|2008 CFL season|
|Duration||June 26 - November 1, 2008|
|Start date||November 8, 2008|
|East champions||Montreal Alouettes|
|West champions||Calgary Stampeders|
|96th Grey Cup|
|Date||November 23, 2008|
|Site||Olympic Stadium, Montreal|
The 2008 Canadian Football League season was the 55th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it was the 51st season for the league. It was also the first CFL season in which all of the league's regular season and post-season games, including the Grey Cup game, were aired on TSN. This meant the CFL was no longer aired on broadcast television in Canada. As of 2008, TSN was available in approximately 8.8 million of Canada's 13 million households.Montreal hosted the 96th Grey Cup at Olympic Stadium on November 23, when the championship was won by the Calgary Stampeders.
On February 21, 2008, the CFL announced the game schedule for the 2008 season. It was a 19-week schedule that included 18 regular-season games and one bye week for each team. Bye weeks were taken consecutively by each division, beginning with the West in Week 8, thus creating two weeks of divisional rivalry games.
The regular-season schedule began on Thursday, June 26, with an East-West double-header. For the first time since 1977, the season opener took place at Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadium, with the host Tiger-Cats losing to the Montreal Alouettes 33-10. The second game of the double-header saw the Calgary Stampeders at home, where they prevailed 28-18 over the BC Lions. The Toronto Argonauts opened by beating the host Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-16 the following night, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Edmonton Eskimos, in Regina, by a score of 34-13 on June 28.
The regular season concluded with a double-header on Saturday, November 1, with divisional playoffs the following weekend. The 2008 season officially ended with the playing of the 96th Grey Cup Championship on Sunday, November 23, in Montreal.
2008 marked the first year in which the entire CFL schedule, including the playoffs and the Grey Cup game, was televised by TSN. CBC Television did not broadcast any games for the first time since CFL games began being televised in 1952, as the CFL and TSN began an exclusive five-year deal. This led some to criticize TSN, because the Grey Cup aired on a cable channel (TSN) while CTV--TSN's majority owner--broadcast regular-season NFL games. Because of obligations to other sporting events, concerns intensified after TSN began relegating some CFL games to its new digital channel TSN2 (which was not available to analog cable subscribers), while other sports, including the NFL, were broadcast. In addition, TSN severely curtailed high-definition coverage for the final three weeks of the regular season, with only five of the twelve games being made available in HD.
In the United States, a last-minute deal was reached between the league and its longtime American syndicator America One, which carried two games each week. Internet broadcasts were also aired in the United States on ESPN360.
On March 25, 2008, the CFL granted a conditional franchise--slated to begin play in 2010--to an Ottawa-based group led by Jeff Hunt, owner of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's, under the condition that the group could secure a lease agreement with the City of Ottawa to allow the team to play at Frank Clair Stadium. The franchise was based on the remnants of the Ottawa Renegades, but was to be a separate team. In November, it was announced that the 2014 Grey Cup would be granted to Ottawa, again based on the condition that use of Frank Clair Stadium could be secured.
2008 was the first year in which the National Football League played a regular season game in Toronto, as part of an agreement reached between the owners of the Rogers Centre and that league and the Buffalo Bills. The NFL accommodated the CFL by playing the regular season game on December 7, after the end of the CFL season, so that the leagues did not directly compete. A preseason game was also played in Toronto, on August 14, between the Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers, one day before the Toronto Argonauts played in the Rogers Centre, and concurrently with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' game in Winnipeg. The Bills' preseason game did not sell out, amid reports of exorbitant ticket prices and thousands of tickets being given away.
In an effort to expand the CFL merchandise line, it was announced that RBK would release vintage jerseys for each team, beginning with the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The launch for the new apparel began August 29, 2008, with releases in Toronto and Winnipeg retail stores attended by Argonaut players Kerry Joseph and Arland Bruce III and Blue Bombers Kevin Glenn and Milt Stegall respectively.
Attendance in the CFL remained strong in 2008, averaging 28,914 per game and exceeded two million fans for the seventh straight season.
Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pts = Points
Teams in bold finished in playoff positions.
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||18||8||10||0||435||490||16||Details|
The Calgary Stampeders were the 2008 Grey Cup champions, defeating the Montreal Alouettes 22-14 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. It was the first Grey Cup for the Stampeders since the 2001 Championship (a game also held in Montreal). Stampeder quarterback Henry Burris was named the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player, and kicker Sandro DeAngelis was named the Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian.
|November 8: Division Semi-finals||November 15: Division Finals||November 23: 96th Grey Cup @ Olympic Stadium - Montreal, QC|
|W4||Edmonton Eskimos||29||E1||Montreal Alouettes||36|
|E2||Winnipeg Blue Bombers||21||E1||Montreal Alouettes||14|
|W3||BC Lions||33||W1||Calgary Stampeders||22|