CFL 2017

CFL – long may it reign

November 30, 2017

The 2017 CFL season was one of the best in recent memory. The year started off as the “year of the catch,” highlight reels were featured with sensational diving catches and one-handed grabs. The season ended dramatically, though, with high scoring, down to the wire classics.

For years the CFL has tread water in sports, gaining no respect from the fans, players, coaches and management from other leagues. In order to grow Canada’s own pro football league, there is a need to continue to build on the positives the game already possesses. So next season, set aside some time to watch a CFL game. It’s some of the best quality football you can watch.

The CFL has plenty of talent that goes largely unnoticed by the American media but players can develop here in Canada with much less pressure and with a better opportunity to grow. Plenty of CFL players have gone on to succeed in the NFL, including defensive tackle Cameron Wake and linebacker Jerrell Freeman who have been NFL all-stars recently. Any NFL castoffs are more driven to succeed in the CFL and it can make for some great football redemption stories. Even though the CFL doesn’t have the top talent in the world, they’re no slouches and most important, they’re still pros.

In the CFL, no lead is safe. The Grey Cup featured an eight-point lead with the Stampeders ready to put the game away. But after a Kamar Jorden fumble and a recovery that led to a touchdown, the game became tied. The Argos eventually went ahead with a late field goal and clinched it with a last-second interception in the endzone. In the CFL, these games are a regular occurrence. You can’t predict a CFL game. Even the Stampeders, who were nearly undefeated with three games left in the regular season, went 0-3 as favourites in each game. This unpredictability is what makes the CFL special.

With a 20-second play clock, the action flows at a high pace. There are still plenty of stoppages, as there always are in football but the CFL runs more plays than any other league. And with a wider, longer field, every play is prone to bust open for a touchdown, so you can’t take your eyes away. The no-yards penalty makes returners more dangerous than ever. Who hates offence It’s what the game of football is built on.

In terms of becoming close to a league, no pro league is more accessible than the CFL. The players are humble and constantly get involved in the community. As a longtime fan of the league, I have gotten to meet many players from my favourite team (the Saskatchewan Roughriders) and as an Edmontonian, many Eskimos as well, including the iconic Gizmo Williams. The Grey Cup tours the nation every year and the fans can access the game, the players, and the staff easily.

But the best part of the CFL is its true Canadian identity. The Grey Cup has been around for 105 years now, only once being won by a team outside of
Canada.

The rouge is a unique, exclusive to the CFL rule which always creates fun scenarios. And as Canadians, we need to make sure our game stays strong. It’s part of our identity, and we need to keep watching the greatness in our own
backyard.

Even major American broadcaster Keith Olbermann agrees, tweeting “Hope you watched an almost out of it underdog storm back to tie, go ahead and intercept the last pass in the Grey Cup rather than this missionary position Sunday Night NFL snoozer.”

– Conner Toffan, Sports Co-Editor
Image via Reddit