Commish, Riders’ Brandon Bridge to meet in December about Canadian QB and the ratio

Canadian quarterback Brandon Bridge and CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie are set to meet in December to discuss national quarterbacks with regards to the ratio.

Bridge and Ambrosie had a discussion about non-import quarterbacks and the ratio at the Riders Plaza of Honour event in late September. And in October assured the 25-year-old Mississauga native that a face-to-face chat would happen.

“I’m really just trying to open up doors for Canadian players that want to play quarterback. That’s my whole goal and that comes from winning,” Bridge said after coming off the bench to lead a comeback win in Toronto last season.

Bridge went 92-0f-138 for 1,236 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions while leading the Riders to a pair of wins in 2017, both on the road. He sparked the Riders offence in the East Final, completing 11-of-21 passes for 141 yards and one touchdown in the team’s defeat. That TD toss was the first by a Canadian in a post-season game since Russ Jackson in the 1969 Grey Cup.

Ambrosie, like Bridge on the field, has been very active in his first season as commissioner.

The CFL’s new boss has acted quickly on issues such as replay and limiting challenges and admittedly done a lot of listening to people heavily involved and passionate about the league around the country. Ambrosie has visited every CFL stadium, putting the mileage in to prove he wants to grow the three-down game nationwide.

Canadian quarterbacks and the ratio has become a hot-button topic with signal callers like Bridge and Calgary’s Andrew Buckley emerging as players with great potential for long-term careers in the CFL. Currently, pivots born in our home and native land are not seen as nationals on game day rosters. The emergence of Bridge and Buckley as Canuck pivots has caused reason for a longer discussion and examination surrounding their possible involvement in a team’s Canadian equation.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (938 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

31 Comments on Commish, Riders’ Brandon Bridge to meet in December about Canadian QB and the ratio

  1. justforkicks // December 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm //

    While that change would definitely influence Bridge’s value I believe it would be a positive for the future of Canadian QB’s. Maybe some that are marginal but could blossom with the help of professional coaching at the CFL level will get a second look.
    No downside in my opinion but what the heck do I know. (no need to answer that LOL)

  2. It’s really hard to believe that there can be much discussion. The solution seems awfully obvious.

    • The obvious solution is for the CFL to REDUCE the Canadian content ratio.
      Everyone knows that there are few kids playing football and the CIS has little to choose from.
      Bridge was not even a CIS player he’s NCAA, the Canadian content rule was to encourage CIS players not NCAA players

  3. Lancaster/Reed // December 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm //

    I never really understood why the exemption was there in the first place.

    • I thought the ratio was to encourage CIS players?
      Bridge is ex-NCAA.
      If they want to encourage CIS players then let a CIS QB count against the ratio not an NCAA player.
      Buckley would count against the ratio. Buckley is a great 1 yard plunger but there are too many NCAA QBs with better talent

  4. brightred // December 8, 2017 at 2:34 pm //

    why should Bridge get such privilege?

    • justforkicks // December 8, 2017 at 2:52 pm //

      He initiated this with the Commissioner by contacting him. The Commissioner is responding. If someone else had made that contact I’m sure he would have responded the same way. Bridge is currently somewhat noticeable in the league as a Canadian QB so it makes sense if he wants to make it better for his purposes and any other Canadian QB.

  5. Scottsask // December 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm //

    Like Justin says: a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.

  6. greenenvy? // December 8, 2017 at 3:06 pm //

    The problem has always been if you get credit for this at the QB position, then teams simply keep one around as the 3rd QB. If you were to say, count a National QB for ratio purposes if he starts, then you have to be more clear than that otherwise teams could send in a National QB to start a game & pull him after one series. In Bridge’s case it becomes problematic because in fact how many games was he in for the full game? Most of your starters play the whole game, barring injury. Bridge was always in & out & never was deemed the starter by Jones, no matter how much he played. So should the Riders have been able to take advantage of Bridge’s status this past year – no. He isn’t a starter. If he can count without being a starter, which was always the fly in the ointment, then you go back to teams carrying a 3rd guy who’s a National. I commend Ambrosie for meeting with him but Bridge is hardly unbiased. He can extend his career & derive substantial benefit from a rule change. Why not bring in the National OL for talks about legislating a minimum of 4 OL being National? What would they say? Or legislate that a National LB has to be on every team to give all those college players in Canada an equal chance to start? I’m sure all National LB’s would be on board for that.

