2023 CFL Wish List
Published: Thursday, Jun 8th 2023, 1:06pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
The other day I listed the things I want to see from the Saskatchewan Roughriders this season. But as a fan of the LEAGUE and not just the Riders, I thought I’d put together a list of things I’d like to see for every team this season, including the league itself. On the day the season kicks off, here’s what I want to see in 2023, in no particular team order:
Calgary Stampeders – The Maier in Town Becomes Elite
The biggest issue I find facing pro football right now (and not just the CFL, it’s in the NFL, too) is a big lack of elite players at the QB position. There’s only a handful of guys in the NFL that I look at right now as elite talents, the rest are somewhere around the slightly above average to that’s what you’re trotting out? The same goes for the CFL. The Calgary Stampeders are moving on from the (previously) elite Bo Levi Mitchell and nothing would be better for the league than a young QB like Jake Maier stepping up and becoming an elite talent. We just need more of them around!
Hamilton Tiger-Cats – Party Like it’s 1999
End the drought… it’s time. As a fan who has seen my team win the Grey Cup twice, including once at home, I’d love it for the Ticats faithful to FINALLY be rewarded with a championship. Especially with the game in Tiger Town. All fans should see their team win it all (and definitely in person), because it’s such a satisfying moment. They’re the only team to not win since the whole Y2K thing and with the aforementioned Bo Levi Mitchell running things, they have the chance to do so.
Ottawa Redblacks – Channel Your Inner Henry Burris
Turn things around. Outside of a couple of (looking back at it) fairytale seasons, the new incarnation of Ottawa football has been atrocious on the field. Every year we hear about how they won free agency and things will be different and every year, they finish dead last in the East. Get to the East Division Finals. PLEASE! The fan base is there, but they’re getting REALLY restless lately. I don’t think it will happen this season, but you HAVE to get better at some point, no?
BC Lions – Keep Restoring the Roar
Last season was a massive win for the Lions organization. Nathan Rourke was the CFL’s best player before he got injured and Amar Doman has done wonders for the team in BC since taking over. The momentum needs to keep going and going. They have probably the best 1-2 punch at QB in the league and should be very good on the field again in 2023. A winning team will get fans in the seats and Doman’s work will as well. Just keep it going!
Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Embrace the Villain
This version of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is as close to a dynasty in the CFL that we have seen in 40 years since the late 70s/Early 80s Edmonton teams and honestly resemble the 2000s New England Patriots. And I hated them… BUT, I respected them. Very similar to the Bombers here over the last few years. They’ve turned into the flagship franchise in the CFL and another strong year will just have more fans getting sick of them… and that’s not a bad thing if they can embrace it properly. Be the heel and a great one!
Toronto Argonauts – Chad Kelly Delivers
I’m not a big fan of Chad Kelly. I get that as an American player, your goal is to use the CFL to get back to the NFL. That’s perfectly fine… but Kelly just seems like he doesn’t truly care about being here in Canada. For his (and the Argos) sake, I hope he delivers on all the hype behind him and becomes a very good QB. The Argos have the roster to make a Grey Cup run, but I’m skeptical of their QB situation. I hope I’m wrong about Kelly and he turns into a long time CFL QB.
Montreal Alouettes – Fajardo Finds Former Success
2022 was a disaster for Cody Fajardo and the Riders, so Saskatchewan let him go in Free Agency. While I love Cody the person, I’m not the biggest fan of his game. He has more heart than just about anyone out there and I know he will do his absolute best… but will it be enough to make Montreal a contender? I hope so. There won’t be as much media and fan pressure on him like there was in Saskatchewan, so I think that will be a good thing for him. He can just go out and play and not worry about what someone on Twitter thinks of him. His time will be less demanding in Montreal and with that, he can focus more on his game than off-field things.
Edmonton Elks – Win a Home Game
PLEASE, win a home game or two this season, your fans haven’t seen it in (what feels like) forever! I love the stuff that Victor Cui and company are doing off the field to get butts in seats, but ultimately, a winning product is what will get people there. Since the name change, the organization has lost a ton, both on and off the field. But people will forget about a name change if the team is winning. Year 2 of a Chris Jones team will show massive improvement over the first year, but this is a tough West Division they play in. I don’t think they pass anyone in the standings, but I think they get close… just… win a few at Commonwealth and bring back some of the fans that are dying to cheer for you again.
CFL (The league itself) – Butts in Seats & Eyes on the Game
It’s really simple for the league, really. Just get more people going to games and watching. I know it’s super vague and there are a TON of different things I’d love to see the league doing, but getting people paying attention is the biggest thing. You have GREAT players with AMAZING life stories about how they got to the CFL. MARKET THOSE STORIES! Make players household names in Canada. Time to actually start investing money into the league instead of cutting costs at every single corner. I promise you, that’s how you will start winning and making money. Get out there and be visible across Canada and start getting a younger audience! They seem to be doing good at it from a club level so far this calendar year, hopefully the league will amplify that on the national level.
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