CFL New Year’s Resolutions

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EDMONTON, AB - NOVEMBER 25: The Calgary Stampeders come on to the field before the game against the Ottawa Redblacks during the Grey Cup at Commonwealth Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

New Year’s Day has arrived, meaning that New Year’s Resolutions talk is well underway.  Below are six CFL-related 2019 resolutions for fans and those invested in the league.

1. Reward Coaches for Successful Challenges

Going into last season, making illegal contact an unchallengeable penalty was a wise decision by the CFL. On the other hand, the rule of one challenge per team each game needs to be changed. Coaches need to be rewarded for successful challenges. The rule of one challenge per game is fine, but every successful challenge should warrant another challenge until a failed challenge occurs.

2. No More Fall Sunday Games

No more Sunday games period would also work, but more so once NFL starts, CFL games can’t be played on Sundays. Numerous 1:00 EST Montreal Alouettes home games are brushed off to the side by fans due to the fact that they line up directly with the NFL’s Sunday slate. Plus, having games the day before a work day doesn’t sit with well many. CFL Fall Sunday games are head scratching.

3. CFL Jerseys Only

I’m talking to you, guy with a lime green Russell Wilson Seahawks jersey on at a B.C. Lions game. And you, girl with a blue Auston Matthews Leafs jersey on at a Toronto Argonauts game. If you’re at a CFL game don’t wear a non-CFL sports jersey, it’s a horrible look. Instead, support your team. If you care enough to go to a CFL game, you care enough to buy a piece of CFL apparel. Or wear your best non-sports outfit. Just don’t be that guy in a hockey jersey at a football game. 2019 is the year that fashion move ends.

4. A Tad Less Reklaws

Long Live The Night is a catchy, enjoyable song. Having The Reklaws hit song as TSN’s Thursday Night Football anthem worked well, but the song got overused from Week 1 all the way up to the Grey Cup. It was both cringy and underwhelming when Ottawa and Calgary came out to Long Live The Night for their Grey Cup entrance. Especially when the Philadelphia Eagles came out to Meek Mill’s Dreams and Nightmares in Super Bowl LII. As for networks, NBC doesn’t use Carrie Underwood’s Game On nearly as much as TSN used Long Live The Night. TSN and The Reklaws recently partnered up again for the World Juniors, so it’s possible The Reklaws create a CFL on TSN song in 2019. If so, use the song a little less, TSN.

5. Show Real Concern for Player Safety

The CFL added a concussion spotter in the press seats last year who had the power to remove any player from the game who was showing concussion-like symptoms. An eye in the sky, an official in the press seats who can correct unchallengeable penalties, has been in effect for three seasons too. Both titles should be evaluated after hits on Riders’ quarterbacks Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge, and Collaros then staying in the game, and the hit on Bridge going uncalled.

Then there are suspensions. Kyries Hebert, a repeat offender, was given a one-game suspension for one of the grossest hits in CFL history — a jumping, blatant head-shot to Calgary’s DaVaris Daniels in Week 3. Hebert’s light suspension didn’t change his behaviour. Nine weeks later, he was suspended another two games for a head-shot on Montreal’s B.J. Cunningham. The one and two-game suspensions are too little for such hits. The NHL recently suspended Tom Wilson, a repeat offender, for 20 games, just shy of one-quarter of the season. Hebert’s two-game suspension was one-ninth of the CFL season. The CFL should look at how some other professional leagues handle suspensions.

Randy Ambrosie and the CFL have made a consistent effort to communicate how important player safety is to the league, but after episodes like last year’s, it’s hard to believe that. Show proper concern; make correct calls when dangerous plays happen, and hand out appropriate suspensions.

6. Cheaper Concession Items

The Atlanta Falcons have led the way in this movement with their fan favorite program. Falcons CEO and president Rich McKay sums it up in a news release on the Falcons website: “Giving the fans what they want at a fair price will never fail.” Some CFL teams promoted lower prices as a thank-you to the fans but weren’t nearly as appealing as the Falcons’ discounted prices. Lower prices will make fans more willing to buy food and drinks, and while the profit per item will drop, it’s a fair assumption that purchases — and even attendance — will increase, leading to equal or greater profits. Win-win situation here.

Bonus: Move the Season Up a few Weeks

The 2019 schedule has been released, so this resolution falls in the bonus category. Wishful thinking would have the CFL kick-off sometime in May and finish around late October or early November (similar to the MLB). I had a non-CFL fan tell me last year that he doesn’t understand why the CFL season is played in sunny, warm conditions, but the playoffs are played in freezing, winter-like conditions. Last year’s field conditions for the Grey Cup was more evidence to move the season up to May, but it’s too late now.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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