Canadian Appreciation

Tim Tebow has never expressed interest in playing in Canada, but the game might not be the best fit for his skill set anyway. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Tim Tebow has never expressed interest in playing in Canada; the game might not be the best fit for his skill set anyway. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think Bill Belichick would love the rule the CFL Competition Committee adopted this year: instant replay on pass-interference calls and non-calls. Coaches have two replay challenges per game, as in the NFL, but they can use it if they think a receiver’s gotten mugged. It turned into a key play in the first game of the season Thursday night in Winnipeg. Winnipeg coach Mike O’Shea challenged an uncalled but clear pass-interference infraction, and it allowed the Blue Bombers to get the ball at the opposing 1-yard line and score an easy touchdown.

2. I think I saw a perfect example why interference should be adjusted to be a reviewable play. Coach Corey Chamblin of the Roughriders showed me in his office Sunday morning a play from last year’s final minute in the Eastern Conference final between Montreal and Hamilton. Duron Carter, the wide receiver, got mugged in the end zone. No call. The game was tied and went to overtime. “That play,” said Chamblin, “could have been the difference between Montreal going to the Grey Cup and Hamilton going home.”

3. I think something I’ve re-thought after seeing two games over the weekend is that Tim Tebow would be a tough fit here. You’ve got to be an accurate passer to succeed in the CFL, because of the wide field—12 yards wider than the NFL field—and the fact that you’re playing in more weather than in the United States. Tebow has often been talked of as a good fit in the CFL, and he would be a desirable player in Canada because of his name. “But one of his major downfalls is accuracy,” Saskatchewan assistant GM Jeremy O’Day said. “I think he would struggle.” Tebow is on Montreal’s negotiating list, but he and his reps have shown no interest in playing in the CFL.

4. I think something I never hear in an NFL locker room I heard five times Saturday afternoon from players in Calgary: “Thanks for coming.” Or, “Great that you came to Canada. Thanks.”

5. I think one of the quirky things I heard here was in Calgary, where the Stamps play “Sweet Caroline” just the way it’s played at Fenway Park, shutting down the “so good, so good, so good” so the fans can take it away. They were good at it too.

6. I think I was pleased to see Luke Tasker score the lone Hamilton touchdown Sunday. Scary how much he reminds me of his dad, Steve, the Buffalo Bills great—as a player and as a polite person just happy to be playing football. Luke Tasker, who played collegiately at Cornell, got dropped from his free-agent trial in San Diego after camp last year and signed with Hamilton in the fall. He played in the Grey Cup loss at Saskatchewan, and was back Sunday with four catches for 37 yards, including a four-yard touchdown that was a superb catch because of how tough it was to keep a foot inbounds (you only need to get one down in the CFL). “I’ll play for as long as I can,” Tasker said. “My wife and I are setting up our home in Hamilton, and because it’s so close to Buffalo, about an hour and 20 minutes, it’s a good place so my family can come and see me play.” He said he likes the game a lot. “It’s a different kind of exhaustion for a receiver because you’re running so much,” he said.

7. I think the starkest difference between the two leagues, north and south, is the salary cap. NFL in 2014: $130 million. CFL in 2014: $5 million.

8. I think you’ll read some different perspectives in the next couple of weeks in this space. Oakland rookie Khalil Mack will take my spot next Monday, and Rich Eisen of NFL Network two weeks from today. I’m going to Italy. Excited about it. I’ll be back three weeks from today, live from the first open camp in the NFL—Buffalo’s, in Pittsford, N.Y.

TALK BACK

Have a question or comment for Peter? Email him at talkback@themmqb.com and it might be included in Tuesday’s mailbag.

