Thursday, October 18, 2007


The beautiful minds behind Epic Carnival believe that the "Toronto Bills" would be a wonderful thing, for what it's worth.

Thanks, but no thanks. There's a league already here called the Canadian Football League with roots stretching back more than 100 years. It plays a more thinking man's brand of football, one that's more challenging to coach, to play and even support as a fan (especially if you live in the Hammer). Honestly, anyone who cannot appreciate why that's valuable and needs to be cultivated by Canadians, and would instead hunger for the crumbs of the NFL schedule — which is what one game per year involving the lousy Buffalo Bills amounts to — should not be catered to as a sports fan. Soulless sucklers of the NFL teat, that's what you are; love that league to the south, but realize it's best loved from afar.

People who underestimate how deep the CFL is embedded in Canadian culture do so at their own peril. Besides, doesn't knowing the full gamut of the NFL experience is something you'll never know living in Canada just make you appreciate the Sunday smorgasbord of wall-to-wall NFL games more, anyways?

The CFL is to be loved for its imperfections. It has its ills, but through the years, it's remaining first and foremost about The Game (Lenny Kravitz playing the Grey Cup halftime notwithstanding), not about who you have money on a team to cover a 7 1/2-point spread. It's a long way from yesterday's news about the Bills looking to play a regular-season game in Toronto to a team actually coming and perhaps sending the CFL into a death spin, but that's how it is and how it shall remain, sure as God meant football to have three downs and be played on a 65-yard wide field.

If it happens, it happens, but not by taking Buffalo's team. Who wants the same blood on their hands as Phoenix, Denver and Washington, D.C., who took teams away from Canada, where they were beloved the same way the Bills are in Buffalo?

Bills eye Toronto (


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post, and I agree with you that I do not claim have a finger on the canadian sports scene, but I never claimed this to be a wonderful turn of events; yet rather it was to show how the bills could thrive in canada where other pro sports teams have not. I think its a terrible thing when teams are uprooted from their original fanbase, and I could only imagine how pissed I would be if the Bears moved to San Jose or something. Actually, I take that back, I could never imagine and would probably have to end my life. Anyways, financially for any new owner that eventually comes in after ralph wilson will benefit greatly by this move, and the league would bend over backwards to see it happen. My only knock for the CFL Henry Burris as player of the week on the cfl website. Truly a joke of player, and while CFL has a true fanbase, the talent in the NFL makes more exciting from a pure sports sense.

sager said...

Dr. C,

It's never been a question of whether it's financially scaleable for Toronto to have a NFL team... it's about it being distasteful for people in Canada to covet a team that Buffalo and WNY have supported faithfully since 1960 and about it being wrongheaded for people here to turn up their nose at the CFL and then lust for the NFL.

As for "pure sport sense," explain to me why as many people watch college football as the NFL, where the talent and coaching is vastly inferior. It's not just about talent.

Incidentally, do you really want to be questioning the CFL's talent at quarterback in a week where 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde was able to get off the coach and lead Carolina to a win with just three days of practice? Just sayin'.

Pete Toms said...

N, does it offend your Cdn sensibilities / pride that the NFL doesn't consider the proposed Bills games in TO as "International" games?

Sample quotes from David Naylor.

"The NFL a year ago voted to play up to two regular-season games a year outside of the United States, as part of its international initiative, the first of which takes place Oct. 30 in London. The Bills' plan, however, is not considered an international venture (Naylor)......[The Bills' proposal] is separate from the NFL international series of games that was approved last October,” McCarthy said.

The quote attributed to McCarthy is Brian McCarthy an NFL media flak.

I wonder if the NFL has misjudged how those sorts of comments play up here in our home & native land. Nothin pisses us off like getting lumped in with the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Anonymous said...

move the argos to Ottawa to play in the new O'Brienstade at Lansdowne and then we can have some CIS_CFL doubleheaders.

Dennis Prouse said...

Two years ago, I would have agreed with every word you wrote. Two years from now, I may agree with it all again. I freely admit, though, to still feeling jilted by the CFL as a result of how they treated Ottawa. I'm still nursing a major grudge over the fact that Hamilton and Toronto were eligible for league takeovers until suitable ownership was found, but our franchise was taken out back and shot when it ran into trouble. As a result, I have been flirting far more heavily with the NFL and NCAA than in years gone by.

As I say, we sports fans are conditioned to be forgiving, and I will be first in line to buy tickets if and when the CFL returns. The cavalier manner in which the Renegades were killed, however, will always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

sager said...

The fact it wouldn't be considered international hadn't come to mind, to be honest. Half the players in the CFL are American, and probably a third of the Canadians are U.S.-educated (assuming their NCAA alma maters actually graduate players).

There's no issue here with the Bills wanting to expand their reach corporately, or the NFL wanting to grow its brand even more. It's more about the mindset from the Paul Godfreys of the world, the Johnny-come-latelies and the self-loathing Canadians that the CFL and its loyal-to-a-fault fans are expendable. It's not and we're not.

Toronto should try for a second NHL team instead of a NFL team.

Pete Toms said...

Dennis, you're a political animal, are you not?

I'm surprised that Minto / O'Brien / Hunt have hitched their wagon of the development of Lansdowne to the CFL. I'm surprised because there are a lot of people - you for instance - who have been left with a bitter taste in their mouths vis a vis the CFL in this town.

What do you think of their tactics so far? Are you surprised they are linking the CFL to the development? Is it gonna fly?

sager said...


Chris Stevenson is on yr. wavelength!