The Canadian Football League Teams

The Canadian Football League
-Image Source Canoo

The Canadian Football League (CFL) is a football league in Canada. With a vibrant history dating back to its formation in 1958, the league has evolved into a captivating spectacle of athleticism, tradition, and fierce competition.

The CFL comprises nine teams strategically spread across the nation, the CFL is divided into two divisions: the East Division with four teams, and the West Division with five teams.

The Origin Of The Canadian Football League

The origin of the CFL was traced back to January 19, 1958, marked by the merger of the  Rugby Football Union, commonly known as the “Big Four” (founded in 1907), and the Western Interprovincial Football Union (established in 1936).

When it comes to the world of Canadian football, the Canadian Football League (CFL) stands out with its nine active teams, each contributing to the rich tapestry of the sport. The league is composed of nine teams divided into two divisions:

The Canadian Football League (CFL) is more than just a sports league; it’s a cultural touchstone woven into the fabric of Canadian identity. Its rich history, unique rules, and fierce rivalries have captivated fans for generations. 

This comprehensive exploration delves into the origins of the CFL, its core gameplay, the captivating teams, and the challenges it has overcome to become a cherished national institution.

The Birth of the CFL

The official birthdate of the CFL can be traced back to January 19th, 1958. However, its roots run deeper, drawing upon the established traditions of two prominent football unions.

 On one side stood the prestigious Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU), also known as the “Big Four” founded in 1907. 

This league comprised established teams like the Montreal Alouettes, the Toronto Argonauts, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and the Ottawa Rough Riders (now Redblacks), boasting a history steeped in tradition and passionate fan bases.

On the other hand, the Western Interprovincial Football Union (WIFU) emerged in 1936, injecting a dynamic energy into the gridiron landscape. 

Teams like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Calgary Stampeders, and the Edmonton Eskimos (now Elks) quickly established themselves as formidable forces in the west.

The merger of these two entities in 1958, orchestrated by the Canadian Football Council (CFC), marked a pivotal moment. 

It wasn’t just the creation of a new league; it signified the unification of Canadian football under one banner, paving the way for a national professional league.

Exploring The Rules Of The CFL

While the essence of the game revolves around advancing the football and scoring touchdowns, the CFL offers a distinctive experience compared to its American counterpart, the National Football League (NFL). Here’s a breakdown of some key elements that set the CFL apart:

  • The Field:  The CFL field stretches 110 yards long compared to the NFL’s 100 yards, offering more space for explosive plays and strategic deployment of players. 
  • Additionally, three downs are awarded to gain 10 yards, instead of the NFL’s four downs, adding a layer of urgency and creative offensive strategies.
  • The Roster: Each CFL team can dress 12 players on the field during a play, compared to the NFL’s 11.
  • This additional player, often a “Canadian” import, adds another dimension to the offensive and defensive formations, fostering a unique tactical chess match on the gridiron.
  • The Scoring System: Touchdowns hold the same value, six points – in both leagues.
  • However, the CFL offers an exciting twist: successful single (one point) and convert (two points) attempts after touchdowns add another layer of strategy to the scoring game.
  • The Rouge: This uniquely Canadian scoring opportunity occurs when a defensive player punts the ball out of their end zone.
  • Here, the opposing team is awarded a single point, adding another element to the game’s dynamic scoring system.

The league is composed of nine teams divided into two divisions:

  • The East Division
  • The West Division

Eastern Division

The Eastern Division of the CFL encapsulates a rich history, boasting teams that have withstood the test of time. Leading the charge is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a team with roots dating back to 1869. 

The Tiger-Cats, a product of the merger between the Tigers and the Flying Wildcats post-World War II, earned their official CFL status in 2014. Despite their late inclusion, they carry an impressive legacy.

The Montreal Alouettes were formed in 1946 and began their CFL journey in 1994. The Alouettes, with their dynamic playing strategy, dominated the 2000s, securing three “Grey Cup” awards and showcasing  Mike Pringle and Anthony Calvillo. 

The Toronto Argonauts, the oldest team in the division since 1873, boast a remarkable winning streak from 1921-1952, bagging 16 “Grey Cup” awards.

 Western Division

The Western Division was initiated in 1979 but officially joined the CFL in 1930. Despite a peculiar start, the Blue Bombers claim 10 championships, holding the record for the longest Grey Cup win drought.

 Their rivals, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, established in 1910, stand as the third oldest CFL team. As the oldest community-owned sports team in North America.

The Roughriders, despite playing in 19 championship games, have secured only four coveted Grey Cup awards.

The Calgary Stampeders, evolving from the Calgary Bronks in 1945, began their CFL journey in 1935.

With seven “Grey Cup” victories in 14 championship appearances, including a recent triumph in 2014, the Stampeders remain a force to be reckoned with.

 The Edmonton Eskimos, rooted in football since 1909, shine brightly in the Western Division, boasting 13 Grey Cup awards, the second-highest in CFL history.

Completing the Western Division lineup is the BC Lions, Vancouver’s oldest sports franchise founded in 1954.

With a total of six Grey Cup victories in ten championship games, the BC Lions stand tall as the only team to defeat an American-based franchise during the CFL-NFL agreement.

As the CFL continues to evolve, each team adds a unique chapter to the league’s narrative, creating a captivating blend of tradition, rivalry, and sporting excellence.

Whether you’re a seasoned CFL enthusiast or a newcomer to the gridiron excitement, the league’s diverse teams ensure there’s something for every football aficionado. 

