Re: 100th Grey Cup This Weekend
posted at 11/22/2012 11:32 AM EST
In response to sporter81's comment:
Wow, 100th? Wouldn't have guessed that. Do Canadians follow the NFL much?
In Toronto, they follow the NFL more than they follow the CFL. In fact, a lot of Torontonians look down on the CFL (and the Argos have trouble drawing large crowds). In Western Canada, though, the CFL is extremely popular. Personally, I like to watch both. Overall, I like the style of the NFL game a bit better and, of course, the players are more talented (CFL players make around $80,000 on average--some take the subway to work--so of course the best players go to the NFL where they make 5 times as much at a minimum and potentially 100 times as much). But the Canadian rules have some variations from the American rules that produce a different type of game which is interesting in its own right--a little more open and offensive focused, with some wild finishes, where big leads can evaporate surprisingly quickly.
Gridiron football is really only played in the US and Canada and the game evolved simultaneously in both countries. In fact, a lot of people trace the origin of gridiron football to a series of games between two universities, one American (Harvard), one Canadian (McGill), back in 1874 (from Wikipedia):
Harvard, which played the "Boston game", a version of football that allowed carrying, refused to attend this rules conference and continued to play under its own code. While Harvard's voluntary absence from the meeting made it hard for them to schedule games against other American universities, it agreed to a challenge to play McGill University, from Montreal, in a two-game series. The McGill team traveled to Cambridge to meet Harvard. On May 14, 1874, the first game, played under "Boston" rules, with a round ball, was won by Harvard with a score of 3âÂÂÂÂÂÂ0. The next day, the two teams played under "McGill" rules, with an oblong ball, to a scoreless tie. This series of games represents an important milestone in the development of the modern game of American football.
The Rutgers College football team of 1882, wearing uniforms typical of the period
Harvard quickly took a liking to the rugby game, and its use of the try which, until that time, was not used in American football. The try would later evolve into the score known as the touchdown. In late 1874, the Harvard team traveled to Montreal to play McGill in rugby, and won by three tries. A year later, on June 4, 1875, Harvard faced Tufts University in the first game between two American colleges played under rules similar to the McGill/Harvard contest, which was won by Tufts 1âÂÂÂÂÂÂ0. The first edition of The GameâÂÂÂÂÂÂthe annual contest between Harvard and YaleâÂÂÂÂÂÂwas played on November 13, 1875, under a modified set of rugby rules known as "The Concessionary Rules". Yale lost 4âÂÂÂÂÂÂ0, but found that it too preferred the rugby style game. Spectators from Princeton carried the game back home, where it also became popular.
On November 23, 1876, representatives from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia met at the Massasoit House in Springfield, Massachusetts to standardize a new code of rules based on the rugby game first introduced to Harvard by McGill University in 1874. The rules were based largely on the Rugby Football Union's code from England, though one important difference was the replacement of a kicked goal with a touchdown as the primary means of scoring (a change that would later occur in rugby itself, favoring the try as the main scoring event). Three of the schoolsâÂÂÂÂÂÂHarvard, Columbia, and PrincetonâÂÂÂÂÂÂformed the Intercollegiate Football Association, as a result of the meeting. Yale did not join the group until 1879, because of an early disagreement about the number of players per team.
The CFL was officially founded in 1958, but it evolved out of earlier Canadian leagues, and at that time most of its original teams had been in existance for decades. The sport is just as old in Canada as in the US, and while the CFL may not get the attention the NFL does (even in Canada it often seems to take a back seat to the NFL--and, of course, to hockey), it really has just as much history as the NFL, and in that respect should not be seen as a lesser league.