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2015 CFL season

2015 CFL season
Regular season
Duration June 25, 2015 – November 8, 2015
Playoffs
Start date November 15, 2015
103rd Grey Cup
Date November 29, 2015
Site Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
2014  CFL seasons  2016

The 2015 CFL season will be the 62nd season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it is the 58th season of the league. Winnipeg is scheduled to host the 103rd Grey Cup on November 29. The schedule was released February 13, 2015 and the regular season will start on June 25, 2015.[1]

CFL News in 2015

Salary cap

According to the new collective bargaining agreement, the 2015 salary cap will be set at $5,050,000. As per the agreement, the cap is fixed and will not vary with league revenue performance. The minimum team salary will be set at $4,450,000 with individual minimum salaries set at $51,000.[2]

Season schedule

The 2015 season schedule was released on February 13, 2015, with the regular season opening on June 25, 2015 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in Montreal, Quebec.[3] It will be the first time that Montreal has hosted the season opener since the 2011 CFL season. The major complication this year was the lack of available stadium dates due to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2015 Pan Am Games occurring over the entire CFL pre-season and first five weeks of the regular season, affecting five member clubs. The BC Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, and Ottawa Redblacks will play pre-season games away from their regular stadiums and in some instances, in different cities. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will not play a regular season home game until week 6 and the Argonauts will not play in Toronto for a regular season game until week 7.

Following three straight years of intra-division matchups in the last week of the regular season (and for the last two years, those same matchups in the last four weeks), the league will feature inter-division games in the last week. There will also be a Sunday game in the last week of the regular season which hasn't occurred since the 2010 CFL season. This season will feature seven home-and-home series, up from two from the previous year. Despite Ottawa returning to the league, they do not play the Montreal Alouettes on Labour Day weekend, which is the first time since 2002 where both teams played in the league but did not play that same weekend. There are 15 double headers this year, with four on Fridays, nine on Saturdays, one on Sundays, and one on Labour Day Monday. The league will also be experimenting with games regularly featured on Thursday nights, with one game every Thursday for 10 of the first 11 weeks of the season.[3] The Thanksgiving Day Classic will feature just one game for the first time since 1997, which is ironic in that it is the only week of the season with five games being played. For the second straight year, there will be no Touchdown Atlantic contest.

Hall of Fame

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame game will take place on August 22, 2015, featuring the Saskatchewan Roughriders hosting the Calgary Stampeders.[4] Dave Dickenson, Gene Makowsky, Eddie Davis, and Leroy Blugh will be inducted as players while Bob O'Billovich, Bob Wetenhall, and Larry Reda will join as builders. Dickenson played for five seasons for the Stampeders and will be coaching in the game, while Makowsky played his entire 17-year career with the Roughriders. Davis played for five years with the Stampeders and nine with the Roughriders, winning Grey Cup championships with both teams.[5]

Northern Kickoff

On June 14, 2013, it was announced that the Edmonton Eskimos would host their 2015 preseason game at the new SMS Stadium at Shell Place in Fort McMurray against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on June 13, 2015.[6] As part of the deal, the game will be broadcast nationally on TSN, with a start time of 8:00pm MDT. The game is being played here to broaden the Eskimos' fanbase and to allow Commonwealth Stadium (the Eskimos' usual home) to host 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.[7] It will be the most northern game played in CFL history with a stadium capacity of approximately 15,000 seats.[8]

Fort McMurray will also be host to a Toronto Argonauts regular season home game, after it was announced when the CFL schedule was released on February 13, 2015. The Argonauts will host the Edmonton Eskimos in both teams' season openers on June 27, 2015. This was done due to the Argonauts' usual home stadium, Rogers Centre, being unavailable because of the 2015 Pan Am Games and Toronto Blue Jays occupying all dates in the month of July.[9] This will be the first regular season game to be played in Fort McMurray.[10]

Fort McMurray was also considered as a host site for the BC Lions' pre-season game against Edmonton, because they also have to vacate their stadium for the Women's World Cup, but the Lions instead opted to hold that game in Thunderbird Stadium, a much closer but smaller venue, for that contest.[10]

Quebec City preseason game

On June 13, 2015, the Ottawa Redblacks and the Montreal Alouettes will play a preseason game in Quebec City. The venue will be Telus Stadium which has a capacity of 12,257. Like other venue changes early in the season, this will be to accommodate the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. This will be the second time an Ottawa CFL franchise has played a preseason game in Quebec City; the Renegades played the Alouettes in front of 10,358 fans at Stade PEPS (now Stade TELUS-Université Laval) on June 7, 2003.[11]

