CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE


EAST DIVISION

 
HAMILTON
MONTREAL
TORONTO
 
TIGER-CATS
ALOUETTES
ARGONAUTS
 
WINNIPEG
BLUE BOMBERS

WEST DIVISION

 
BRITISH COLUMBIA
CALGARY
EDMONTON
 
LIONS
STAMPEDERS
ESKIMOS
 
 
SASKATCHEWAN
 
ROUGHRIDERS
 

Above is the 2006 alignment for the Canadian Football League, or CFL. The Ottawa Renegades have been "suspended" for the season and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have moved over to the East Division to replace them.


HISTORICAL TEAMS

ATLANTIC SCHOONERS

1981

The Schooners were supposed to play in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1981. The team folded only three weeks after it's inception and never played. The logo and colors above are correct. I'm not sure if the helmet was actually supposed to look like the one above, however.


BALTIMORE STALLIONS

1994 - 1995

The Stallions were a part of the CFL's brief expansion into the US market. They played in Baltimore, MD. They were far and away the most successful US team, even winning the Gray Cup. After the CFL-USA experiment ended in 1995, the Stallions moved to Montreal and were reborn as the Alouettes (see below).


BIRMINGHAM BARRACUDAS

1995

The Barracudas were a part of the CFL's brief expansion into the US market. They played a single season in Birmingham, AL.


BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS

 
1954 - 1955 1956 - 1957 1958 - 1959  
 
1960 - 1961 1960 - 1961 1962 - 1964  
 
1965 - 1967`

1968 - 1970

1971  
1972 - 1974 1975 1976
1977 1978 - 1989 1990 - 1995
1996 - 2004 2003 special 2005 - present
2005 special 2006 special 2006 special

The Lions play their home games in Vancouver. They were the last of the "original nine" to join the CFL.

The 1971 "CCC" logo was worn as part of a celebration of the Canadian Confederation Centennial. It appears the team changed from the white "BC" logo to the black "BC" logo in 1975, but switched back the following year. The 1975 helmet may have also used an orange facemask. Also, the team may have used red rather than orange in some of the designs.

The 2003 helmet above was worn during a Lion's home game against Winnipeg on June 20, 2003, as part of the team's 50th anniversary celebration.

In 2005, the team wore a helmet similar to the 2003 special, except with a white shell instead of silver to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first Grey Cup win as a member of the CFL.

During the 2006 season, the team wore two special helmets, seen above. The paw design was worn at least twice, including in the Grey Cup, which the team won.


CALGARY STAMPEDERS

 
1960 1961 1962  
 
1963 - 1967 1968 - 1975 1976 - 1977  
1978 - 1979 1980 - 1981 1982 - 1988
1989 - 1995 2003 special 1995 - present

At sometime during the 1963-1967 period, the Stampeders may have also used helmets similar to the helmet shown above, except with a white center stripe. The 2003 helmet above was worn during a game on September 5, 2003, versus Edmonton, although I'm not sure why this special helmet was used.


EDMONTON ESKIMOS

 
1960- 1966 1960s (?) 1967 - 1972  
1973 - 1979 1980 - 1995 2003 special
   
1996 - present    

I've seen mini helmets resembling the second 60s helmet above, but I have been unable to confirm whether a similar helmet was actually worn on the field. The 2003 helmet above was worn during a Eskimos home game in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Commonwealth Stadium, the Eskimos' home field.


HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

 
1957 - 1963 1964 - 1967 1965 (playoffs only?)  
 
1967 1968 - 1983 1984 - 1985  
1986 - 1989 1990 - 2002 2003 -2004
 
2005 - present 2006 Special  

There is a great deal of conflicting information about exactly when the helmets above were worn. The team definitely used the numbered helmets from 1964 until 1965. Apparently, the "TC" logo was used only during the 1965 playoffs and the Gray Cup game, but not during the regular season. In 1966, the team may have also worn helmets without numbers for some games. In 1967, the team worn the "maple leaf tiger" logo, but may have still used the numbered helmets for some early games.

The team updated their logos for the 2005 season and have changed their helmets accordingly. During the 2006 season, the team will wear the special white helmet above during their Labor Day weekend game.


LAS VEGAS POSSE

1994

The Posse were a part of the CFL's brief expansion into the US market. They played a single season in Las Vegas, NV.


MEMPHIS MAD DOGS

1995

The Mad Dogs were a part of the CFL's brief expansion into the US market. They played a single season in Memphis, TN.


MIAMI MANATEES

1996 Prototype

The Mantees were a proposed expansion franchise during the CFL-USA days. I believe they were going to be the transplanted Las Vegas Posse. The US market experiment failed before the team ever made the field.