9. I think I need your help. Tomorrow my column will be your words on our CFL coverage, and whether you want more of it or less. I’ll run the best mail from you. Be specific about what you like or don’t like. As I said when we started a week ago, you’ll determine by your visits to our site and your clicks on our stories whether you want us to write more about the CFL. No matter what, I won’t commit to covering it weekly, but if the numbers are good we’ll check in on the CFL during the season. Send your thoughts to me today, on Twitter or at the email address in the box to the right.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. Lovely country up here. I love driving. John Madden used to talk about how he disliked the flyover mentality that people have when they travel, like they were really seeing things when actually they were flying over things and not seeing them. I have a real feel of the prairies in Canada now. Though the rain here has been outlandish, the green and the ponds and the wheatfields … beautiful and placid.

b. The World Cup seems fun, though not many in Alberta and Saskatchewan seemed tied to their TVs over it. Saw a replay of the penalty called on the Mexico player in the box, allowing the Netherlands to convert the winning penalty kick. Thought it was a foul, but the embellishment … totally classless.

c. Incredible: thisclose to having both Mexico and Costa Rica the final eight. Congrats to the latter.

d. Welcome, Mookie.

e. Coffeenerdness I: There is a drive-through Starbucks in Medicine Hat. After a short night Saturday and a 4.5-hour drive Sunday, that was a hugely welcome sight.

f. Coffeenerdness II: Then, just 45 minutes out of Regina, we stopped in Moose Jaw at a Tim Horton’s. Busy morning at the Moose Jaw TimHo’s. I was 19th in line. My review of the coffee? I’m more of a dark-roast kind of guy. I drank the coffee, and it was okay, but I need a darker blend.

g. Beernerdness: Tried the Great Western Brewing Company’s Original 16 Pale Ale in Regina. Seemed like a good drinking beer—and by that I mean you could have more than two and not feel leaden—but not particularly memorable. I can always say I had a beer from Saskatoon.

h. One more thing about the upcoming week: We’re just finishing up Canada Week. Now we’re onto Beach Reading Week. Starting tomorrow, we’ll have four installments of a Bill Syken novella I think you’ll really like.

i. Right. Beach Reading Week. Give something new a try, the same way you tried Canada Week.

The Adieu Haiku

See you in three weeks.
Just one recommendation:
Try the CFL.

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185 comments
cabobyn
cabobyn

Pretty good article on the great CFL game.

SD2014
SD2014

"But I did get to stay in a lovely, classic hotel in Regina: the Hotel Saskatchewan"

It is a "lovely" hotel.  They have a "royal suite."  It is where the queen stays when she visits Regina.  A quite nice hotel!

SD2014
SD2014

The Best Player We've Never Seen

I am not sure if anybody would have ever seen Calvillo.  He broke into the league with the Las Vegas Posse, an expansion team that existed for a couple seasons when the CFL tried to move into the US.  If it wasn't for that, he may never have gotten is chance.

The CFL is full of players like that.  Guys that just weren't in the right place at the right time, or just lack the size for the NFL.  In the CFL speed is much more important.

You wonder how many other guys there are out there like this who NEVER get a chance.  We probably wouldn't know who Tom Brady was if Brew Bledsoe never got hurt.  Same thing for Curt Warner who came out of Arena ball.

SD2014
SD2014

Something for every football fan's bucket list.

GO TO A GREY CUP!

San Diego has hosted 2 Super Bowls since I have lived here and neither one was anywhere near as much fun as a Grey Cup.  Sure there are great Super Bowl parties - hosted by Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Maxim Magazine - and I am NOT getting an invite to any of them.  And Super Bowl tickets are so expensive most normal fans can't afford them.  

While the Super Bowl is all about team owners and celebrities, the rich and famous out to see and be seen,  The Grey Cup is about the fans.  Fans can actually afford tickets.  Each team has a hospitality suite for their fans - not just the 2 teams in the Grey Cup, but each team in the league.  The whole city is one big party the week before the game (if you're not in Toronto or Vancouver), and it's the fans, not owners and celebrities who are at the party.  

Come the week before a Grey Cup.  Spend the entire week there.  See one of the players ride a horse into his team's hotel (a Grey Cup tradition), and go to the game.  The best cities to see a Grey Cup in are Regina, and Winnipeg (if you can handle the cold), then Calgary and Edmonton, followed by Hamilton and Montreal, Ottawa probably next.  The party doesn't seem to go city-wide in Vancouver and Toronto - although they are great cities to visit.  Montreal is kind of the same way - but the entire city of Montreal is a big party - so that's okay.  

If you get the chance GO TO A GREY CUP.  Spend the pre-game week in the host city.  It is both much more affordable than a Super Bowl and MUCH MORE FUN!

maxhyde
maxhyde

Well done Mr. King!  Kudos to covering all these players and this league.

