Wetenhall wants US expansion?

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I hope the Good Lord knows something about football and the intricacies of the Canadian Football League, because Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall suggested that He will have some input on the choice of the next commissioner of the league.

That seems fitting, because it will take a miracle worker to fill the position that Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young described as "saving us from ourselves."

The present commissioner, Tom Wright, proved to be mortal in his four-year reign.

Earlier this week, he announced he was stepping down at the end of the year and neither Wetenhall nor Young shed any tears as they met the media at halftime of last night's Alouettes-Ticats game.

"I'm happy that he decided to step down when he realized that he had no support," Wetenhall said.

But as Wetenhall and Young offered their visions of the CFL, I wondered whether anyone could fill the position being vacated by Wright.

When asked about a salary cap - something Wright finally convinced the owners to take seriously this year - Wetenhall said the goal wasn't financial stability as much as a system that allowed every team to have a shot at winning the Grey Cup.

Bite your tongue, Bob. The Als have enjoyed great support during this century because they are winners. Wetenhall should check with the Good Lord on what happens to Montreal teams that don't win.

The big problem in selecting a commissioner - the last great one was Jake Gaudaur - is that there are differences among the owners. For example, while Wetenhall and Young seem to be on the same pages in terms of wanting better TV exposure in the U.S., better corporate support and the need for expansion, they have a difference of opinion on where the league should expand.

Wetenhall and Young would like to see another team in Ottawa and expansion to Quebec City and/or the Maritimes "if there are facilities in place."

But Wetenhall also foresees expansion to the "northern tier of the United States," while Young sees no value in exploiting the traditional rivalry between Hamilton and Buffalo.

It might take the Good Lord to provide some guidance for the CFL. Then again, it seems He provided the 10 Commandments and many people didn't take His advice on those.

Entertainment has its price: It's a good thing that a) the Alouettes offer entertaining football and b) it's tough to beat the early evening view of downtown Montreal from the north stands of Percival Molson Stadium.

I throw that out there because I'm not one of those folks who rhapsodize about the joys of a downtown stadium.

I was happy to hear that the Impact has, as I reported last month, abandoned its plans to build a new stadium in the Technoparc in favour of a site in the Olympic Park.

The Molson Stadium site is good for the Alouettes because it's cozy and the limited seating forces fans to buy the tickets well in advance. That has helped the team rack up 64 consecutive sellouts since U2 forced them out of the cavernous Big Owe.

But downtown or not, it's not a convenient location and construction on the Pine-Park interchange hasn't made life easier.

Living in the Eastern Townships, I regret the fact that I don't spend more time at the Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs, les Francofolies or les Nuits d'Afrique. But as I climbed over construction barriers and waded through streets waiting for fresh asphalt, I also thanked the special adviser to the CFL Commissioner Search Committee, aka the Good Lord, that I also miss the annual Festival du Travaux.

Those two need to look at what happened last time we expanded into the US. It was failure, and will be again. Expansion into the US will always be a bad move for the CFL, no matter what the cirucmstances are.

Differences of opinion? Happens everywhere, every organization. The commish just needs to be somebody that can get people to discuss things on an intelligent level and come to some sort of agreements on issues, even if not everyone agrees totally. And with a voting process where necessary of course.

atleast they’ve acknowledged Quebec-city as a destination.

if QC had a 30,000 seat stadium, the league woulda went there instead of ottawa in 2002, and they’d be thriving by now.

"traditional rivalry between Hamilton and Buffalo."

What teams are we rivals with? Hmmmm, Tier 2 junior A hockey? Not really.

Only thing positive out of what Wetenhall said was that he was in favour of CFL returning to Ottawa, and if stadium etc are in place, then to QC or Maritimes.

He has tossed out this idea about minor expansion to US before. Nothing to get excited about. He's only saying 2-4 teams and only if done right. There wouldn't be anything wrong in looking at idea. There are number of mid-size markets in North East US w/o football.

None of those markets want CFL football. So why try to go there?

My prediction:

The CFL must, must expand to the US in order to get more television revenue and get more excitement in the league from those Canadians that feel if there ain't any US brand on it, it ain't as good.

Expand to the US, one or two or three teams max, in northern cities. Along with an east coast city if possible.

US expansion can be successful if done right and on a limited basis, slow but surely.


Like I've post many times before, which Sportsmen can attest to, what about the import rule when expanding to the US? This puts the Canadian teams at a competitive disadvantage.

tell that to wetenhall.

Once again, a common assumption that ratio cannot be applied down there.

It was never tested or investigated the last go-around in '93.

Players play under a CBA and acc. to many that would trump any state or federal law. Smartest thing for League to do is to investigate that issue well ahead of time with US authorities

Wetenhall wants a repeat of history when we tried to put teams into the US in the mid-90's. My guess is he has gone senile after that Brian Williams interview.

You think the CFL will be able to mandate to the US government that a US based team will have to employ a certain amount of Canadians on it's roster?

Can US law overrule the terms and conditions of a Collective Bargaining Agreement?

I don't know the answer either. But unlike last time, CFL would have to find the answer.

They could make a legit argument --- because sports is different than other industries --- that by having teams there, they are providing employment to 50 or 100 American players that oridinarily would not be able to play professional football.

It could be too that it w/b as much about a particular state law than federal. That might dictate which cities they choose.

I don't want any requirements for Canadians on US based teams, no way. This won't fly with Americans also and I wouldn't blame them.

And that is why I don't want US based teams.

Oh, come on there roughyfan, I enjoyed watching the American teams when they were in with all Americans, it was great to beat them.
The more I think about this, this would be a great thing to happen for the CFL, US expansion.

It just creates an unfair advantage for all American teams.

In 1995 (only the second year for most American teams) the American teams had a combined record of 51-39 (good for .56g winning percentage). They also had only one losing team. While the Canadian division had 5 losing teams and only 3 winning teams. Could you imagine how dominant the American teams would have become in the future.

Lets look at it this way: we dont like it when the NFL talks about having a team in Toronto well, same would go for the Americans if we started talking about crossing the border.