Former CFL quarterback turned TSN analyst Henry Burris isn’t a fan of the commissioner’s new playoff format idea.
“The fact that you’re not a trend setter in doing it, I don’t like the idea. There’s enough excitement that’s garnered now whenever there is semi-finals or the conference final games. It’s exciting enough as it is. It helps build into the rivalries that are created during the course of the regular season,” Burris said on TSN radio 1200 in Ottawa.
The new post-season idea would see the East and West Division winners earn first-round byes. After the first two teams, the next four would make the playoffs based purely on record. Three would host six and four match up against five in the opening round. The semi-final games would be played on Saturday and the following Sunday the team who had the best regular season record would choose their opponent for the division final.
“Naming off your opponent to me, I don’t like it. In the game of football, you can allow baseball and those other teams to do it because they play so many games. But in the world of football, what makes the experience that much better are the intense rivalries when you play teams that are close to you,” Burris said.
“If I’m with Ottawa I don’t want to play B.C. because that just takes away a touch of that excitement or that energy or that intensity. When the two fan bases come together that hate that they have for each other usually adds to that drama and that anticipation of that game kicking off and also you kicking their tails.”
It can be tough to ensure playoff balance in a nine-team league, especially in a year when one division — in recent seasons its been the West — is far superior to the other. CFL purists often point to the history of the East versus West play downs as a reason to eschew evolution.
“I see an East Division that’s going to be that much more competitive and the rivalries will start to build because the teams will be that much better. I think you have to go with that over anything else to maintain the integrity of the game,” Burris said.
“I think these teams will be that much better to the point where I think the East is going to be better than the West this year. I think the East, man, are going to be absolute animals this year with so many great players signing on this side of the map.”