Rod Pedersen was a guest on The Drive on TSN 1200 in Ottawa and drop a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes information on the current status of the CFL season and talks with the XFL.
Will the CFL play a season this Spring into Summer, Pedersen got his information straight from Health Canada. It is unlikely this Summer but they could start in the Fall.
“Some health models in this country tag stadiums, fans in stands, September, October. That’s what the CFL is clinging to right now. And there’s a very good chance that they will play.”
If they can’t get a season in, a second year without playing on the field could be devastating for the CFL.
“There are some teams very low on cash, very… I wouldn’t put the REDBLACKS in that category, nor the Stampeders, obviously not the Argos. But these community-owned teams have lost millions and millions… So what’s going on in the CFL right now? There are some teams that I have no idea how they’re keeping the lights on. I have no idea.”
The question for some people within CFL team offices is why even play a season if a merger with the XFL is a forgone conclusion.
“There’s a lot of talk about the new spring/summer league starting as early as one year from now… the next CFL… Some have said, why even try to play this year? Why not turn the lights out and go full bore towards next year?
I think there are some people that want to do that. Why would you play right now other than for the people who are in the league right now?”
Pedersen believes it will be a full-blown merger with the XFL as the damage has been done to the CFL due to not playing last year.
“The good news is that the Canadian Football League won’t go away. I believe there will be pro football in Canada merged with the XFL and we’ll have our 18 to 19 teams.”
Rod was asked how far along are the XFL/CFL in talks and its a lot farther than people think.
“Based on what I hear, it is that full-on merger. I think they’re close to having a manual, a rule book, printed. Naylor’s dropped a few hints on this. I guess it’s no big secret.
They’re talking 4 downs. and Naylor has said that. 15 yd end zones, 100 yd fields long. 65 wide which is what it is now. American stadiums, uprights in the back, Canadian stadiums, uprights in the front. There will be pre-snap motion, there’ll be XFL kickoff rules… So from what I am told, a lot of that’s been figured out already.”
One sticking point for many Canadian football fans is the player ratio rule. Right now each CFL team may have a maximum of 46 players, including 2 players identified as quarterbacks and 44 other players. Of those 44 players no more than 20 can be American.
Of the 24 starters on a team, a minimum of 7 need to be Canadian players. But these rules might be out the door in a merged league.
“The guy that I talked to on the phone from the states, who is a Canadian, said ratio gone from what he hears, there won’t be one. And that’s just what he’s hearing.”
He goes on to say, the ratio rule is something the XFL/CFL are working on now.
“I believe a task force needs to be struck to figure out how to save the ratio. From what I understand, that has happened. I don’t want to say who I heard is heading it up. This is all being talked about right now, not pie in the sky stuff.”
When asked when he thinks the merger will begin, he said it might not be too far down the road.
“Well, I’m hearing next year, but I don’t know how that’s possible, I would think 2023.”
Buckle up XFL and CFL fans it is going to be an interesting and exciting time over the next several months. You can catch The Rod Pedersen Show weekdays at 12 PM ET on YouTube.
Our own Reid Johnson of the XFL Markcast appeared on the show a few weeks ago.
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April 16, 2021 at 8:32 am
Long time Ti- Cat season ticket holder. Time to ask for our money back, including Grey Cup tickets already paid for in full!! We will not support our game being turned ibto American ball,
April 16, 2021 at 10:55 am
Going to four downs would be a mistake for the CFL. People don’t want a cheaper version of the NFL. They should start their regular season July 1st.
April 16, 2021 at 9:22 pm
Not knocking Canadian ballplayers but they just aren’t schooled as much as the American boys that will probably end the Canadian/American ratio
April 17, 2021 at 11:27 am
They should have a territorial/ right kind of thing in place of the ratio . Let wvey team in the league gets first dibs on a local player – American and Canadian ! Maybe 2 per year or something like that . The top college players in Canada are already playing D1. This will help Develop a local connection to the team – market those players to all the little guys playing pop Warner in the surrounding communities . The ratio has to go – I am Canadian and played ball in Canada . I had a few friends that played down south in the NCAA. A couple carved out nice careers in the CFL . I also knew of a few dudes that should never have been given a chance to play professional football but they were given one due to the ratio . That’s when I stopped buying cfl game tickets – I couldn’t pay up to watch guys I knew should not be getting paid . Local connections are important but the ratio should go . All major Canadian cities / provinces with cfl teams produce legit NCAA D1 talent at the very least – let them take their local dudes every year . This would incentivize teams to take an even greater interest in grassroots development – something which the BC Lions here have forgotten about for the past ten years !!!!
April 17, 2021 at 11:29 am
The XFL game was extremely entertaining; however, so is the CFL. Fans can say all they like but a loss of 60 -80 million league wide and the endorsement of the league’s richest owner (MLSE) doesn’t put us traditional CFL followers in the driver’s seat. If you watched the XFL you would notice many of its rules compliment the CFL, most notably kick offs. There will be a merger which more reflect what XFL wants and if people in Canadian already fortunate enough to have a team will eventually watm up to the idea. I for one am very excited about it and will not miss the rouge. The CFL of 100 years ago is completely different from now. Things change folks! Live with it!
April 17, 2021 at 12:05 pm
There is no other logical path forward than CFL expansion cloaked in the name of an XFL/CFL merger. The CFL has referees, infrastructure, TV deals etc in place. Why would you go through and duplicate all that infrastructure that is in place just to merge them together? Why wouldn’t you just start up a couple of defunct XFL teams as expansion teams in the CFL, shore up the CFL and try to find some type of broadcast/streaming deal in the states? That seems to make a lot more sense than starting a league from ground zero hoping it finds traction just to merge it together with a league that is on life support.
I can’t see why Redbird Capital and the Rock would spend hundreds of millions to start up a defunct league just to merge it in with a freestanding league that is on life support. Instead of having one sick patient on life support you now have two.
Not that I am a bean counter or an expert at this but starting an expansion team in the CFL and going that route sounds like losing millions of dollars as opposed to starting a league from ground zero and losing hundreds of millions of dollars.
I also don’t buy into the mythology that you can’t sell the CFL down there in the USA. There are Americans that watch the English Premier League, Bundesiliga, and other foreign soccer leagues. The CFL is not something too far out there to digest. What no one ever talks about when they discuss the failed CFL expansion into the US in the 1990’s is how badly it was planned and executed.
By way of comparison Vince McMahon lost $200 million on the second iteration of the XFL – the collective losses for the 5 US based teams was 20 million dollars and that was with no major TV deal. That 20 million dollar CFL loss and the teams folding is looked at as a abject disaster. Look at that number: They lost $20 million dollars on five teams and everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
Then the haters telling me that Redbird Capital is going to repeat that so called disaster if they are running half a dozen USA based teams within the CFL framework. I am not buying into that. The CFL can work in the USA but it needs a TV deal and some positive exposure – especially with the price of NFL tickets where they are.
April 17, 2021 at 5:35 pm
I think there’s a case to be made for 3-down football. The answer is, replace the punt with a rule that on 3rd down, incomplete passes must be downed by the defense, with the ball spotted there. That makes a 3rd down Hail Mary equivalent to a punt. This gives both countries’ fans what they want.
April 17, 2021 at 8:48 pm
Four downs makes for crappy, boring football. Stick to Canadian rules.