I am Riley Pollock and I am a diehard CFL fan.
The CFL is by far my favourite league in the world. Since the late ’90s or early 2000’s I have been around for every major Roughriders milestone. I was on the Green Mile in grade 9 when Saskatchewan won their first Grey Cup since 1989, I was in the stadium for the 2013 home Grey Cup win and it is hands down the best night of my life, I produced home and away Rider games for their inaugural New Mosaic Stadium season and have been there for everything else in between.
Since becoming a broadcaster I have had the pleasure of expanding my love of the Riders into a love for the entire league. I have covered the Stamps and the Grey Cup for Sportsnet 960 and have truly learned how much this entire league means to me not just one team and I have some thoughts to share on the talk about a possible league merger.
The fan base of the CFL is proud of OUR game. This is the Canadian Football League and our rules are what make it special. If I am running the meeting with the XFL, as soon as talk of four downs, a smaller field or 11 players instead of 12 are talked about I am walking away. I don’t want to watch an NFL farm league, I want to watch the CFL.
I am however excited about the prospect of an American Division in the CFL. I think it can expand the brand and would excite Americans that would get to see it right in their cities as well as expand broadcast opportunities. The CFL has proven that the product works when spring leagues and other leagues in the States do not. Don’t change my league to accommodate a league that has already folded twice. Bring them in and allow them to play in a league that has battled through the financial crisis and many more issues throughout the 107 years of the Grey Cup and come out on top. This is a hard-nosed league with hard-nosed, dedicated fans and I feel the league will lose a good chunk of diehards if the Canadian game is tainted.
The last point I’ll bring up is the players. The large field allows speedy smaller players to thrive in this league when they have been outcast because of the bigger players and smaller field of the American game. I feel like these players would be pushed out of this great Canadian game if we switch to the four down small field type of football. Think about Junior, high school and USports football as well. That would have to change with the CFL because what would be the point of playing three-down football anymore. That sounds expensive and like a burden on kids who have already played the three-down game going into high school especially. It will ruin the Canadian football pipeline that has ramped up the past few years. I don’t want that.
In conclusion, I know everything right now is speculation but I just have to say don’t change the game I love, the game I have cried tears of joy and pain over and the game that I will watch every season until the day I die. This is Canada’s game and although I am open and excited about the idea of expanding the CFL borders I am not OK with changing how our great game is played.
Thanks for reading.