Insider Talk: potential CFL-XFL partnership draws love, hate & confusion

By John Hodge

This week’s Insider Talk is full of discussion about the CFL and XFL’s potential partnership.

Some love it, some hate it, and some merely feel confused.

Insider Talk includes anonymous quotes from people around the CFL — players, coaches, personnel experts, and agents — regarding the latest news around the league. It’s a combination of insight, analysis, rumours, and friendly gossip.

Enjoy this week’s quotes and come back next Wednesday for another edition of Insider Talk.

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As far as I’m concerned, engaging with the XFL just makes us look bad. I don’t care who’s running that league — it’s failed twice and we’ve been around forever.

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I don’t know what’s going to happen with these XFL talks, but I know our team president is the most excited I’ve ever seen him. He thinks this is an amazing opportunity.

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I think the two leagues will stay separate because I can’t see Dwayne Johnson and the XFL keeping Randy (Ambrosie) on as commissioner. That’s not how Americans are programmed — they’ll want one of their people in charge. If Randy’s going to be out of a job, why would he allow the leagues to merge?

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We have a lot of 215-pound linebackers and 265-pound defensive tackles in this league. If we go to four downs, those guys are all gonna be out of a job.

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You have to keep at least some CFL rules (in a potential merger) or you’re going to alienate the fans in our hardcore markets. I wonder what would happen if we kept every rule the same but went to four downs — you’d probably get more offence.

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You want to know why the CFL wants to work with the XFL? Two words: The Rock. He’s got star power and some people believe he can inject life into the CFL’s stagnant large markets.

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I’ve played three-down and four-down before so I really don’t care what the rules are. I just want us to get the most money possible. If merging leagues helps that happen, I’m game.

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The XFL has a big administration problem because creating a league from scratch is really tough. Being able to use some of the CFL’s existing organizational infrastructure could really be a boost to their league.

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I’ve been around this league a long time. I’m proud to say I worked the glory years. I saw a lot of amazing things and met a lot of great people. I feel bad for the young guys just trying to get established. If you’re hoping to build a great career in the CFL, it looks like you’re going to be s*** out of luck. The future is bleak in my opinion.

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At least in the short term, the XFL discussion is nothing more than talk radio fodder that distracts from the fact that after a year of the pandemic, the league office has illustrated absolutely zero leadership, and even less of a cogent, comprehensible strategy.
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