Will the NFL work in Toronto?

 Editors note- Another interesting column from our new writer Lilly

Canada has hockey, the United States has football.

In my opinion,the NFL doesn’t have a chance of surviving in Canada. First of all we have our own league, the Canadian Football League. Why mess with that? The whole fiasco around the Buffalo Bills and having eight regular season games over the next five years is so far, a waste of time.

When the Miami Dolphins were here to play the Bills last season, Toronto tried to put on “a tailgate party”. It didn’t work. It’s not part of our culture. It’s just not the same here as in the United States. I’ve walked by a so called tailgate party for the Argo’s and thought to myself, what is that supposed to be? Oh it’s a tailgate party. Five cars with a few people standing around drinking. It wasn’t like what the Americans do at all. It seems like such a silly little detail but it’s a huge part of experiencing an NFL game in the States.

The crowd was a sad excuse for a crowd. No noise, no craziness and where were all the people? What’s a game without the crowd? Boring!.

The Buffalo Bills aren’t Toronto’s team. So I think there was some confusion as to whom we were supposed to cheer for as the “home team”. There are fans for different NFL teams here in Toronto. NFL fans in Canada, we have the choice of which team to cheer for, for different reasons. Everyone has their own team. There is always a story behind the choice. It was their dad’s team, or it was the first game they ever went to. Stuff like that.

The entire experience was like tempting a squirrel to eat from your hand. In this case, the NFL and Rogers Communications was the giant hand trying to feed us, the fans. Do we like them or not? How are we supposed to act? Fans in general seemed to be very hesitant and confused as to why they are giving us this so called” treat”. Who was getting the benefit, us the fans or them, the coroporate citizens? Perhaps like so many other things, it was just too good to be true.

Canadians are not and never will be Americans. We share a continent, but that’s about it when it comes to sports. We are just fine the way we are when it comes to football.

For this particular experiment our “Canadiana” was showing.



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Bill Alfonso
May 12, 2009 4:12 am


I have to say that this article is a piece of crap. Your site used to have a unique niche in that you critiqued what was being said in the Toronto Sports Media, and you did a fantastic job at it. I turned to your site as a hub of information (and links) for what my favourite (and most hated) Toronto Sports writers were saying, and I really enjoyed your opinions.

However, with your new writers you have really strayed from what I thought was your core strength. This piece about ‘Would the NFL Work in Canada?’ is not topical, it is uninteresting, and could have been replicated by any mediocre 7th Grade English assignment.

Stop it with this crap. Your site has been great so far, but I worry that its quality is starting to fall off.

-Bill Alfonso

May 12, 2009 1:29 pm

I have to agree with Bill in many respects…..and for the record,the NFL would flourish in Toronto if the team was Toronto based.


[…] Toronto tried to put on a tailgate party. It didn’t work […]

Dennis Martin
Dennis Martin
December 6, 2009 5:48 pm

Last Grey Cup the BBM numbers showned 14,000,000 watched all or part of the 97th canadian pro football championship. This represents almost 43% of the Canadian population! Yes we love our football the CFL more than the foreign country South of the border, whith the boring 4 downs.

April 12, 2011 4:54 pm

The NFL in Toronto a fiasco

So far there are 2 preseason games, and 3 regular season NFL games in Toronto. None of these games where full houses (less than 54,000). Worse, very few paid they tickets at full price. Tens of thousands where reduced tickets. Tens of thousands more, where free tickets. And still, not one full house in 5 games! Toronto region is where there are the most NFL fans in Canada.

Why Canadians didn’t come to see Peyton Manning and the Colts or Ricky Williams? Perhaps Canadians are better placed to compare the show offered by the two football leagues. The CFL is so much faster and exciting. The NFL resembles more baseball and the CFL more with hockey. You know, Canadians love hockey.

Evan with the Rogers telecommunications strong marketing and the Medias propaganda, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

January 10, 2016 3:57 pm

After that Bills series its pretty clear that it wont work. I remember there was a Hamilton vs Argos playoff game that sold more than the most recent Bills game by about 7000 tickets although most Argo attendances have been dismal which will likely change with the move to BMO field. I look at it like so… NCAA Div 1 is still the bigger spectator sport than the NFL and 95% of those guys dont go pro in either NFL/CFL. So if the Americans can make a big deal out of college ball than why cant we make a huge deal out of CFL. It should be quazi religion for any football fan to go to those games. We do not have the population in most of our markets but Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver should be 40,000 plus average. Calgary and Edmonton shoukd be 30,000 plus which they pretty much are. But if we support it will get better. CFL is doing well but it could be better and it will be better.

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