It’s the been the buzz word of professional sports over the last decade. The idea is pretty strong in theory. What leagues, including the CFL have sought is a competitive team in every market. In any given year, just about any team has a chance to win it all. It’s a great way to keep fans across the league interested and gives hope to fan bases that have yet to experience the joy seeing their team win a championship.
Ultimately, it can still only be accomplished with proper management, good coaching, talented players and some luck. The best teams will actually give them a chance to win against others who lack in other ways but get strung along thanks to a system that has given them a chance.
In the end, it’s good to have a variety of teams appear in and win championships. It makes leagues and sports healthier. Just look over the last decade in the CFL where the Calgary Stampeders made the Grey Cup more often than not.
Quite frankly, by the 2018 Grey Cup between the Stamps and the Redblacks, it was pretty hard to get overly excited for the game unless you were a fan of one of those teams.
Same in the NCAA and U Sports where multiple matchups in championship games with the same teams years in a row was met with a collective yawn.
There are exceptions, though. Sometimes, a league can benefit greatly from having a true villain.
Enter the New England Patriots of the NFL.
If you’re a football fan, you have an opinion on them and you felt something, one way or the other when they were bounced from the playoffs by the Tennessee Titans. You didn’t have to go down too deep of a rabbit hole online to see how people felt about that game. It was one of those nights where Twitter was actually fun and not a cesspool.
When is MLB at its best? When the New York Yankees are World Series contenders.
The NBA has had the Celtics, the Bulls, the Lakers, the Heat and the Warriors among others over their history.
Nothing unites fans of a sport with no horse in the race like cheering against a common enemy. I think no one embodies that spirit right now like the Patriots.
For some, the Stampeders have filled that role in the CFL, especially on the Prairies. Though, it’s never truly felt like a unifying theme from fans across the league. Maybe the Alouettes before them? Perhaps what kept those teams from being universally hated was that they also lost the big game fairly regularly. Losing wasn’t quite as rare.
I’m not saying we should drastically change the league’s rules in order to allow teams to have a competitive advantage over the others to create dynasties. That’s no good either.
There’s nothing really that can be done other than hope that there’s smart enough people out there to make it happen.
All I’m really saying, parity is nice, but dynasties are fun. They prove excellence and can often increase interest, at least momentarily in the league. Here’s to the 2020s bringing a true, unifying villain to the CFL.