Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Canadian Football League (1958-Today)

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The Canadian Football League traces its history back to the formation of amateur rugby football associations in the late 19th century.  Clubs began competing for The Grey Cup, which crowned Canada’s best amateur rugby side, in 1909.  During the first half of the 20th century, the rules of the game began to evolve away from rugby and into the modern sport of Canadian Football, which is played 12-on-12 on a 110-yard field, with the offensive team receiving only three downs (rather than the American four) to advance the ball ten yards for a first down or achieve a score.  By 1954, the sport was fully professional, with amateur clubs dropping away.   Today’s Canadian Football League formally began play in 1958, although some clubs trace their lineage back to the 19th century.

The Canadian franchises of the CFL have been remarkably resilient, with the exception of the recent history of the sport in Ottawa, where two clubs have folded since 1996.  However, from 1993 to 1995, the CFL under then-Commissioner Larry Smith embarked on a highly ambitious and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to expand into the United States.  The CFL’s American adventure found clubs playing as far south as San Antonio, Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana.  One team – the Baltimore CFL Colts/Stallions (1994-1995) proved enormously successful on the field and at the box office – but this was the exception rather than the rule.  None of the American teams lasted more than two seasons and by 1996 the American chapter of the CFL’s history was all over.

Franchise List:

  • Baltimore CFL Colts/Baltimore Football Club (1994)
  • Baltimore Stallions (1995)
  • Birmingham Barracudas (1995)
  • British Columbia Lions (1954-present)
  • Calgary Stampeders (1909-present)
  • Edmonton Eskimos (1949-present)
  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1869-present)
  • Las Vegas Posse (1994)
  • Memphis Mad Dogs (1995)
  • Montreal Alouettes (1946-1981)
  • Montreal Alouettes (1986)
  • Montreal Alouettes (1996-present)
  • Montreal Concordes (1982-1985)
  • Ottawa Renegades (2002-2005)
  • Ottawa Rough Riders (1876-1996)
  • Sacramento Gold Miners (1993-1994)
  • San Antonio Texans (1995)
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders (1910-present)
  • Shreveport (LA) Pirates (1994-1995)
  • Toronto Argonauts (1873-present)
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1930-present)

Notable Players:

  • Damon Allen (Edmonton, Ottawa, Hamilton, Memphis, British Columbia, Toronto 1985-2007)
  • Doug Flutie (British Columbia, Calgary, Toronto 1990-1997)
  • Joe Kapp (Calgary, British Columbia 1959-1966)
  • Ron Lancaster (Ottawa, Saskatchewan 1960-1978)
  • Warren Moon (Edmonton 1978-1983)
  • Jackie Parker (Edmonton, Toronto, British Columbia 1954-1968)
  • George Reed (Saskatchewan 1963-1975)
  • Johnny Rodgers (Montreal 1973-1976)


Written by andycrossley

April 28th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

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