So why does the CFL matter?

Our commissioner sums it up nicely!

The following column appeared in the National Post on Saturday, June 14th, 2008.

By Mark Cohon
CFL Commissioner

It was Grey Cup 2007 and 53,000 Canadians were on their feet, belting out “O Canada.?

Here was a living, breathing, singing map of the country, formed by people from every corner of it, united in celebration.

The sight was unforgettable. The sound was deafening. And the moment, for me, was defining.

I thought of my parents, immigrants for whom life in Canada was a conscious choice, instead of a happy accident.

I thought how grateful I am they moved here from Chicago when I was just a toddler, how this country embraced us, and how much my Mom and Dad have loved it back.

I reflected on my own decision, after working in New York City and London, England for many years, to come back to Canada, because of its quality of life, its enduring values, most of all, because this is where we wanted to raise a family.

I thought about the Grey Cup, and its magical hold on our nation. How it has always shone.

I considered how many people in the crowd that day gather at each and every Grey Cup, and the bond they share with their fellow travelers, how they are as diverse as their backgrounds and respective home provinces, and yet at that moment, they were one.

I considered the fans I had met that year in our stadiums across Canada, Moms and Dads and kids, in seats the average family can afford, for whom a game is a rite of passion.

I looked at the field, distinctly Canadian in its dimensions, and anticipated the game, uniquely Canadian in its origins, traditions and rules of play.

I took some pride in knowing that those who play it also excel in much quieter forums: in classrooms and children’s hospitals across the country, where they champion causes bigger than football.

And I realized what my seatmate, one of our provincial Premiers, said aloud, that there are so few things like this that truly bring Canadians together, and I thought that’s true, especially in an era of free trade, the internet, and Stanley Cup finals in places like Florida and California.

Having worked for the NBA and Major League Baseball, I was struck by the fact that of all the big sporting events I’ve attended – from the World Series to the NBA Finals to Premiership championships – nothing was as authentic as a Grey Cup and no crowd was as celebratory as this one.

And so I sang like everyone else: loudly and proudly.

And I savoured the simple fact that I was there with my fellow Canadians -- folks from Halifax and Victoria, Portage la Prairie and downtown Toronto, on their own ticket, out of love for the game, respect for the Cup and, truth be told, for the sheer joy of it all.

In this space, I could have chosen to detail how strong our league is today, how dedicated our governors are, how TV ratings are higher than ever, and attendance is the strongest it has been in two decades.

But I’ve chosen to write about this one intensely personal experience because I believe it makes a profound point: The Canadian Football League matters.

It matters to Canadians. It matters to Canada. It brings us together. And it brings out our best.

There are those who disagree with me. They will tell you the CFL doesn’t matter, because it’s not the biggest or the flashiest or the wealthiest.

Well, if those were our only yardsticks, Canada itself wouldn’t measure up.

But we know it does. It measured up to my parents’ hopes and dreams, and it measures up to mine, just as it clearly measured up for the 53,000 who stood as one last Grey Cup Sunday.

This is our country. And this – the Canadian Football League -- is our league.

That’s our motto for 2008: This is Our League. You’ll see it on our fields, on your television screen, maybe on a t-shirt.

It’s a celebration of what’s uniquely and distinctly ours.

It’s an invitation, to come out and experience what I did on that Grey Cup Sunday: a thrilling sense of belonging.

I hope that guys like Rogers, Tannenbaum and Godrey read the Nat'l Post. They can read can't they?

An Argo-Cat fan

The article doesn't stroke their egos, nor does it help them make money, so I doubt that Rogers, Tannenbaum or Godfrey read it.

Mark Cohon sounds like he is the right guy for the job.
I think the only events that gets Canadians as emotional about as the Grey Cup is any World Hockey game that has Canada playing in it whether it be Mens, Womens, Juniors, Olympics, Spengler etc.
I also think that every CFL fan, finances permitting should visit every city with a CFL franchise just to see how big this country really is and to realize what the CFL does for it by bringing these cities so much closer together for regular season games and playoffs, especially in this era where nothing seems to be very far away. Regina is the only city with a CFL team that I have not visited and some day I will get there.
It is hard to understand how someone would even try to undermine the CFL, even though they are thinking supposedly on a different level.
It is too bad that cable service is not deregulated the way telephone service was. Then the CFL fans could let Rogers know who the real Canadians are.
It is also too bad that there are too many bandwagon fans in the Emerald City with way too much money to spend, kind of encourages Rogers to get as much of that money as they can.

I think that the only thing that rivals the Grey Cup in Canada is the World Junior Hockey Championships.

Why does the CFL matter?
It's simple, Canadian's playing a Canadian game ...not as "National" as the NHL but a lot more complex and a lot less ego, nuff said.

With all due respect to Mark Cohon...........and although his was a very heartfelt speech which I respect and identify with, he missed a very key point.......and I hope every new Tiger-Cat player, coach and fan hears this loud and clear !!!!..........The Canadian Football League was in existance wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy before there was anything called the fact either the Hamilton Tiger-cats or the Toronto Argonauts are the oldest professional sports franchises...........of any sport.......IN THE WORLD!!........personally, I think the honours go to the Ticats.

Please, no apologetic speeches trying to justify the CFL........That's like trying to justify St.Andrews Golf Course on the cold, windswept British coast.......just because Augusta National in Georgia has better optics for the freaking comparison !............Canadian Football rules!......and so does St.Andrews!

.......everything else drools! :smiley:

Actually the NFL predates the CFL by some 38 yrs! The NFL was formed in 1920 and adopted the present name in 1922 and evolved into what we know now. Professional leagues existed even before that.

The CFL wasn't formed until 1958! Before that was a number of different Rugby and Football Unions with their own leagues and rules. This is a link to a good little read on the subject.

As for the CFL it will take more than a few games, held in Toronto to make a quick buck, to destroy it.

sorry...but that is splitting hairs.......that's like saying Tim Hortons history doesn't pre-date the current name of the Corporation called "Tim Donut Ltd"

The foundation never changes........The CFL was first! matter what name they went by......

Canada Dry Ginger Ale for instance can be traced back to Hamilton through different companies called Pilgrim & Sons, Cummer and Sons and a whole list of variations of those names.......fact is that the brand is traceable through all those names and operations......and those names are the history of the current company.......I know!...I dug up a very rare bottle a few years ago that was a rare first Canada Dry Ginger Ale bottle in the chain of events...........a notorious Canada Dry bottle collector in Caledonia threw $400.00 at me in a heartbeat...for my "Pilgrim & Sons " bottle from the 1800's.

so...the moral of the story is to respect and honour the base history......not what the current marketing spin-meisters put on it..... :smiley:

It is not splitting hairs, it is fact. The league you like to think of as the CFL did not exist before 1958. Teams played in their own leagues or unions, with their own rules and scoring, no west playing east during the seasons. In the east we watched "the big four" that was it.

The only time they played was in the Grey Cup and even that wasn't a regular thing until the 40's.

This history line is not much different than how pro ball evolved in the States over the same period with the major fact being that the present NFL was formed in 1920.

If you want to believe that the Confederates won the "War of Union Agression" now that would be splitting hairs.

As for Canada Dry the only thing I care about is that is great in CC! I know because I just poured one. :lol:

tell me the closest place to Vancouver that I can get some Canada Dry Wink, then I will be really impressed :rockin: