There’s no CFL on Canada Day and that kinda sucks

Today is Canada Day and while there will be plenty of beer guzzled, BBQ meat consumed and fireworks deployed in a sketchy manner there is one very Canadian thing that will be missing: football.

The league has already completed its slate of games for week three, leaving a perfectly good Sunday barren of three-down contests. There are reasons for this – we’ll get into that in a minute – but it just feels weird that there won’t be some football to watch on the most Canucky of holidays.

See, even Chris Cuthbert agrees.

It feels like there is a CFL game on Canada Day every year but as it turns out, that’s not actually true. In the last 15 seasons, there have been six years in which there was no game on July 1, most recently in 2015. In most cases, the explanation seems simple enough: the date fell on a day of the week not particularly conducive for football. During a three year stretch without a Canada Day game from 2013 to 2015, the date fell on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. While we have seen CFL games on those days on rare occasions – Labour Day notwithstanding of course – it was usually to screw to the Toronto Argonauts.

But Canada Day 2018 falls on a Sunday and that would seem like a perfectly good day to hold a football game. And while the CFL schedule is always a bit of a mystery, it seems pretty clear the league is trying to steer clear of Sunday games: there are just four this season until playoff time. There were six regular season games played on a Sunday in 2017 and seven in 2016.

The other, much bigger reason: TSN. Like all major decisions involving the CFL, it’s always good to consider the needs and desire of its broadcast partner, the one who dumps $40 million a year in the league’s coffers.

TSN has two big things on its schedule today: World Cup quarter-final games and NHL free agency, which begins today. While TSN may not own the rights to as much hockey as they once did, they still do pretty well with their insider coverage and now that John Tavares has signed in Toronto, they’ll actually have something to talk about.

Still, there is time for other stuff. TSN is broadcasting two MLS games involving Canadian teams starting at 4:30 p.m. EST. There’s also a NASCAR race, the U.S. Senior Open and a documentary about the Barkley Marathon that me and five other wannabe runners are likely to watch.

There was one piece of CFL content: the 2017 plays of the year from 1 to 1:30 p.m. EST on TSN2. That seems like… not very much at all.

In the absence of something better, here’s the YouTube version of the 2010 Canada Day game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes, a 54-51 overtime thriller that features a young Darian Durant, an Anthony Calvillo at the height of his powers and a truly ridiculous catch by S.J. Green with a great call by Cuthbert: “That was the catch-of-the-year right now!”

It is one of the best Canada Day’s games in CFL history. Too bad they didn’t try and top it today.


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