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The Three Biggest CFL Franchises and Their NFL Counterparts

In the grand tapestry of American football, the CFL and the NFL represent the pinnacle of the game in their respective countries. Admittedly, as we all know, the league south of the border gets much more recognition than the one in the Great White North. It has much more funding pumped into it, as well as fans through the gates.

But while both leagues share the essence of the same sport, they are distinguished by different rules, playing styles, and historical narratives. Yet, within these differences lie striking similarities, especially when comparing the most illustrious franchises from each league. So, let’s take a look at Canada’s three biggest franchises and the American outfit that they are most likened to.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Kansas City Chiefs

Both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Kansas City Chiefs serve as the resident heavyweights in their respective leagues. The former has reached the Grey Cup final in each of the last four seasons, while the latter has made it to the Super Bowl four times in the last five years. However, the Arrowhead outfit has lifted the Lombardi in each of the last two seasons, while the Manitoba side has lost in their two most recent trips to Canada’s Big Game.

Last term, they were stunned by the Montreal Alouettes by a score of 28 points to 24 at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton. The year before that, it was the Toronto Argonauts that downed them in Regina. But prior to that, they lifted the trophy in consecutive seasons, just as Patrick Mahomes and Co. have recently managed to do. Despite their recent heartache, CFL odds providers have still made the Blue Bombers +225 second favourites for glory this term, narrowly behind the 2022 champions in the betting list.

Andy Reid’s men, meanwhile, have been made the +450 favourites to win a third straight Super Bowl next year. Should they live up to the billing, they would be the first team in history to complete the elusive three-peat, cementing their legacy as perhaps the greatest dynasty the NFL has ever seen.

Toronto Argonauts – New England Patriots

The Toronto Argonauts, with their record number of Grey Cup victories, stands as the CFL’s most successful franchise, drawing a parallel with the New England Patriots, the team that has claimed the most Super Bowl triumphs over the years. Both teams have set the standard for excellence in their leagues, with the BMO Field side’s history of dominance dating back to the early days of Canadian football, while the Pats have defined NFL supremacy in the 21st century.

The strategic minds of Bill Belichick and the coaching staff behind the Argonauts’ successes share a knack for making pivotal adjustments and fostering a winning culture, cementing their teams’ legacies. However, as we head into 2024, it’s a much different Patriots side than the ones in recent history. The Boston-based outfit has recently parted ways with the most successful coach in their history, following a disastrous campaign last year. Gone are the days of Tom Brady and their eight straight trips to the AFC Championship game, but the Patriots can look to the Argonauts for inspiration and hope that brighter pastures are around the corner.

Toronto lifted the championship in both 2012 and 2017, but they soon plummeted down the table. However, they reemerged in 2022 to defeat the Blue Bombers and claim the Grey Cup once more. They head into the 2024 season as the +200 favourites for glory, and if the Patriots can follow in their footsteps, there is no reason why they cannot rebuild and reclaim the throne they once ruled from with an iron fist.

Edmonton Eskimos – Green Bay Packers

The Edmonton Eskimos are known for their community involvement and loyal following, and as such, share many similarities with the Green Bay Packers. Both franchises are deeply rooted in their respective cities, with the Cheeseheads being the only community-owned team in the NFL, mirroring the counterparts’ strong connection with Edmontonians. This unique relationship with their fans has fostered an environment of unwavering support, making their home grounds among the most daunting for visiting teams.

Both teams have also shared plenty of success over the years. Over at Lambeau Field, the Packers’ faithful have seen the Lombardi head to their city on no fewer than four occasions. However, their most recent triumph came all the way back in 2010, when Aaron Rodgers’ heroics led his side to three straight victories on the road, before dispatching the heavily favoured Pittsburgh Steelers at AT&T Stadium. The Eskimos’ most recent triumph also came a few years ago, specifically in 2015, when they defeated the Ottawa Redblacks in Winnipeg.

The Packers’ greatest-ever era came way back in the 1960s, when they lifted the Lombardi on back-to-back seasons. However, that success pales in comparison to the Eskimos, who claimed three straight championships in the 1950s, before winning a mighty five straight crowns between 1978 and 1982.

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Priyanka Chaudhary
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