NY_CFL_fan

My personal Continental Football League -- recent updates

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Continuing the history of my personal/fictional football league, which dates back to the early-mid 1980s.

The 1970 realignment created the Continental Football League that we all know so well in its East vs. West format, like the NBA and NHL. The owners all knew that the Canada vs. America format would not be sustainable long-term, not with 10 teams in the Canadian Conference and 16 in the American. Also Canadian and American teams did not often face each other, other than a weekly interconference game in 1964-65 and the championship game. The 14-game schedule format for the final four years of the 1960s did not have room for interconference games, so other than the Michigan Panthers, who were in the Canadian Conference East Division, teams from the two countries did not meet other than in the Can-Am Cup championship game.

(Note: I have gone back and forth on what to call the Continental Football League championship game -- either Can-Am Cup or something like that, or go with Grey Cup, symbolic of Canadian Football League supremacy, since my league is rooted in an alternate reality with an NFL as a competitor. Whatever it's called, it's a CUP -- the sight of championship teams hoisting a big silver cup after winning is as iconic as the hail of confetti.)

The 1970 realignment was banged out over a couple of years and finally nailed down after the 1968 season. The decision to go ahead with a two-team expansion in 1970 was also passed -- and Indianapolis and Portland, Oregon would begin play that fall, the Indianapolis Racers in the new Eastern Football Conference, the Portland Thunderbirds in the Western Football Conference. Portland was the obvious choice since the NFL was expanding to Seattle at the time. Portland's green and blue color combo was the opposite of the Seahawks' blue, silver and green.

NOTE: I absolutely loved hugevolsfan's Indianapolis Racers from his MLF concept league, so I used that team here and he gets full credit for that beautiful wraparound logo, the first in football helmet logo history. As for the Thunderbirds, that's the actual Oklahoma or Tulsa Thunderbirds logo from the 1960s Continental League, originally in black and red on a white helmet. I found it on the Internet years ago and adopted it for my own Portland Thunderbirds.

The Houston Gamblers underwent a name change before the 1970 season. The CFL commissioner, mindful of recent significant betting scandals in both the CFL and NFL, strongly suggested to the Houston owner to reconsider the team's name in 1968. In 1970, the Gamblers became the Houston Thunder, with dark green as their primary color, with white and black trim.

The CFL schedule was revamped, including interconference play to ensure that the Canadian East-West teams were able to face each other on a three-year rotation. With 28 teams -- 14 per conference -- the CFL season was increased to 16 games: 8 division games, 4 conference and 4 interconference for 5-team divisions, and 6 division games, 4 conference, 4 interconference, plus 2 games vs. 5th-place teams in the other divisions for the 4-team divisions, with conference opponents based on the previous year's standings. (I used the NFL's scheduling formula from 1978-90, and extrapolated entire season schedules and standings for 1970-77.)

Here's the CFL's divisional breakdowns for 1970:

The two Canadian divisions were placed in their respective Eastern and Western conferences. Michigan agreed to stay with their EFC North rivals from Canada. The CFC West became the WFC Northwest.

EFC

Northeast -- The former CFC East: Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Michigan Panthers, Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa Renegades and Toronto Argonauts.

Atlantic -- Indianapolis Racers (new expansion team) and the New York Knights, Philadelphia Stars and Washington Sentinels from the old American Conference East. The Stars, unable to supplant the NFL's Eagles as the dominant team in the Philadelphia/South Jersey market, moved to Boston and rebranded as the Breakers in the early 1970s.

Southeast -- The old American Conference South Division -- Birmingham, Jacksonville, Memphis and Tampa Bay -- plus the Atlanta Rebels from the old East Division.

WFC

Northwest -- The entire CFC West intact -- BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Pacific -- The expansion Portland Thunderbirds, with the Arizona Inferno, Colorado Grizzlies and Southern California Sun from the old American Conference West. (A note about the Sun -- the WFL team used magenta and orange, but I went with orange and red as the combo for more of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers look, with orange jerseys and red trim. The Sun eventually become the Los Angeles Express in my CFL.)

Central -- Chicago, Houston Thunder, Kansas City and Milwaukee from the old American Conference Central, along with the San Antonio Toros bumping over from the West. The Milwaukee Mustangs, never able to make headway in the same market as the NFL champion Green Bay Packers, would move to St. Louis in the early '70s.

 

Below is the 1970 realignment graphic for my CFL -- again, envision plain gray facemasks for all of the teams at the time, and obviously no visors. Teams began moving toward colored facemasks in the mid '70s.

