For those of you who don’t know, sports is a very important part of my life. Basketball is without a doubt number one for me, but football has a firm hold of second place.
I’ll admit, the National Football league (NFL) will always come first when it comes to where my fandom lies, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not ecstatic about the return of the Canadian Football League (CFL). After having to cancel last season due to COVID-19, there were worries that the league could be in danger of folding completely. To have it back in full capacity has sports fans around the country like myself breathing a collective sigh of relief.
The CFL has been a huge part of the fabric of Canadian sports since it was first formed in 1958 and has a rich history with generations of fans. The Grey Cup championship game is consistently one of the largest annual sporting events in Canadian television, with the most recent one in 2019 peaking at 4.3 million viewers.
It has a deeper value then just entertainment as well. The CFL employs hundreds, even thousands of people a year with a high percentage being Canadian. From coaching staffs and equipment managers, television crews and media personnel, in-stadium vendors and maintenance staff, and of course the players themselves. If the CFL were to go under, there would be significant job loss.
Furthermore, the CFL provides an alternative opportunity to pursue for Canadian Athletes. The NFL is incredibly hard to make especially for a Canadian. With the CFL, young athletes in Canada have a more realistic pathway to playing professionally which in turn creates incentives for them to play the game at the high school and university level and raises the level of Canadian university athletics. Universities depend quite a bit on athletic programs for funding, so the grassroots pipeline that’s created by having a credible football league in Canada is frankly unquantifiable.
It’s also just fun to have the game back after a year-long hiatus. I’ve always found that though the talent level is step below the NFL, the three-down aspect and the bigger field makes it a much more fun and exciting watching experience because the game moves faster and there’s more emphasis on the passing game.
Now, this might upset a few people, but as a Toronto boy I support the Argonauts through and through. The B.C. Lions are my least favourite team in the league actually, so if the two teams happen to meet in this year’s Grey Cup you better believe I’ll be decked out in Argo blue. That’s the beauty of sports though; the rivalries, the competition, being a fan and supporting your team.
Its good to have you back CFL, I think I can speak for all Canadian sports fans when I say “we’ve missed you”.
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