Defending Argo Games

Defending Argo GamesMy son and I attended the Argos game this afternoon. It was a rather important game, with Montreal in town, and we lost 24-12.

I was offered two tickets to give away to a reader, courtesy of EcoTraction, and these tickets were already won by Luke F. when EcoTraction found another two for my boy and I. We hadn't been to a game since Ricky Williams was an Argo, so we made our way to the stadium formerly known as SkyDome for this East Division battle.

On my way to the game, I was thinking about a comment Tim left on this site yesterday. He wrote:

I have seen three Argos games. They have been the most boring, uninspired sporting events of my life. You could not pay me to see them.

I've always thought the folks marketing Argo games have it tough. As the Marlies marketing team will tell you, Toronto is a "big league" city. If we deem you minor league, we're unlikely to come out in droves. At some point over the past twenty years, Toronto decided the Bills were the majors and the Argos were the minors, and attendance and buzz has suffered.

Remember, these free Argo tickets I got came from EcoTraction, an environmentally-friendly alternative to road salt that helps to reduce tire slippage. They didn't come from the Argos. In fact, I've never heard from the Argos PR / marketing people, something that I find surprising considering I rank #1 in Google for the keywords 'argos blog'. But I digress...

My 10-year old son and I had a lot of fun today, despite the fact our team's offence was almost non-existent and the dome seemed to have more passionate Alouettes fans than Argos fans.

At the #argos game with my best man

When my tickets aren't comped, they're still reasonably priced and the product is typically good. Yes, it's more exciting when the dome seems fuller, but every time I go I'm glad I went. I didn't even mind spending $6.50 for mediocre popcorn.

It doesn't have the glitz and glamour of the NFL, but I like that. It's our game, rarely boring and often inspired. Tim and I disagree.

I just hope we have Ricky Ray back in time for the playoffs.

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Comments (18 - click here to join in!)


Is it time for another 'once and for all' Manifesto reply?

October 14, 2012 @ 10:37 PM


After some cajoling from the sales team, I caved this year and bought season tickets - to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I drive from Ajax to go the games at Ivor Wynne. I've mentioned before how good/much better the atmosphere, not to mention the seating/sightlines are for CFL games in Hamilton.

Mike, too bad the Argos did not put on a better performance to make the game closer.

I don't know if Toronto is a "big league" town. It is a Maple Leafs town, although why, after so many years, is the support is as strong as it is. The Leafs have not been "big league" for ... never mind.

"Toronto" and Torontonians are probably the only Canadians that do not really give much of a damn about the CFL. We've beaten that topic not quite to death. Sure, the money is nothing compared to the NFL, but if Toronto could ever get a team for the NFL (never going to happen), people wouldn't pay the prices. It's that simple. Have a team this isn't a winner right off, and attendance would plummet. Nosebleed seats in most NFL venues run U$65 and up. Don't forget to add on the tazes, "convenience" and service charges. They're more than that in smaller markets with big winning teams, like . . . St. Louis (who happen to be on the list of teams to possibly relocate to Los Angeles in a few years). Get real, Toronto.

Matt Cauz, writer for, made excellent points last year that both the CFL and NFL great. Both are great football to be enjoyed. Each has its unique set of challenges that does not exist in the other league. Personally, I love watching free catch punt returns in the NFL. They're so much better than watching Hamilton's Chris Williams or BC's Tim Brown find a seam and accelerate down the field.

There has never been, and probably never will be, much money put in to sports and sports programs in Canada. I'd bet that there are high schools in the U.S. that have larger sports budgets than Canadian universities. We are a smaller country with smaller markets/cities for teams. That is the reality. None of that means that our games, teams or leagues should be considered "inferior" in any way. They're ours. The CFL is our national football league, and I'm proud to support them, even if I cannot bring myself to ever cheer for les Alouettes - or the Argos. What can I say - I grew up in western Canada (in markets that have NHL teams, not some place like Fumbuck, Manitoba), where it is often so much fun to take the piss out of Toronto and Torontonians because they think they're somehow "better". We're all Canadians. (Except for many thousands just to the east of this large province - but I digress.) The 100th Grey Cup will be in Toronto in November. Fantastic. Long live the CFL.

