This decade, almost every CFL team won at least one championship except for Winnipeg and Ottawa. Such playoff parity is unusual. Perhaps, winning the grey cup shouldn't be too hard. Afterall, the CFL is a small league with 8 teams that just need 2-3 consecutive wins to become champion. In a short series, anything can happen and weak teams have a better chance of beating strong teams. No such parity in the long regular season though. But in the playoffs, two (under .500) teams (BC and Calgary) won grey cups. Ideally, every team should win a championship every decade. CFL fans are lucky indeed.
I guess like the Stanley Cup when there were 6 teams, it is measured more in how many you win per decade. So in a 30 team league, you should win once in 30 years, in 10 team league once in 10 years. I don't know, one way to look at it.
In the current CFL set-up, there 8 teams with 6 playoff spots. In 20 years an average team (Putting aside qualitative factors, like coaching, scouting, player talent, money to spend, etc which actually influence the pure math numbers by a huge amount, like the Eskimos' Cup run under Warren Moon ) should make the playoffs 15 times, win the opener apx 8 times, win the Division final apx 4 times and win the Grey Cup apx twice. This didnt allow for the 5 times a team on average should win the Division Title and so be spared the opening Semi-final elimination game. This factor would up a teams mathematical chances and give them a chance at an extra cup, so in the 20 year span each teams share should be 2 or 3 Grey Cups. (2.5 to be precise.)
To make it harder, if just the Division winners played 1 game (the Grey Cup game) and the 2 rounds of playoffs were eliminated, the "average" team (purely on math alone, no qualitative factors to influence the result ) would win 5 division titles and again 2 or 3 Grey Cups. Difference being, in this scenario there would be no .500 or under teams winning the Cup. Winning the Division would have a LOT more importance. Go 8-10 and you are up the road... or on it, as road kill.
Best thing all around to do to make it harder to win the Grey Cup but preserve the traditional playoffs, (and by doing so, preserve fan interest in the playoff chase) would be to add 2 teams to each Division. Of course, that isnt easy either...
These arguments have been around since the afl and nfl merger. The cfl even expanded in the U.S.A but that was put down as well, it doesnt really matter what the CFL does it will be put down in certain circles, But the fact is_ it is what it is and there is allways a entertaining Playoffs. IMHO they should go back to a two game series formula. Warren Moon was not the starter for all 5 consecutive G.C wins for thr Eskimos, had they had Condredge Hollaway, Tom Clements,J.C Watt or any other cfl starter at the time that edmonton team would have still won, their D was the best in the world!
This does bring up an interesting observation, Winnipeg being the only team not to win in that time span, but also being the only team to be bounced back and forth between divisions.
Could there be a relationship ?
I wasnt really making an argument here, I think the League's playoff system is fine as it is. The 6 teams out of 8 playoff has to help sustain fan interest almost to the end of the season, and in a gate driven league; naturally the club owners want to do that. I would want to do that too, were I an owner. The original poster was commenting on how "easy" it is, or can be; to win the Grey Cup. He is right in the sense that IS possible to have a pretty poor season & then catch fire in the playoffs & still take the Cup. The Ottawa Rough Riders once played in the Cup game with a regular season record of 5-11, I believe. This couldnt happen if the Division winners only faced off in one game. Or if there were 12 teams in the League.
The comment about the Eskimos above (re: the quality of the team) is why the simple pure math of the system always breaks down. Those Eskimo teams enjoyed qualitative advantages in coaching and player personnel that set them apart for a nice run of many seasons from the rest of the league competitively. That can happen at any time. Or the reverse can, and a team can fall back from the pack. Look at Toronto and Montreal in the 1960's. It may seem easy to come from "nowhere" to win the Cup, but I think most teams having seasons of .500 or worse are doomed to fall short a huge majority of the time. (btw, I used "Warren Moon" just to identify the Eskimo era I was talking about. I know they had Tom Wilkinson at that time also. Im sure any good CFL QB could have led that team to success.)
Re: The American expansion, it was simply very poorly executed. I still think CFL could do well in a northern city in a border state if it was handled right. Last time was too many teams, all too far from Canada. If it was ever tried again, go with 1 or 2 teams with the Import quota issue addressed somehow. A much more controlled approach. I know there is no sympathy on this board for ever trying it again, but I bet the League's owners would love to grow some interest in CFL in the States. There's nothing quite like the sound of a ringing cash register when you market team merchandise... !
I tend to agree there.
While I doubt there's much stomach to try US expansion again, and while the import rules will always make it very difficult to pull off, I do agree that it was the location of the teams too far from Canada in the south and southwest that really killed it. If Instead of outposts like Shreveport and Birmingham they had concentrated on cities closer to us, such as Portland, Milwaukee, Rochester, etc., it might have had a fighting chance to fly. But, still, with the import rules I just don't see how it could work, and I don't think there's much interest in the CFL head office to try it again. Let's focus on Ottawa, Halifax-Moncton, and Quebec City first.
I definitely agree with your view. Right now there are good prospects for stadia in all 3 of those cities. Just find investors or ownership groups, or mount a successful community ownership drive in any of them. Success there & you could expand the League eastward to Atlantic Canada & have a coast to coast league for the first time ever. That has to be a very exciting prospect for the Canadian fan & I can easily understand why everyone would want to focus on that. Plus that helps to address the thoughts expressed in the original post, If there are 11 teams in the League (One could throw in Spokane Wash or Anchorage Alaska & make 12 lol ) it makes it less likely that a team with a poor regular season record can sneak in the playoffs & "steal" a Grey Cup with a late season hot streak. It's a lot harder to go 5-11 & finish 3rd in a 6 team Division than it is to finish 3rd with that record in a 4 team Division.
I'm a fan of classifying a non-import as somebody from that team's home state. Boost the team's attendance by signing the players from the local colleges, while also limiting the available player pool. The fans would be treated to local talent, that they would be familiar with from college, and could take a real ownership of the team to represent them.