Bo Levi Mitchell envisions three downs on American-sized field if CFL, XFL merge

Star CFL quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell has been imagining what the style of football could look like if a merger with the XFL happens.

For decades the Canadian league has played three downs on a field that measures 110 yards long, 65 yards wide, with 20 yards in each end zone. Traditionally, Americans have played four downs on a field that measures 100 yards long, 53.5 yards wide, with 10 yards in each end zone.

If the leagues come together the downs or field size might have to give. Mitchell thinks it’s easiest to switch and play three-down football on an American size field.

“We’d probably have to convert to the smaller field to compensate for XFL fields because they’re not going to go out and create CFL fields,” Mitchell said on The Bob McCown podcast.

“I don’t want to see the game change. I don’t want to see the downs change. Hopefully we can keep the CFL rules and I think that’d be a really good thing to happen.”

Mitchell is smart enough to sense there might be heated pushback from longtime fans of the CFL brand of football. For example, one day during Jeffrey Orridge’s tenure as commissioner, the two-time Grey Cup champion was at the league’s downtown Toronto office and created a firestorm.

“He shows me the new football with the black stripes, and then shows me a ball with no stripes. He asked which one I liked and wanted me to find out what the other quarterbacks liked,” Mitchell explained.

Mitchell sent text messages to the quarterbacks for all nine teams and found out they liked the one without black stripes. Orridge wanted to gage fan reaction and asked the two-time Most Outstanding Player to post a picture of the footballs on Twitter because he knew the league would catch flack for doing it themselves.

“The red flags started going off when he said that. I post the pictures and I’m telling you I’ve never had more heat on Twitter in my entire life from everybody saying: ‘You American, get out of our country, don’t try to change our game,'” Mitchell said.

“I don’t want to change the game at all, I love this game, I love the CFL, I am not anybody without the CFL. I now know the business side a little bit more and I want to continue to help to grow this game so that the people that do love it don’t ever have to see it not there.”

Changing the smaller details of the CFL football is minor compared to shrinking the field and it’s sure to cause a stir among fans if it comes to fruition.

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