Eskimos general manager shares views on Canadian quarterbacks and the ratio

Brock Sunderland has been forthright in his first year as Eskimos general manager.

He kept that going when asked about Canadian quarterbacks counting towards the ratio.

“It’s trending that way. I would vote for it to be that way. If you have a Canadian quarterback he absolutely should count as a Canadian,” Sunderland told TSN 1260 in Edmonton.

“We had a scenario in 2006 in Montreal we had Jesse Palmer, he came up and Jim Popp and I were joking with him. We said we could literally start an entire offence of Canadian players. For me I don’t know why it wouldn’t be allowed, this is the Canadian Football League and if you can develop a quarterback it’s advantageous for the players, the fans, the league and everybody involved.”

With the possibility of an Atlantic franchise entering the league in the near future, Sunderland was asked about the current rule of having to start seven Canadians to comply with league stipulations.

“I know in Ottawa last year for the first three to four maybe even five weeks of the season we started nine. We just had the talent there so we went with it and it gave us a lot more opportunities if there was an injury. On the flip side, there is other teams and I’ve been with some teams where guys are propped up and they are starting,” Sunderland said.

“And what it does is it affects your cap because you’re playing a guy that really you don’t feel is a starter, but you have to pay him starter money because he is Canadian and there is a ratio affect. There’s good arguments on both sides. From the CFLPA perspective they’re going to protect their own and protect the investment of the Canadians, it is the CFL. Sometimes on are side we just want to play the best players no matter what, and a lot of times the Canadians are the best players, so it doesn’t matter anyway. But the reality is you are paying some Canadian players a little bit more because of the ratio, which makes sense.”

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13 Comments on Eskimos general manager shares views on Canadian quarterbacks and the ratio

  1. 21 Americans, 24 Canadians. Then you can start all the Americans you want and you have to start Canadians. Tis might give a Cdn QB a chance to at least backup to use an American elsewhere. This might also inspire some Canadians to try the CFL . As it si, some Candaina talent will opt for other careers because they won’t really get a chance to make the roster

  2. Probably a good change. He only counts as a Canadian if he’s on the field, and the QB role is so critical that teams won’t put him on the field unless he deserves to be there (maybe 3rd downs or trick plays, but not the whole game). And if he really is good enough, why not treat it like the advantage of a starting Canadian at any other position? Either we accept the Canadian/American trade barriers or we don’t. Seems to me to be an important element of the game we know and love.

  3. Come on that’s not a truly honest answer.I’m sorry! He sounds like he’s afraid of the Canadian players and their controlling basically Canadian player’s association, made up of carefully selected grossly overpaid guaranteed Canadian starting O-Linemen.

    The new GM Ed Hervey said it right when he was recently on the CFL Waggle podcast when he was asked about the Canadian ratio and the guaranteed starting Canadian O-Linemen playing in the CFL. When Ed Harvey spoke honestly and said the CFL is not the CFL it was 15 or 20 years ago. And Mr. ED Hervey said, I don’t care if a CFL starting O-Linemen is Canadian or American, but you definitely need to be able to start the best and most talented available O-Linemen in the CFL so you can properly and professionally protect your starting star CFL QB and your investment. And not just automatically hand a Canadian O-Linemen a CFL starting spot because you are forced to start them and have to grossly overpaid them only because of their Canadian passport and because of their guaranteed Canadian starting ratio. When in too many cases in the CFL they have no business being on a CFL field. If the CFL is going to grow their fan base and grow their brand of CFL 3 down football they like the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and yes even MLS soccer, need to be able to finally allow the best and most talented available players to start and play at every position for entire CFL game, so CFL 3 down football can be played at its highest level with the best available players. And if the above professional sports leagues had an old school, ridiculous Canadian ratio, that clearly doesn’t work in today’s highly competitive professional sports leagues, then they too would be losing more fans and losing more viewers, and losing more season ticket holders and losing more revenue in their pro leagues and losing more money for their owners and would eventually fold. So if the CFL is going to be a real player and be really respected as a real professional sports league and fully supported, then they too need to eliminate the old school, controlling, handcuffing, guaranteed Canadian starter ratio that obviously doesn’t work and is holding back the CFL from growing their fan base and growing their brand of CFL 3 down football. This definitely needs to change! The CFL needs to control who starts and plays in their own professional sports league like every other professional sports league, not the Canadian players and their controlling, basically Canadian player’s association and their controlling, handcuffing guaranteed Canadian ratio!

