On Tuesday December 13th big news dropped from the CFL as they released their league wide 2023 schedule.
While every year there is a contingent of fans across the league unhappy with the schedule, this year seems like there may be even more displeasure.
While I will very briefly go around the league and I will make a few observations of some scheduling blunders. Please include your insights for blunders regarding your team in the comments.
Displeasure From Other Team’s Fans
The Lions will play Toronto, but it will be in Toronto. It should be a normality of the CFL schedule that the Grey Cup winner plays at least once in every city.
Apparently those fans are not happy that they do not get every team at home…and I cannot blame them. In a 9 team league that is unacceptable.
As of now, not much noise from that team’s fans. When your team was so bad, the schedule is what it is.
They feel like the schedule certainly does not do them any favours.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
By and large the Bomber fans are fairly quite. However in some group chats that I am a part of some fans are lamenting the 5 Thursday games.
A team that has won the Grey Cup and is in need of some serious increase in fan attendance did not get any favors from the CFL schedule. Not only did they get a bye week in Week 1, but this is when their first game is scheduled.
Apparently the fans are not so impressed with playing Toronto 5 times! (Once in the pre-season and four times in the regular season). This certainly is an oddity.
It seems as if their fans are not so concerned about the actual schedule but rather the way their team made the info graphic for the schedule.
They are a strange bird out there! This guy actually wants Thursday night games. Maybe he should become a Bomber fan…unless he is the guy with the air horn.
And Here Is The Bonus List
I do not know how the schedule makers justify this one. If you ever wanted to talk about an unfair advantage, Hamilton is not on the receiving end of it.
These fans think the Head Office has their head in the sand.
If indeed Bo signs in Hamilton (which all sings have pointed to for a while) this is an oversight. I know, I know, you cannot make a schedule around potential player movements. But the writing has been on the wall for quite some time that Bo is going to Hamilton. At very least schedule Hamilton in Calgary so if the signing occurs you have a marque game.
Even a former CFL player turned NFL player agrees with the above comment.
Here is a sure fire way not to grow the league.
And this fan is simply upset that their team only plays higher quality teams.
The Decision Not To Capitalize
While there are many blunders in the schedule the one that impacts the Bombers, and Toronto the most (a team/fan base really needing to capitalize off a Grey Cup win) is the lack of a Grey Cup rematch in Week 1.
Yes, in my opinion the CFL has blundered the schedule again by not starting the season with a Grey Cup rematch. Some people will disagree and say that the 2022 Grey Cup was poorly attended so nobody really cares to see a rematch.
The reason the Grey Cup in Regina was not well attended was because Saskatchewan was not in the game. Adding further complications for fans that would travel to the Grey Cup was a complete lack of hotel rooms. If you could find a hotel room the price of the room was cost prohibitive for many.
I completely disagree that Bomber and Argo fans do not want to see a rematch in each respective city! So does this guy.
Of course, scheduling takes time, and there are many moving pieces. But here is a novel idea…leave Week 1 unscheduled until after the Grey Cup. That way you can have a Grey Cup rematch in Week 1.
The objection to that would be something like, “We (they/the CFL) can’t do that. I would result in potentially having a whacky schedule.” Hello! We already have a whacky schedule.
What Was Said, Versus What I Think The Conversation Was
Here is what we were told.
However, I think the real conversation was something more like this.
Randy: “OK team we have an opportunity to create some excitement around the league. Any ideas?”
Scheduler 1: “Oh I know I know. Let’s put Toronto on a bye in week one!”
Randy: “Yeah, yeah excellent excellent idea any others are there any other ideas?”
Scheduler 2: “Oh, here’s a good one let’s not have a grey cup rematch in week one that goes well with Toronto bye.”
Randy: “Yes, yes another great idea. Excellent, anyone else?”
Scheduler 3: “You know it would be really good for the league in for the Toronto fan base. Let’s only have Winnipeg and Toronto play once in the regular season and not at all in Toronto!”
Randy: “Oh that’s excellent you are all on fire today everybody gets a raise!”
The Method Behind The Madness
If you are trying to make sense of all of this here is some suggested rational.
That may explain some of the dates and times, but it sure does not explain many the complains above. Sure it is not an easy task, but you could get a more balanced schedule by pulling teams out of a hat.
Here is some added perspective.
However, if the CFL has only a little control over their scheduling that is a much larger organizational issue than the Argos not playing in Week !.
What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.
Find all my articles here.
Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.
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