Likability rankings for the six 2019 CFL playoff teams

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The regular season is over and the playoffs are here.

Nine has been whittled down to six and if you are a fan of one of the unlucky three to miss the playoffs, you might be wondering who you should cheer for during the post-season.

That’s where I come in.

Like I did in 2017 and 2018, I am here to help you pick which team you should wish to see win it all based on one lone criterion: likability.

So if you are a fan in B.C., Ottawa or Toronto looking for a reason to care who wins the Grey Cup, I’ve got you covered.

Here are the likability rankings for the six 2019 playoff teams.

6. Calgary

This isn’t a slight against the Stampeders, but being the fan who hops on the bandwagon of the defending champs and would be playing a title game in their own stadium is L-A-M-E, lame. Bo Levi Mitchell is still as smug as ever, Dave Dickenson isn’t much better, and, again, the Stamps are the defending champs. That makes Calgary the least likeable of any team in the playoffs.

5. Edmonton

Jason Maas is almost impossible to cheer for. I say almost because fans in Edmonton obviously have no problem doing it, but that doesn’t mean anyone outside Edmonton has to. Add in that the vast majority of their new players are ex-Redblacks, who just last year played in the Grey Cup and/or won it three years ago, and you don’t have that desire to see anyone finally get a ring. The lone exception to that is C.J. Gable. So while Gable doesn’t cancel out the Mass-ness of it all, it makes them slightly more likeable than the Stampeders.

4. Saskatchewan

No one wants this. Yes, Craig Dickenson is a lot more likeable than Chris Jones (and Craig’s own brother, Dave), but c’mon now. Do you really want to put up with an off-season of listening to Riders’ fans gloat? I know I don’t, and you don’t either.

3. Hamilton

Outside Hamilton, fans hate Simoni Lawrence. And more than a few don’t like Brandon Banks, either. And the Ticats are the best team in the league and the favourites heading into the playoffs. Hoping aboard the bandwagon of the team that is supposed to win isn’t very fun. There are numerous likeable people, such as head coach Orlondo Steinauer, receiver Luke Tasker and special teams coordinator Jeff Reinebold, among others, and the Ticats haven’t won a Grey Cup since 1999. If this Ticats team becomes a Stamps-in-the-2010s or Als-in-the-2000s-level juggernaut, then they will reside much lower in future years. But for now, middle of the pack seems about right.

2. Winnipeg

Given all he has gone through, wouldn’t you really like to see Zach Collaros lead his team to the Grey Cup? The story would be tremendous, and it would coincide with Winnipeg ending their 29-year championship drought. Also, Argos fans, you should hope Collaros pulls this off since that likely means the Bombers re-sign him and you get a first-round pick in return. Andrew Harris makes the Bombers tough to root for, but not enough to not put them at No. 2.

1. Montreal

The head coach dances to Led Zeppelin songs during games; the starting quarterback is a ton of fun to watch; and the team itself, after years of futility, is finally back to being competitive. They are, if nothing else, a likeable bunch. If you are looking for a team to hitch your wagon to for the 2019 post-season, you could do no better than the Montreal Alouettes.

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.