Monday, February 24, 2020

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Potential Playoff Changes

Randy Ambrosie is out on his annual cross Canada tour. As part of that, last week he floated out potential changes to the playoff format that could come into effect as soon as 2020. The current playoff format has been the subject of much debate, particular in light of the ongoing trend of the East Division being awful relative to the West. So I think looking at alternatives is certainly a worthwhile endeavour.

But while I support reviewing the current format and like some of the ideas being proposed, some the ideas are stupid (It’s Monday morning… I haven’t had enough coffee for subtleties)

Let’s start with the positive. Under the proposal, the first place teams in the East and West would continue to get a first round bye. What would change is that the four next best teams (regardless of division) would make the semi finals with the 3rd and 4th place teams hosting a home playoff game. That way, the best 6 teams would make the postseason and the best teams would be rewarded with home field advantage. Had it been in place in 2019, the semi final matchups would have been Calgary hosting Edmonton and Winnipeg hosting Montreal. In 2018 it would have meant that the Eskimos (who finished 5th in the West) made the playoffs instead of the Ti-cats (who finished 2nd in the East)… and the Riders would have played Edmonton instead of Winnipeg (not that it mattered as Brandon Bridge wasn’t about to beat anyone that day).

While the current crossover rule generally ensures the best teams make the playoffs (2018 is the only year in recent memory where it didn’t), it has led to a lot of inferior East teams being rewarded with home playoff games while superior West teams are forced to travel (2015 is the only time since Ottawa returned to the league where the host of the East Semi had the 3rd or 4th best record in the CFL). So I’m all for this.

Here’s where Ambrosie loses me though…
Under his proposal, the team that finished first overall would then have their choice of which semi-final winner they want to play. The theory here is that this would create intrigue and bulletin board material and what not.  My issue with it is that it’s a gimmick. A stupid, hokey gimmick. I hate gimmicks. They cheapen the product we are trying to market… and before you give me the “but, but MLB is considering it and they are way bigger than us” let me just say that a bigger league considering something stupid, doesn’t make it any less stupid. Also, MLB is a league that can’t even properly deal with a massive cheating scandal so maybe not the best comparison bar at this point.

The CFL is a league that has survived and thrived based on its long and storied traditions. When we have strayed too far from the core of who we are and into the gimmicky it has rarely been successful (see: American expansion or anything related to the Gleibermans). Change and adaptation are important but only when they make sense and enhance your product… not cheapen it. We are a football league not a reality TV show. Leave the rose ceremonies to the idiots on reality TV and focus on being a respectable football league.

So keep the top 6 teams make it concept, but then #1 plays the lowest remaining seed in the West Final and #2 plays the highest remaining seed in the East final (and yes I am just assuming the West team will be better than the East team most years, it’s pretty much science at this point… 2019 was an anomaly). It’s fair, its simple, it avoids lame-assed attempts to drum up publicity.

I’m the Rider Prophet and I approve this message.


GardenGnome said...

Completely agree. My comment when this first came out is why put the 1st place team on the spot. Do you really want to choose your opponent? You're letting your opponent know you think they're the worst of the remaining lot. Stupid stupid idea. I saw where someone said this idea came from Kyle Walters - can't imagine this was well thought out, regardless the source.

Rider Prophet said...

Yeah maybe Manitoba is not the place we should be looking for innovation

Anonymous said...

You broke the news on Ladler. See he signed in BC with Hervey. No surprise but big boost to Lions.

Rider Prophet said...

Was kinda hoping we would get Ladler. Obviously we are all in on Foster. Ladler is a great player