cause of an NFL team moving to Toronto. If anything, it's hurt the idea. And not just because Ted Rogers was the most likely local billionaire to make a play for an NFL team, and his death this week at age 75 leaves that title vacant. This has become exactly what everyone in front of a microphone said it was: A way for the Bills to make some extra money on the side, and not much else.

(Eyebrows might have been raised when USA Today reported that Bills owner Ralph Wilson, 90, has a chest virus, and that he had been coughing for two weeks. This is of course significant since when Ralph follows Ted to the great beyond, the Buffalo Bills go up for sale. When the Bills go up for sale -- and despite the love of the good and stout people of Western New York, who hardly deserve the pain involved with being fans of this heartbreaking team -- the team is almost certainly going to move.)

The credit crisis, the plunge of the Canadian dollar, the embarrassing pre-season game here in August that featured an estimated 15,000 tickets being given away -- it all diminished the significance of this game.

Buffalo's plunge -- a 5-1 start transformed to a 6-6 lump, including a 10-3 home loss to San Francisco last week -- didn't help, either. Buffalonians get excited for their Bills, but does anybody else? J.P. Losman's starting at QB! We can tell our kids we saw him play!

Unless you're a fan of the Miami Dolphins from their long-gone heyday, or of the so-called Wildcat formation, or of Ricky Williams, the visitors aren't exactly A-list draws, either.

And so here comes the NFL, whispering into town. If it was important, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would surely attend, wouldn't he? Well, instead of spearheading the regular-season foray into Toronto, the commish will take in Philadelphia and the Giants, in scenic East Rutherford, N.J. The explanation, from an NFL spokesman, was that "he was just in Buffalo on Nov. 18 for their [Monday Night Football] game."[/i]

Obviously, he couldn't return to the same general neighbourhood three weeks later. Or maybe he can't locate his passport just now. As one source familiar with the game planning puts it, "Roger Goodell went to London [where the NFL has twice played for the English crowds], and he went to Mexico City [where the NFL played a pre-season game in 2005], but he's not coming to Toronto. What does that say?"

[i]It says the rumours of NFL unhappiness with the way these games have been planned, marketed and sold are more than mere rumours. The NFL boosters in this city have forever been trumpeting the hunger in this market for the National Football League, for the big time. People here believed it, too. Even the Toronto Argonauts finagled a deal that would give any new Argonauts season-ticket holder first shot at the sure-to-be-coveted Bills tickets, and at the Rogers-Wilson news conference here on Feb. 6, Argonauts co-owner David Cynamon said "I'm guessing ... we might gain 5-10,000 season-ticket holders."

That season-ticket base, as of June, was approximately 14,000, and the Argonauts admit that demand for season tickets relating to the NFL gambit was less than expected, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. That would make sense, since demand for tickets to the Bills game, which averaged $183, has been less than expected.

This was supposed to be an audition for an NFL team in Toronto. This was supposed to be a Big Story, an epic event, a date between the biggest sports league on the planet and the so-called centre of Canada's universe. It was supposed to be a show.

You know what this is? It's just a game.

National Post


Wait...which old NFL players have found a home in the CFL? I know of a few that have tried, and have not made their mark. Van der Jagt...he's about the only one who actually had a good season after a good stint in the NFL.

There have been many ex-NFLers in the CFL over the years. The biggest of them was quite possibly Fred Biletnikoff, who played a season for the Als in 1980, but there have been many lesser names over the years. I'm sure that in any given season there more than a handful.

re- “There is no question (the CFL) is an inferior product. If it were not, then why can old NFL players find homes in the CFL, but not even the best young talent from the CFL can make it past the practice squads.?
.... IMO NFL Purposely demote players with cfl or Canadian on their resume. its part of the NFL propaganda machine, ID go as far to say that the CFL is the innovative engine of north American football, and Many would be surprised at the outcome of a game between CFL talent vs NFL in whatever format

Lorne Gunter is a hack. “There is no question (the CFL) is an inferior product. If it were not, then why can old NFL players find homes in the CFL, but not even the best young talent from the CFL can make it past the practice squads.?

