I'm part of the CFL's lost generation. Coming of age in the 80s, we were sold the glitz and glamour of the NFL, primarily from the Buffalo television stations we received. The Bills propaganda machine rolled on through the 90s when they went to four Super Bowls in a row. The CFL came across like a minor league farming system for the big league to the South.
I rarely paid any attention to the CFL, displaying only a casual interest when Rocket Ismail came to town and again when Doug Flutie signed with the double blue. On Sundays, I'd sit and watch 10 hours of NFL ball, but I'd rarely tune in for Canadian football. The CFL was beneath me. I was an NFL fan.
I remember the moment my interest in the NFL began to wane. It was the day the Bills cut Doug Flutie and decided Rob Johnson was their starting quarterback. All Doug Flutie did for the Bills was play his heart out and win games. All Rob Johnson did was infuriate me. This decision hurt the very core of my being. I loved Flutie and I loved Flutie in a Bills uniform. Cutting him made absolutely no sense to me at the time and history would prove me right. Throughout the following years, I found myself watching less and less NFL football although I continued to watch the Bills until this year. Conversely, I found myself watching more and more CFL football and following that league closer. I grew to appreciate the game and discovered it was thoroughly entertaining. Part of the charm is the lack of schmaltzy glitz that accompanies everything associated with the NFL. This NFL season I've come to realize that of the four major sports, football ranks a definite fourth in my books and I actually prefer Argonaut football to Bills football. In my thirtieth year of life I learned that the wholly Canadian league I grew up thinking was amateurish is, in fact, a more organic, entertaining and satisfying product.
The culmination of this new-found respect for the CFL was witnessing a great Grey Cup and championship for my Argos last night. It was a brilliant contest, exciting to the very end, with a performance from The Tragically Hip at half-time to boot. It was a great game on a great day to celebrate this Canadian institution in our nation's capital. I'm proud to call myself an Argonaut fan and a fan of the Canadian Football League.
Screw the NFL. I've got other priorities now.
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