    • With less and less kids playing football – 25 high schools in Toronto out of 100, there are fewer players to choose from.
      The talent level is not there but we are still trying to maintain this high Canadian content ratio.
      They must REDUCE the Canadian ratio

  7. brightred // December 8, 2017 at 3:10 pm //

    Having Canadian QB’s count against the ratio would hurt the development of Canadian QB’s.
    I imagine the reason QB’s don’t count against the ratio is to unencumber the position from ratio considerations. It allows the best to complete and play – at the most critical position in team sports. REGARDLESS OF BIRTH COUNTRY. Let’s look at it using real examples. What’s more of an incentive for Chris Jones or Dave Dickenson- To start their respective Canadian QB’s because they are the best option or because the count against the ratio?
    If it’s because they are the best option then either can be pulled or replaced due to injury or circumstance without having to worry about the other players on the field. If it’s because it’s a ratio changer then the same mentioned scenarios will usually result in roster juggling due to the ratio being affected.
    Counting the QB against the ratio actually provides LESS INCENTIVE to start a Canadian QB. Unless you have 2 or 3 ready to go the risk to your remining roster is too great. But under the current rule this risk doesn’t exist.

    • Lancaster/Reed // December 8, 2017 at 7:15 pm //

      QB is the most important position. No coach is going to play a canadian as qb just to satisfy the ratio.

    • Yes you are right, the QB is the most important position on the team. It is one position that players must compete for, no QB should be given the position because of his citizenship.
      Always make them compete one on one.

  8. The simplest solution is, if he is playing he counts. The moment you take him off the field you have to make ratio adjustments elsewhere. There isn’t much benefit to a team then. You’re not going to put a National QB out there unless he can play. If, say Bridge, is taken out & Glenn comes in, you have to then make changes down the line to keep the ratio. That might mean Bridge plays a full game in certain circumstances, say you have injuries to a lot of Nationals. But, quite frankly, every team needs more than 7 Nationals who can play reasonably well in a starting role. For the better teams I don’t see how it makes much difference. The best QB’s come from the NCAA & are far ahead of any QB coming out of Canadian universities. There just aren’t a lot of Canadian starting QB’s in the US. It’s unlikely IMO, even with a rule change, that coaches, largely American, are going to spend the time to develop a Canadian starter.. Like it or not, I don’t see how this will influence coaches to change what they’re doing now. So, go ahead & put in the rule.

  9. As I’ve said elsewhere, the single biggest move the league could make to increase the quality and hone the competition for any position is to make any International who gains Canadian citizenship a National. Then those guys who are really good and serious about football, but know they are unlikely to become anything other than practice roster fodder in the NFL, can settle down in Canada and make a career here (like Lancaster and Reed did in Saskatchewan in the days when this was permitted). And I know others who also did that. Imagine if Pinball or Dickenson or Owens (more recently) had been able to become a ratio asset by taking out citizenship…who else might the team have been able to bring in and groom for whatever position they needed upgrading? I think it would be worthwhile put this back into play.

    • But look at what happened with Henry Burris, even though he played in the CFL for 11 years it wasn’t considered full time employment and he was denied Canadian residency.
      You can not become a Canadian resident if your employment is considered part time, you can not become a Canadian citizen unless you are a resident for 5 years.
      The Canadian Citizenship and Immigration department are not going to change the law just for the CFL

      • Yes and Dickenson and Pinball qualified for residents AFTER they became coaches. Coaching is a full time 12 month job. They couldn’t become residents while they were playing since it’s part time work. They are in the same category as the migrant farm workers that come to Ontario in the summer and fall to pick fruit.

  10. I see one problem. Someone like Bridge would cost a lot more money as a Cdn starting QB. The plus is he should be counted as a Cdn when he is out there, if he gets hurt and comes out and you replace him with an American then you have to adjust your ratio with another player. It would be no different then having a Cdn starting middle linebacker. If he gets hurt and you replace him with an American you have to adjust your ratio. I think the rule was done originally because all of the QB’s were imports and you can only have one QB on the field at a time playing QB so it didn’t affect anything.

  11. Colour me green // December 8, 2017 at 7:16 pm //

    This is a no brainer. Do it!!!
    First, You would not play a cdn QB if he is horrible and it costs you games.
    Second, it makes the case to develop cdn QBs. Here in Canada and down in states. In fact you put in more effort in development to get this benefit. Won’t see university QBs turned into receivers.
    Third, young kids may consider the position. Many as they grow older give it up and play other positions.
    Fourth, how cool would it be to have two cdn QBs play each other in the GC? Every person whoever went to those universities will be watching, growing the sport more.
    Many other benefits so let’s get on this now so in 10 years we see REAL CHANGE.