  4. Jim Sutherland // December 18, 2017 at 6:09 pm //

    I believe the CFL needs to reduce the number of Canadian starters and count quarterbacks in the Canadian ratio. The best Canadians will explore all opportunities in the NFL before we see them up here in the CFL. The issue is depth and most teams are not able to compensate for injuries to Canadian players. I think most teams can cover 4-5 positions with Canadian starters on a roster, but 7 is a huge reach.

    Ultimately, fans deserve the best available players on the field because they are paying customers. Current Canadian starter numbers are unrealistic and sacrifice quality when teams are forced to play less talented Canadians because of roster rules.

  5. Teams are forced to search and develops Canadian talent. Take away the ratio in whole or in part and GMs and coaches will Take the path of least resistance and take US players. This would hurt Canadian football overall.

    • pantsonfire // December 18, 2017 at 10:11 pm //

      Agree. We need Cdn players in the game. I think at this time the ratio is good where it is. As we found out when Ottawa came back, the Cdn talent was spread quite thin with the expansion draft. So I don’t think we need to expand the number of Cdns on the roster. But there’s no reason not to include QB’s. I really don’t think it will impact on who plays but it will reward a team who can field a legitimate Cdn starter at the position.

  6. Simply include any Canadian QB as part of the Canadian ratio #. As far as requiring 7 Canadian players to start it should be eliminated. The BEST PLAYERS on a roster regardless of where they come from should start as it is in all other PROFESSIONAL SPORT leagues.

  7. This is the CFL. I like the Canadian player ratio. How else can we develop the sport in Canada. When a talented Canadian university football player is presented with is options you want that individual to image himself playing professionally in Canada. If we remove the path to the CFL from them, then the league will eventually suffer. As we Canadians we want to get behind one our own.

    The league should allow the quarterback position count toward the ratio and hopefully when a 10th team is added they should look at reducing the ration by one or perhaps two players and no more regardless of how big the league might grow in the years to come.

  8. David Hobbs // December 19, 2017 at 2:27 am //

    Two big big issues. One is the ratio. I heard an interview once, and I can not remember who it was with, but it was stated that by taking a Canadian as QB limited teams. A player as a QB took a Canadian spot on the active roster and that hurt when it came to special teams. A QB can only pay 1 position, and why waste that on a QB. Two, Canadian QB’s coming out of U Sport are usually competing a against a US QB who has been to at least 1 NFL camp, if not more. This makes it very difficult for Canadians. Canadian kids face an up hill battle and bias. Wouldn’t a simple fix be that if a Canadian was QB that position would not count against the ratio.

  9. You can’t realistically have a so called 3 down professional league and not be perceived as a second rate minor football league when you have the Canadian players and their basically Canadian player’s association dictating to the CFL and to their fans, who starts and plays in the CFL. When the top Canadian players aren’t even committed to the CFL Combine or committed to the so called CFL Canadian Draft or committed to even playing in the CFL, because they are more focused in going to the NFL camps and signing in the NFL. So it’s ok for the top Canadian players to look out for their best interests with no restrictions placed on them and go freely to the NFL. When there aren’t near enough quality Canadian players out there to begin with to fill the unrealistic and unobtainable Canadian ratio, not even close! But it’s not ok for the CFL to look out for their best interests by having restrictions placed on them, stopping the CFL and their teams from going out and recruiting the best and most talented available players to start and play at every position for entire CFL game, like every other professional sports league can do. This is absolutely ludicrous and is why the CFL is not respected as a real professional sports league and not fully supported in our own country. Like Mr. Harvey said, this isn’t the CFL 15 or 20 years ago! This time around the CFL has to stand up for their own league and do what’s best for our CFL 3 down game and their real intelligent fans and future fans and finally eliminate the ridiculous controlling handcuffing, damaging, dictating, old school Canadian ratio, that no professional sports league has in place except the CFL. I can guaranteed you that the CFL would gain 10 times more fans than the small percentage of old school bias fans they would lose, if the CFL eliminates the dictating Canadian starting ratio. The CFL has to do whatever it takes if it means locking out the Canadian players and their basically controlling Canadian player’s association, made up of carefully selected guaranteed Canadian starting ratio O-Linemen, who are obviously all only out for themselves. Mr. Nye said it right on the Green Zone when he said that he watches and supports the CFL because of the 105 year history of the CFL and our 3 down game itself and the Rider CFL team brand, not because of the Canadian ratio and the Canadian players in the CFL. Mr. Nye said, he couldn’t care less if any Canadian players played in the CFL as long as he can watch the best and most talented players starting and playing in the CFL so the CFL 3 down football can be played at its highest level with the best available players. He also previously said on the Green Zone, do you think JAYS fans or Leaf fans would stop watching them if they didn’t have any Canadian players playing on their teams? Come up get real! Not a chance, because they like any other sports fan with any kind of a sports brain only want to watch the best and most talented available players starting and playing in their professional sports leagues. There is your real answer! It’s time for real change, if the CFL wants to really grow their brand of CFL 3 down football and grow their fan base, and attract all the younger generation fans and attract the numerous amount of NFL only fans to our CFL 3 down game. Bottom Line!

