If you have been following this blog for any length of time you have no doubt witnessed a reoccurring phenomenon. See, time and time again the same situation repeats itself. There will be days or weeks of silence on an issue or a player so I will write a post about it. Before noon that same day you can count on a news story that renders that post completely irrelevant. Its my super power.
Well today I am going to use that super power to save the CFL.
You see fans, players, coaches… pretty much anyone associated with the CFL has been waiting for months for some kind of news, be it good or bad. But all we get is either silence or deadlines that are utterly meaningless. Recently we get words like “promising” and “optimism” but what we don’t get is a firm answer. Will there be football in 2020?
So today’s senitimonies will be dedicated to listing all the reasons why a 2020 season simply will not happen. If history has been any indication, within 3 hours of this going live there will be a press conference announcing the season… you’re welcome. This super power is so potent that it will even over come the news late Sunday that the loan from the government was a no go.
There are 4 main reasons I don’t see a 2020 seasons happening: Money, Unity, Time and Logistics.
Money – The big divide remains, who takes the risk. The players have said they will not sign off on a deal without guaranteed money. This is a smart ask. In the CFL you can pretty much be cut in an instant without any financial compensation. So if you are going to leave your family and another job to be cooped up in freakin’ Winnipeg, you would want some assurance that you won’t quarantine for 14 days only to be cut on day 16. Also, what if you get Covid? Can you be cut then? So this is a logical ask.
The problem is that the owners at this point would rightly be crazy to sign off on that. There is a very real scenario where they get 2 weeks into the season and have to cancel due to a Covid outbreak. So then you are on the hook for 100% of the costs and a fraction of the revenue. That’s not a good gamble. Also what if a player is a dumbass (remote chance I know) and breaks the bubble rules and gets infected. You’d need a bunch of contract disclaimers to get around guaranteed wages for the aforementioned dumbasses.
Add in the fact that government has the money they need and won’t part with it. Which I think is crazy given that they’ve already given money to the arts and tourism. You can’t tell me the cost benefit analysis of funding the arts is better than funding football… but I digress.
Unity – There are reports that not all 9 teams actually want to play in 2020. So its no wonder that a plan has been slow to develop (if indeed there is a plan) when a portion of the ownership don’t want to actually get to a plan.
Time – It’s late August. At the rate this is going they will announce some time in the spring that they were able to get everything in place to play in 2020. At this pace they are also about 3 months late for submitting the 2021 plan.
Logistics – Even if you sort out the money, get every owner on board and do it all before the end of the month the logistics are nuts. Coordinating travel and quarantine for hundreds of players and coaches. Coordinating getting equipment from around the country to Winnipeg. Someone also brought up, what about refs? Most refs do it as a part time gig so they won’t be likely to leave their real jobs to live in the CFL bubble. Have they even thought about that? This would be a herculean undertaking by a well-organized and logistically proficient company. Those descriptors are rarely associated with the CFL.
So that is a lot of barriers.
Look, I want CFL football as much as anybody. It’s killing me to go without it (well actually physically the lack of whiskey and massive stress levels is probably doing the opposite of killing me) but I think the CFL is better off to finally officially give up on 2020 and focus on 2021. There is no guarantee we will be back to 30,000 fans at games by June 2021 so if the league wants to survive period they should start figuring a realistic business plan in this new reality.