October 14, 2012 @ 11:04 PM


How can anyone take a league seriously for rewarding failure? The 1 point rule in the CFL is the main reason I just can't watch it. The score in the Montreal game the other day in the first quarter was 2-1 at one point. All 3 points were 'earned' by failures. This is just 'bush-league'.

October 15, 2012 @ 7:34 AM


Before my son was born the wife and I had Argos seasons tickets. That was the Ricky Williams season. It was a fun summer. I hope to get them again when my son is old enough to enjoy it.

CFL can be fun. The only reason it's not fun (for some) has nothing to do with the product and everything to do with the mentality of Toronto sports fans.

This city doesn't deserve the NFL. It can't even support it's OWN brand of football.

The bush league argument holds no weight. In the states, high school football is supported. That's what being a fan of a sport is about. Supporting it at all levels.

Heck Toronto isn't even a HOCKEY city. they don't support minor league hockey.

I've always thought that the Argos would do better moving away from the downtown stadium where few people care about football and maybe building something just north of the city with better access from surrounding markets. Maybe even enough space to do a little tailgating.


October 15, 2012 @ 8:41 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I agree, the rouge does suck.

I saw three of them yesterday.

October 15, 2012 @ 9:12 AM


Sorry Al but the bush-league argument holds A LOT of weight when a league rewards a team for failure. Even as kids when we played football we didn't reward a team for missing a field goal. Such a stupid rule.

I will agree with you on the fact that Toronto is a horrible sports town.

October 15, 2012 @ 9:14 AM


I am patiently waiting for a Grey Cup game to be tied in the dying seconds... The ball resting on the 30 yard line. 5 seconds left.... The kick is up .... wide right..but it's goes through the end zone. they win! they win on a MISSED field goal. I want the kicker to re-live that story with his grandchildren one day. Lame.

October 15, 2012 @ 10:01 AM

519 Rob

Generally speaking, I prefer the CFL. For about a 10 year period, the Grey Cup was a MUCH better game than the Super Bowl (although of late the Super Bowl has been more competitive).

I'll say one thing, I am SO tired of hearing anti-CFL fans use the rouge as a reason for hating the game. Its ONE BLOODY rule, and THAT is what you are getting yourself hung up on. C'mon...really?

I will agree, that no one wants to see a Grey Cup decided on a missed field goal, but if there is a game tied with seconds left, I'll bet that's been one hell of a game, and the opposing team will be hell bent to get that ball out of the (larger than an NFL) end zone.

October 15, 2012 @ 10:38 AM


Mike, I agree completely. I've been to about 4 games in the last couple of years and they are always entertaining.

I know it's generally not cool to say you like the CFL but hey....I like the CFL! You cannot compare it to the NFL because they are different games.

October 15, 2012 @ 10:54 AM


I went to an Argos playoff game against Winnipeg in 2007. My friend promised me "the most exciting sporting event you'll ever see." He couldn't have been more wrong.

While I can respect those who enjoy the CFL, I certainly can't understand it. It's dull. It's a bastardized version of American football. It rewards failure, as a couple of other commenters already stated. I honestly can find nothing exciting or worthwhile about it.

I haven't been to another game since, and I have no plans to ever attend another CFL game again.

October 15, 2012 @ 11:32 AM


One of the reasons for the rouge is that, in general, it is more difficult to not just advance the ball to get into field goal range because the CFL gives you three, not four, downs to go ten yards, on a longer field, but to score points at all - on a much larger field.

In the CFL, a missed field goal can be run back out by the defending team. That cannot happen in the NFL because the goal posts are at the back of the ten yard deep endzone. The CFL's are on the goal line in front of a twenty yard end zone. The deeper end zone is, again, part of the balance of three vs. four downs and the greater importance of passing in the CFL. It is not really a reward for failure. That is a facile observation borne of ignorance or superiority.

