We love our friends south of the border. We have many of them following our show, and if there’s one thing they know it’s the game of football. And they know it very, very well.
This isn’t one of those “here is why our league is better than yours” posts. Those have been beaten to death, and need not a visitation at this point in time.
This entry, however, is to tell you that we no longer live in the 20th century.
That’s right. Bear with me for a second. Remember when you had your favorite sport, your favorite team and that player you refused to cheer for? Some of us may still, but we’re in a new generation. No this isn’t a “rant” about our society, teenagers of social ambiguity or anything of that nature. It’s about what fantasy sports has done to the casual fan.
It’s happened to you, it’s happened to me and it’s happened to all of us. You know that feeling.
Rewind back to 2015. You’re at your draft table. You’re an Edmonton Eskimos fan, and you have a first round pick. You have a shot at former Calgary Stampeders SB Eric Rogers. You know he can hands down win you a draft week, in and week out. Do you take him? I mean, he plays for the hated Stamps! You’re a Bombers fan and you have a chance to land Jerome Messam in a trade, which could extend your undefeated streak. But HE PLAYS FOR THE RIDERS (early 2015). Deny it all you want, but fantasy sports has changed the way we cheer for our teams. Heck, you’d even cheer for a player to put up big points against your FAVORITE TEAM if it meant you win your week.
I confessed in a recent blog entry that I’m not the biggest NFL fan. But, I’ve been playing NFL fantasy for 4 years. Why? Because its fantasy football, that’s why. So why not vice versa? Why shouldn’t an NFL fan, or in this case the American viewer get into CFL fantasy?
Here are 5 reasons why our staff at the Onside CFL Fantasy Insider feel that you should:
- FUTURE AND FORMER NFL PLAYERS ARE IN THE CFL
You may not know, but over the years the Canadian Football League has fed the NFL with its collection of stars. Warren Moon, Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia need no introduction. All men who had successful careers north of the border. More recently, Miami Dolphins DE Cameron Wake is doing what he did for the BC Lions: Make QB’s wet themselves. How about former Colts K Mike Vanderjagt or Seahawks K Jon Ryan? Or DB Brandon Browner, also of the “12’s”. All were CFL stars. Lets not forget most recently on the Montreal Alouettes, Chad Ochocinco Johnson. He lasted about as long as DE Michael Sam. Which leads us to our next category:
2. HIGHER SCORING, BIGGER FIELD AND ACTIVE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE
The Canadian Football League is an exciting, fast paced game. Maybe too fast for Michael Sam, who realized that pretty quickly. You can make a strong argument that he was at the end of his career, but even Ochocino struggled mightily to remain on the field in Montreal. He played 5 games in 2014, hauling in 7 balls for 151 yards and 1 TD. Granted, his QB situation had a lot to do with it. And who was that? None other than former Heisman trophy winner Troy Smith, who was criticized because he didn’t have the arm for the CFL. It is a wide field, players are allowed to go in pre-snap motion and the end zone is 20 yards deep, not 10. Games will often hit the late 30’s and 40’s, with QB’s tossing for near 400 yards almost once a week, which translates into big time fantasy points.
3. FORMER COLLEGE STARS PLAY IN THE CFL
Yes, it’s true. Where do great US College players go who “couldn’t make the NFL?” They go north, it does happen. Most make a great career out of it. QB’s, however, often will struggle to find the arm strength to properly execute. Like Brad Banks, Tee Martin and the previously mentioned Troy Smith. But, many make a great career out of it. Like former Oklahoma State star Adarius Bowman, who now dominates the receiving ranks for the Edmonton Eskimos. Speaking of receivers, you may remember the 2011 Cotton Bowl. Some guy by the name of Terrence Toliver tied a record catching 3 TD’s for LSU in that contest. He remains in the feline family, as a feature receiver of the Hamilton Tiger Cats. That same year, former QB Jeremiah Masoli wrapped up his career with Ole Miss. Ironically, the two are now teammates. And due to an injury to their incumbent starter, Masoli could be the top Hamilton gun slinger in the season opener. More recently, such names like Alabama DB Deion Belue and Oregon QB Vernon Adams are making their 2016 debuts for the Edmonton Eskimos and Montreal Alouettes respectively. Both are widely anticipated to make monumental impacts in the league.
4. ITS THE NFL OFF SEASON, WHAT ELSE WILL YOU WATCH?
This, more than anything is probably a big reason why hardcore American football fans get into the Canadian game. They are just craving football, so why not. Many have fallen in love with the product, and wished they found out about it sooner. By the time NFL season kicks off, the CFL season is half over. CFL training camps started last week, pre-season games are next week and the season kicks off on June 24. More than enough time to get your fill before the NFL season starts in early September.
5. YOU LOVE TO GAMBLE AND MAKE MONEY
Lets face it, the reason why fantasy sports are so big is because of the money element. You love to win, you love to celebrate and trash talk your friends. But if you can bring home the bacon while doing so? Boom. So why not practice your gambling skills before you spend your life savings on a New England Patriots perfect season again.
Not that we condone gambling, especially if you are not “of age.” But we do fully support engaging fans to an exciting product, you beating your friends and rubbing it in their face.
We’d love to educate you on the game, its quirks and help you to #WinYourLeague.
Questions or comments? Follow me on Twitter @davedawson7 or @CFLFantasyFTB
Send me an email at Onsidepodcast@gmail.com