(Originally published on March 15, 2021) As one of those few Americans who follows the CFL religiously but also lives in a country where anything not "NFL" is deemed inferior, the last week in Canadian football news has been, by all accounts, a very surreal one. It began with the death of a beloved player and one who unfortunately, due to my lack of access to the Canadian airwaves 40 years ago, I never got to see play. The remembrance of him reminded me of the days after Walter Payton's untimely death here in the home of American pro football, Chicago (sorry Canton, but that is a fact). We as fans both north and south love our heroes of the past. However, it abruptly turned when news broke about where the Canadian pro game is heading.
So, as you take a look at the two videos below you may be thinking, this isn't CFL or for that matter even football related. Oh dear reader, rest assured this is not click bait, but rather an ode to what it is that makes all of us root for our leagues and teams, the passion of being a fan. As a Cubs fan from my earliest days (1977 to be exact is when baseball became part of my world) I think I know a few things about being not just a fan, but a long suffering one. I am also a die hard Arizona Cardinals fan, as well as a Bears and Sox fan, and like with many of the women who I have dated, I know disappointment. However, that is not not why I am writing this, but rather to remind you, the reader, that whenever someone questions you on your CFL or XFL loyalty and passion, tell them to go stuff themselves, for they don't know what a true fan is if they are questioning your passion or loyalty for leagues and teams that many have neither heard or or care about.
I remember waking up on Sunday, February 9, 2020 with a sense of a new chapter beginning that day. Pulling into MetLife Stadium seeing tailgate tents, cornhole, the smoke of grills, it all reminded me of my college Saturdays down south. Never being a real follower of the NFL, there was the feeling that this was truly something different, and it was. It. Was. The. XFL! ~ By James @ the Sports Throne
"U.S. Football Fans Urge CFL to Play in St. Louis"
Heartbroken fans have turned to the CFL with the hope they could still have a team in St. Louis after the NFL Rams moved to Los Angeles.
Sadly Steve Daniel was laid off by the CFL in September of 2020 due to the COVID-19 fallout. I sure hope he is doing well and has succeeded in obtaining that PhD he spoke of to the Toronto Sun. When I speak of the passion of the game of Canadian football to Americans it is because of people like Steve, for they, along with the players, are the true back bone of the CFL. Men like Steve and countless others behind the scenes are the modern day hidden figures who have made the league "go" for it's entire lifetime. Without men with the passion of Steve and the others who have poured their heart and soul into the CFL, the league would have never made it into the 21st Century. Hopefully soon the CFL will return and men like Steve can return to the game they love and continue doing the wonderful things they have done for Canadian football for many many years to come!
CFL expansion into the country was the brainchild of former Commissioner Larry Smith. He envisioned a Canadian League with up to 24 teams, including 8 to 10 teams in American cities, and new teams for Montreal and the Maritimes as well by 1998. Unfortunately, America's CFL entries struggled financially, forcing the CFL to withdraw from the US as quickly as it had entered. Though Smith's idea ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, for three seasons these teams played the distinct game of Canadian football on American soil. This is their story.
Yes, the title of the post is deceiving, but whether we are talking about American or Canadian football, the point is the same, for though sports are universally beloved, in the last year science fiction became science fact in the form of big league sports being played in empty stadiums. Well, except for the CFL.
Specifically, in the 1970s, the now legendary George R. R. Martin wrote a fantastical tale about the end odownfall of them all in “The Last Super Bowl,” a fantastically written short story in February 1975’s issue of Gallery Magazine, a men’s magazine.
The story is actually two tales, as he covers the last Super Bowl which takes place in January 2016 and interjects the depiction of that Super Bowl, between the Green Bay Packers and the Hoboken Jets, and the downfall of real sports. Real sports, in the 2016 of Martin’s fictional world, have been overtaken in popularity by simulated sports.
Simulated sports are controlled by a computer that can put any team, from any era, against any other for the enjoyment of the spectators. The technology he describes in the computers that control the simulated sports were science fiction in 1974, but in 2021, our computers are powerful enough to create those simulations. Just look at video games like Electronic Arts’ Madden Series and Canuck Play's Flutie Maximum Football.
The implications that computer simulated games would overtake the real thing isn’t so far fetched now in a world turned upside down by a pandemic, but back in 1970s, Martin was looking to a future where the complexities of computers and their power seemed infinitely abundant and highly unlikely....