It is how every game starts, is a tradition as old as the game itself, and for years it has played out the same way: the visiting team calls heads or tails and team that wins the toss gets to decide how they would like to begin the game.
The coin toss has never been the subject of any tweaks or changes, save for when the XFL got rid of the coin toss and replaced it with the Scramble. If you didn’t live through the XFL, here is what the Scramble looked like:
Yeah, so, anyway, the coin toss has stayed mostly unchanged for as long as the game of football has been around.
Until the Rose Bowl.
For those of you out there who do not follow US college football, the Rose Bowl is still something you have heard and know about. It is the granddaddy of all bowl games and one of the most anticipated games on the college football schedule.
This year’s Rose Bowl, played last Friday, came with its fair share of excitement, especially from the victorious Stanford Cardinal and their all-everything running back Christian McCaffrey.
But there was something else about the game that came of interest to me, and it occurred before any play was run.
The coin toss was decided not by a player calling heads or tails, but by which team logo the coin landed on. The coin came emblazoned with Stanford’s logo on one side and the logo of their opponent, the Iowa Hawkeyes, on the other. The referee flipped the coin and it landed on the Stanford logo, which gave them the right to kick, receive or defer. I thought it was an interesting change to the normal proceedings.
And then it dawned on me: should the CFL adopt a similar change to the coin toss?
My answer: why not?
It might not be financially feasible to make coins with both team logos on it for each game played, but nine coins, one for every team, with a team logo on one side and the league’s logo, on the other probably would be, and the league could then get coins made for each playoff game and the Grey Cup that come emblazoned with both teams’ logos.
During the coin toss, a coin with the home team’s logo would be used, with the league logo representing the away team. The ref could flip the coin and whichever logo the coin landed on would decide which team won the toss.
The coins could also be something fans could collect. All the coins could be dated, with the year on the team coins and the full dates on the playoff and Grey Cup coins. They could mass produce them and sell them as sets to fans. I am sure there are more than a few fans out there that would love to purchase CFL coins each and every year. I know I would.
I understand that some people do not like change, and making a change to the coin toss is not a pressing matter by any means, but the CFL is constantly making tweaks to the game and I think this would be a change that not only wouldn’t cause any major controversy, but would also be embraced by the fans.
The CFL has a long history of looking at US college football for ideas — spread offenses, shotgun-heavy sets, the read-option and the CFL’s current overtime rules all originated in colleges across the United States — so this would be just another idea they could take from the American college game and alter it to better suit their needs.
And I, for one, think it would be a change embraced by most of the league’s fans.