CFL to go to 21 week schedule in 2018, eliminate padded practices

The CFL and CFLPA have announced that the league will go to a 21-week schedule – thereby adding a third bye week for each team – as well as eliminate shoulder pads from all practices after training camp.

The news was first reported by 3DownNation.

The schedule changes will take effect in 2018 while the shoulders pad ban happens immediately.

Teams were previously allowed to hold a total of 17 padded practices following training camp. In the NFL, clubs can have 11 padded practices over the first 11 weeks of the season, a maximum of one per week. After that, clubs can have three more padded practices for a total of 14 on the year.

Teams will still play an 18 game schedule it will just spread over 21 weeks. The impact of when he the CFL season starts and finishes has yet to be determined.

“It’s impossible to exactly project the precise impact until teams have submitted their available stadium dates for 2018 and a schedule is put in place,” the league said in a release. “Preliminary modelling suggests the number of short weeks (teams playing on less than six days of rest) could be cut by two-thirds.”

The moves are being touted as an effort to improve player safety, something that’s been of increasing concern for both the league and players’ association.

“I said when I was appointed commissioner that their safety was my number one priority. I want to thank the CFLPA for working with me to introduce these changes,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in statement. “As a former player, I understand this issue from the players’ perspective and will continue to work with our players on matters of player safety.”

The CFL and the CFLPA made the changes official during an online announcement Wednesday afternoon.

– with files from CP.