Canadian Football

And so, the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, who scored only four rouges all last season, Jack… — TV Announcer, “When Flanders Failed”

Per the suggestion of loyal SHS reader TheJasonAlexanderFanClub, let us delve into the wild, wonderful world of the Canadian Football League (Ligue Canadienne de Football), whose ’91 draft was featured all-too-briefly in “When Flanders Failed”.

(That’s not actually the CFL’s logo, but similar light bulbs showed up for the vast, vast, vast majority of my Google image search for “CFL” [a/k/a, “compact fluorescent lamp”]. This should give you an idea of the league’s global impact. Vast.)

Among the various screwball rules employed by our northern neighbors: their field is 10 yards longer than ours; their goalposts are placed at the front of the end zone rather than in the back; CFL teams get 12 players on the field to our 11…

And then there are those “rouges“, or “singles”, referred to by the CFL announcer on the aforementioned draft day, which appear to be some kind of bullshit safety that’s worth half as many points.

Today’s CFL consists of 8 professional teams, split into Eastern and Western divisions. As TheJasonAlexanderFanClub pointed out, there actually was a point not so long ago when two of these teams had the same name: the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Ottawa Rough Riders. The latter was shelved in 1996, and Ottawa is currently awaiting a new franchise.

The fact that Homer’s watching the CFL draft on American television is a prescient moment for The Simpsons, as the Canadian league actually attempted to reach out into the U.S. one year later. The expansion failed, sadly, and today American viewers can only see CFL-caliber action in the fourth quarter of NFL blowouts.

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4 Responses to Canadian Football

  1. Andrew says:

    Canadian football does have 2-point safeties – same as US football. The single point is for balls kicked into the endzone that are not returned out of the endzone by the returning team, or if they’re kicked through the endzone and out of play. This can be from punts, missed field goals, or kickoffs.

    The thing about rouges is that teams rarely attempt them, so there would be almost no reason for the number of rouges to be important on draft day.

  2. Thanks for using my topic! I actually live a couple blocks away from the stadium where the Ottawa Rough Riders used to play, they’re in the process of tearing it down & building a new one in hopeful preparation for the new team.

  3. lewispackwood says:

    As an uninformed Brit, this post was utterly baffling to me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless – mostly for the really excellent picture of a light bulb. Good work.

  4. Andrew says:

    Fun fact: while there were two teams called the Roughriders, in fact they were spelled differently and had different origins. The Ottawa “Rough Riders” name referred to the nickname given to logdrivers on the Ottawa River Valley, while the Saskatchewan “Roughriders” team name referred to both the cowboys of western Canada, but also to an elite regiment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police by that name located in Regina. On four occasions, the Roughriders met the Rough Riders for the championship, the Grey Cup. At least the engraver could get an early start on those.

    And now you know the REST of the story.

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