NBC Sports Network to show CFL games, Americans to google “What is CFL”
NBC Sports Network looks like they are doing their best to impress the Terrance and Phillips of the world with its most recent acquisition of the Canadian Football League, which is set to start airing August 27– just in time to compete with college football.
NBCSN will be showing 14 CFL games, including a particularly special 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup. The not-so-distant cousin to the exceedingly more popular American game is most notably differentiated by its 12-player schemes, three down max, and 110-yard fields. The live programming of the eight-team league is meant to hold over the network’s fans until hockey season is in full swing; the NHL deal being the only other major sports league to which NBCSN had broadcast rights. I’m assuming curling and the exclusive rights to the Brier Cup is next on the list.
Some might say they are starving for live content if they have to look north for help, but it’s a much classier move than trying to scoop up arena leagues, or other bush league variations, and meshes with the Canadian-interest theme they inadvertently had going on. I’m not sure if they’ve confused themselves with TSN but if they start hawking poutine and Timmy’s on commercials, I’d alert border patrol because NBCSN is about bum rush the 49th parallel.
If that’s not the case, I foresee the CFL’s real American debut (if we aren’t counting its short stint during NFL lockouts last year) going over like a clown at a kid’s birthday party: 50 percent of the audience feeling neutral to somewhat amused, 30 percent of the audience being somewhat to completely confused, and 20 percent of the audience breaking down in tears.
American’s will initially be confused as to why a team would punt on third-down (perhaps concluding that each team was schooled in the ways of UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo) and might be thrown by the Canadian home fans’ tendency to cheer when their team is on offense. But 125-yard kick returns, the high incidence of goalpost collisions, and the very real possibility of getting to watch a favorite college player that wasn’t big enough to “make it” or favorite NFL player that has been suspended, should more than make up for any temporary viewing discomfort that might arise.
To ensure the most authentic viewing experience, my advice to America is to set up your seat in the fridge for any games past Labor Day, preferably situating your feet in the icebox if possible, and sipping on cans of Molson Canadian, Moosehead, or Kokanee. There really isn’t much more to the experience beyond being painfully cold and remedying the discomfort with an aggressive yet sensible booze parka. Don’t worry, you won’t feel overdressed– the cheerleaders will actually be in parkas too—just be sure to call your winter hat a toque and make sure you still have a buzz when you finally get a chance to thaw out.
So sit back, relax, and please let me formally welcome you to the ranks of CFL.