2019 CFL season
The 2019 Canadian Football League season is the 66th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it is the 62nd season of the league. Calgary is scheduled to host the 107th Grey Cup on November 24, 2019. The regular season began on June 13, 2019 and will be played over the course of 21 weeks, concluding on November 2, 2019.
|2019 CFL season|
|Duration||June 13, 2019 – November 2, 2019|
|Start date||November 10, 2019|
|107th Grey Cup|
|Date||November 24, 2019|
|Site||McMahon Stadium, Calgary|
CFL news in 2019Edit
Collective Bargaining AgreementEdit
The five-year agreement that was ratified between the CFL and CFL Player's Association in 2013 was set to expire just prior to the start of this season, on the first day of scheduled training camp, May 19, 2019. On May 15, 2019 the CFL and CFLPA announced they had reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year collective bargaining agreement - the deal was ratified by players and approved by the league’s Board of Governors a week later on May 22, 2019; four days before the first preseason game. The length of the deal aligns with the expiration of TSN's media deal with the CFL.
- $50,000 increase in the team salary cap each season
- The minimum salary will remain at $54,000 for the 2019 season, but will increase to $65,000 in 2020 and 2021
- The players will receive a 20% share of all future CFL 2.0 revenues
- The CFL will not be allowed to withhold bonus payments in the lead up to the expiration of the new CBA
- Each team will have one global player designated roster spot starting in 2019, increasing to two slots in 2020
- Canadian quarterbacks will now count towards the national roster ratio, otherwise the national-international ratio will remain unchanged
- To protect veteran American players and build continuity - three of the starting American players will have to have played for their current team for at least three seasons, or four seasons in the league for any team
- Medical coverage for up to three years for injured players
- The number of padded practices in training camp will be reduced from 10 in 2018, to five in 2019 and then down to only three in 2020
- Work permits for American players will be open, allowing them to seek employment in Canada during the offseason
- Pending free agents will be able to talk with any team for nine days in advance of opening of free agency
The 2019 free agency period began on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 12pm EST. All players eligible for free agency are unrestricted free agents, as is customary in the league. The most prominent signings during the free agency period are listed in the table below:
|Team||Top 30 Free Agents (CFL.ca rank)|
|BC Lions||Mike Reilly (1), Sukh Chungh (12), Bryan Burnham (13), Duron Carter (21), Aaron Grymes (26)|
|Calgary Stampeders||Bo Levi Mitchell (2), Eric Rogers (29)|
|Edmonton Eskimos||Trevor Harris (3), Kwaku Boateng (11), Greg Ellingson (14), Don Unamba (16), SirVincent Rogers (23), Jovan Santos-Knox (24), Larry Dean (25)|
|Hamilton Tiger-Cats||Delvin Breaux (6), Brandon Banks (7), Ja’Gared Davis (9)|
|Montreal Alouettes||Taylor Loffler (17), B.J. Cunningham (19), DeVier Posey (22)|
|Ottawa Redblacks||Jonathan Rose (15), Jason Lauzon-Seguin (18), Jonathon Jennings (20)|
|Toronto Argonauts||Derel Walker (10), Micah Awe (27), Shawn Lemon (30)|
|Saskatchewan Roughriders||Micah Johnson (4), William Powell (28)|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||Willie Jefferson (5)|
For the second year in a row, the regular season schedule will be played over 21 weeks as the league announced the 2019 season schedule on December 20, 2018. As it was in 2018, 18 weeks will feature four games and weeks 2, 12, and 14 featuring three games. Notably, the Labour Day Classic weekend occurs in week 12 and will only feature three games, leaving out an Ottawa–Montreal match up. This will mark the first time in league history, since 1958, that less than four games are played on Labour Day weekend. Another notable omission is the Thanksgiving Day Classic game(s), in that there are no games played on Thanksgiving Day, which also marks a first in league history. There will also be a shift to more Saturday games as 20 out of the 21 weeks will feature "Saturday Prime" games in which games will start at 7pm EDT. Only two games will be played on Sundays (one played in the Maritimes), and three will be played on Mondays. That includes the return of a Canada Day Game after a one-year absence.