This helmet is partially speculation. The logo does exist, but I don't think there was ever an actual helmet designed.


MONTREAL ALOUETTES / CONCORDES

1956 - 1959 1960 - 1969 1970 - 1973
MONTREAL ALOUETTES MONTREAL ALOUETTES MONTREAL ALOUETTES
1974 1975 - 1981 1982
MONTREAL ALOUETTES MONTREAL ALOUETTES MONTREAL CONCORDES
1983 - 1985 1986 1996 - 1997
MONTREAL CONCORDES MONTREAL ALOUETTES MONTREAL ALOUETTES
1998 - present
MONTREAL ALOUETTES

According to the CFL, the original Alouettes, the Concordes and the "new" Alouettes are considered the same franchise, despite the name change and a nine-year absence of a team in Montreal from 1987 until 1995. The original Alouettes folded after the 1981 season, but were brought back the following year as the Concordes, who played from 1982 until 1985. In 1986, the team played as the Alouettes again for a year before folding once more. When the Baltimore Stallions franchise relocated to Montreal in 1996, the Alouettes name was resurrected yet again.

There are some mini helmets depicting an Alouettes design similar to the 1960-69 "wing" version but with a green wing instead of red. As far as I can tell, this design was never used on the field.


OTTAWA RENEGADES

2002 - 2005 (?)

The Renegades were the first expansion franchise since the CFL's failed attempt to move into the US market with CFL-USA teams. They began play in 2002.

Despite a mediocre record the team had a rabid fan base. Unfortunately, the Renegades were "suspended" for the 2006 season due to severe financial problems. Rather than keep the team afloat as they had done with other teams in the past, the league ceased operations of the team until new ownership could be found. The CFL hopes to secure new ownership for a relaunch of the Renegades in 2007, but I haven't heard anything about their progress. Even though the team is not playing, it still has a web presence and is considered a part of the CFL, hinting at the league's dedication to keeping football in Ottawa.


OTTAWA ROUGH RIDERS

 
1960 1961 1962  
 
1963- 1964 1965 - 1972 1973 - 1983  
 
1977 (?) 1984 - 1987 1988 - 1989  
1990 - 1991 1992 - 1993 1994
1995 -1996

The Ottawa Rough Riders played in the CFL from 1909 until 1996. There may have been another version of the 1963-64 helmet above, either without the black stripe or with a less detailed logo. I'm also not sure whether the 1977 helmet I've shown above was ever worn. I've seen in depicted on CFL programs circa 1977, but it may have only been a prototype design. The only difference between the 1988-89 and 1990-91 helmets is a subtle red outline surrounding the "R" logo in the later design. There are still some other helmet designs I'll be adding soon.


SACRAMENTO GOLD MINERS / SAN ANTONIO TEXANS

1993 - 1994 1993 1995
GOLD MINERS TEXANS TEXANS

The Gold Miners were a part of the CFL's short lived expansion into the US market. They were owned by Fred Anderson, who owned the Sacramento Surge of the WLAF before that league folded. Many fans viewed them as the "same" team because they shared a stadium, a color scheme and several players from the defunct Surge.

When the Gold Miners entered the league, a team named the Texans was slated to play in San Antonio. Unfortunately, the team never made the field. The helmet shown above is only a prototype. The original Texans are not associated with the Gold Miners in any way.

To complicate matters however, the Gold Miners moved to San Antonio in 1995 and revived the Texans moniker. They had one of the most unique helmet designs with a center stripe that resembled snake skin. During the early part of the season, the Texans may have not used the maroon outer stripes. I'll add this design soon.


SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

 
1960 - 1964 1965 (?) 1965 - 1977  
1978 - 1984 1985 - 1994 1995 - present

The Roughriders, not to be confused with the Rough Riders above, began playing as the Regina Roughriders in 1923.

In 1965, for a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of province, the team worn a special helmet logo. I believe the helmet above is similar to what was worn, but any help in confirming this would be much appreciated.


SHREVEPORT PIRATES

preseason 1994 (?) preseason 1995 1994 - 1995

The Pirates were a part of the CFL's brief expansion into the US market. They played a two seasons in Shreveport, LA. The first design is apparently a prototype depicted on CFL football cards, but never worn on the field. The second design was worn during the preseason in 1995.


TORONTO ARGONAUTS

 
1960 - 1961 1962 1963  
 
1964 (?) 1965 - 1967 (?) 1965 - 1967 (?)  
 
1968 - 1969 1970 - 1973 1974 - 1975  
 
1976 1977 - 1978 1979 - 1980  
 
1989 - 1990 1991 - 1994 1995 prototype  
 
1995 - 2004 2005 2006 -Present  

The 1962 helmet above may have instead been light blue like the 1961 design but with numbers similar to the 1963 helmet. Also I need confirmation about the 1964 and 1965-67 designs above. I know that helmets similar to the second and third "ship" designs appeared on CFL programs in both 1965 and 1967. I don't know when the first design appeared, or whether it is accurate. Any help is, of course, appreciated.