My father played junior football in the 1950s. I learned how to catch, throw, kick and punt a football before I had a clue with a baseball. The rules of the Canadian game were the ones I learned, along with the differences vs. the American game. I loved tossing the football around with Dad, going to Eskimos and Blue Bombers games, and watching CFL and NFL games on TV with him.

I know that Blind Dave will agree - get out of Toronto and go see a CFL game anywhere but Toronto (and let's toss in Hamilton and Montréal to a lesser degree) and your experience attending a game will be completely different. Me, I want to see a game in Regina. Blind Dave, I'll be in touch when I see that happening. I know we'd both enjoy going.

October 15, 2012 @ 11:37 AM


@ Bryan

The Canadian game is NOT a "bastardized" version of American football. The game has been played here just as long, if not longer, than it has been in the US. Both games evolved from the same source (rugby), at the same time. What you're implying is that we looked at American football and said, "Hey, let's play that too, we'll change change a few things to make it unique!"

October 15, 2012 @ 1:08 PM


Corey is correct - the Canadian game is older, with the first game played around 1860. I'm not into rugby, but I know that there are two types of rugby. The CFL and its early rules were based on one of them. Perhaps the American game followed the other more closely, or they had less space for a pitch/field and made their rules to accommodate those conditions. That is probably the root explanation of how the two games are similar, but different. So, both games can be traced back to rugby, with an origin in the UK. That means that both are a "bastardised" version of rugby, from an English point of view.

October 15, 2012 @ 1:43 PM


You can rationalize it anyway you like but it does not change the fact that rewarding failure is just stupid. I really want to see a Grey Cup won on a botched field goal that goes out of the end zone. Is the kicker a hero for screwing up??

Scoring is down in hockey...why don't we just give 1/2 a goal for hitting posts or crossbars?

October 15, 2012 @ 2:04 PM


Damien Cox at The Star wrote about this today, and made some good points (which is saying a lot, considering I usually hate his column). The fact that the Argos are owned by David Braley, who is essentially "in absentia" is doing the team no favours at all. When Cynamon and Sokolowski owned the team, we had local owners who cared deeply about their product and it showed. The dome actually had some atmosphere (believe it or not) and they were averaging 30,000+ per game in real attendance, not freebies. All of the nice touches they put into the stadium to make it feel like the home of the Argos have been stripped away, and now with the declining attendance, it's about as dreary and experience in there as ever, especially when the roof is closed. Braley has done absolutely nothing to market the team, or improve the game day experience.

October 15, 2012 @ 2:10 PM


@Gary - the NHL already gives a team a point if they lose in overtime, just because they tied at the end of the game. I see a parallel in there.

Nothing to disagree with, Corey. At least David Braley stepped in to buy the Argos. Nobody in the Toronto area did.

Now I want to see what "Caretaker" Bob Young does with the new stadium in Hamilton for 2014, as there won't be anymore Ivor Wynne "excuses".

October 15, 2012 @ 2:20 PM


@ Douglas (14:20)
The CFL hasn't modernized itself. The NBA introduced the 3-point shot. MLB brought in the Designated Hitter, and its all-star game World Series result. The NFL moved up the kick-off, penalized turnover position against failed field goal attempts, and brought in the 2 point conversion. The NHL has that 3-pt game result, plus a whole bunch of other tweaks.
The CFL needs to face reality and modernize itself. A 100 Metre field instead of 100 yards. 7+1 points for a TD scored from 55 yards / 50 metres away. Endzones that are halved from 25 yards deep. There's a lot they can do.

October 15, 2012 @ 5:23 PM


@ Douglas (14:20)
The CFL hasn't modernized itself. The NBA introduced the 3-point shot. MLB brought in the Designated Hitter, and its all-star game World Series result. The NFL moved up the kick-off, penalized turnover position against failed field goal attempts, and brought in the 2 point conversion. The NHL has that 3-pt game result, plus a whole bunch of other tweaks.
The CFL needs to face reality and modernize itself. A 100 Metre field instead of 110 [UPD] yards. 7+1 points for a TD scored from 55 yards / 50 metres away. Endzones that are halved from 25 yards deep. There's a lot they can do.

October 15, 2012 @ 5:25 PM

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