Geez, the guy is from Edmonton, but it sounds like he never heard of Warren Moon. Remember him? CFL MOP, 5 time Grey Cup Champion, Grey Cup MVP and then moved on to the NFL and toiled on the practice roster. Oh wait... 9 time pro-bowler too.

But surely he's the exception that proves the rule. Could never happen again. Whatever happened to that Jeff Garcia kid? He was pretty good. Went down to play on the practice roster somewhere down in the States. Except he made it a little past the practice squad. He was a 4 time pro-bowler for crying out loud.

NFL and CFL are different games just like North American and International hockey are different games. Different size playing surfaces with slightly different rules. Players that excel at one might not excel at the other.

Marginal and washed up NFL players rarely make much of an impact in the CFL. Mark Gastineau, Dexter Manley, Laurence Phillips, Ricky Williams, Akili Smith, Vince Feragamo didn't do a whole lot up here. Lots or former NFLers have nice CFL careers, but maybe it is because the CFL game suits their talents better than the NFL game.

Can anyone remember a washed up NFL player tearing it up in the CFL? Doug Flutie, but he's a special case for a number of reasons. And he was a pro-bowler after he went back to the NFL.

Gunter is a typical Alberta wanna-be American. He professes to be a loyal Canadian, but everything is better in the American flavour. Everything Canadian is second rate. He knows less about sports than about the regular subjects in his columns (which is hard to imagine) I once canceled an Edmonton Journal subscription because I couldn't stand his hackery any more.

“I like the Canadian game, but with a big caveat—I like it for what it is,? Gunter said of the sport featuring 12-man sides and three downs per series on a wider and longer field. “There is no question (the CFL) is an inferior product. If it were not, then why can old NFL players find homes in the CFL, but not even the best young talent from the CFL can make it past the practice squads.?

I don't agree with that at all!!! And it just shows me that he's not much of a CFL fan for even making such a statement! Anyone who remotely knows Football understands that the reason Canadian talent doesn't go far in the U.S. is because of what i've stated many times in the past. It's a sterotype....an attitude...If it isn't American it isn't any good! So these Canadian kids trying to come down here already have two strikes against them because of simple prejudice! I live here and see it every day. Mr. Gunter on the other hand apparently knows not the value of his own home grown league.

“Inferior” is a matter of perspective. The CFL talent, while for the most part is not the triple A top tier available, it’s not crap either. You simply cannot tell me EVERY single high quality player makes the NFL. It simply does not happen. Many of those rejected for a wide variety of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with raw talent, make their way to CFL, where they can make a decent living and forge football ties and opportunities for later.

Football is way, way more than talent alone. It’s also about the rules, the history, the rivalries. These things combine to make the CFL, with it’s largely second-best talent, a more compelling and entertaining game.

So, using the word “inferior” to describe the CFL is not only wrong, but it is so narrow that it completely ignores the complexity of the sport and reduces it to little more than a track meet.

Agree rp, and quite frankly, people who use inferior who don't watch 98 percent of the games year in and year out like a lot of us do, are just using the word inferior because it's easy to rhyme of the tops of their heads without much thought because they can't think too much to be honest, their brain is inferior so what should we expect really. :wink:

Mike Sellers is going to the PB this year.

David Boston & Bethel Johnson didn't even last the season in TO.

:rockin: Yes! Thanks Man, I was too busy puking after reading Cornhole Gunter to respond but you've done better than I could have. i often get the feeling that most Albertans have a chip on their shoulder about being stuck with the ROC when but for a quirk of geography they could have embraced manifest destiny and been a 'real' part of the Empire. It is a traditional feature of Empire that the periphery feeds the center, whether with troops, tribute or resources. It's never win-win, ever.