Coaching changes

Following the 2014 season, the BC Lions parted ways with Mike Benevides, who had been the head coach of the Lions since 2012. In those three seasons, Benevides posted a record of 33-21 in the regular season and 0-3 in the post-season. The Lions hired Jeff Tedford as their new head coach. Tedford played quarterback in the CFL in the 1980s and was the head coach of the University of California football team from 2002 through 2012.[12]

New CFL commissioner

Nearing the end of the 2014 CFL season, Mark Cohon announced that he would be stepping down from his position as CFL commissioner. Cohon had been the CFL commissioner since 2007, which was the third longest tenure in league history.[13] On January 9, 2015, his term came to an end and Jim Lawson (the chairman of the CFL’s board of governors) became the interim commissioner while the CFL’s board of governors searches for a new commissioner.[14] On March 17, 2015, Jeffrey Orridge was announced as the new commissioner of the CFL. He will assume office on April 29, 2015. Most recently, Orridge had been employed by the CBC as their Executive Director of Sports and General Manager from April 2011 to March 2015.[15]

Sale of the Toronto Argonauts

Two of the principals of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (Kilmer Sports and Bell Canada) announced its intent to acquire the Toronto Argonauts prior to the 2015 season, acquiring the team from BC Lions owner David Braley and ending the last remaining cross-ownership situation in professional football. (The third principal of MLSE, Rogers Communications, declined to acquire a stake. Because Bell already owned exclusive TV rights to the entire league and radio rights to the Argonauts, Rogers had no interest in buying a stake in a team that it could not broadcast.)[16][17]

The sale means that 2015 will likely be the last season for the Argonauts in the Rogers Centre, where the team has had difficulties selling tickets; as soon as 2016, the team will move to MLSE-operated BMO Field, currently a soccer-specific stadium, which will be renovated to accommodate the CFL.

Rule changes

In March the CFL’s Rules Committee submitted a variety of rule changes to the Board of Governors be implemented for the 2015 season:[18] On April 8 2015, the league’s Board of Governors approved most of the proposed changes.[19]

Accepted

  • Two-point conversions will be attempted from the three-yard line and traditional single-point converts will be attempted from the 25-yard line (making for a 32-yard kick). This is similar to a rule change attempted by the National Football League and Fall Experimental Football League in 2014
  • Defenders are only allowed to contact receivers within five yards of the line of scrimmage
  • If a no-yards penalty is called after a kicked ball hits the ground, the penalty will be automatically tacked onto the end of the play
  • Offences are now allowed to indicate to the officials when they are in a hurry-up offence and will not be substituting players, allowing the officials to make adjustments to the chain crew more quickly
  • Coaches are disallowed from asking the official for a measurement
  • During punts, players on the offensive line are not allowed to leave the line of scrimmage until after the punt has been executed
  • On kickoffs that go out of bounds, the receiving team is no longer allowed to request the kicking team kick again.

Rejected

  • Adding a three-point conversion from the ten-yard line, a scheme last used in the Stars Football League and the XFL playoffs. This proposal would have only been tested during the preseason
  • Offensive pass interference to be subject to video review

Regular season

Structure

Teams play eighteen regular season games, playing two divisional opponents three times and all of the other teams twice. Teams are awarded two points for a win and one point for a tie. The top three teams in each division qualify for the playoffs, with the first place team gaining a bye to the divisional finals. A fourth place team in one division may qualify ahead of the third place team in the other division (the "Crossover"), if they earn more points in the season.[20]

If two or more teams in the same division are equal in points, the following tiebreakers apply: [21]

  1. If a third place team finishes in a tie with the fourth place team in the other division, the third place team automatically gets the playoff spot and there is no crossover.
  2. Most wins in all games
  3. Head to head winning percentage (matches won divided by all matches played)
  4. Head to head points difference
  5. Head to head points ratio
  6. Tiebreakers 3–5 applied sequentially to all divisional games
  7. Tiebreakers 4 and 5 applied sequentially to all league games
  8. Coin toss

Notes:

  • 1. If two clubs remain tied after other club(s) are eliminated during any step, tie breakers reverts to step 2.

Standings

Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pts = Points

Teams in bold are in playoff positions.
X – clinched playoff berth
Y – clinched first place and bye to division final

West Division
Team GP W L T PF PA Pts
BC Lions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details
Calgary Stampeders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details
Edmonton Eskimos 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details
Saskatchewan Roughriders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details
East Division
Team GP W L T PF PA Pts
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details
Montreal Alouettes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details
Ottawa Redblacks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details
Toronto Argonauts 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Details

References

Preceded by
2014 CFL season
CFL seasons Succeeded by
2016 CFL season