When the CFL was King 1977

Over 70,000 at Olympic Stadium for a regular season game against the Argos..

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQnLo6OW4fk&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLBDCCEDCA0B930420]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQnLo6OW ... CA0B930420[/url]

Loved Leo Cahill as coach and broadcaster in those days!

sorry for the revisit posts...I must be going through a mid-life crisis.. :o :o :o :o :o :o

The voices, the sounds, the music; It's amazing what watching these old telecasts can do for one's memory banks.

I was born in 1977, so I don’t remember any of that. For pretty much as long as I’ve been aware of the CFL, the story of the league has been a struggle for legitimacy and survival. It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, the game was as popular up here as the corresponding game south of the border is now.

What happened?

At one time, the CFL was actually more popular than the AFL/NFL in the 50's and 60's and many American college/university stars came to Canada to play as the pay at least equal, or in many cases, better than the American leagues.

Personally, I like to blame Joe Namath for the decline of the CFL. :wink:

The AFL and NFL merged in 1969 and Namath famously led the underdog AFL Jets to a Superbowl win over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts of the NFL.
Publicity and media coverage was overwhelming and ubiquitous for the newly merged league.

The NFL subsequently became a powerhouse league and never looked back.

...lol, Ktel...I think I have some vinyl records and other products from them stored in the basement somewhere, ah what an era

haha yes I remember K-Tel very well R&W.

Half of my albums as a young kid were K-Tel's Greatest Hits of some sort or another. I don't think they were a label for any one particular artist, just for older songs of has-been artists.

One album I remember in particular was a Happy Days album. A collection of 50's/60's songs with a Fonzie catchphrase track on one side.

oh, the lame of it! :stuck_out_tongue:

Major advancements in color TV was the beginning of the end for the CFL being as popular as the NFL. Back then college football reigned surpreme and "pro football" was an afterthought and had a tiny footprint. With the arrival of the AFL as a serious competitor and along with it's major color TV exposure, the game started to take off. Sadly, the CFL fell behind and moved at glacial speeds to catch-up with the passing time. Even worse, in the decades since, they regressed for a generation before only recently stabilizing.

You said it EVM. Cable TV happened to the CFL. Massive amounts of TV money and clout, and the end of the gate-driven age in the U.S. quickly eroded the CFL's ability to compete on a level playing field, so to speak. Since that time the CFL has simply been out hyped and out hustled by the its southern cousin. The hype and money and the corresponding domination by A-list players allowed the NFL to romance many Canadians.

let us not forget the effect of the slide in the canadian dollar.

Granted and agreed, American TV contracts made a significant contribution and leverage between the two leagues' financial competitiveness.

However this large broadcast advantage blossomed mainly due to the AFL/NFL integration.
it wasn't until the AFL and NFL merger in the late 60's that completely opened the door to monopolization and absolute market control.
Before that time, the AFL and NFL (and to a lesser extent UFL and ContFL) split loyalties among fans and media which diluted the strength of each league and inadvertently helped maintain a healthy CFL marketplace.

Yet once the NFL merger was signed, market domination commenced, which gave way to network bidding wars/Monday Night Football etc etc and subsequently affected Pro football in Canada due to pervasive American influence.

Regardless, the Canadian game is much more entertaining IMO. :slight_smile:

While the CFL may not be quite equivalent to when it was at it's pinnacle, I believe the league hasn't really had a brighter future in a while. This is another golden age for the league.

The CFL 5 years from now will be a totally different and dynamic league.

in full agreement.
The CFL rebirth is occurring as we speak. Teams are getting new stadiums and refurbs, broadcast ratings are at an all time high, corporate partners and sponsors support is healthy with licensed content increasing steadily and rapidly.

And with the potential addition of 2 or 3 more teams in the near future, I have no doubt the league will become a cultural dynasty once again.

I haven't seen it put quite like that tangledweb, and you make a cogent argument. Cable TV actually started much earlier than this merger, so that kind of throws water on my assertion that it was an all-TV kind of change. It makes perfect sense that the merger consolidated the influence of the league and allowed it better package its product, which resulted in ever-rising income. So it actually was the merger that was the catalyst.

I of course agree with you and geroy that the CFL is much more entertaining, and the future is indeed very bright. With sound management practices, a real salary cap, and improved television experience thanks to better coverage and more attractive stadiums, there is no reason the CFL can't substantially boost its stock with the public and eventually attract high quality ownership and more teams. It might even one day land a much bigger TV deal south of the border. It just needs to get its games out there and keep them out there so it can build a loyal following.

