chrisCLEMENT

Northern Football Association (AFA) - 1981

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MBurmy    420

I am LOVING this story...so we got at least two (maybe three) cities confirmed.  Buckle up, it's gonna be quite a ride!

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chrisCLEMENT    615

NFA 1977 – League Formation (Part II)

 

The “Linden Plan”, the blueprint for the NFA, was being executed masterfully. In a short span of 9 months, Thomas van der Linden was not only able to get two of the most accomplished owners in Canada to buy-in; but was able secure the financial and technical support of the AFA. Linden was having so much early success that the CFA folding appeared to be nothing more than icing on the cake. Although the prospects of the NFA looked bright, Linden still had a lot of work ahead of him.

 

In September 1977, Linden purchased a large office space in downtown Toronto that would serve as the league headquarters. The only problem was that Linden had yet to hire an employee. With significant decisions forthcoming, Linden hired Norris Rivers, Marc Donovan, and Greg Peterson to form the Executive Committee. With Linden acting as committee president, these four would collectively make significant decisions pertaining to league operations and structure. Their most important role, however, will be determining which ownership groups will be granted franchises into the NFA for its inaugural season.   

 

Executive Committee 1977 Members - Backstories

 

Norris Rivers (51, Canadian) was the childhood best friend of Thomas Linden. The two grew up down the street from one another until Rivers moved to Ohio the summer before his freshman year of high school. Rivers went on to play offensive tackle for the Cleveland Ghosts. Although his career was ultimately derailed, after eight seasons, by a gruesome knee injury. With his football career over, Rivers decided to attend Ohio State University where he would graduate with a degree in business. After graduation Rivers was hired by the Cleveland Ghosts to work in their front office. He eventually was promoted to the role of Director of Football Operations for his former team. For the last 5 years however, he has been working as AFA Vice-President. Many speculated Rivers was being groomed by the league to eventually assume the role of president sometime in the near future.

 

Marc Donovan (58, Canadian) played defensive back for the University of Toronto in the late 1930s. The Toronto Bruins selected him in the 2nd Round of the 1944 draft. He played only 3 seasons with the Bruins, before retiring to pursue his passion of coaching. Donovan's first coaching job was with his alma mater as an defensive coordinator. He was promoted to head coach of the Varisty Blues in 1955, and eventually led the program to a victory in the first ever Vanier Cup in 1965. Success at the collegiate level propelled him into a head coaching position with the Ottawa Royals of the CFA the following season. Despite being overshadowed by larger market teams in Montreal and Vancouver, Donovan led the Royals to 2 Windsor Cup appearances during his tenure with the team. He surprisingly announced that he was leaving coaching in 1975; marking the retirement of one of the most respected and Canadian football coaches of all-time.

 

Greg Peterson (49, American) played quarterback for Oregon State College in the 1940s. A lightly regarded pro prospect, Peterson was passed on by every AFA team in his draft year. In Canada, his draft stock didn’t fair much better, being viewed by teams as little more than a career backup. His hometown team, Vancouver, went ahead and selected him in 6th round of the 1950 draft. He started the season fourth on the depth chart, but by seasons end he made it to number two. Firmly planted behind potential CFA Hall of Famer, Peterson remained a backup for the next three seasons. With the media constantly reminding Peterson he would never be a CFA starting quarterback, he contemplated retirement. But the events of the following season would change his entire career forever. In just the third game of that season he replaced injured starter Adam Bishop, who suffered a broken collarbone. Peterson was named the starter the following week, and never looked back. He went on to lead Vancouver to 3 Windsor Cup victories in his career as a starter. After retiring, Peterson helped organize the development of the Professional Canadian Football Players Association. When the PCFPA officially declared itself an independent union, all the teams representatives unanimously elected Peterson to become the first official president of the PCFPA. In 1976, Peterson was elected to the Hall of Fame, and was a member of the last induction class before the league folded in 1977. 

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chrisCLEMENT    615

NFA 1977 – League Formation (Part III)

 

Below is a collection of storylines containing key achievements and decisions made by the Executive Committee towards the end of 1977.

 

Television Contract

According to the “Linden Plan”, if the league was going to be a success it needed both television revenue and exposure. With teams already confirmed in the three largest media markets in Canada and the financial support of the AFA, a national television deal for the league was a forgone conclusion. In November 1977, the league signed lucrative contracts with an over-the-air broadcaster CBC and a cable-TV broadcaster in CTV.

 

Roster Makeup

In order to stay within the rules outlined in the CFPA, the Executive Committee had to develop a plan to keep the league product mostly Canadian. The Executive Committee determined that each team will be able to dress 42 players on game day, consisting of a minimum of 20 Canadian (Domestic) players. Each team will be able to have a maximum of 52 players on their active roster, 26 of which must be Canadian (Domestic). The Committee even had to place similar rules on the teams coaching staffs. Each team will have to have at least one Canadian (Domestic) coach as either Head Coach or in a Coordinator position. 

 

Roster Formation

The Executive Committee developed a plan for how rosters will be filled for the inaugural season of the NFA. The first stage will be a Dispersible Draft, giving each team the opportunity to select a maximum of 26 players from their nearest CFA franchise and their Canadian Junior Football Association (CJFA) counterparts. The second stage will be a Provincial Draft, where each team may select a maximum of 10, non-first year, players who were born in the province where the franchise resides. This will give teams the opportunities to stock their rosters with local stars to help them at the gate. The third and final stage will be a combination of a 8-round Canadian (Domestic) Rookie draft, followed by an 8-round Non-Canadian (Foreign) Rookie draft. 

