Dumb & Dumber: let’s make the CFL playoffs weird

Could a new playoff format be soon on its way to the CFL? Maybe, according to commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

At his first stop on this year’s “Randy’s Road Trip” in Ottawa, he floated the idea of changing changing how the postseason is done. Ambrosie has since added fuel to the fire suggesting change could be coming as early as this season.

The idea isn’t all that new with the top two seeds getting a bye and seeds three through six playing each other regardless of division. Harmless? Mostly.

Ambrosie then threw in a reality show-like twist seemingly out of no where. After what we currently know as division semifinals, the top seeds would then choose who they want to play in the East and West Finals.


It’s an idea that was also recently floated by MLB commissioner and current most-hated man in sports Robert Manfred. It’s possible that Ambrosie was inspired by the idea, though he’s since said that Blue Bombers’ president Wade Miller was the first to suggest it. It’s also not entirely new, we’ve heard it in various forms in other sports in years gone by.

Normally here on 3DownNation, this is where you’d come to find some analysis. Is this is a good idea or a bad idea?

Personally, this feels like a good piece of media work by Ambrosie to get people talking about his tour. It’s a classic political move to float an idea to see how it goes over before seriously pursuing it. I don’t think teams will ever choose their opponents.

However, that’s not what this piece is.

I’m going to have some fun with this and suggest some playoff formats that are dumb, but fun. That’s really all that matters, right? As I like to say, let’s embrace the dumb.

Playoff lottery

Forget picking your opponent, if the regular season isn’t going to matter, then let’s go all-in and make the whole thing random.

The idea is best presented by Stampeders fan Deb Rulé.

Heck yes! Why let only two fan bases have fun? Let’s get all the GMs in a room and have them sweat bullets as the ping pong balls rattle around as their dream seasons rest in the hands of fate.

Ping pong balls are too boring? Fine. Let’s mix it up by having teams spin a wheel, draw names out of a hat or bet on a wiener dog race. The sky is the limit and it could be done differently every year.

Will the first place team have to play the second place? Will the lowest seed get an easy path? We could do it after every round!

Why limit the fun? Put in eight teams instead of six. There would then be the extra wrinkle of leaving the ninth place team feeling extra shame as the only team not to make the playoffs.

That would get people talking.

NHL All-Star Game-style

If you follow the NHL right now, you know the current format of their all-star game consists of three mini-games in one day between divisions.

Every year, there are people within the CFL community who believe the season should end sooner so the most important games of the year are played in better weather. That’s good for the fans and for the games.

Forget starting the season earlier. Let’s do the quarterfinals and semifinals on the same day!

Just play four one-quarter games and then we’re on to the Grey Cup. Imagine the intensity when your season is on the line in a 15-minute period. The top two seeds would play in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

Bonus? This would work perfectly for millennials and kids who allegedly don’t have the attention span to sit through entire sporting events.

Money in the Bank

We’re going to borrow from the world of professional wrestling here.

Every year the WWE hosts a pay-per-view called Money in the Bank. In this event, there are matches throughout the night where superstars compete for a contract in a briefcase that allows them the chance to compete for one of the top championship belts at any time.

Maybe there’s something here for the CFL. I’m open to ideas on how you win “Money in the Bank.”

People seem to like to say that the CFL season doesn’t start until Labour Day. You could add value to the front half of the season by giving the first place team at the halfway point the title shot. Maybe there could be a series of mini-games mid-season in one day — like the previous playoff format — to decide who gets it.

It could mean, all of a sudden, a last place team has a shot down the stretch.

Now, it couldn’t be like WWE where it happens at any time. The season would still have to end before a team could use it. Fall off the map in the second half and miss the playoffs? Cash your contract to get in the show. Lose in the division final? Cash it to get another chance.

Someone won the Grey Cup? Cash it the week after to take your shot.

Other ideas I haven’t really flushed out 

What about a Royal Rumble? I don’t know how this would work, unless the players don’t actually play football. MASCOT ROYAL RUMBLE TO DECIDE SEEDING! Yes, that’s it.

Skills competition? The team’s quarterback that throws the most footballs in the Dr. Pepper cans wins. Remember, the chest pass is actually better here. This would work in deciding seeding.

Seeding could really be determined a bunch of ways. Eating contests? Skills from other sports? Talent competitions? The options are endless.

We could just spruce up the games and go NBA All-Star Game-style. A format that saw teams trying to score a certain number of points actually made a meaningless exhibition game fun. What if a playoff game was on the line? So long, punting. Adios to draws on second-and-long.

Alright, my brain hurts. What ideas do you have for a completely insane playoff format?

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