 

CFL 1970 EFC.pngCFL 1970 WFC.png

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More of the Continental Football League, my personal/fictional football league I initially developed in the mid-1980s:

Here's the mid-1970s version of the league -- the Boston Breakers replaced Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division, the Southern California Sun rebranded as the Los Angeles Express in 1976, and several teams (like the New York Knights) have changed to the more familiar logos they carried into the '80s. However, this graphic should also note the move of the Atlanta Rebels to become the Oakland Outlaws in 1977, about the time (in this alternate timeline) that the NFL's Oakland Raiders began looking at an L.A. move.

The Rebels' move to California forced the CFL to place the Oakland Outlaws in the Pacific Division, so the Houston Thunder switched to the Southeast Division to take the spot in the EFC and maintain the 14 teams in each conference.

 

CFL mid-1970s EFC.pngCFL mid-1970s WFC.png

 

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This would have been a really fun league to follow if it existed in real life like this.  You should insert all of these into something like Madden (one of the versions that lets you do more complete team customizations).   

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Definitely would be a fun thing to do, a custom league like this -- I saw someone had done a 32-team Continental Football Association similar to this a while back on a Madden simulator and played out games and seasons. My idea was always a sort of parallel NFL league just for ease of standings and schedules, but I did put tweaks in there, particularly in playoffs, and just about every team has had its special championship or near-miss. When I was in high school and college, I used to draw and write media guides and season previews (like Street & Smith's or Sporting News) for my CFL -- if I had had a desktop publishing program back then, I would have made them look professional. I'm hoping I can find some of my original colored pencil drawings of my 1980s CFL helmet ideas, but haven't found them yet. I did turn up the 16-game seasons I worked out for my CFL from 1970-77, quite a trip down memory lane -- I had forgotten I originally used the USFL's Denver Gold before changing to my own Colorado Grizzlies concept.

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As we head into the 1980s, my personal/fictional Continental Football League includes the Michigan Wolfpack -- formerly the Panthers, but renamed/rebranded in the early '80s. The big moves were yet to happen -- Montreal moving to Baltimore, and Indianapolis to Charlotte, as they played musical cities with the NFL.

Significant helmet changes -- Montreal switched from dark blue to white helmets in 1981, Arizona switched from gold to metallic gold (I'm considering copper, since it's Arizona) helmets in 1980, and Washington changed from white to silver helmets in 1980.

 

CFL 1977-83 EFC.pngCFL 1977-83 WFC.png

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Moving along to the mid-to-late 1980s in my personal/fictional Continental Football League, the NFL's chief rival, and already playing a more exciting, wide-open game. The most significant occurrences in an otherwise stable decade was the move of the Indianapolis Racers to Charlotte, N.C. to become the Carolina Hurricanes (an original concept team of mine that I developed in the '80s -- I wanted to have a Hurricanes team (originally I had them in Houston but moved them to Charlotte soon after) and always had them in red and black. I was surprised and pleased several years later when the NHL's Hartford Whalers became the Carolina Hurricanes), and the move of the Montreal Alouettes to Baltimore to become the Stallions. My original plan was to move Montreal to Boston as the Breakers, but when the CFL's American expansion included the Baltimore Stallions (I loved the colors and logo), who eventually moved to Montreal, I figured that was a natural progression for my Continental league. The other big move came in 1988, with the Tampa Bay Bandits moving to the growing Orlando market to become the Predators -- making black the primary color instead of red.

Teams began moving to the helmets they have to this day in many cases. In the EFC, Hamilton switched from gold to black, Michigan moved from white to silver, the Ottawa Renegades adopted a new tomahawk logo in 1985, Jacksonville followed the late '80s teal trend and switched to teal helmets and a modern shark logo (teal had always been part of the Sharks' uniforms -- it was their jersey color, with black and white trim and silver pants. At this point, they went with teal helmets and jerseys with white pants, with black and silver trim). In the WFC, Chicago adopted the grinning skull logo, Kansas City went with the Chief Illinwek chief logo, St. Louis adopted its modern horse head logo on silver domes, and San Antonio switched from maroon to metallic gold helmets.

 

CFL 1984-88 EFC.pngCFL 1984-88 WFC.png

 

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Does this league play a spring schedule or fall schedule?

 

If it was spring, then I assume the Inferno have their home games at Sun Devil Stadium front-loaded to avoid being at home in those hotter months of June and July. Wouldn't you agree?