 

Rulebook Adoption

The “Linden Plan” called for the NFA to simply adopt the AFA rulebook. While Norris Rivers and Greg Peterson approved the idea, Marc Donovan, strongly opposed it. He felt the motion rules of Canadian game were far superior and that the ‘single’ placed an extra importance on special teams and coaching strategy. His argument, however, seemed to fall on deaf ears. The Executive Committee reached a majority vote and approved the use of the AFA rulebook.

 

Linden Claims Toronto

Obviously Linden's plan to the form the NFA had something to do with continuing the legacy his uncle built. It came as no surprise to the Executive Commitee that Thomas Linden wanted to own the team that was to play in the stadium his family built. With most of the foundation work being complete on the "Linden Plan", he approached the Executive Committee with his bid for the Toronto NFA franchsie. The Committee agreed that there was not a better person to resurrect football in Toronto, and his bid was approved unanimously by the remaining members of the committee. With Linden, becoming an owner he had to step down as president and member of the committee. Before doing so, upon the request of the AFA, he appointed Norris Rivers to President of the Executive Committee. With the move, Rivers, aligned himself to potentially be first commissioner of the NFA.

 

With that, I think we have a good storyline started. Time to start announcing the accepted bids and new teams!

 

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MBurmy    420

LOVE the set-up so far...in my mind, here's how I'd categorize the markets

 

CONFIRMED (IIRC):

Montreal, QC

Toronto, ON

Vancouver, BC

 

LIKELY TO BE ACCEPTED AS WELL:

Calgary, AB

Edmonton, AB

Ottawa, ON

Winnipeg, MB

 

DARK HORSES:

Halifax, NS

Hamilton, ON

Quebec City, QC

Regina, SK

Saskatoon, SK

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chrisCLEMENT    615
5 minutes ago, MBurmy said:

LOVE the set-up so far...in my mind, here's how I'd categorize the markets

 

CONFIRMED (IIRC):

Montreal, QC

Toronto, ON

Vancouver, BC

 

LIKELY TO BE ACCEPTED AS WELL:

Calgary, AB

Edmonton, AB

Ottawa, ON

Winnipeg, MB

 

DARK HORSES:

Halifax, NS

Hamilton, ON

Quebec City, QC

Regina, SK

Saskatoon, SK

 

Don't want to spoil to much. But out of the dark horses you listed, I will tell you that Hamilton was not selected for the inaugural season. :)

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MBurmy    420
Just now, chrisCLEMENT said:

 

Don't want to spoil to much. But out of the dark horses you listed, I will tell you that Hamilton was not be selected for the inaugural season. :)

OK...gotcha.  Just wanted to rank 'em as they currently stood thus far.

The announcement of the cities might be one of the more widely-anticipated posts in CCSLC history.

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chrisCLEMENT    615
Just now, MBurmy said:

OK...gotcha.  Just wanted to rank 'em as they currently stood thus far.

The announcement of the cities might be one of the more widely-anticipated posts in CCSLC history.

 

Absolutely, love our enthusiasm! Just wanted to give you a little hint without spoiling all the surprises.

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timberwolf    233
6 hours ago, MBurmy said:

OK...gotcha.  Just wanted to rank 'em as they currently stood thus far.

The announcement of the cities might be one of the more widely-anticipated posts in CCSLC history.

 

I'd agree. 

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ChicagoOakland    343
6 hours ago, MBurmy said:

OK...gotcha.  Just wanted to rank 'em as they currently stood thus far.

The announcement of the cities might be one of the more widely-anticipated posts in CCSLC history.

 

I'll make that a third.

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chrisCLEMENT    615
3 hours ago, Darknes said:

You could be a tease and just release each team one at a time

 

That is exactly what I will be doing :)

 

A tease for the first team has already been posted. You just will have to search for it a little bit! 

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Raymie    31

As the AFA's media consultant, things are looking pretty good with one narrative nitpick: CTV is a broadcast network, not cable.

 

I actually have a question for the NFA. How will it deal with the fact that American networks are widely available across the country, and thus the AFA? Will it just schedule itself differently?

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fumbler    126

Committee for 77 looked solid.

Is the S Helmet in the OP for Saskatoon??

 

Like some of the rules thus far, hope the NFA does away with the conversion and 3 point goal.

 

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BengalSteve    4

This is going to be a great new concept league! I admittedly haven't been following the SFL as much as I probably should, but I'm looking forward to the rest of the teams!

 

P.S. I'm guessing the first team helmet is for Saskatoon.

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chrisCLEMENT    615
12 hours ago, Raymie said:

As the AFA's media consultant, things are looking pretty good with one narrative nitpick: CTV is a broadcast network, not cable.

 

I actually have a question for the NFA. How will it deal with the fact that American networks are widely available across the country, and thus the AFA? Will it just schedule itself differently?

 

I stand corrected you are right. Somewhere I thought I read CTV was a cable network at first before moving to broadcast. I'll update the narrative! 

 

The NFA, much like the CFL, will play a spring/summer schedule. The draft will happen in May with the regular season running from July to Sepetmber. The playoffs will start and end in October.

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