The Canadian game was sidelined by COVID-19 in 2020.
For the first time in two years, the Canadian Football League is getting back on the field. The 2020 season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic and the league has been in limbo. The Canadian government did not bail out the Canadian Football League despite the cancellation. Edmonton has a new brand name, the Elks and the planned expansion into Halifax, Nova Scotia is not happening. The CFL ‘s future after the 2021 season is unknown. The league apparently has had some talks with the company that bought out Vince McMahon’s XFL assets in a bankruptcy proceeding. That company includes the pro wrestler turned actor Dwayne Johnson who is known as The Rock professional. The XFL has put its 2022 season on hold trying to figure out if there is a way to do business with the CFL. It is not the first time a kind of a version of the XFL kicked the tires aligning with the CFL.
The CFL has nine teams and has been stumbling around for years trying to figure out how to get bigger. Between 1993 and 1995, the league had teams in the United States but only the Baltimore franchise was able to gain some fan support. Teams in Birmingham, Las Vegas, Memphis, Sacramento, San Antonio and Shreveport were failures. Baltimore folded after Art Modell took his Cleveland Browns franchise to Baltimore in late 1995. In 1999, Vince McMahon thought about buying the CFL and using it as a building block in the startup XFL for the 2001 season. Ultimately, McMahon abandoned the notion. In 2018, the CFL Commissioner Randy Ambroise talked about expanding to Mexico City and/or Monterey. In 2021, there is substantial work that needs to be done propping up some franchises. At one time around 1954, the CFL was paying players more than the NFL. Those days are done.
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FILE – In this Oct. 12, 2019, file photo, BC Lions’ Ryan Lankford (17) leaps past Edmonton Eskimos defenders during the first half of a Canadian Football League game in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)