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Forgot how much I loved that Grizzlies logo

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8 hours ago, neo_prankster said:

Does this league play a spring schedule or fall schedule?

 

If it was spring, then I assume the Inferno have their home games at Sun Devil Stadium front-loaded to avoid being at home in those hotter months of June and July. Wouldn't you agree?

 

My original idea was to parallel the NFL season in format but back it up at least a month to avoid the really cold months in western Canada -- so I had the league starting in early August, with preseason in July, playoffs starting by Thanksgiving or right after, with the Can-Am Cup or Grey Cup title game (I never really settled on a name for the championship game) around Christmas. 

For a team like Arizona, I had more night games early on at SunDevil Stadium, back loading home games later in the season, and building a domed stadium in Phoenix or Glendale earlier, say late '80s. Likewise, teams in northern climes like Edmonton would frontload the home games earlier in the season -- of course, I put a dome in Edmonton in the '80s as well... 

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16 hours ago, KRZYBDGRZ said:

Forgot how much I loved that Grizzlies logo

 

The Memphis Southmen/Grizzlies logo from the WFL? Such a cool look... I should probably keep that going into the '90s maybe...

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1 hour ago, NY_CFL_fan said:

 

The Memphis Southmen/Grizzlies logo from the WFL? Such a cool look... I should probably keep that going into the '90s maybe...

Please

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Continuing the history of my personal/fictional football league, the Continental Football League, as we move into the 1990s:

The late '80s and early '90s were a period of stability and continued increasing popularity for the CFL. Expansion from 28 to 30 teams was discussed and by 1993 it was agreed to go forward. Cities like Sacramento, San Jose, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Columbus (Ohio), and the former CFL markets of Montreal and Indianapolis were discussed as potential landing spots.

The only major movement in the six seasons from 1989-94 was in alignment -- in 1991, Colorado switched from the Pacific Division to the Central, pending the possibility of a West Coast expansion team, and Baltimore and Boston switched divisions to a more geographically sensible alignment (I should note that switch happened in 1989 -- typo by me on the .png).

Most teams' helmets and uniforms were updating toward their current look. Saskatchewan had updated its look in 1985 with a silver streak and adding silver pants to their uniforms. In 1990, Carolina adopted its modern hurricane logo on red helmets, San Antonio changed to the wraparound "streaking bull" logo (the Jacksonville Bulls look, but rendered in maroon and metallic gold), and the BC Lions switched from white to silver helmets and orange to black jerseys. Toronto updated its look in 1991, adding silver to a new Argonaut logo and silver pants. In 1992, Winnipeg went to a navy blue look with a flashy new logo, the Memphis Blues adopted their signature football music note logo, and Colorado changed from the metallic gold '70s grizzly logo to the "grumpy bear" logo on navy blue helmets, adding light blue to its navy blue and gold color palette. The New York Knights adopted the sword logo around 1990.

CFL 1989-94 EFC.pngCFL 1989-94 WFC.png

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How are you making these?

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3 minutes ago, KRZYBDGRZ said:

How are you making these?

 

I'm using MG's Helmets for any of the existing helmets (and the '90s Carolina and Colorado, which were concepts he made a while back), using his blank helmets as a template for any of my original concept ideas and Photoshop to make changes in colors and angles to the logos. MG's Helmets is a fun site -- tons of pro, college and high school helmets, go click around for a while. You'll be there for hours.

 

All of these logos exist somewhere, I'm just adopting them for my league. This is for my own personal enjoyment as a hobby, I profit nothing from it other than a fun way to waste a few hours a month. I'm no artist (my son got all the artistic talent apparently), I just have a lot of ideas and I'm able to render them via Photoshop rather than colored pencils now.

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2 hours ago, Magic Dynasty said:

Wow, I am starting a fictional basketball league and I have the New York Knights as well (with their colors as black and gold too!)

 

Very cool! I originally had planned for my Knights to be navy blue and silver, but I was missing a black and metallic gold team. I already had the LA Express as a navy and silver team, so it was a natural fit with West Point right up the river, too. 

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Why not the michigan panthers in the present day? unique color scheme,unique helmet that would still hold up today.imo

 

 

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On 6/23/2016 at 8:42 PM, mkg74 said:

Why not the michigan panthers in the present day? unique color scheme,unique helmet that would still hold up today.imo

 

 

 

I agree and I had that plan for a long time, up until a month or so ago, keeping the Panthers because I do love their color scheme -- but I always wanted a Wolfpack. Other cities didn't seem to match the Wolfpack and the maroon and silver color scheme I wanted, and I had wanted them to be around since at least the '70s, rather than be a more recent expansion team. I had finally matched every team with a city that worked -- any suggestions?