I am a Canadian living in the US and love the NFL but I do miss the CFL living down here.


Thanks for giving our great game a column!



RobertPeter
RobertPeter

.....IF you can get past the HYPE/B.S. of the NFL.....and watch a few C.F.L. games you will be greatly entertained simply because our game is BETTER.....

RobertPeter
RobertPeter

Thanks For Coming To The C.F.L.....Peter

RobertPeter
RobertPeter

well i finally have a place to share some thoughts i have had for over 55 years.......the best football game played in America each year for the last 55 years is The Grey Cup.....when ever i watch a NFL game that everyone is amazed how great a game it was My Mind says to myself it kinda close to what we watch every week in the C.F.L......when the 49s were playing what they called west coast football seemed to me they had been watching the C.F.L......our players play for the love of the game not the money.....our game is bigger faster and more fun......P.S.....our BALLS are bigger......one last thing......if you need 4 downs to get 10 yards you can let the girls play......GO LIONS GO.....  

edgrbrown1
edgrbrown1

needless to say, but.... there will be corn and cow on BBQ.

edgrbrown1
edgrbrown1

bonjour pierre. the Thanksgiving day classics. ours is earlier than in USA. anyways it is when the push for playoffs really starts.

edgrbrown1
edgrbrown1

sorry pete. had to spell spell right. Alouettes.hmmm. still looks wrong. i am bilingual, i think.Go Habs Go.

edgrbrown1
edgrbrown1

hi peter. great idea covering cfl.the grey cup is in Vancouver this year i think? my mom is from Saskatchewan, so, green riders rule.hahaha, i have been to Regina and Moose Jaw.live in TO now. Argos suck. maybe Ticats? we still have the crossover playoff thing right?east to west? Peter please come up to Canada for the long weekend classics. esks vs stamps. sask vs bluebombers. TO vs Tcats.etc.it is good. i might have that wrong. what with red blacks in league now.my alouets are gonna suck now that Tresman is gone.

SteveRowFla
SteveRowFla

I wonder if PK would be okay with MLB  instituting a rule that x% of players have to be US citizens, or if the NFL implemented a policy requiring the racial distribution of the league to mirror the overall population?

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

World's a better place when neighbors share common interests, like grilling, lawn-darts (pre-'75), football (by Wilson®), beer or cerveza, hockey, baseball, fishing, b-ball and tougher rules on greenhouse-gas emissions (?).


A merger (NFL - CFL) is probably out of the question, huh? Just a thought, maybe better this way: brand. It's too bad it took Chad Johnson's northward move to get the editor's attention here, but I'll take it. CFL was plenty good for Bud Grant, "Eagle" Keys, Doug Flutie, Warren Moon and Joe Theismann, it's plenty good for the USofA.

gregatacd
gregatacd

Thx for the coverage, Mr. King!


The existence and success of the CFL proves that the Super Bowl champ should never ever be called the "World Champion"... unless they actually play and win a world championship game. Please stop already with the arrogance.

Would the NFL team win said game? 99% of the time, but that's irrelevant. 

Enjoy the CFL everyone... it the "Fun League" ... as opposed to the "No Fun League"

RickGallinger
RickGallinger

Nice series on the CFL. And I think it's awesome that you got to meet Connie. Very few fans I know that are more hard core than she is. 

blffan4
blffan4

HI Peter:


Looks like from the reviews that we'll be seeing some CFL coverage from time to time and I, along with the majority of your readers, am glad that will be the case. That said, I have a question about the CFL. The NFL moved it's draft back this year and there's talk it could be moved even further back. Does this impact the CFL? I had assumed they held a draft after the NFL draft (so they knew which players were available). Given the fact that their season starts in mid-summer, holding their draft after an even later NFL draft would seem to be troublesome.  Thanks for the coverage of the CFL and for your (largely) weekly job of covering the NFL. I wouldn't miss a week and look forward to your column each week!