The season opening game will be hosted on June 13 by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field, the first time they have hosted that game since the 2012 season. The Grey Cup rematch will be played in week 1 after a one-year hiatus in 2018, and will be hosted by the Calgary Stampeders on June 15. Complementing the Saturday Prime games, there are five triple headers, once again occurring on Saturdays and after the Labour Day Classic games. There are also 17 double headers this year, with two on Thursdays, four on Fridays, ten on Saturdays, and one on Monday (the traditional Labour Day games). This will be the fifth straight season to showcase Thursday Night Football with the first 10 weeks featuring Thursday night games, with every team hosting at least once. Carrying over from last year, the last three weeks of the regular season all feature intra-divisional games. There are seven home-and-home series, with the Roughriders playing the most, with three.
For the first time since 2013, the CFL will play a regular season game in the Maritimes, with the return of Touchdown Atlantic, to be played between the host Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes. The game will be played on August 25, 2019 and will be presented by Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE), the group that is attempting to be awarded an expansion franchise as the Atlantic Schooners. The location of the game was narrowed down three choices: Halifax, Moncton, and Antigonish, Nova Scotia. SSE was expected to announce the location of the game before the end of January 2019; however, the announcement was not made until the end of March when Stade Croix-Bleue Medavie Stadium (Université de Moncton) in Moncton was selected.
The in-season trade deadline will be on October 9, 2019 at 3:59pm EDT.
Football operations capEdit
On June 5, 2018, it was reported that the CFL had approved a limit on football operations staff salaries and number of coaches and operations staff employed by each team. In this report, the number of coaches on each team would not exceed 11 and the number of other football operations staff may not exceed 17. The total compensation of those 28 staff members would be capped at $2,738,000. As of the 2018 CFL season, four teams had more than 11 coaches employed and would be directly impacted by these changes. Consequently, there was talk of a potential coaches union being formed to combat the unilateral decision.
On December 6, 2018, the league formally announced the cap regulations, with the total compensation of the combined 11 coaches and 14 other football operations staff being set at $2,588,000 for 2019 and 2020. Similar to the player salary cap, violations in excess of $100,000 would result in monetary fines and loss of draft picks. However, as teams adjust to the new rules for 2019, they may self-report violations to avoid personal fines and loss of draft picks.
In March the CFL's Rules Committee submitted a variety of rule changes to the Board of Governors, to be implemented for the 2019 season. As has been the case in previous years the proposed changes once again focused on improving game flow and increasing player safety. The proposals were reviewed and accepted by the CFL's Board of Governors on April 10, 2019.
- Allowing the Command Centre to assist Referees with called and non-called roughing the passer penalties including instances where an obvious roughing the passer penalty was not called because a referee’s view was blocked.
- The ability for the Command Centre to upgrade a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty to a 25-yard penalty for a direct blow to the quarterback’s head or neck with the helmet when that player has a clear view to the quarterback, and there are no mitigating circumstances such as a quarterback ducking his head.
- Allowing the Command Centre to assist on-field officials in calling penalties when the injury spotter has intervened in a player safety situation.
- Allowing the Command Centre to assist on-field officials with called and non-called roughing the kicker penalties.
- Removing the stipulation that allows a defender to contact a kicker’s plant leg without penalty if the defender has touched the ball prior to contact.
- Clarifying the definition of spearing to be when a player uses the top of their helmet as the primary point of contact to deliver a blow to an opponent.
- Making the use of three or more wedge blockers on kicking plays illegal.
- Making it illegal for a defensive player to deliver a forcible blow to the long snapper while the snapper’s head is down and they are in a vulnerable position and unable to protect themselves.
- Whistling a play dead anytime a quarterback carrying the ball gives themselves up by sliding with any part of their body. Previously, a quarterback could only “give themselves up” by sliding feet-first.
- Coaches will be entitled to a second challenge if their first is successful, giving them a potential maximum of two per game instead of just one.
