Saturday, June 28, 2014

The CFL gets some impressive Southern Exposure

The opening of the 2014 CFL season has fans across Canada welcoming the return of the three down game from east to west and to the reachers of the north (with a shout out to the returning flock in Ottawa).

And as the road to the Grey Cup is launched this last week of June, the league finds itself in a fairly impressive spotlight directed towards the south.

Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback project, a must read feature of every NFL season has made the trek north this week.

The week started with a string of articles that led up to the CFL Kickoff  from Winnipeg of Thursday night.

The publication schedule destined for some wrap up thoughts from Mosaic Field, following the Riders and Ti-Cats reprise of last years Grey Cup on Sunday.

Along the way, the online portal from Sports Illustrated has offered up a number of glimpses of life in the CFL, which no doubt outline a very different experience for those accustomed to the massive industry that the NFL has become.

The contributions have come from some familiar names of Canadian football with Marc Trestman and Doug Flutie offering up their remembrances of the three down game.

One of Canada's top sports journalists, Bruce Arthur provided another excellent account of the game and the passion that some have for it. And for balance he combined those moments of pure Canadiana, with a nod towards those that at times are inclined to ignore the nation affirming concept of the league itself.

As well, Peter King has also put together his own team of correspondents, sending them out to the northern frontier to explore and report back.

So far they've had a fairly full workload and have clearly picked up the vibe and pulse of the Canadian game and relayed the uniqueness of it all that Canadians have long cherished.

Some of the features of the week thus far (we'll add to the inventory to this space as the week wraps up).

Peter King wraps up Canada week with:  Canadian Appreciation

Jenny Vrentas with the CFL primer from Winnipeg:  What the CFL Feels Like

Bruce Arthur and the attachment of Canadians to their teams: They're Ours, We're Theirs

Emily Kaplan with the tale of Jon Cornish: The CFL's Most Outstanding Player Moonlights as a Banker

Doug Flutie and his memories of a CFL career:  "You couldn't tell me winning a Super Bowl would feel any nicer"

Marc Trestman with his Welcome to Canada week observations

Whether Sports Illustrated will offer up more space to the CFL in the months to come remains to be seen, the results of the MMQB tour of Canada will probably be the barometer for further coverage.

One thing is helpful towards the cause, the timing of the week long feature comes just as the CFL announced the terms of a renewed agreement with ESPN that will continue to bring the Canadian game to the variety of broadcast and internet options that ESPN has to offer.

And while Canadians no doubt are clicking on each and every item offered up, the real audience for SI is that of the great football collective across America.

If they don't click, then we imagine word of the CFL will once again return to an occasional but always enjoyable shout out from Chris Berman along with what seems to be the American fasciation of the always popular videos of football in snow in October and November, wrapped up with a year end salute to the Grey Cup.

The review of our game is a welcome thing from a Canadian perspective, fans of the league should offer up their tanks for the work of the team assembled by Mr. King, with a cordial invitation to come on back sometime.

As every CFL fan knows, June through August is just the preamble to the drama to come. For Mr. King and the SI team, we recommend another road trip surrounding the Labour Day games. Cultural events steeped in rivalry and with the home stretch towards the playoffs and Grey Cup clearly in sight.

Canadians always want to know what the neighbours downstairs think about us. It's just part of our nature, the inquisitive side of us looking for hints on notice and yes, even a little acknowledgment from time to time.

For one week in June  MMQB has offered up a snapshot of their impressions of Canadian Football, you can follow through for the rest of the tour from the MMQB portal.

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