2008 CFL season
The 2008 CFL season is the 55th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it is the 51st season of the league.
Montrealis set to host the 96th Grey Cup. It is also the first CFL season to air all of its regular season and post-season games, including the Grey Cupgame, on TSN, meaning the CFL no longer airs on broadcast television in Canada. As of 2008, TSN was available in about 8.8 million of Canada's 13 million households. [ [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061220.wsptcfl20/TPStory/Sports/columnists globeandmail.com: Grey Cup moves to TSN in new deal ] ]
CFL News in 2008
February 21 2008, the CFL announced the game schedule for the 2008 season, a 19-week schedule that includes 18 regular-season games and one bye week for each team. Bye weeks will be taken consecutively by each division beginning with the West in Week 8, creating two weeks of divisional rivalry games.Cite news| url=http://www.cfl.ca/index.php?module=newser&func=display&nid=22590| title=CFL rivalries kickoff 2008 season| date=2008-02-21| publisher=CFL.ca]
The regular-season schedule began on Thursday,
June 26, with an East-West double-headerand, for the first time since 1977, the season opener took place at Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadiumwith the host Tiger-Cats losing to the Montreal Alouettes, 33-10. The second game of the double-header saw the Calgary Stampedersat home prevailing 28-18 over the BC Lions. The Toronto Argonautsbeat the host Winnipeg Blue Bombers23-16 the following night and the Saskatchewan Roughridersbested the Edmonton Eskimosin Regina by the score of 34-13 on June 28.
The regular-season will also conclude with a double-header on Saturday,
November 1with divisional playoffs beginning the following weekend. The 2008 season will officially conclude with the 96th Grey Cupon Sunday, November 23in Montreal.
2008 marks the first year that the entire CFL schedule, including the playoffs and the Grey Cup will be televised by TSN.
CBC Televisionwill not be broadcasting any games as the CFL and TSN begin an exclusive 5-year deal. This has led some to criticize TSN as the Grey Cup will now be aired on a cable channel (TSN) whereas TSN's majority owner CTV, a broadcast channel, broadcasts regular season NFL games. Because of obligations to other sporting events, there have been concerns that TSN will relegate the CFL games to obscure digital channels while the NFL and other sports get broadcast treatment. [ [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080229.TRUTH29/TPStory/TPSports/Television/ globeandmail.com: CFL people feel NFL gets major-league treatment, while Grey Cup is relegated to minors ] ] CTVglobemedia, the majority interest in TSN (which is owned 80% by CTVglobemedia and 20% by American sports network ESPN), also owns the smaller A-Channel, which is a possibility for broadcasting games on a non-digital only system, although this would do little to quash the "second tier" concerns.
There has been concern that ESPN's stake in TSN would prevent them from moving the games; this is not necessarily true. There is a precedent for such a move; ESPN itself has moved numerous sporting events (including the
Pro Bowl) from ESPN to parent channel ABC and vice versa, even though ESPN is only 80% owned by ABC.
Montreal games, as well as the entire playoffs and Grey Cup, will be televised by RDS.
United States, a last-minute deal was reached between the league and its longtime American syndicator, America One, who will carry two games each week. [ [http://www.americaone.com/show/showpage.php?ProgramTitle=Canadian%20Football%20League America One Television ] ] It is unknown how many regional sports networks will carry the feed from America One. Internet broadcasts will be aired in the United States on ESPN360.
CFL in Ottawa
March 25 2008, the CFL granted a franchise for the 2010 CFL seasonto an Ottawa-based group led by Jeff Hunt, owner of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's, on the condition of securing a lease agreement at Frank Clair Stadium. [Cite news| url=http://www.tsn.ca/cfl/news_story/?ID=232810&hubname=cfl| title=CFL grants conditional team to Ottawa| date= 2008-03-18| publisher=TSN.ca] The franchise is the remnants of the Ottawa Renegadesand is implied to be a separate team.
Competition with the NFL
This will be the first year that the National Football League plays regular season games in Toronto as part of an agreement reached by the league and the
Buffalo Bills. The NFL is accommodating the CFL by playing the regular season game (December 7, hosting the Miami Dolphins) after the end of the CFL season, so that the leagues do not directly compete. A preseason game was also set to be played in Toronto, on August 14between the Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers, one day before the Toronto Argonautsplay in the Centre, and directly opposite the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' game, although the latter contest was in Winnipeg. The Bills preseason game barely sold out amid reports of exorbitant ticket prices and thousands of tickets being given away.
Marketing and Heritage Revisited
Expanding their CFL merchandise line, it was announced that
RBKwill release vintage jerseys for each team beginning with the Toronto Argonautsand Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The launch for the new apparel began August 29, 2008, with releases in Toronto and Winnipeg retail stores and attended by team players Kerry Joseph, Arland Bruce IIIand Kevin Glennand Milt Stegallrespectively. Additional launches are being planned for all the other teams as the season unfolds. [http://www.cfl.ca/article/fans-invited-to-kick-it-old-school]
Records and Milestones
June 26, Montreal quarterback, Anthony Calvillosurpassed Danny McManusto become the 2nd all-time leading passer in the CFL, in a game against the Hamilton Tiger Cats. [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v5/content/subscribe?user_URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2Fstory%2FLAC.20080912.CFLCALVILLO12%2FTPStory%2FTPSports%2F&ord=4355097&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true]
July 25, B.C. Lionsslotback, Geroy Simonsurpassed Jim "Dirty 30" Young as the Lions all-time receiving yards leader against the Montreal Alouettes. [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/09/20/bclions-saskriders-recap.html?ref=rss]
September 12, Winnipeg Blue Bombersslotback, Milt Stegallsurpassed Allen Pittsto become the CFL's all time leader in career receiving yards with 14,982 yards against the Toronto Argonauts. [http://sports.yahoo.com/cfl/news?slug=cp-cfl_stegall_record&prov=cp&type=lgns]
September 13, Lions running backand former Blue Bomber, Charles Roberts reached over 10,000 rushing yards in his CFL career versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders. [http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/story/4225998p-4863965c.html]
September 19, Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback, Milt Stegall became the first player ever in the CFL to reach 15,000 yards receiving against the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
"Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pts = Points"
"Teams in bold are currently in playoff positions.
X - clinched playoff berth
Y - clinched first place"
*The team that places fourth in the one division will cross over and claim the third play-off spot in the other if they have a better overall record than the other division's third place team. This means that British Columbia, Calgary and Saskatchewan have clinched playoff positions due to the fact they are all guaranteed better records than Toronto and Hamilton. Currently, the Edmonton Eskimos would cross over and claim the third play-off spot in the East.
*Montreal have clinched first place in the East due to the fact they have won their season series against Winnipeg.
Grey Cup playoffs
November 8: Division Semifinals
November 15: Division Finals
November 23: 96th Grey Cup@ Olympic Stadium - Montreal, QC
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