- A 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty will be assessed for faking or embellishing contact, otherwise known as diving.
- Spearing on any player will be upgraded to a 25-yard penalty by the Command Centre when a spear is delivered to the head or neck, the player has a clear view to the opponent and there are no mitigating circumstances such as the player ducking into what would otherwise be legal contact.
- If a player receives two 25-yard penalties in the same game, they will be disqualified from that game.
- A kicked or thrown football will remain a live ball instead of becoming a dead ball when it touches a goal-post ribbon.
On September 12, 2018, it was announced that New Era Cap would be the official outfitter for all nine teams starting in the 2019 season. This came as a result of the previous supplier, Adidas, not renewing their contract following the 2018 expiry of their previous deal. New Era Cap had been a licensee of the CFL for headwear and apparel since January 2011 and it will be the first time that the company provides football uniforms and sideline apparel. Initially it was reported that due to the short time frame, each team's uniform was reported to remain the same for 2019, with the merchandise logo being the only change. However, on October 15, 2018, the Montreal Alouettes revealed that they would wear entirely new uniforms for the 2019 season with the reveal occurring February 1, 2019. A number of other teams made minor adjustments to their uniforms.
On June 13, 2018, league commissioner, Randy Ambrosie, outlined his vision for a more global reach for the CFL which included partnering with international leagues. According to the plan CFL 2.0 includes the following goals:
- Expanding the league's talent pool by searching beyond the U.S. and Canada for players. Including international combines in Mexico, Europe and elsewhere.
- Growing the CFL's revenues, to the benefit of owners, coaches, players and all stakeholders, by eventually seeking new broadcast and streaming deals in the more than 30 countries where gridiron football is played and flourishing.
- Growing the game of football around the world by establishing bonds and creating affiliations with international leagues.
- Creating additional pathways for more young Canadians to keep playing football in Mexico or abroad once their university or junior careers are over, either in hopes of making the CFL one day or simply to keep enjoying the game.
- Encourage more top international talent to choose U Sports programs in Canada as part of a strategy to help strengthen university football.
- Continuing investment in grassroots tackle and flag football programs in Canada, to build the next generation of players and contribute to the next generation of fans.
CFL 2.0 kicked off with a meeting with the commissioner of the Professional American Football League of Mexico (LFA), Oscar Pérez Martínez, to explore a partnership between the leagues such as a Mexican player being assigned to each CFL team or CFL developmental players playing in Mexico. The league initially hoped to play one or two regular season games in Mexico, in the 2019 season, with one game possibly featuring the Toronto Argonauts in the summer, however, in late November 2018 TSN reported that the league was now targeting the 2020 season. On November 23, 2018 the CFL and LFA signed a letter of intent which outlined the nature of their partnership as both leagues seek to expand their brand internationally. On January 9, 2019, the CFL announced it had committed more than $4 million to amateur football. On January 13, 2019 the CFL and LFA hosted a combine in Mexico City for 51 of Mexico's top football athletes which was attended by staff members of all nine CFL teams. The following day the CFL and LFA held a draft in which 27 players were selected. On January 31, 2019 the CFL and German Football League (GFL) signed an agreement to form a long-term strategic partnership. The partnership will include the participation of German athletes at the 2019 CFL Combine. In early February 2019 the CFL reached similar agreements with the Ligue Élite de Football Américain (France), the Austrian American Football Federation, and with football officials in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. On February 20 the CFL and the Federazione Italiana di American Football (Italy) agreed to a partnership. On April 11 the CFL held its first European draft in which nine players were drafted, one to each CFL team: Four of the players were from France, three from Germany, and one each from Italy and Finland.
Montreal Alouettes ownershipEdit
On May 31, 2019, the Montreal Alouettes officially became a collectively-owned ward of the CFL after Robert Wetenhall surrendered ownership. The surrender also re-establishes the CFL as an entirely Canadian-owned league for the first time in 27 seasons. The CFL will operate the team in 2019 as it attempts to sell the franchise to another owner.
