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.