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W(h)ither the CFL?


The following editorial appeared July 7 in the Toronto Star.

As the Toronto Argonauts prepare to open their season against the Baltimore No-Names, there is a lot of premature celebrating about the revival of the Canadian Football League.

The CFL, constantly on the brink of extinction, is now said to have been saved by the decision to expand to the United States.

But we are reminded of the surgeon who says, post-op, that the operation was a success; unfortunately, the patient died.

The expansion to second-rate American cities such as Baltimore (and third-rate ones like Shreveport and Sacramento) comes with a price: loss of Canadian identity.

First to go will be the Canadian players quota (stipulating that 20 of the 37 players on the active roster must be "non-imports"). For legal reasons, it is not being applied to the U.S. teams, and that puts Canadian teams at a competitive disadvantage.

Then say goodbye to some of the Canadian cities. Hamilton and Calgary already are threatening to move south.

Next will be the rules. Americans may find three downs, 12 players a side, 110-yard fields and unlimited motion refreshing .. right now. But sooner or later, they will view these rules as distinctly un-American and, therefore, untenable.

Last to go will be the league's name. How much longer will Shreveport and Sacramento want to play in a league called Canadian? The switch to Continental, already being forecast in some quarters, could take place with no change in logos.

In the end, the CFL, one of the institutions that has helped to hold this country together, seems destined to become a minor American league. For that we should celebrate?

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