One Team to Rule Them All: Why the NFL and CFL Should Consider Interleague Play

Greg Maiola@Gom1094Senior Analyst IIMarch 3, 2012

Ricky Williams' stint in the CFL
Ricky Williams' stint in the CFL

The game of football is immensely popular in America. The game of soccer is immensely popular in Europe. You know that. So what's the connection?

Every year, the top soccer clubs in Europe all compete in a tournament. Teams from countries like Italy, England and Spain all get the chance to compete with each other to see who is the best.

While European soccer is very competitive and not comparable to the American football, the NFL and CFL should consider joining forces for a similar tournament.

I know what you're thinking, I'm crazy. While the NFL is obviously superior to the CFL, a tournament with their teams would work. This actually may be a great way to expand the game of football beyond American borders.

Although the two leagues have different rules, it would make sense to follow NFL rules. To accommodate for the differences in schedules, the tournament would be played in spring.

Whatever teams qualify for the playoffs in both leagues would make the competition. The Super Bowl and Grey Cup champions would earn a first-round bye.

I know this sounds crazy and that starters probably wouldn't play. For NFL teams, younger players could develop and become better football players.

The CFL and its community could try to prove to America that they in fact can play football. This possible set-up also has the possibility to increase the level of play in the CFL.

Players like Terrell Owens have nowhere to go if the NFL doesn't want them. Indoor leagues and the UFL have failed even to come close to replicating NFL play.

If there were CFL vs. NFL games, experienced NFL players could play up north and prove to the NFL  that they can still play. Even if NFL teams don't want these players back, the CFL would benefit from NFL players and increased level of play.

The games wouldn't necessarily be about proving that the NFL is better than the CFL or vise versa, but about exposing the two leagues together.

American fans could gain respect for the Canadian game and Canadian fans could gain more exposure to the NFL. Scouts from both leagues could eye certain players and make loads of money in the process.

As far as talent goes, the NFL is obviously dominant. However, with the Buffalo Bills making regular season appearances in Canada, this is a great time to try to integrate the two leagues.

Like European soccer, fans would become passionate for their teams. The UEFA Champions League is as exciting as soccer gets. A North American football tournament has the same potential.

Perhaps Mexico increases its football talent. Though the NFL should dominate, it would be good for the sport to have three potential leagues all competing for a continental crown. If football is so popular in America, there is no reason it cannot continue to spread beyond the borders.

So while a NFL and CFL merger is very unlikely, imagine the possibilities if the leagues came together for a short period of time. The stakes would be high and the games intense.

Canadian teams would show they can compete, and American teams would play to show off their dominance. This can even grow to the Canada vs. USA rivalry.

It's a long offseason for NFL fans. This potential tournament would come a few months after the Super Bowl and a few months before training camp.

A pairing of the two leagues would be great for the fans and great for the leagues. Although it is extremely unlikely, think of the potential of a series or tournament between teams from both countries.


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