First weather delay-shortened regular season gameEdit
In the late evening of August 9, 2019 at 9:06 pm EDT, a weather delay was declared at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in Montreal due to an approaching thunderstorm with intense lightning; the Saskatchewan Roughriders were leading the Alouettes 17–10 with 2:41 left in the 3rd quarter. Because the game had not restarted by 10:06 pm EDT and over 7:30 had been played in the 3rd at that point, the game was decided to be official and the 17–10 score was declared final.
On February 27, 2019, Johnny Manziel, a quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes in 2018, was permanently banned from playing on any CFL team as a result of what the Alouettes called an unspecified "(contravention of) the agreement which made him eligible to play." Manziel has denied any wrongdoing but accepted the banishment, stating he would consider playing options in the United States; he then signed on with the Alliance of American Football who were partly through their inaugural season.
|Team||2018 HC||2019 HC||Notes|
|Toronto Argonauts||Marc Trestman||Corey Chamblin||On November 3, 2018, the day after the last regular season game, the Argonauts announced they had parted ways with Marc Trestman. Trestman had led the Argos to a Grey Cup victory the previous year, but was unable to duplicate his success in 2018, winning only four games in the regular season, finishing at the bottom of the East Division standings. On December 10, 2018 the Argos announced Corey Chamblin as the team's 44th head coach. Chamblin had served as the Argos' defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach, and assistant head coach for the 2017 season. Previously Chamblin was the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for three and half seasons from 2012 to 2015 (29 wins, 34 losses), winning the Grey Cup in 2013.|
|BC Lions||Wally Buono||DeVone Claybrooks||On November 13, 2018 the Lions held a press conference in which Wally Buono formally retired as head coach of the BC Lions. Buono had been the head coach of the BC Lions for 12 seasons between 2003 and 2018, winning the Grey Cup twice. He was also the head coach of the Calgary Stampeders from 1990 through 2002, leading the Stamps to three Grey Cup victories. Buono retired as the CFL's all-time leader in most wins by a head coach with 282. On December 11, 2018 the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as their new head coach. Claybrooks began his coaching career in 2012 with the Stampeders as a defensive linemen coach, and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2016. During his time coaching with the Stampeders he won two Grey Cups.|
|Hamilton Tiger-Cats||June Jones||Orlondo Steinauer||On December 3, 2018 the Tiger-Cats announced that Orlondo Steinauer would become the team's head coach. Steinauer had been Hamilton's defensive coordinator from 2013 to 2016, he then spent a year in the NCAA as the head coach for Fresno State, before returning to Hamilton as the team's assistant head coach for the 2018 season. Jones, after initially agreeing to stay on as associate head coach and offensive coordinator, left the Tiger-Cats in May 2019 to take over coaching the Houston XFL team; he accured a 14–14 record with the Tiger-Cats.|
|Saskatchewan Roughriders||Chris Jones||Craig Dickenson||On January 15, 2019 Jones resigned as the head coach of the Roughriders and later that day accepted a job as a defensive coach for the Cleveland Browns of the NFL. Jones was the head coach of the Riders for three seasons, winning 27 games, and losing 27. On January 25, 2019, special teams coordinator Craig Dickenson was promoted to head coach.|
|Montreal Alouettes||Mike Sherman||Khari Jones||On June 8, 2019, less than a week before the start of the season and roughly a week after the team's owner surrendered the franchise back to the CFL, the Montreal Alouettes announced that Sherman had departed from his post in an ambiguously worded statement that claimed the two parties had "agreed to part ways." Sherman only coached the Alouettes for one season, winning 5 games and losing 13. Offensive coordinator Khari Jones was announced as the new head coach. Like Sherman, Jones joined the Alouettes before the start of their 2018 season. This will be Jones' first time holding the office of head coach, having been an offensive coordinator for two other CFL teams.|
The CFL's agreement with TSN and RDS covers Canadian broadcasting rights through to 2021. The agreement with American broadcaster, ESPN, expired following the end of the 2018 CFL season. On January 14, 2019, the league and ESPN announced an extension of their previous agreement. The agreement requires a minimum of 20 games to be carried on one of ESPN's linear networks. ESPN+ will continue to carry all games not carried in the linear agreement. Prior to renewing with ESPN, it had been speculated that the league was courting the NFL Network, which carried the league's games in 2010 and 2011; that network requested a significant change in the schedule that would have moved the season opener to an earlier date in order to secure carriage, which the league indicated could not happen without a new CBA. All CFL games will also be available in the UK and Ireland via BT Sport.