    • greenenvy? // December 9, 2017 at 1:22 am //

      It doesn’t make the case to develop Cdn QB’s. As stated above the best QB’s come from Divison I clubs in the US. QB’s coming out of Cdn Universities are far behind in their development to their American counterparts. Easier just to develop a Cdn LB, DB, Receiver etc to make up the ratio. You need a QB who can play & you’ll develop the guy who is closest to playing. It doesn’t change anything.

    • How is it a “no-brainer” when it’s been explained by at least 4 poster why it shouldn’t happen?
      As for being “cool” and “whoever” went to those universities will be watching – you seem to forget that Bridge didn’t go to University in Canada he’s NCAA from Alcorn State and then South Alabama

  12. It’s simple. Eliminate the 3 QB roster positions and designate any three Nationals or Internationals on the roster as QB’s.
    Then increase the number of Internationals to 17 (from the current 16 for the presumed starting QB.)
    Increase Designated Imports to 6 (from the current 4 for the presumed backup QB’s.)
    If a Canadian was designated as a QB, he’d count in the ratio…and would free-up a D.I. for another position. If a Canadian was the starting QB, that’d free-up an International starter for another position.
    So there would be some incentive and reward for signing Canadian QB’s in the CFL.

    • That all we need, less talent on the field and more people calling the CFL Bush League because we give starting jobs to players because of they are Canadian.
      We need to REDUCE the Canadian ratio not increase it

  13. Edward Leslie // December 9, 2017 at 6:32 am //

    Greenenvy, I don’t understand your negative attitude about Canadians playing QB. It sounds like you’ve willingly decided to drink the Koolaid and just believe biased anti-Canadian prejudice that’s prevailed for decades. Rise above that, man! It’s really no different than the old NFL prejudice against not playing black quarterbacks.
    If Canadians can play all the other positions, why not quarterback?
    I also don’t get the mistrust about using it as some kind of loophole. If a Canadian quarterback comes out of the game they start, in favour of an American, they have to make adjustments just like every other similar situation. For example if Jerome Messam comes off the field in Calgary, Rob Cote or Juwan Brescacin go in.
    As for the idea about Americans counting as Canadians because they take out citizenship, what exactly is the point of that other than making a mockery of the whole idea of a ratio. What’s next? Players who can pass a Canadians quiz or sing O Canada count too. Absurd!

    • The point is the QB is the most important player on the field and they need to compete one on one. NO advantages because they are Canadian, win the job.
      You are going to see even less Canadian players in the future and especially QBs. The sport is disappearing in high schools, school boards are dropping it because of the CTE and insurance issues, talented kids are choosing sports like soccer over football, it is very expensive to play and parents are expected to come up with money for equipment and there are just less kids attending high schools.

      If we want to maintain a strong CFL we have to bite the bullet and reduce the Canadian ratio and allow more talented players in our league.
      I for one go to a football game to watch the play, I couldn’t care less if there are 6 Canadians or 0

  14. Edward Leslie // December 9, 2017 at 6:40 am //

    This argument is silly, but it has gone on for decades now.
    The current CFL rosters are: 21 Nationals, 20 Internationals and 3 Quarterbacks (of any nationality). Usually those three have been all Americans, so rosters are 23 Americans/21 Canadians, except Calgary and Saskatchewan, who are an equal 22/22 because their #2 QBs are Canadians.
    Simply make the rosters 22/22. You can still use 3 American QBs if you choose to. But then you have 19 Americans in other positions, other than 20. No big deal and it only affects seven spots currently. So…just do it!

    • NO! we have trouble maintaining the current Canadian ratio. As explained above, less kids playing and choosing football in high schools and less talent in the CIS
      The Canadian ratio must be reduced.
      Just look at the Major league sports in Toronto – the Jays, Raptors, TFC do not have a Canadian ratio but they have strong followings.
      The majority of Canadians couldn’t care less if their pro-sports team has Canadians or Americans, only the best players.
      Save the ratio for the Olympics or the National soccer teams etc

  15. footballnut // December 9, 2017 at 11:04 am //

    i love all the football experts on this board : “less talent/change the ratio” talk is nothing more than talk- most football fans in canada have no idea what technically good football looks like (as with most of the “fans” on this board)… the ratio is good for canadian football- the qb needs to be a part of it… a canadian qb should be gold in the cfl …btw the qb for ohio (not ohio state!) is a pretty good one too but cant compare c.i.s. qb’s to ncaa d-1

  16. I don’t see why having a Canadian QB has anything to do with changing the ratio. You still have to maintain the ratio if he goes in or comes out. Might be some more flexibility. Other than that it’s giving one an opportunity that might otherwise go to an American. At the moment I doubt many are given a look because it’s a given that QB’s are internationals.

  17. Or we could remove all the double standards and hire football players according to their athletic abilities.

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