Hey there Raider Nation, it's Moghlannak. Your long time reader, average poster, and Canadian Raiders fan.
Over the past few weeks here, and on Reddit /r /nfl, I've been seeing what seems to be an interest in the CFL, International Football in general, and what it has to offer.
It started with the EFAF (European Federation of American Football) Championship between Germany and Austria. I was surprised to see how many people (Americans) were streaming it live during the NFL off season. This Reddit thread was amazing to be on live during the game, it felt like week 1 was here. And the comments from true football fans was a thing to behold. Many people were eager to learn the rules and rivalries, and to see the European fans in all their glory. It was estimated around 30,000 people were at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna. Some one of Reddit mentioned that the level of play is comparable to Div 2/3 NCAA as Austria played and beat Claremont McKenna College, a Div 3 school. I'm having a very hard time trying to find highlights of the game, but this video at least shows the scale of the game. If anyone knows where to find highlights please post them in the comments.
After reading more about this game (I myself was basically clueless to European football) it became clear that the four month season of the NFL wasn't enough to quench the thirst of football fans. People began asking more about where and how to watch football outside of the NFL. That's when I said to myself "Hey, I've been watching the CFL for the last 20 years, I may know a thing or two that others don't".
Now let me get to the CFL. A few days ago the great Doug Flutie did an interview with some weird Canadian media outlet I've never heard of, about how the NFL is becoming more like the CFL. The NFL page has a link to the full article if you want to read it in its entirety. It is an interesting idea and it got a lot of people talking about the pros and cons of CFL football.
Now let me right off the bat state that I completely understand that the level of talent in the CFL pales in comparison to the NFL, but there are aspects of the game that can make it very exciting. And Flutie would know this best.
In the 1991 season while playing for the BC Lions, Flutie passed for 6619 yards, 38 TDs to 24 Ints, 610 rushing yards on 120 attempts with 14 rushing TDs. My god look at those numbers! In fact, of the top 10 passing yards in a season in all football history, Doug Flutie has positions 1,3,6,9, and 10. This is what the CFL can offer.
Most games are routinely high scoring, using a no huddle offense with empty backfields and 5 wide receiver sets. Due to the larger field, the players are generally smaller and quicker. The large field also lends itself to players and schemes that work well in space. This is why a player like Kory Sheets did so well here. He excels at catching out of the backfield, running sweeps and pick plays etc.. The clock stoppages work different than the NFL and can make the pace of the game very fun to watch. This year especially could be more interesting as an expansion team has been placed on our National Capital, Ottawa. They are called the RedBlacks (whatever that is) and their jerseys look bad ass in my opinion.
Here are a few links to general information on the CFL.
- CFL wiki
- CFL page of the US broadcast schedule
- I'm not positive on the availability or access, but you can watch CFL games live on ESPN
- FirstRowSports.Eu will occasionally stream CFL games. I've used it for a few years now to watch Raiders games if I happen to be working out of town. It is reliable and safe as long as you don't download any offers.
In fact right now as I type this, the season opener is underway between the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. I have season tickets here in Calgary for the Stampeder's games and come Saturday I can't wait to plant my ass in that seat and watch 3 hours of football.
I suggest some of you give it a shot. It may take some getting used to, as the CFL is probably around NCAA Div1-2 level. But either way, go Raiders and go Stamps!
Thanks for reading. Sorry for any grammatical errors (I'm an Engineer not a writer!) or formatting errors as this is more or less my first post.