Commissioner taking Canadian QB rule discussion to the CFLPA

Canadian quarterback Brandon Bridge and CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie met for 30 minutes on Monday and discussed the possibility of including quarterbacks as one of the required seven national starters.

“It actually went well. We really spoke about how we can actually approach it. One of the main things he asked me was: how did we get here in the first place? Why was the rule in this favour? He wants to address that,” Bridge said.

“He said he’s going to bring it up to the CFLPA. He’s really looking forward to attacking that situation. I felt that we actually made a couple strides and laid down a couple bricks to where we want to go. I really want to lay down that first step and that first brick for the younger generation so they don’t have to jump the same barriers that I had to do. Hopefully, at some point in time, the rule changes and gives these kids a fair opportunity.”

Under the current rules, CFL rosters are made up of a minimum of 21 nationals, a maximum of 20 internationals and three quarterbacks. Each team is also required to start seven nationals among their 23 offensive and defensive starters. But because quarterbacks have their own separate category, starting a national at the position does not count towards the seven nationals.

The issue would have to be addressed with the CFLPA because the roster make up is part of the collective bargaining agreement and the union would have to sign off on any changes.

Bridge’s play on the field has brought the issue to the forefront. The 25-year-old 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 has been active in his first season as commissioner, acting quickly on issues such as replay. It seems like he’s willing to take the same proactive approach to changing the Canadian quarterback ratio rule.

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

25 Comments on Commissioner taking Canadian QB rule discussion to the CFLPA

  1. They can’t just change this rule in the very short term.
    They need to allow at least one year or possibly 2 in order to allow the other 8 teams to properly draft a Canadian QB & allow him some time to develop….

    • Or they can immediately…won’t hurt and won’t change anything. If you start a Nat QB it should count towards the ratio. It matters little if you don’t have one to start. Calculated risk if you have one that can run the show! Common sense says that if you have a Nat starting QB it should count as 1 toward the 7 Canadian starters.

      • Agree completely. If a team has a national QB that can start, no reason why he should not be counted as one of the 7.

        And I think the time has come to remove the special QB category from the ratio rule. If there’s a Canadian backup QB worthy of staying with the team, he should count too.

    • Why?

      If they only count a Canadian (or national) if they start, then how many QB’s that are Canadian are going to start if drafted next year? 5 years down the road?

      Having a starting Canadian QB is as novel as a starting Canadian RB used to be.

      You don’t see teams rush out and draft Canadian running backs to see if they can find the next Cornish or Messam. most rib’s that get drafted are drafted to play special teams.

      If the player is good enough they will be drafted.

  2. This change should protect the 7 Canadian starters who are not quarterbacks.

  3. marko Polo // December 22, 2017 at 3:25 pm //

    The fact that a ratio rule that was supposed to help Canadians and is now hurting them shows how stupid the ratio is in the first place. It is insulting to Canadians that they even need special coddling. Canadians are dominating in the NCAA now and don’t need any special help. However, things take time to phase out. So I would scrap the QB exemption and lower the over all on field ratio to 6-6. Then as each new expansion team enters I would lower the Cancon on field by 1. Then stop at 4 Canadians and hold for a while.

    • solara2000 // December 22, 2017 at 5:03 pm //

      Not sure I would agree that “…Canadians are dominating in the NCAA now” but they are competitive.
      I am not sure why there needs to be a defined structure around starters; why not just set the ratio at x# of Canadians – oops Nationals and y# of Americans – there I go again – Internationals and play ball. It won’t take away that you still need a minimal drop-off between starters and back-ups and the top Canadians will rise to the top. As for QBs – change the rule completely – 2 Internationals and 1 Canadian on every roster. Practice roster players who are activated for a game must be put onto the roster in a back-up capacity and in the case of the QB behind the Canadian QB. Whatever the gerrymandering, what fans want to see are the best available players while still making a meaningful place for Canadians, er nationals – tnow there is another stupid rule – call them what they are Canadiand, Americans, Australians, Indonesian etc.

    • richinbanff (Rich Wilson) // December 22, 2017 at 6:48 pm //

      Disagree. The ratio ensures a community basis for the franchises. The majority of American players return home following the season. The Canadians tend to live year-round. This makes them available for public appearances. Being visible in the community in this way promotes the CFL teams in a vital manner. Less Canadians makes this a burden on those remaining.

  4. My vote is to keep the team ratio intact but eliminate the on field ratio. When this happens then the draft will be going after the best Canadians and not the best OL.

  5. Sources Say // December 22, 2017 at 5:07 pm //

    Leave it at seven and change the QB rule so he counts. We have to have the Canadian content rule or we’re just an NFL development league.

    • but the rules are different. that is a key argument I hear on this board. that it is apples and Oranges. You can’t just jump between leagues just like that. Even if it does become an NFl development league you can make money by selling players to the NFL if you adopt FIFA rules of interaction between first division clubs of different countries. Also if the rules stay the same and the best players play fans on both sides of the border may decide the CFL rules are more fun and it may force a merger of some kind.

