The CFL needs to spice up the format

I am one American that loves the CFL. I have been an avid fan since 1976. I like the fast pace, the shorter game length and the unique rules. I would not be happy about changing any of that. But, some things need to happen to give more excitement to the league and drama towards the end of the season and play-off scenarios. I wrote a letter to the CFL commissioner 25 years ago and recommended a 3 conference league. With 3 teams in each conference. Play-off seedings would pit teams against each other no matter what conference they are in. Just add some excitement to the way the league is formatted, make every game count. Keep the fans interested all year long. New ideas are needed to keep existing fans and acquiring new fans. I am not in favor of merging with the XFL, but adding teams in some way and sticking to the CFL rules, I would certainly be in favor of.


Ya likewise a single league standing would make more games count for something but that idea was previously discussed to death in another thread and had a lukewarm to negative reaction at best.

Many people are convinced regional rivalries sell better than games that matter or fairly seeded playoffs.

9 million Canadians watched the Superbowl, where only 3 million watched the last Gray Cup. Though our game may be superior the American style is clearly preferred and has already won Canadians over.

That said, when the CFL did US expansion the two teams that were properly managed and financed (Baltimore & San Antonio) had very respectable attendance, well within or above league average. So to say Americans wouldn't adopt a 3 down game I believe is also wrong, a compelling argument can be made both ways on downs.

I think we should be opened minded on that and choose which one will make us the most marketable and put the best product on the field to attract and retain fans, viewers, etc.

If covid taught us anything it is that we've got to get our TV revenue up to a point we could operate on it alone if need arises again. I don't see how we do that currently without significant investment which we lack, without gaining American markets and being open to some serious changes.

I dont think we should assume a relationship with the XFL means they railroad us. First our history is very valuable to them, perhaps even worth more than an capital they could bring to bare. Our issues are long term, theirs are far more immediate. Our history gives them instant credibility, which could be used to cash in big time and get American media to take them far more seriously. That and I think the CFL rolling over for the XFL is actually counter to their interests. Our history isn't worth much if everyone feels like we were hijacked, they need that credibility otherwise they won't be taken seriously.

So I don't think a potential merger is a one way street or the death of the CFL. There is no reason to think that, the CFL is in a powerful bargaining position here, we should leverage that. Any changes made should be done only if the long-term benefits out way the cons, which very well may mean big changes, we should trust the league stewards to do what is best even if it is a hard swallow.

Like trusting the stewards to run the league off a cliff or, in this case, sell out to US interests.

And we are supposed to keep an open mind.

I would trust the NFL's intent than the XFL's.

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well which is it? If you think they can't run the league competently then they are gonna run it off a cliff regardless, then they will kill whether they join with the XFL or not.

At least as part of a larger merged league there is hope that competent people will take over. Sounds like what you are saying is that the XFL management is far more clever, if they are then who would you rather have running things?

Folks too incompetent to save themselves or people so clever they stole the candy story right in front them? At some point someone needs to be the good guy. NFL = evil, XFL = evil, CFL management = incompetent lemmings. Then there is no hope, then what are you fighting for if those in charge who will make the ultimate call are all either evil or too stupid?

I don't think the CFL are good business managers, but it doesn't mean they are not loyal to the game. Those are two different things and can be mutually exclusive. If they are smart enough to recognize that then the XFL can bring success in our business end that has been lacking at a price that doesn't completely compromise our game. It's either that or might as well pack it in.

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If they are loyal to the game why would they want to alter the rules to mimic the American game just to stay in business.

At least David Braley, with some of his faults, wouldn't advocate changing the rules like some owners might want.

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That assumes change is always bad. I am sure plenty took issue with the forward pass, but in hindsight not a bad move.

You avoided the question, how about a real answer to my actual question?

What I hear you saying is you would rather see the league fold, all the history gone to cater only to purists who aren't supporting the league, when 3 times or more Canadians would support it with changes?

You can't have any game if there aren't enough people to support it. Like I said they can be mutually exclusive but that doesn't mean some aspects aren't, like being able to pay players, build stadiums, etc. No bucks, no buck rogers.

All again mute if you don't decide the first question I asked earlier, if you have so little trust in the league management then they'll run it off a cliff regardless, what do you care how they kill the league? Dead is still dead.

If change can bring back millions of Canadians as Tv viewers, well? If that is what the majority of Canadians want? If that is what makes a better business model and allows the game and history to continue? Then what is the problem? Keeping the version of the game as is just for the ever growing minority? How is that fair to the rest of Canada? How is that fair to the legacy of the league?

I wonder how many fans took issue with the forward pass, and if they did, how many quit attending? Since practically no one alive today was around then, we would have to look at the historical record, such as local newspapers, to determine that.

Until someone does, how about we quit saying introducing the forward pass is somehow comparable to altering the structure of the game with major rule changes, and the structure of the league with a merger? How about helmets, smaller balls, allowing O-lineman to limited holding, preventing DBs from close pass coverage, etc, etc. At least those are within living memory?

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But how would you know about what Canadians would want?

You're over analysing this potential partnership with the XFL.

You're advocating the CFL to move to the spring to avoid the NFL thinking that somehow Canadians will watch football in the spring.

And yet you want U Sports to stay in the fall for some reason.

You have any evidence that more Canadians watch the NFL on tv than the CFL.

Need to check viewership numbers.