And the bell bottoms pants, platform shoes, gold chains, fake chest hair, tacky sunglasses, fly-way collared and/or ruffled shirts, et cetera too?

Do you still have shag carpeting and wood paneling in the basement too?

(Full disclosure -- we did in our house when I was a kid)

Expand the rosters a few spots too to compensate for the often injured star player who is not a QB, and there is improvement and growth in the play and the game too.

I don't buy the NFL excuse. Never have, personally I thinks it's a cop out. Let's blame the big, bad, rich Americans rather than putting in the effort required to find the cause of the leagues downfall. I don't claim to have the answer, but I do know this, during the 70's when the NFL was on the rise and people watched the Superbowl because it was an exciting championship football game and not because of the halftime show or the commercials the CFL was hugely successful up here. By the mid '80s when the league started to fall off (especially in the east) the NFL was at the beginning of an era that saw the game slowed down and game times stretched out to almost 4 hours, a failed attempt at video replay that killed any game it was used in, NFC dominance in the Super Bowl which quickly became known as the Super Bore.

Other than money the NFL at that time had absolutely nothing on the CFL. This was the era that brought us Gizmo Williams, Damon Allen, Allen Pitts, Matt Dunnigan, Danny McManus. Why it failed in the east is up for debate but don't blame the big bad NFL monster, it was far too busy trying to figure out how to get the teams to play the Super Bowl the last Sunday in January instead of during the NFC Championship game.

For sure for the 1985 to 1996 seasons in the NFL, DC Moses is right about the NFC Conference such that for the most part we looked forward to Championship Sunday far more than to the Super Bore.

For sake of reference, the last four Super Bowls in a row have been competitive into the 4th quarter as is extremely unusual if not unprecedented in the NFL.

It took the Denver Broncos with John Elway to beat the Green Bay Packers for the championship for the 1997 season, which was the best Super Bowl at the time in a very long time, for parity for the most part to shift back in place for the conferences.

If there was ever a time for another league to thrive, it would have been the CFL in that era yet the very opposite happened after the failed experiment to expand to the US that also took place in that era. Maybe someone can add more.

Good stuff. :thup:

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.

I'll add one more thing that the CFL doesn't do much of because it's limited in its ability to do so: Promote the social aspect of the game.

I don't how many Canadians have ever been to a real tailgate party - not one of those fake ones that are fenced in and have vendors selling overpriced bear and hot dogs - but a real, honest to goodness tailgater where 1000s of people pay anywhere from $10 - $40 dollars to park their car or motor home in a gigantic parking lot, set up their BBQs and sound systems, and cook everything from hot dogs to sirloin steaks and PARTY. Sure there's booze and drinking and open fires in BBQs, and the cops patrol to keep the goofs and drunks from causing a ruckus and confiscate their game ticket and throw 'em out or arrest 'em if they do, but they leave the people ALONE. They might even stop to chat. It's about being social and fostering an atmosphere of reverie and togetherness. It's really quite marvellous and great fun.
You can even find free lots where people gather in underpasses. It's just so much more fun to be social than simply going to the game.

Allowing REAL tailgate parties would go a long, long way towards giving people more value, social value, for their game day ticket experience. But alas, I just can't see this happening in my beloved, but staid ol' Canada anytime soon. Too bad because it really is something Americans do exceptionally well.

What happened to the league out in the East during the 70's is that the profile of the league plummeted. Major centers like Toronto "outgrew" the CFL once MLB came to town. Suddenly, the New York Yankees coming to town was 100X more exciting than a visit from the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Montreal had just come off of hosting the world 2X in the span of a decade and was a white hot name in the international scene. Constructing what was billed as the greatest stadium in the world, (LOL) gave the mayor the idea for a "world class" league for a world class stadium didn't help matters any. Once the lustre of the new stadium wore off and it became clear the city wasn't getting an NFL franchise, the Als made a nosedive downwards. As sad as that is, not much has changed since. Larger Canadian markets within close proximity to the US draw poorly on a per capita basis, while the more smaller, isolated Canadian markets flourish. And its not even unique to football either. An all-Canadian soccer league drew flies but once the MLS came around, you saw season ticket wait lists in those same markets. Until the league learns the lesson you can't market the CFL the same way in Toronto as you do in Regina it will continue to struggle or not reach its full potential in markets like Southern Ontario