The CFL’s Journey 

The CFL’s path hasn’t been without its obstacles. The league faced financial hardships in the 1980s, leading to the folding of the Montreal franchise in 1987.

 Additionally, an ambitious American expansion attempt in the 1990s proved largely unsuccessful due to cultural differences and competition from established American sports leagues.

Despite these challenges, the CFL demonstrated remarkable resilience. It adapted to financial realities, embraced private ownership in some franchises, and focused on strengthening its core identity exciting, fast-paced Canadian football.

The Teams

Eastern Division

Toronto Argonauts (Toronto, Ontario)

Established in 1873, the Argonauts are the undisputed champions of the CFL, holding a staggering 17 Grey Cup victories the highest of any team.

 Nicknamed the “Double Blue” due to their prominent blue jerseys, they call the iconic BMO Field in Toronto home.

Renowned for their strategic playmaking and unwavering dedication to excellence, the Argonauts continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

Montreal Alouettes (Montreal, Quebec) 

Affectionately known as the “Als,” the Montreal Alouettes have been captivating fans since their founding in 1946. 

With seven Grey Cup titles under their belt, they electrify Percival Molson Memorial Stadium with their passionate play and dedicated fan base. 

The Als are known for their aggressive defense and explosive offense, often featuring electrifying running backs and dynamic receivers.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Hamilton, Ontario) 

Emerging in 1950 from the merger of the Tigers and the Wildcats, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, or “Ticats,” have secured eight Grey Cup championships.

 Tim Horton’s Field echoes with the cheers of their devoted fans as the Ticats showcase their balanced attack and relentless pursuit of victory. 

Known for their innovative offensive schemes and fierce on-field battles, the Ticats are a consistent contender in the Eastern Division.

Ottawa Redblacks (Ottawa, Ontario)

The youngest member of the CFL family, the Ottawa Redblacks entered the league in 2014 but have wasted no time establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with. 

Already claiming one Grey Cup victory, they pack TD Place Stadium with enthusiastic fans eager to witness their explosive passing game and tenacious defense. 

The Redblacks are a testament to the evolving landscape of the CFL and the passionate spirit of Canadian football.

The Western  Division

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Standing as the reigning champions of the CFL, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, established in 1930, have a trophy cabinet boasting 12 Grey Cup wins. 

IG Field erupts with cheers as the “Blue Bombers” showcase their potent offense and unwavering defense. Renowned for their power running game and opportunistic secondary, they remain dominant in the West.

BC Lions (Vancouver, British Columbia)

 Representing the West Coast, the BC Lions, founded in 1954, have secured six Grey Cup titles. BC Place becomes a sea of orange and black as the Lions unleash their high-flying offense and opportunistic defense. 

Featuring dynamic quarterbacks and acrobatic receivers, the Lions are known for their exciting brand of football.

Calgary Stampeders (Calgary, Alberta)

A team with a rich history dating back to 1945, the Calgary Stampeders boast eight Grey Cup championships. 

Their home turf, McMahon Stadium, echoes with the chants of their passionate fanbase as the “Stamps” showcase their explosive offense and tenacious defense. 

Notably, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson once graced the field for the Stampeders, adding to their unique legacy.

Saskatchewan Roughriders (Regina, Saskatchewan)

Founded in 1910, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, or “Riders,” are a team steeped in tradition and unwavering fan loyalty.

 Mosaic Stadium resonates with the iconic chant “Rider Pride” as the team, despite a challenging 2022 season, remains a force to be reckoned with. 

With four Grey Cup victories, the Roughriders are known for their passionate play and relentless pursuit of excellence.

Edmonton Elks (Edmonton, Alberta)

Formerly known as the Eskimos, the Edmonton Elks, established in 1949, boasts a remarkable 14 Grey Cup championships the most of any team in the West. 

Commonwealth Stadium becomes a sea of green and gold as the Elks unleash their diverse offensive schemes and aggressive defense.

 Home to some of the CFL’s most iconic players, the Elks retain their position as a powerhouse in the Western Division.

These nine teams are the lifeblood of the CFL. Each with their own distinct identity, passionate fan base, and championship aspirations, they battle it out on the gridiron, captivating Canadians from coast to coast

Conclusion

The Canadian Football League (CFL) stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of Canadian sportsmanship, history, and tradition.

The CFL, divided into the East and West Divisions, houses the teams with histories from the oldest team, the Toronto Argonauts, founded in 1873,

And to the newest addition, the Ottawa Redblacks, established in 2014, each team contributing to the league’s vibrant legacy.

The Grey Cup, the ultimate prize, adds an extra layer of excitement, with Eastern and Western Division champions vying for gridiron supremacy.

FAQs on Canadian Football League Teams

  1. What are the teams in the Canadian Football League (CFL)?
  • The CFL comprises nine teams, categorized into the Eastern and Western Divisions.
  • The Eastern Division includes the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa Redblacks, and Toronto Argonauts.
  • The Western Division hosts the BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Elks, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  1. How often are games played in the CFL?
  • The CFL regular season spans from June to November, featuring 18 games per team. The playoffs follow, leading to the Grey Cup Championship held in late November or early December.
  1. How can I get the latest news and updates about my favorite CFL team?
  • By staying informed with the latest news, player stats, and team updates on the CFL Teams page. It offers comprehensive coverage of all teams, from the Eastern Division to the Western Division.
  1. What is the Grey Cup?
  • The Grey Cup is the pinnacle event of the CFL, serving as the championship game. Winners of the Eastern and Western Division