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||9||7||2||0||14||269||171||4–0||W2||Details|
|23–33||23–39||32–36||18–17||6–33||25–38||18–45||34–35||16–32||Aug 24||Sep 6||Sep 13||Sep 21||Sep 28||Oct 5||Oct 12||Oct 18||Nov 2|
|28–32||36–32||37–10||23–30||26–16||17–16||24–18||24–26||34–40 (2OT)||Sep 2||Sep 7||Sep 14||Sep 20||Oct 5||Oct 11||Oct 19||Oct 25||Nov 2|
|32–25||39–23||21–28||33–6||10–20||26–0||18–24||16–12||41–26||Aug 23||Sep 2||Sep 7||Sep 20||Sep 28||Oct 4||Oct 12||Oct 26||Nov 2|
|23–17||64–14||41–10||29–36||30–23||23–15||19–24||35–34||21–7||Aug 24||Sep 2||Sep 14||Sep 20||Sep 27||Oct 4||Oct 19||Oct 26||Nov 2|
|25–32||10–41||36–29||36–19||20–10||27–30 (OT)||10–17||40–34 (2OT)||Aug 25||Sep 6||Sep 14||Sep 21||Sep 28||Oct 5||Oct 12||Oct 18||Oct 26||Nov 1|
|32–28||44–41||14–29||19–36||1–31||16–17||30–27 (OT)||12–16||7–21||Aug 24||Sep 7||Sep 13||Sep 21||Sep 28||Oct 11||Oct 19||Oct 26||Nov 1|
|17–23||41–44||32–7||10–37||38–25||45–18||24–19||17–10||Aug 24||Sep 1||Sep 7||Sep 14||Sep 28||Oct 5||Oct 11||Oct 18||Oct 26||Nov 2|
|14–64||7–32||17–18||21–48||16–26||0–26||28–27||26–41||Aug 25||Sep 2||Sep 7||Sep 20||Sep 28||Oct 5||Oct 11||Oct 18||Oct 26||Nov 2|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||BC||Bye||EDM||OTT||TOR||OTT||HAM||TOR||CGY||BC||EDM||SSK||SSK||Bye||MTL||HAM||SSK||MTL||CGY||CGY||Bye|
|33–23||28–21||29–14||48–21||31–1||15–23||27–28||26–24||32–16||Aug 23||Sep 1||Sep 7||Sep 21||Sep 27||Oct 5||Oct 12||Oct 19||Oct 25|
|• • • •|
CFL Top Performers of the WeekEdit
|One||Trevor Harris||C.J. Gable||Andrew Harris||Andrew Harris|
|Two||Greg Ellingson||Dominique Davis||Sean Thomas Erlington||Sean Thomas Erlington|
|Three||Cody Fajardo||Eric Rogers||Ja'Gared Davis||Cody Fajardo|
|Four||William Stanback||Tre Roberson||Mike Miller||Mike Miller|
|Five||Brandon Banks||Vernon Adams Jr.||Andrew Harris||Andrew Harris|
|Six||Charleston Hughes||Matt Nichols||Shaq Evans||Matt Nichols|
|Seven||William Powell||Jumal Rolle||Ryan Lankford||William Powell|
|Eight||McLeod Bethel-Thompson||DeVonte Dedmon||Cody Fajardo||Cody Fajardo|
|Nine||Janarion Grant||Brandon Banks||C.J. Gable|
CFL Top Performers of the MonthEdit
|June||Trevor Harris||Brandon Banks||Sean Thomas Erlington|
|July||Winston Rose||William Stanback||Charleston Hughes|
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- 2019 CFL schedule
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