Player safety: CFL schedule stretched over additional week to increase rest

The Canadian Football League season will be spread over an additional week next year in an effort to promote player safety.

The league announced its schedule on Thursday, two months earlier than last year. The season kicks off a week earlier on June 14, when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host Edmonton.

The schedule stretches the regular-season over 21 weeks rather than 20 to reduce the number of short turnarounds. No team will have to play three games in 11 days, something that had been part of every schedule dating back to 2005. The number of games to be played on less than a full week’s rest has been cut to 44, down from 51 last year and 54 the year before.

The number of games played on five days rest has been cut from 21 last year to 15 this year, a 29 per cent decrease. And every team will get three bye weeks instead of two, reducing the number of consecutive weeks a team must play.

The Toronto Argonauts kick off their Grey Cup title defence on June 154 in Saskatchewan, and then return home to raise their championship banner on June 23 when they host Calgary in a Grey Cup rematch.

Rounding out opening weekend is a double header on June 16 that has Hamilton visiting Calgary and Montreal travelling to Vancouver to battle the B.C. Lions.

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the early release of the schedule is in response to fans.

“For years, our fans have asked to have the schedule released as early as possible, preferably in time to consider buying season tickets as gifts for family and friends,” Ambrosie said in a statement. “We are pleased today to deliver on that request. Not only is this schedule out two months earlier than last year’s, it promises a season that starts a little sooner and will deliver all the excitement Canadians have come to expect from the CFL.”

The schedule will conclude with the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton on Nov. 25.

Labour Day Weekend features the traditional rivalries – Montreal visits the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday, Aug. 31; the Bombers visit the Riders on Sunday, Sept. 2; and the holiday Monday on Sept. 3 features a doubleheader, with Edmonton at Calgary in the afternoon followed by Toronto at Hamilton in the evening.



15 Comments on Player safety: CFL schedule stretched over additional week to increase rest

  1. Good move Ambrosie !

  2. stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm //

    Player safety might as well me called “Head injury mitigation”
    An extra week off during season does nothing IMO. This is an empty action. If you have a head injury you’re not playing, if the team that player plays for happens to has a bye that week is of no relevance. If the league is really concerned cut down the number of games played. We all know that is ever going to happen!

  3. Lancaster/Reed // December 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm //

    The byes were always supposed to be about player safety, and logically each team shoud get one break in each half of the season, but ottawa had both of theirs in the last 4-5 weeks of the 2017 season. And i think something similar happened to edmonton recently too.
    Not sure how its breaking down for every team this year but it looks like the riders bye weeks are 5 , 9 , and 21.could be better, but could be worse.

    • stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm //

      Yours is nothing to complain about.

      • Lancaster/Reed // December 14, 2017 at 8:29 pm //

        Its hilarious your obsession compelled you to specifically check out the rider schedule. Is part of your psychotic personality self sadomasochism?

        • stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 9:55 pm //

          What!!! I never checked out the riders schedule!
          I know they play Calgary 3 times BECAUSE I CHECKED CALGARY’S SCHEDULE. I said you have nothing to complain about based on your bye week distribution BECAUSE YOU INFORMED EVERYONE OF IT IN YOUR COMMENT ABOVE.

          • CFLFan2789 // December 14, 2017 at 9:59 pm //

            You’re wasting your breath, that’s logical thinking so you’ll lose the Rider fans…and they wonder why everyone else hates them

    • if those are the bye weeks that is not bad, I kind of like it !!! 4weeks to get rolling , 1 week to tweek, mid season check in after early NFL cuts, and then 1 week late in season to heal bumps and bruises a bit and recharge for playoff run with possible NFL LATE cuts filling gaps and injuries!!

  4. White Horse // December 14, 2017 at 6:22 pm //

    I am not fussy about the 2018 Argos hosting the Stamps to celebrate the Grey Cup 2017. Rubbing the cup in the face of the Cup loser is asking for trouble.
    I recall the Stamps winning the Cup in 2001 and the Stamps hosted the Eskimos for the first preseason game of 2002. The pomp and circumstance was a huge motivator for the Esks and they had 5 interceptions and blew the Stamps out as a result. The Esks were not even in the playoffs but they took it as a slap in the face. Argos better perform this pregame effort correctly or the Stamps will kill-um!

    • stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 6:33 pm //

      Looking at recent past schedules its very common for the Grey Cup champions to host a rematch to start there home schedule.

  5. Want player safety? Go back to a 16 game regular season.

    • Lancaster/Reed // December 14, 2017 at 11:15 pm //

      And add back the 2 lost preseason games? Because the owners aren’t going to drop one games gate receipts.

  6. Want player safety, don’t play any games and fold the league.

  7. Once again another crappie Ticats schedule of mostly night games do count me out. Labour Day Classic should never be a night game. How anti family! Kids have school next morning! What happened to 1 pm Labour Day games?

Comments are closed.