Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie delivers his annual state of the league address to reporters during the CFL Grey Cup week in Calgary, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. Ambrosie can see the CFL going global in 2021. The CFL commissioner said Tuesday during the league???s winter meetings the league will likely play a regular-season game outside of Canada sometime in 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie delivers his annual state of the league address to reporters during the CFL Grey Cup week in Calgary, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. Ambrosie can see the CFL going global in 2021. The CFL commissioner said Tuesday during the league???s winter meetings the league will likely play a regular-season game outside of Canada sometime in 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie floating new playoff format to league fans

On Saturday night, the CFL commissioner began his annual cross-country trek in Ottawa

Randy Ambrosie has started floating a new playoff format to CFL fans.

On Saturday night, the CFL commissioner began his annual cross-country trek in Ottawa by offering a new twist on the league’s current post-season format. Under the formula, the East and West Division first-place finishers would secure opening-round byes.

The next top four finishers — regardless of division — would claim the remaining four berths, with the third- and fourth-place clubs hosting the bottom two in semifinal action on a Saturday. The following day, the franchise with the best regular-season record would choose which opening-round winner it wanted to face in its conference final.

“It’s just so interesting because there’d be the fan intrigue of which team is going to be chosen,” Ambrosie said during a telephone interview Tuesday prior to meeting with Montreal football fans. “Because your top-six teams are all getting a shot at the playoffs we think it could actually keep more teams in the playoff hunt longer and create more intrigue.

“Obviously being in fifth place would be better than sixth, being fourth would be better than fifth. We’re thinking it could create more fan engagement and more interest in the later-season games.”

Ambrosie said the new format was the brainchild of Winnipeg president Wade Miller and has the support of the league’s innovation committee, which includes representation from the CFL Players’ Association. The proposal is expected to be presented to the league’s board of governors March 17.

ALSO READ: CFL teams under the microscope after free agency begins

“By March 17th I will have criss-crossed the country and had the chance to share what the feedback was from fans and we’ll have seen the reporting on it,” Ambrosie said. “Then we’ll take it to the governors and put it on the table for them to consider.

“We’ll make a decision, I believe, in March on whether we’re going to go forward with it and if so, are we going to go in 2020 or wait until 2021? Really right now what we’re doing is getting an opportunity to get a chance to hear what CFL fans think and give them a role to play in shaping the future of our league.”

The CFL’s current East-West playoff format has long been a bone of contention with fans, especially those in Western Canada who’ve grown tired of seeing Eastern squads with inferior records reaching the post-season.

In 1996, the CFL instituted the crossover rule. It stipulates a fourth-place team in one division that has more points than the third-place squad in the other crosses over to the other division at the end of the regular season and assume the No. 3 playoff seed.

Since the rule was adopted, all crossover teams have come from the West. Western clubs are 5-7 in East Division semifinal games but 0-5 in conference finals.

Even if the CFL board votes to adopt the new format, Ambrosie said that doesn’t mean it will be forever.

“We can announce we’re going to do two seasons of this and see how it works,” he said. “We can always go back to the old way.

“If you state that up front … then it allows us to experiment with some new ideas and to see how we combine these new ideas to engage our fans.”

On Monday, free-agent Derek Dennis — the CFL’s outstanding lineman in 2016 — signed a contract with the XFL’s reserve team. He became the league’s second high-profile player to do so after veteran S.J. Green.

Green signed his XFL deal Feb. 10, the day before the start of CFL free agency, after being released Feb. 7 by the Toronto Argonauts. The Seattle Dragons added the six-foot-three, 216-pound Green — a three-time Grey Cup champion, to their roster Feb. 11.

Both Green and Dennis are proven CFL performers. Over 13 seasons in Canada, Green has amassed 716 receptions for 10,222 yards with 60 TDs and is an eight-time all-star.

Dennis has spent four of his five seasons in Canada with the Calgary Stampeders, helping them a Grey Cup title in 2018. Green believes more CFL players will be making the jump.

“There will be more to follow,” he tweeted.

Ambrosie has taken notice.

“My No. 1 priority is to focus on our business plan and build the biggest, strongest global CFL possible,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to what’s going on around you and obviously whenever a really good player finds a different league it’s a cause for concern.

“We don’t want to lose great players but at the same time we’ve got to be very excited about the path we’re on and stay focused on building our own best league. That’s literally where my mind is focused every day but I can tell you it’s (losing veterans to XFL) is very important and I pay attention to it.”

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CFL

Just Posted

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it”

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
Vancouver Island minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

3L Developments has stated it is pulling the plug on its plans to build a residential neighbourhood in the Stotan Falls area. The company has repeatedly offered to turn the Stotan Falls area into parkland, if the CVRD were to amend its Regional Growth Strategy to allow for a residential community to be built in the area. The CVRD has steadfastly turned down the development company. File photo.
Plugged pulled on decade-old Comox Valley development project

3L Developments say there will be no further development applications filed for Stotan Falls

The profitability of Victoria International Airport dropped by almost $17 million in 2020 because of COVID-19. (Black Press Media File)
Victoria International Airport revenues in a tailspin

While airport made $9.2 million in profits 2019, COVID-19 brought estimated losses of $7.5 million

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Jackie Hildering, whale researcher with the Marine Education and Research Society, and Nanaimo Area Land Trust will present the Return of Giants, a webinar about the humpback whales’ return from the brink of extinction and how boaters can help protect them. (Jackie Hildering/MERS photo taken under Marine Mammal License MML-42)
‘Return of the Giants:’ B.C. getting a second chance to coexist with humpback whales

‘Marine Detective’ partners with Nanaimo stewardship group on webinar

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The Gardens at Qualicum Beach is now owned by family-owned The Care Group. (thegardensatqualicum.com)
The Gardens at Qualicum Beach has new owners

Family has travelled to Qualicum Beach for more than a century

Most Read