  6. Unknown Alien // December 22, 2017 at 5:41 pm //

    Lose the ratio all together. It’s the rules that make this game Canadian. Not the nationality of the players. The best players should playing. Shouldn’t matter if your from Texas, Saskatchewan or Antarctica. I pay to watch talent. Not to watch a guy who is only there because of a ratio.

    • agreed. The NHL has no ratio and the breakdown is 50% Cana, 25% Euro and 25% USA. Yet 78% of teams are in the USA. Do fans in San Jose care most of the players 75% are from Canada or Europe? No, they just want the Sharks to win.

  7. Get rid of the ridiculous old school dictating, handcuffing, guaranteed Canadian ratio and make the best Canadian players who actually want to really play in the CFL and not the NFL have to actually make a CFL team like the Americans players have to. Don’t just automatically hand them a starting and roster spot on a CFL team because of their Canadian passport and their controlling guaranteed Canadian starter and huge unrealistic and unobtainable Canadian ratio, especially when they have no business being on a CFL field. B. Bridge should also have to make a CFL team and earn his starting spot like every other CFL QB, don’t just make him start because of a guaranteed Canadian starting ratio, which obviously doesn’t work in today’s highly competitive professional sports leagues and is clearly not selling CFL 3 down football! Bottom line here, if the CFL has any chance of growing their fan base and growing their brand of CFL 3 down football, then the CFL like the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and yes even MLS soccer who seems to get it too, has to logically 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 with the best available players. That’s what the CFL needs to do!

  8. We should remember the league requires 7 Canadian starters because they allow only 16 imports on the roster (not including QB’s and Designated-Imports). A D.I. can only enter the game if another import is removed from the field. Here is a solution to the ratio issue:

    – Eliminate the 3 QB roster, instead designate 3 players from the 42-man active roster as QB’s, who can play no other position.
    – Increase the International roster to 17 (from 16) for the presumed starting QB.
    – Increase the Designated-International roster to 6 (from 4) for the 2 presumed backup QB’s.
    – Keep the National roster at 21 players.

    – If a team activates a National backup QB, that would free-up one D.I. for another position (2 backup Nat QB’s = 2 D.I’s in other positions.)
    – If a team starts a National QB, that would free-up one International starter in another position.

    Obviously under this scenario there would be some incentive to sign and develop Canadian QB’s, just like any other position.

  9. Edward Leslie // December 23, 2017 at 6:23 am //

    Here’s my suggestion: 21 Canadians and 21 Americans; 50/50 is Fair.
    For those who say, it doesn’t matter about having Canadians, I say: What about tradition?
    And With so many American Head Coaches, Position Coaches and G.M.s, Canadian players wouldn’t get a chance. Don’t believe that? How many Canadian players were on those CFL US expansion teams from 1993-1995? ZERO.
    The American teams didn’t play them, and yet for the most part, the Canadian teams were better. And while Baltimore won the Grey Cup in 1995, Canadian teams won it in 1993 & 1994. Geez, how can that be with all those “inferior Canadians” on the teams?? Maybe because they ARE good. I think there is an inferiority complex though. It is the posters who assume the Canadians aren’t good enough, projecting their own insecurities and short comings.

  10. If any of the professional sports leagues above including MLS soccer had this mess in what you are talking about to allow so called professional players to start and play in their professional sports leagues only because of a Canadian passport when they are obviously not near good enough to start and play. Then they would fold! No so called professional sports league can be respected as a real professional sports league and fully supported when half the roster has to be Canadian and 7 starters have to be Canadian, that they are forced to start and play when they haven’t even earned and deserve their roster and starting spots. This is ludicrous and is exactly why MLS soccer is more respected and is killing the CFL in attendance in major CFL cities. Those are the real facts!

    • If you recall, the US expansion teams were not subject to the ratio rules as US labour laws did not allow it. Consequently those teams were able to play with all imports thus giving them a competitive advantage…..

  11. Solara2000 // December 23, 2017 at 9:33 am //

    What were the comparable tv ratings for the MLS and the 200th something seeded team in the world that won the MLS championship vs the Grey Cup and/or the seasons ratings. While not a close follower I do believe the best players on TFC are Internationals with a sprinkling of Canadians.

  12. CFLPA will NEVER ALLOW the number of Canadian players be decreased. The QB change is very simple and sensible to do so the Canadian QBs have a FAIR SHOT at making the roster. Throwing out the overall Canadian content will COST the Canadian guys a BIG loss in salary and that will NEVER be allowed to happen. Really it all gets down to MONEY and the SUPPLY vs DEMAND situation.

