Why the NFL Couldn’t Expand North to Canada?

There is no country that is not passionate about sports. Surely it couldn’t be different in Canada. Basically all Top Leagues of American Sports count with at least one Canadian team on them.

However, what about the NFL?

The truth is, Canada has its own American Football league, which is the CFL.

We’ve got you covered with an informative article about how the CFL could be rivaling the NFL. We’ve got the massive help of our author, Evelyn Balyton, who did an amazing job in assisting us with her knowledge on the subject. You can get to know her better by clicking here.

A quick summary of what to expect when reading this article:

  • Reasons why the NFL couldn’t yet make it to Canada
  • What Exactly Canada did to Stop the NFL
  • Chances of seeing the NFL in Canada in the future

Without further ado, let’s get to the text!

Why the Canadians Teams are not in the NFL

To begin with, we need to understand that American football and Canadian football, while very similar, are different.

If you’ve ever watched a CFL match, you’ve definitely noticed this.

Both stem from rugby and had their ground rules decided at about the same time. Since then, they have taken parallel but separate paths.

This difference between the style of both games played was a stumbling block for an expansion up to the north.

And speculations and dating were never lacking. After all, Toronto is only smaller than two American cities. Canada would definitely be a very valuable market addition for the NFL.

Early Attempts from the NFL to expand north

Since the 1950s the NFL began trying to go to Canada.

The first one was when the Dallas Texans needed to get out of town to stop battling the Cowboys for the market.

There were a series of negotiations and the gavel was very close to being hit. Financial problems impeded the deal and the team ended up extinct. There has always been a friendly relationship between the NFL and the CFL.

As a result, many of the commissioners who have dealt with possible relocations to Toronto or other Canadian cities have always handled the matter with caution.

They didn’t want the sovereignty of the local league to be threatened in the country, which would inevitably happen with the arrival of one the biggest sports entities, that count on the richest football players in the world.


The Canadian Congress’ Role

The Canadian Congress itself tried to protect national football in Canada.

Back in 1974, the Canadian Football Act was proposed, which would give a government-protected monopoly to the CFL, preventing any other football leagues from establishing themselves there.

As much as such a law has not been passed, its discussion motivated the move of the Toronto Northmen, from the now extinct World Football League, to Memphis.

So the CFL has always been the elephant behind the door to the NFL’s trip to Canada. Both for the friendship between the leagues of the two countries (the American one has already made cash donations to help the CFL in lean times), as for the resistance of certain sectors of the population of the northern country to what could be predatory to the local culture.


The Unique NFL Opportunity

There has never been such a big chance for the NFL to make it to Toronto as in 2014.

Ralph Wilson’s death caused the Buffalo Bills to be put up for sale.

One of the groups interested in the purchase, which even had rock star Jon Bon Jovi among the majority shareholders, intended to take the franchise north.

The $1.05 billion bid made by this group was the second-largest, losing to the 1.4 billion winners, led by NHL Buffalo Sabers owner Terrence Pegula. The new owners were committed to keeping the franchise in Buffalo by taking control.



With the NFL being an increasingly strong business and taking its brand around the world, it seems unlikely that it won’t make it to Toronto at some point and that it won’t stifle the CFL.

But it’s crucial to say that at the moment, there are no real plans for expansion. At least nothing official has been released, so that’s what we suppose.

It should take another good number of years for the NFL to have a team in Canada.

The best opportunities in the next decade will be in the possible relocations of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, teams that have suffered from little support from their local markets.

Although all of this, currently, is mere speculation, you could still take the most out of it as some bookies tend to open temporary lines and markets for such things. That should be a good opportunity to take a look at the best sports betting sites Philippines.

Canada continues to receive games eventually: in 2019, there will be a pre-season match between Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers.


The CFL is still alive, with nine franchises and plans to expand its brand to Europe and Mexico.

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

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