I had a request from long-time Prophet fan Steve to post my thoughts on CFL expansion. So here goes...
First of all yes, I am in favour of the CFL expanding. Quite frankly, it’s tough defending the legitimacy of a league where your odds of making the playoffs are way better than your odds of missing them (unless you're the Ti-cats). "But Prophet," you say, "do you really think expansion will work after attempts failed in 7 American cities and twice in Ottawa?" Okay, anyone who actually thought that Canadian football would be successful in the US probably also thought that it would only be a matter of time before Jessica Simpson won an Oscar for Best Actress, and if it weren't for the fact that the Gliebermans have about as much business sense as a half-eaten turkey sandwich that has been left out in the sun for three days, Ottawa would still have a team.
I have prepared a list of possible expansion sites (listed from most logical on down) and some suggestions for team names:
Ottawa - You could go the easy route and revive the Renegades, but if you want to revitalize football in Ottawa I would go with something edgy and tough like the Face Punchers or the Chuck Norris's.
Quebec City - Every team from the province has to have a French name so how about the Frère Jacques, Poutines, or my personal favorite "le Pamplemousse".
Maritimes - A group has been campaigning for the Atlantic Schooners for years but I think a slightly different team name would be in order. In keeping with a nautical theme, how about the Atlantic Sea Men.
Victoria - Now you may think adding another team to the province that is already home to the B.C. Lions would cause problems, but Tampa Bay managed to win a Stanley Cup despite the presence of the Florida Panthers so I think this could work. As for a team name, I would go with the "Secrets" (trust me the stands would be packed).
London or Kitchener - Given that this would be the 3rd or even 4th team in Ontario they would need to play off the popularity of others in order to be successful. I suggest the "Guitar Heroes" as that seems to be popular with the kids these days.
Territories - Given that a town of oil rich tycoons who enjoy regular chinooks already own the rights to the most logical name for this team, it would naturally have to be the "Seal Clubbers" (and they would use their first pick in the expansion draft to select the new face of the franchise, Henry Burris).
I thought it would be interesting to see which provinces are carrying their weight in terms of CFL teams. Saskatchewan and Manitoba each support 1 team with populations that hover right around 1 million, but then again there's really nothing else to do in those provinces. So I will use Alberta as my comparison point as they manage to support 2 CFL teams with around 3.5 million people despite the presence of an NHL team in both cities (well, one NHL team and then whatever it is that the Oilers are). That means they have a football team for every 1,750,000 people.
Here's how the rest of Canada stacks up:
- Saskatchewan and Manitoba are both exceeding my arbitrary bar
- The Maritimes collectively could support 1.3 teams... so bring on the Sea Men (rest assured this is the last time that combination of words will ever appear on my blog. But if you enjoyed reading it, please visit my lesser known side project blog, Ride 'er 4 Profit. The camera work is stellar.)
- BC should be able to support 2.5 teams given their population so although they aren't complete slackers they could be doing better. For the record, I believe this is the first time that BC has not been high.
- Quebec should be able to support 4.4 teams so asking for 1 more shouldn't be too onerous. Although from what I understand, Quebec legislation states that the CFL must employ one French referee for every team in the province. This has left the league less interested in expansion and more interested in contracting the Alouettes.
- Ontario is by far the Canadian slacker as they should be able to support 7.4 teams with their population. That means that they have room for 5 more teams! That said, if half of the league was situated in Southern Ontario, the humidity issues would border on catastrophic.
For anyone who's interested, the Territories collectively could only support 0.14 teams so I guess the Seal Clubbers just aren't in the cards yet (much to the dismay of the dogsled valet industry).
Maybe the solution to the expansion problem requires thinking outside the box. If movies have taught me nothing else, it's that you can turn a bunch of inmates into a competitive football team. And so, I propose a team comprised completely of inmates from our country's prisons... The State Penn Shankers. Not only would it make prisoners give something back to society but the team would have no issue meeting salary cap as the inmates would not get paid. There's already a middle linebacker at their disposal. It may also be possible to bring in a marquee import QB from down south if a deal can be cut (not to mention most of the Cincinnati Bengals).
All my ideas of course completely ignore the need for investors to fund the team, a football stadium with significant capacity to financially sustain a franchise, a management group with significant expertise in football operations and players to fill the rosters, but hey, if I was that good at developing sound business proposals I would probably be making millions in the venture capital market instead of giving my ideas away for free.