The CFL is playing Santa. The 2020 schedule has been released. Giving out an early festive present like this appears to be becoming a tradition for the league.
This is the third year in a row the schedule has been released in the run up to Christmas.
As soon as the last play of the Grey Cup has been blown dead each year CFL fans ask the eternal question ‘Is is June yet?’.
Well this year they won’t be waiting as long for the 3 down game’s return. The first preseason game between Saskatchewan and Edmonton will be on Sunday May the 24th.
Some schedule notes worth looking out for:
Winnipeg and Hamilton will play a Grey Cup rematch on Week 1 of the season. You might argue that should have been the first game of the season, but I quite like that the league builds up to it over Week 1.
Thursday Night Football is a summer long feature in 2020. As well as this, apart from Labour Day Weekend, there will be Friday Night Football every weekend, and Saturday football pretty much all season long. Great news for UK based fans who have work on Mondays!
There are no 4 day turnarounds for teams. Since expanding the schedule, the CFL has worked to put more rest and recovery time between games. In 2020 teams will play with less than seven days rest 44 times. In 2017 it was 54 – so things are trending in the right direction for players.
Neutral site game. There is a game between Toronto and Saskatchewan on July 25 in a location that has “yet to be determined.” That has to leave fans wondering. For instance, would the league ever consider its’ CFL 2.0 initiative & play a game in Mexico? After all it has a deal with the Liga de Futbol Americano Profesional and a Mexican combine and 3 round Mexican CFL draft. Not to mention the first points scored by a Global Player – from Mexico.
End of season Change
One very notable change is to the end of the season. As Marshall Ferguson points out, there has been a distinct change in end of season scheduling.
Whereas recent years have seen a focus on Divisional match-ups to end the year, this schedule moves away from that.
Just 18% of the games in the final weeks of 2020 will be Divisional Contests – in 2018 & 2019 that was 100%. We could miss out here too. Just think how big and exciting the West Division run-in was in 2019 as Saskatchewan, Winnipeg and Calgary slugged it out against each other.
Defending East Division Champs Hamilton don’t face a single in-Division rival in the last 4 weeks of the season. Instead they face Edmonton, Saskatchewan and B.C. Could that dilute a close race? We won’t know until it happens.
We are not that far removed from the 2019 season. But with this schedule release CFL fans can start looking ahead and planning their trips for 2020 – Merry Christmas CFL fans, now “Is it June yet?”.
Banner image: the CFL 2020 schedule is released – more fan interaction like this at Mosaic stadium to come. Image from CFL.ca