Maybe you haven't lived in central Canada, particularly around Toronto, but in the years I lived there - 1977 to 1995 - I endured endless rants, slants and insults because I was a CFL fan. The single biggest complaint for the NFL-is-better fan? Talent. It was always about how all the good talent is in the NFL. To this day you hear that argument, even on this very forum from time to time. Why do they think that? Because of money. End of story. The biggest single reason people in central Canada eschew the CFL in favour of the NFL is because they believe the CFL to be second rate because NFL players make a lot more and therefor all the good players are there and not here. This is NOT my argument, so don't shoot the messenger.
You can poo-poo and ignore that reason while telling us that you don't know what the real reason is all you like, but there you have it. It's not about the quality of the game. It's not about anything else other than the perception that big money means big talent and small money means small talent. Most of us know that is baloney, because you can, as the CFL proves year in and year out, still have exceptionally high quality football without putting players in the top 1%, and that it's ridiculous to suggest that every single great player plays in the NFL. It's purely a perception problem.
How do you overcome that? By doing what the CFL can and is doing (and it's showing results). Get a commissioner that understands the sports business and marketing. Upgrade the viewing experience. Get your financial act together so you're not borrowing money to stay afloat. Balance the league better. Do what you can to foster the creation of new teams. Encourage and support the upgrading of stadia. React to criticism wisely and thoughtfully and not with panic.
If you have other ideas I'd love to see them.