The Upside of a Small League

Was affronted with some anti-CFL smack from my colleagues yesterday on the "small" number of teams in the CFL. Got me thinking about the downside of big team the fact that one can cheer for a team for one's entire life and never enjoy the victory of a championship win (Leafs fans? Bills, Vikings...), or never even make it to the final (Detroit Lions, Browns, Jaguars, Texans). Depite the CFL's small size, it still seems quite difficult for some teams to make it to the Big Game on a regular basis, especially when there are clubs who are perennial losers or winners (Ti-Cats). I like the CFL for its small number of teams. Expansion to 10 or 12 would be great, just to add some more variety.

Just another reason the CFL is a treasure and never gets stale to me, the opposite. I wish the NHL would have never gone to more than 6 teams in many respects, 10 max. Oh well.

A lot of times I think due to peer pressure, people go along with a popular water cooler attitude go be honest.

Couldn't agree more. I guess I'm not the water cooler kinda guy...

In the CFL, I can follow every team, watch most games - every game if you really want to, and as a result, can get a pretty good judge of the talent level of almost every player in the league. In a bigger league you're stuck with nothing but the stats sheet for a lot of players.

And to add to your point, it's getting close to the point where nobody on the planet has even been alive for a Chicago Cubs World Series title.

I love small leagues, and I hope the CFL stays somewhere from 8-12 teams for a long time, which I think is pretty much certain.

On a per capita basis, the CFL has more teams than the NFL. Use that in a retort next time.

When the NFL has 100 teams, then we can start talking.

The "Big 4" North American leagues are odd ones out too, with 30 or more teams.

The bigger top soccer leagues in Europe typically have only about 20 teams. There's a bunch of countries with only 10 or 12 teams in their soccer leagues. Australia's AFL (Aussie Rules) and NRL (rugby league -- not to be confused with the more common rugby union) only have around 16 teams. England's premier rugby union has only 12, while their rugby league has only 14. The SupeRugby, with teams in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand has only 15 teams.

Ireland has a couple of big competitions with 32 or so teams, but these are mostly organized around the traditional Irish counties, where each team has to take its players from within the county, and, as far as I know, they're primarily amateur, not pro.

Cricket is probably bigger in India than football (and maybe even hockey) is in Canada, and India has a huuuuge population, yet the India Premier League also only has 8 teams.

On another note, Canada's population is larger than that of Australia. Heck, Ontario and Quebec's total population alone is almost that of the whole country of Australia. Our population is also similarly distributed, with most people living on the coast there (rather than the US Canada border here), and concentrated in the east (rather than along the St. Lawrence Seaway). Even their major cities are comparable in size. And they have 16 or so teams in both of their major pro-leagues (not to mention being great cricketers in addition to those sports).

That suggests to me that Canada, if our population would actually support homegrown sports a little better, could support more teams than they do now. Toronto, Montreal, and maybe even Vancouver, have enough people to support two teams (just not enough that would). Your co-workers can complain about the smallness of the league, but... it's going to stay that way if people like them keep staying away. To me, the smallness if the league isn't a judgment of the league itself, but an judgment of Canadians. What does it say about the country if the only fully-domestic sports league is the "bush-league" 8 team CFL?

Excellent aspect rob, didn't tbink of tbat and very true. :thup:

…beat them with math!!! sheeeeyah!!

Agreed, and I appreciate PiCat's survey of other sports leagues on this point. Being a PEIslander I'm OK with small. But yes, it does make the CFL easier to take an interest in. Who has the time to follow NFL, NHL or MLB as closely as we can follow the CFL if we choose? People who can do that should consider getting a life in the real world.

I would love to see those other North American leagues adopt the British system of ranked divisions with promotions and relegations. The best teams would get better from playing top-notch competition all the time, and the others would have something serious to play for if their performance dictated whether or not they could move up or down a division at the end of the season. And if you do have a real life, you can just focus on the top division and not worry if Phoenix and Florida swap draft picks. As an old fan of Original Six hockey, I might go back to it if there was a 6 or 8 team Premier Division in the NHL.

The average family being able to afford to attend a couple of games a year is nice as well.

Thanks for the interesting perspective. I suspect you came from either a small town, or rural area. Your perspective fits that mentality

Just think if we had a premiership in MLB? Who would be the Yankee's rivals?

And being closer to the field is nice!

Well, if MLB got realistic about salaries any team could compete. It is just ridiculous. It is a 40 man roster, 25 active at any time, and the team salary is about 200mil/year, meaning 5mil average per player...

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I'm sorry, I just can not support any league that is like that. Players should not be able to retire with enough money to buy the clubs they played for. When a guy who has 30 at bats in a year makes a million dollars there is an issue.

I haven’t talked smack with anyone regarding CFL for awhile… I haven’t heard anyone say anything negative… Maybe I’m not getting out enough… One of my co-workers bugs me that the Argos are bad, but not the state of the league or that its not worthy of attention…

Exactly how I feel. I might be an even bigger hockey fan, than I am Football fan, but I know the CFL more than the NHL and I'd like to think of myself as a huge fan of both leagues. Being a smaller league has tonnes of advantages and the first of which is the intimacy of the league. I feel like I know the CFL, its teams, and players inside out because I'm not only watching team. In the NHL I can really only follow a few teams thoroughly.

The average family could afford season tickets as well. Mine were $250 a piece this season. You get way more bang for your buck at a CFL game. I too wish to see 10 healthy teams.

Couldn't agree more. If Canadians in general had as much passion for football as they do for hockey. Toronto could easily have an additional two/three teams. One in Mississauga, one in the North End and maybe one in Durham/Scarborough

I've landed in a job where most of the guys in my office are NFL fans...

What if you had a team that had no home and played all of its games on the road. Call 'em the Phantoms or something. Or they could borrow a stadium as a home stadium for a game when needed.