While it may be true that more people may watch the Super Bowl, head to head the numbers are comparable.

And I still don't understand which question do you think I am avoiding.

Changing the rules might save the league according to yourself but it will be the end of Canadian Football as you know it.

As for the forward pass, all it did for it differentiated football away from rugby.

As for the downs, Canadian Football always been 3 for 10 while the US started with 3 downs for 5 yards.

Need to ask why the American game changed from 3 downs for 5 yards to 4 downs for 10 yards.

Are you trying to tell me they were unable to get even 5 yards on 3 trys.


9 million Canadians watched the Super Bowl, only 3 million watched the last Grey cup.

The numbers speak for themselves, pretty clear which game Canadians prefer.

Then there is the Vancouver thing, Seattle Seahawks get way more coverage than the Lions which also isn't positive when they get it.

Or Toronto, an area large enough to support multiple teams, certainly one that should have no trouble filling a stadium, yet... crickets.

The reality is our game is attracting young people, isnt retaining older folks and the NFL cleans our clock while eating our lunch on ratings. The numbers don't paint a good picture.

I think history speaks for it self. The forward pass was far more radical then any possible changes being proposed nor any reason why the XFL wouldn't be willing to adopt many of them. It is clear how fans responded, they loved it, those die hands either got on board with the majority or were won over by the improved product, or those extreme rugby purists died salty, all 6 of them.

You do realize that CTV also benefits with simsibubbing their broadcast on the American channels as well something that Global was not able to do when they had the rights to the NFL.

For 2 seasons simsibubbing was off and the viewership dropped off to what it would be.

But according to yourself because more people watched the Super Bowl automatically means more people are watching the NFL.

You still haven't answered how many were watching the regular season week to week compared to the CFL.

Honestly the Super Bowl is an event the game is secondary.

How many viewers are there for the halftime show.

And you still haven't responded to the article I sent on regards to the 4th down.

Adding a 4th down may not have a positive impact on the Canadian game as you may think.

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Interesting article over on the CFL-XFL TV Rights $ thread that explains when and why the American game changed to four down football, changed their field dimensions, and introduced and modified the rules governing the forward pass. It seems you are echoing many of the same proposals, but for different and more modern reasons of course, only a century later?

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I think you missed the point, which is that rule changes are not inherently bad nor good.

We need to keep an open mind and those who are being very doom and gloom that the world will end if a single rule is changed are being a little dramatic, besides negating the possibility that the change may be an improvement.

Look at the DH in baseball, heck even the NFL has been open to rule changes, yet we remain stagnant. You grow and adapt like every other sport and business, or you die. Stagnant things are just slow rotting things.

There is nothing covid exposed with our business model that wasn't already well known prior as an issue, yet with decades available to us to change, to adapt and prepare for the inevitable event that would trigger a crisis what did we do?

Nothing, just remaind stagnant. Perhaps that's why more Canadians watch the Super Bowl over the Grey Cup? Why young people aren't being attracted to the game and why we are having a retention problem which is killing our three biggest markets, markets that should be cash cows and instead will be on life support.

So my point was perhaps we should be more open to change as historically that seems to have worked out far more than not.

Changing the rules won't necessarily get the younger generation interested as they follow the NFL anyways.

Instead of going after us fans of Canadian Football for supporting the league in it's current form why don't you go after fans that never support it or slag it at every turn.


Well that is a strategy, but a second generation one. Out the gate we need to aim at those fans left and bring them home while getting young people interested. Youth is our future, getting those that left will help with getting youth, but we have no future if young folks aren't interested.

Literally only a matter of time before that catches up to us. Though yes part of all that strategy should be to try to go after detractors in the public sphere, like radio hosts etc. If we can't convert them we need to at least instill enough respect they stop talking trash about us.

All that goes towards helping the overall goal of getting youth invested. If 4 downs needs to be part of that strategy, so be it. Making ourselves relevant to our future and to those that left must be the priority, as I said before without attracting the young blood we quite literally have no future.

To attract new blood, the stadium experience needs to be better, concessions need to be reasonably priced and special viewing areas need to be set up in certain sections.

All the supposed rules changes and tweeks won't do anything unless the points mentioned in the previous paragraph isn't addressed.

In other words, eventhough there's this TV deal out there, it may not be of any use if all of the suggestions mentioned above still results in sparse and/or empty seats.

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A follow up to my point. With the changes in hockey that took place in 2005, do you enjoy hockey because I stopped following it regularly because of the shootouts, the icing rule (prefer touch up icing) and allowing a two line pass which I was never a fan of.

And what you think of the article I sent you.

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There is no TV deal yet and the TV deal year one will be a big ? In terms of revenue. If ratings are year 2 is the likely pay day.

TV is our future, stadium experience is something that must be addressed, but that takes time and more critically investment. Investment thr XFL can bring to the table, but the experience that will have the greatest impact is the TV one.

Yes empty stadiums don't help with optics so it needs to be addressed, but game play is where it needs to start, on field product. The stadiums can seriously suck and will be filled if the product is good and something that interests people, clearly it doesn't currently do that any more.

Raiders fans showed up in Oakland and that stadium is awful. Browns fans filled old municipal stadium and that place was a toilet. The product is what gets folks through the door and watching, retention is the next step.

Its interesting as a wholesale change to American football rules is more drastic than the 2005 changes to NHL hockey as I see it.

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