  10. Most sports leagues from around the world require teams to include native players on their rosters. Like Japanese baseball which allows only 5 imports per team, English soccer, even MLS requires clubs to sign national players. So what if American leagues like MLB and NHL don’t care about nationality? This is the Canadian football league. It’s always had at least half Canadian players and always will. If you don’t like that, watch some other league of all Americans if you choose but don’t try to destroy our great league.

  11. Get real, the CFL is not an amateur football league it’s suppose to be a professional football and if the NFL, NHL, NBA, MBL, and yes even MLS soccer, didn’t allow the best and most talented available players to start and play in their professional sports leagues, no one would care and no one would go and they too would have more empty seats than fans in their stadiums. And you are wrong, MLS Canadian soccer teams do not have a guaranteed Canadian starting ratio, they only have a very small three player Canadian roster ratio. And they are killing the CFL in attendance in three major CFL markets.

    And I don’t even watch NFL football, I only watch CFL football, but I want what’s best for the CFL and I like many sports fans in Canada, only want to see the best available players starting and playing in the CFL so CFL 3 down football can be played at its highest level with the best available players.You are a part of a very small minority, and if a Canadian player who actually wants to play in the CFL and not the NFL, then make them have to actually make a CFL team like the Americans have to. Don’t just hand them a starting and roster stop on a CFL team that they haven’t even earned or deserve, only because of their Canadian passport and because of their controlling, dictating, guaranteed Canadian ratio. How does that sell CFL 3 down professional football? Well it doesn’t! And it’s very obvious that the old school Canadian ratio is not selling CFL 3 down professional football, that clearly doesn’t work in today’s highly competitive professional sports leagues. And if it was so crucial and so important to have and really needed to sell a pro sport league brand, then the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and yes even MLS soccer, would all have it in place. But they don’t, because they all know that it would kill their professional sports brands and leagues. That’s the really truth. I suggest you watch then only amateur CIS football where they too until the CFL which is suppose to be a professional football league, don’t have a ridiculous ratio where the Mustangs are forced to have so many Ontario players or the Dinos so many Albertans or the Saint Mary’s Huskies so many Maritime players. Why? Because they too want to be abe to recruit the best players so they can be competitive. And the CFL can’t! The majority of CIS players don’t even watch CFL football and only watch the NFL and want to play in the NFL not the CFL, because they look at the CFL as second rate and minor league. So how hypocritical is that! So your obvious bias and attempt to shove your Canadian ratio down our throats doesn’t stand up and has no legs!

  12. Edward Leslie // December 20, 2017 at 4:14 pm //

    Ed… from one Ed to another, try and edit your posts in the future. Your fingers must be sore from those novel-like opinion pieces!
    I disagree with most of what you said. I don’t think the guy playing Left guard, who’s a Canadian is going to keep crowds down. That’s just silly.
    I think the ratio could easily go UP. There’ are so many talented Canadian players like James Yurichuk, Jason Arakgi, Ben D’Aguillar, Levi Noel, Brendan Gillanders,etc that are stuck as special teams players because teams ONLY need start 7 Canucks.
    The Quarterback should definitely count in the ratio, just like any other position. I would simply make the rosters 22 Canadians/ 22 Americans and increase the Canadian starters to 8. The new Halifax team would only need start 7 for the first two years adjusting to the league. It only took Ottawa one year to get competitive afterall.

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