 

The Las Vegas Miners are a later addition -- the Oakland Outlaws moved to a domed Vegas stadium in 1995 -- maybe I could change them to the Wolfpack and keep the Panthers, but I do like the Miners' logo (there aren't many places to go with Miners). There isn't much wiggle room for a team -- I figured maybe the NFL expands to Charlotte (there are a few metro areas in my universe with both CFL and NFL teams), and they picked up the unused Panthers nickname.

 

The upcoming 1995 CFL expansion teams are the San Jose Storm and Indiana Blazers. 

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Moving my personal/fictional Continental Football League up to the millennium:

The league expanded by two in 1995 to 30 teams, adding the Indiana Blazers to the EFC's Atlantic Division, and the San Jose Storm to the WFC's Pacific Division -- and in the same year, the Oakland Outlaws moved to Las Vegas and renamed themselves the Miners, changing their colors from black and orange to black and metallic gold.

Also, in 1996, the Washington Sentinels -- always a second fiddle to the NFL's older Redskins in the capital -- were sold, packed up and moved to Montreal to become the new Alouettes, but keeping their red, blue and silver colors. In 1999, the Alouettes and Boston Breakers swapped divisions, putting Montreal in the Northeast to be matched with other Canadian clubs, and Boston in the Atlantic Division.

Significant helmet/uniform changes during this span:

-- Michigan switched from silver helmets to maroon with a new logo.

-- Boston followed the black and teal trend with new black helmets and swapping out blue for teal.

-- Houston switched to the hammer of Thor logo and added more silver to its dark green and black.

-- Ottawa changed to the modern renegade logo with the maple leaf.

-- Portland updated its look, switching from white to silver helmets, a darker shade of green and changing the blue to navy blue, and changing to its new "angry bird" logo.

 

CFL 1995-2001 EFC.png

CFL 1995-2001 WFC.png

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And now for the modern era of my personal/fictional Continental Football League, including the 2002 realignment in the wake of the addition of the expansion Columbus Gladiators and Nashville Nighthawks to the league. The addition of the two teams east of the Mississippi in 2002 brought the CFL to 32 teams, so a split into eight four-team divisions -- four per conference -- was logical. In an effort to keep everything geographical, some teams switched divisions -- most notably the Houston Thunder, which moved from the Eastern Conference back to the Western Conference for the first time since 1976.

For the first time, divisions were given uniform names, as well, with both the EFC and WFC having North, Coastal, Central and South divisions.

The new EFC alignment featured the four eastern Canadian teams (Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto) easily fitting in the EFC North; the EFC Coastal taking the four East Coast teams (Baltimore, Boston, Carolina, New York); Indiana and Michigan joining the two expansion teams in a new EFC Central; and the EFC South comprising the former Southeast Division (Birmingham, Jacksonville, Memphis, Orlando), with the exception of Houston.

The new WFC alignment saw four of the western Canadian teams (Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg) form the new WFC North; the BC Lions move to the WFC Coastal with the LA Express, Portland and San Jose; Houston joining Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis in the WFC Central; and Arizona, Colorado, Las Vegas and San Antonio forming the new WFC South.

Of course, there have been some helmet and uniform changes in the last 14 years:

-- The BC Lions switched back to white helmets in 2005, but have now changed to new black helmets. I have an example ready to go.

-- The Indiana Blazers switched to the flaming black helmet around 2000.

-- Nashville started out with metallic gold helmets, but followed the black trend a few years later.

-- Jacksonville changed to the midnight teal with gold, black and lighter teal in 2007. The Colorado Grizzlies updated to the roaring bear head logo that season, as well.

-- Saskatchewan changed to its current S logo in 2008.

-- St. Louis switched from silver to purple helmets and a new modern horse head logo in 2009.

-- The San Jose Storm switched from the metallic gold to the blue helmets with the modern football swirl logo in 2010.

-- The Ottawa Renegades updated their logo to the Chicago Rush R in 2011.

-- OK, I made a switch on the San Antonio Toros logo -- they switched back to their classic 1980s lunging bull logo.

 

Apologizing for the amount of white space on these .png images, but I was converting them from Microsoft Word .doc format.

 

CFL 2002-present EFC.png

CFL 2002-present WFC.png

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