FerdBerfel
FerdBerfel

I only now got to read this, but I appreciate the piece AND the CFL.  Growing up in Seattle before the Seahawks existed, I sort of "adopted" the BC Lions as a kid because they were the closest pro football team to us (even though the Seattle media dutifully ignored them).  Most people don't know that the CFL has the third-highest attendance average of any pro sports league in North America, behind only the NFL and MLB.  They have FUN up there because Canadian fans aren't generally a bunch of self-important navel-gazers like we have down here.


I'm not going to read all the comments, Peter, but I'm sure there are plenty of the same "Why are you covering this garbage?" whining like you see from the soccer-haters in America.  What the hell are you people threatened by?  Nobody's FORCING you to read this (or any World Cup coverage, for that matter).  Grow the hell up.

WilloughbyProds
WilloughbyProds

The CFL series was excellent. As the proud owner of a Baltimore Stallions baseball cap, I look forward to more. It is a fun game to watch and as Doug Flutie stated, was playing wide open football while NFL was grounding and pounding. 


There is room for all, there is room for more. 

stevenyitrai
stevenyitrai

One more time ... thank you for coming up to Canada. Too bad you went to Regina and Calgary (from an Edmonton Eskimo Fan!)

daveg2011
daveg2011

Welcome Mookie????? please don't tell me this is ANOTHER deal about those poor, poor red sox? Peter, you are such a homer or at least like most red sox "fans" who came out of the dark closet when they finally won something

alexincalgary
alexincalgary

Thanks MMQB for the coverage of the CFL.  I hope the response is positive enough to keep updates happening, and informing the football fans in the USA of our little league to the north. :-)


Thanks again.

Painstorm77
Painstorm77

I crawled (literally crawled) up a muddy hill and under the Albert Street underpass in Regina where the sidewalks were completely flooded and three cars were under water. I sat through that torrential rain and wind for over 3 hours. If the Riders could play in it, I could sit in it. Fortunately we are of the few who didn't have a flooded basement to worry about so we could go and cheer our Riders on. I wasn't going to miss honouring our Grey Cup champions past and present for anything and I would do it all again tomorrow because that is what we do in Ridernation. There have been times of utter and pure agony being a fan of this team but crying those tears of joy watching my team win the Grey Cup at home on a cold November day in 2013 was worth all of the heartache. It was one of the best days of my life.

I thought the series captured beautifully what we, the fans as well as the coaches and players, all know and understand what is means to love our version of football. I love that you get what is so great about it and that every single play and every single minute matters and can't be wasted.  It may not be for everyone but that's okay. We're happy just to share our game if you're interested. Thank you Peter!  And as always GO RIDERS!!! #bleedgreen

//=S=//

joeandwillie604
joeandwillie604

Thank you Peter King for exceptional coverage of one of my greatest passions in life - the CFL. I hope your perception wasn't tainted by the execution in Week One. With only 2 preseason games, teams are (naturally) not at their best on Opening Day. Hopefully you can come back around Labor Day when the standard of play is elevated, the stakes get higher, and the weather is better and, as a consequence, many stadiums are full.


Go Lions! (British Columbia Lions, that is).

JackReacher32
JackReacher32

It is a neat, and considerably different, game; The truth is the talents that are playing in the CFL are the collegiate talents that could not make it in the NFL.

The game would be great with NFL stars, and I think at points, for fans of prolific offense and zero defense, it might be better than the NFL.

I like defense, the existence, and importance, of a running game, and the parody that exists in the NFL with the number of teams that we have.

I watched whenever games were played on the cable channels I used to get, but without cable now it is unlikely I will be watching anytime soon.

All and all it is a great game, for the time of year, and it beats "America's pastime" hands down.

mynameisasherlev
mynameisasherlev

CFL coverage that doesn't belittle it, by a major American news outlet, makes me happy to be a Canadian. Thanks peter king.

Thatguy1985
Thatguy1985

So Peter... there is a Starbucks in Moose Jaw... just saying.  I really enjoyed the coverage of the CFL that you and the rest of the MMQB staff provided.  Keep up the good work!

Dyldebeest
Dyldebeest

Wish Peter would have talked through a few more of the differences in rules. One that I don't think he mentioned (though I may have missed it) is the absence of a fair catch rule. I love that the CFL returners have to make a play on every kick.

