The playoffs are here, and while six fan bases still get to fret and worry about if their team will be the one to win it all, there are three fan bases who have to decide what they should do over the next three weeks and where their allegiances should lie during the playoffs.
And that’s why I’m here.
There are plenty of reasons to want to see one team or another win the Grey Cup, but I am here to tell you which one you should cheer for based purely on one criterion: likability.
So if you are in Toronto (who topped last year’s list), Montreal and Edmonton, and need a hand figuring out what you should do during this playoff season, I got you.
So here is this year’s likability rankings for the six teams still left standing.
6. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Sorry, Rider Nation, but no one outside your province wants to see you win. Chris Jones is too Belichickian in his demeanour to root for, and while guys like Willie Jefferson and Charleston Hughes are definitely likeable, they have alreasdt won championships. There isn’t that one player you want to see finally win a ring, so that coupled with their general Rider-ness puts them last.
5. Calgary Stampeders
No one likes a front-runner, so like your friend who becomes a Patriots or Red Sox or Warriors fan in the playoffs because their teams were eliminated, they also become Stamps fans. No one likes that person, so don’t be that person. The late addition of Bakari Grant, who is almost universally beloved, puts them slightly ahead of the Riders, though. Besides, the fun is in watching the giant get slain and we are one more Grey Cup loss away from the Stamps reaching full-blown comedic status.
4. Ottawa Redblacks
Ottawa doesn’t have the underdog status of the teams ranked higher than them, but they also don’t have anyone you desperately would like to see take home a championship because most of the team won a Grey Cup two years ago. They also employ Kyries Hebert and that automatically drops them a few spots even if the rest of the team were choir boys.
3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
A fun, somewhat goofy, head coach; a quarterback who, while disliked by a segment of his own fan base, worked his way into a starring role; and an offence that can excite and a defence that can clamp down. Add in the nearly two-decade title drought and you have the recipe for a likeable team.
2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers and Ticats are like two peas in the same pod, but the longer championship drought gives the Bombers the edge for No. 2 in these rankings. Outside of Riders fans, who dislike Winnipeg regardless of the circumstances, there isn’t much other fans can dislike about this Winnipeg team. They are fun to watch, can play exciting offence and defence, and there is always the chance for something crazy on special teams. That’s the makings of a very likeable squad right there.
1. B.C. Lions
It had to be the Lions. Seeing Wally walk off the field for the final time hoisting the Grey Cup is the stuff movies get made about. He did it once before (albeit with a much better team), but what a storybook ending it would be if the greatest coach in CFL history capped his career with one final, improbable championship victory. Add in the universal love that everyone has for Travis Lulay and you have this year’s unquestionable most likeable team in the CFL playoffs.