In 1995, when the team updated their logos, there was a proposal to use green helmets like the one seen above. Sanity prevailed fortunately, and the team stuck with navy.


WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

1957 - 1960 1961 1962 - 1964
1965 - 1983 1984 - 1996 1997
1998 - 2004 2005 - present 2005 special

The Blue Bombers began play in 1935.


COMMENTS

The Canadian Football League, or CFL, has played football as an organized league since 1909, ten years before the NFL officially got it's start. There are five major differences between the NFL we are used to in America and the CFL game played north of the border. In Canada, they play 3 downs instead of 4. The field is larger, 110 yards long and 65 yards wide. There is an additional way to score -- a rouge, or single, is worth one point. A rouge can be scored on a missed field goal attempt or kickoff. It is the equivalent of a touchback or safety in the NFL. Overtime is different, resembling the NCAA rules where each team gets two possessions to score. If the score is the same after that, the a tie game is called. Overtime losses are counted on team records, and teams compete for playoff points, similar to hockey. Teams earn 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 for a loss.

According to contributor Richard Salzer, the CFL began in 1909 when its, "Ninth governour-general, Albert George Earl Grey, first donated his trophy for the winner of the Dominion Rugby-Football Champion of Canada." In 1909 their were two governing bodies of Pro, University and Amateur football in Canada. In the East, the Ontario Football-Rugby Union played "modern" football. In the West, the Western Interprovincial Union did the same. Later the Interprovincial Football Union was formed and all the teams playing today, with the exception of recent expansion team the Ottawa Renegades, came from these three leagues to compete for the Grey Cup.

At first the mostly eastern teams competed for the cup, along with University and amateur teams. The Hamilton Tiger-cats, Ottawa Rough Riders and Toronto Argonauts all began in 1909. The Montreal Alouettes followed a year later. The first western team to compete for the cup was the 1921 Edmonton Eskimos (formed in 1910 as the Esquimeauxs). University teams quit competing in 1924 and amateurs bowed out in 1932, a year after the CFL first allowed the forward pass. The Regina (now Saskatchewan) Roughriders joined the league in 1923. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers came into the league in 1935. The Calgary Stampeders joined in 1945. The British Columbia Lions joined in 1954. These nine teams formed the Canadian Football League, the name being officially adopted in 1958.

The CFL remained roughly the same for the next 40 or so years. The Alouettes nearly folded, became the Concordes, switched back to the Alouettes and finally called it quits in 1986. Other than their troubles, and a few failed expansion announcements, nothing changed. Nothing, that is, until then commissioner Larry Smith decided to expand into the US market. The league added a team in California, the Sacramento Gold Miners, in 1993. A year later they added the Las Vegas Posse, the Baltimore Stallions and the Shreveport Pirates. The Baltimore team originally planned to play as the CFL Colts, but were forced to change nicknames by an NFL lawsuit. The Posse only lasted a year, but the CFL still added two teams in 1995, the Birmingham Barracudas and the Memphis Mad Dogs, while the Gold Miners moved to San Antonio to play as the Texans.

While the "new game with different rules" attracted a certain amount of support from football fans in the US, it soon became obvious that, particularly in the absence of a major television contract, it would be very difficult for the CFL to introduce Americans to the Canadian game and market it effectively. Only Baltimore, who won a championship and lead the league in attendance, and Sacramento/San Antonio, who made the playoffs twice, were financially successful. Following the 1995 season, Smith pulled the plug on the CFL-USA, relocating the Stallions to Montreal to become the "new" Alouettes, and folding the other teams. After the 1996 season, the Ottawa Rough Riders also packed it in. Only a loan from the NFL kept the CFL afloat during these lean times. The CFL was even rumored to have courted Vince McMahon to purchase the ailing Toronto franchise to help give the league a shot in the arm. When McMahon suggested changing the rules to a more "American" style game and expanding into the US market again, the CFL backed out of the sale. Rumor has it that this broken deal helped to inspire McMahon to create the XFL.

Eventually the CFL began to rebound, expanding back into Ottawa in 2002 with the Renegades. Today, the league faces the unique challenges of being the only major professional sports organization to operate wholly within Canada. Despite competition from the NBA, NHL and MLB, fan support continues to grow with increasing attendance and higher television ratings. With the success of the Renegades, there is even renewed interest in expansion into other Canadian cities.

I'm sure there are gaps in both my description of the game and its history. Any additional information you can provide is much appreciated.


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