EdEllis
EdEllis

Try Sleeman's next time... better beer. I'm a U.S. citizen living here and a Bombers fan - not always an easy thing to be. But then, I'm also a Panthers fan. For the NFL naysayers - there's room to enjoy both, and not so many differences that it's confusing to learn. I love both leagues. But I can actually afford my Bomber season tickets, and it's worth every cent. Give 'er a go!

PeteBroccolo
PeteBroccolo

Great article.  Hopefully some non-Canadian NFL fans will watch some of the American-broadcasts of the CFL games and get hooked.  I think there are still a few die-hard CFL fans in Baltimore.

SteveRowFla
SteveRowFla

Really PK? Michael Sam and Tim Tebow again? Please bring back the "guest" columnists on a permanent basis.

edgrbrown1
edgrbrown1

@KeysSteven and yes you are right.ultumatly a merger will happen between NFL/CFL.dollars

edgrbrown1
edgrbrown1

@KeysSteven sorry dude. i actually know who bud grant and doug flutie and moon and thiesmen are.

edgrbrown1
edgrbrown1

@KeysSteven hi. really cerveza? hockey rules. you are right about ocho. he will suck. IMO.Molson Export.

DanDrew
DanDrew

@gregatacd  I tried to get into the CFL, many times, and it bored me to tears.  Too much offense for me.  I love that the fans are so into it and there is another style of football out there.  Maybe if I had a rooting interest, but my closest team would be in Montreal.  And, I'm sorry, as a Bruins fan, that ain't happening.
They are called Super Bowl Champs, not world chance.  Saying Grey Cups champs could compete is like saying Arena League teams could compete.  I'm sorry, but that isn't happening.  I'm glad the CFL is getting some exposure, though.


RonDavies
RonDavies

@blffan4 I think this was the first year that the CFL draft was held after the NFL draft.  The CFL draft is only for Canadian players so the only real concern to the CFL would be which Canadian players in US colleges and Canadian universities would be taken (and where) in the NFL draft.


The strategy being if it looked likely that a player would stick in the NFL (ie number one CFL rated OL Laurent Duvernay Tardif at KC) then their value would fall in the CFL draft.  So instead of going number one in the CFL draft LDT was taken in the third round, 19th overall by the Calgary Stampeders.

stewartjk1
stewartjk1

@FerdBerfel The comments on the CFL are almost universally positive, you self-important dipsh*t. 

Rick57
Rick57

@FerdBerfel Nobody is forcing you to be around the self-important, navel-gazing, soccer-hating Americans. If you don't like it, leave. Until then, why don't you grow the hell up. Stupid loser.

drobinson
drobinson

@JackReacher32 Your comment is somewhat inaccurate. It's well known that a decent number of CFL players have the talent to make it in the NFL but not the size. The CFL focuses on smaller, faster players, who compliment the speed of the game and the size of the field. Additionally, the run game is just as important in the CFL (just ask players like Andrew Harris or Jon Cornish). A team that can't run the ball is equally as one-dimensional in the CFL as the NFL. The fast pace and increased throwing of the CFL means that the games are generally higher scoring, but a good defence, again, is very important.

It's nice to see some new respect for the CFL game, I just wish it wasn't constantly followed by a caveat about the time of year, quality of players, etc. Try enjoying it for its own sake.

briananthony
briananthony

@Thatguy1985 Ha! Yes there is. :) But an irish coffee at Bobby's (local pub) would have been better :) 

briananthony
briananthony

@Dyldebeest We have the 5 yard rule though. It means that opposing players (except for the kicker) can be within 5 yards of the ball before it is touched. 


Gs1
Gs1

@Dyldebeest The CFL doesn't have as many 275 pound monsters that run a 4.5 40 or 255 pound TEs running 4.35, bearing down on puny receivers. Someone would get killed at some point.

F Harris
F Harris

@Dyldebeest Last Mondays article by Marc Trestman covered the rule differences.


cabobyn
cabobyn

@DanDrew @gregatacd


Dude, when it gets right down to it - three quarters of the NFL games on tv are crazy boring as well. That's why college ball (and entertaining commercial breaks) were invented.


To suggest that the CFL Grey Cup champs wouldn't be competitive against any NFL team though - is totally nuts, no matter how you slice it. You'd only have to compare player stats to get a sense of how out in left field you really are.

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