  13. Edward Leslie // December 23, 2017 at 8:49 pm //

    Ed, your comments haven’t swayed me. In fact, I think it would be a good idea if the NHL brought in a ratio too. A maximum of four non-North Americans per team sounds right. Having all these Europeans is bad for the NHL and badly plunders the talent from European leagues as well.
    As for Soccer, the proposed Canadian Premier League definitely WILL have a ratio. The point is to DEVELOP players so Canada can play in the Works Cup at some point. Just having a bunch of Foreign won’t accomplish that. These players mostly just head back to their native countries too, and about 90%+ don’t add anything to the community.

  14. The NHL, NFL, NBA, MLS, and yes even MLS soccer, will never bring in an embarrassing, ridiculous old school disrespected Canadian ratio or any kind of ratio that guarantees players a roster and starting position, because the fans would never support it and they would fold! And MLS soccer teams in Canada do not have a dictating guaranteed Canadian starting ratio, they only have a small 3 Canadian player roster ratio and not a ridiculous controlling, guaranteed handcuffing half the roster Canadian roster ratio like in the CFL, which is insane!
    And as far as the Canadian players and their basically, controlling Canadian player’s association made up of carefully selected grossly overpaid guaranteed starting Canadian O-Linemen, not allowing the CFL to decrease or eliminate the dictating old school Canadian starting ratio. Well, that’s exactly what’s wrong with the CFL! It’s about time the CFL and the majority of the real sports fans in Canada that have logical intelligent sports brains, decides who starts and plays in the CFL at every position for entire CFL game, not them! You are such a small bias percentage that think the way you do and you definitely aren’t making any sense. The top Canadian players aren’t even committed to the CFL Combine and aren’t even committed to the so called CFL Canadian Draft, that is not respected or one bit credible! And they aren’t committed to even playing in the CFL when the CFL has an unrealistic and an unobtainable Canadian ratio to fill for now nine CFL teams because they are more focused on going freely to NFL camps and signing in the NFL. But it’s not ok for the CFL and their teams to go out and recruit 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. This is absolutely ludicrous! If the CFL doesn’t finally eliminate the dictating, handcuffing, old school Canadian starting ratio, that is definitely not selling CFL 3 down football and obviously doesn’t work in today’s highly competitive professional sports leagues, and allow the best available players to start and play at every position for entire CFL game like every other professional sports league can, then the CFL will continue to struggle and lose more fans and lose more viewers, and lose more season ticket holders and lose more revenue for the league and their owners. Bottom Line! That’s the real reality here! If the CFL has any chance to grow their fan base and grow their brand of CFL 3 down football they have to for the 2019 CFL season finally allow the best and most talented available players to start and play at every position for entire CFL game. And they need to do whatever it takes to get this done, if it means locking out the Canadian players and their basically, controlling, Canadian player’s association, who are obviously mostly only out for themselves and money, and are using their controlling, dictating, handcuffing guaranteed Canadian starter ratio and their unrealistic and unobtainable huge Canadian guaranteed roster ratio to get as much money as they can. Because they know because of the Canadian ratio that CFL teams are forced to start and play them, regardless if they have no business being on a CFL field. How does this sell CFL 3 down football? They are also making a complete mockery and fool out of the CFL and the so called CFL Canadian Draft, so it’s time that the CFL has a lot more credible real CFL Draft that sports fans in Canada will actually watch and care about. What’s most important here, is the CFL’s survival and the CFL’s 105 years of Grey Cup history and the CFL team brands, not the Canadian players and their basically Canadian player’s association, who are more interested in money and what’s best for them and playing in the NFL, not the CFL! NIK Lewis is right and the majority of real knowledgeable sports fans in Canada agree with him! The CFL needs to change and Ed Harvey is right too, the CFL is not the CFL it was 15 or 20 years ago!

    • Gee Ed, have you ever heard of paragraphs? I’ll save you some time with your diatribe . You are wrong . The Canadian Football League needs more Canadian players, not fewer . As for the soccer comparisons, please give it a rest . Real men play real Canadian football . Soccer is for actors and stretcher bearers !

  15. Reply to Leslie… Every decent real true Canadian wants to see only the top Canadian players who actually want to play in the CFL and not the NFL, play in the CFL. But only if they actually make a CFL team and have earned their starting position and not just automatically given their roster and starting spot only because of their Canadian passport and because of their controlling, dictating, handcuffing, guaranteed Canadian starter and huge unrealistic and unobtainable guaranteed Canadian roster ratio. Who in too many cases in the CFL have no business being on a CFL field, which really hurts the product on the field and really hurts the CFL’s image and terribly dilutes and waters down the talent pool in the CFL.
    If the CFL doesn’t want to be perceived a minor league and second rate, then the CFL has to change and finally allow the best and most talented available players to finally start and play at every position for entire CFL game, like every other professional sports leagues can, including MLS soccer. Bottom line!

  16. The reason why the league has this rule goes back to the early sixties, At that time it was possible for any American player that applied for Canadian citizenship, could play as a Canadian,That is why Reed, Lancaster, Campell and others played the last 7 or 8 seasons of their careers as Canadians.It isn’t that way anymore,so the real Canadian QB’s should be deemed Canadians.

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