|2019 CFL season|
|Duration||June 13 – November 2, 2019|
|East champions||Hamilton Tiger-Cats|
|West champions||Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
|107th Grey Cup|
|Date||November 24, 2019|
|Venue||McMahon Stadium, Calgary|
|Champions||Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
The 2019 CFL season was the 66th season of modern-day Canadian football. Officially, it was the 62nd Canadian Football League season. The regular season began on June 13 and concluded with the playing of the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary on November 24 —where the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33–12 to win their first Grey Cup since 1990.
In October 2018, the CFL began work on an initiative known as "CFL 2.0" to grow its revenues and broaden its international reach outside of Canada and the United States. This included establishing partnerships with other gridiron football leagues (including using them as a potential farm system for Canadian player development post-university), international combines, scouting international prospects to join Canadian university football programs, expansion of the international media presence of the league, as well as increased investments in amateur football programs in Canada.
On November 23, 2018, the CFL and the Professional American Football League of Mexico (LFA) signed a non-binding letter of intent on various partnerships, which included projects such as the possibility of hosting a regular season game in Mexico. On January 9, 2019, it was announced that the CFL and its franchises had committed to investing $4 million in supporting amateur football programs in Canada in 2019.
On January 31 the CFL and German Football League (GFL) signed an agreement to form a long-term strategic partnership. The partnership included the participation of German athletes at the 2019 CFL Combine. In February 2019, the CFL reached similar agreements with the Ligue Élite de Football Américain (France), the Austrian American Football Federation, the Federazione Italiana di American Football (Italy), and with football officials in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. In July, the league also partnered with the British American Football Association.
The five-year agreement that was ratified between the CFL and CFL Players' Association in 2013 was set to expire just prior to the start of this season, on the first day of scheduled training camp, May 19. On May 15 the CFL and CFL Players' Association announced they had reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year collective bargaining agreement, which was ratified by players and approved by the league's Board of Governors a week later on May 22; four days before the first preseason game. The length of the agreement aligns with Bell Media's media rights to the league.
The main components of the CBA included:
On June 5, 2018, it was reported that the CFL had approved a limit on football operations staff salaries and number of coaches and operations staff employed by each team. In this report, the number of coaches on each team would not exceed 11 and the number of other football operations staff may not exceed 17. The total compensation of those 28 staff members would be capped at $2,738,000. As of the 2018 CFL season, four teams had more than 11 coaches employed and would be directly impacted by these changes. Consequently, there was talk of a potential coaches union being formed to combat the unilateral decision.
On December 6, 2018, the league formally announced the cap regulations, with the total compensation of the combined 11 coaches and 14 other football operations staff being set at $2,588,000 for 2019 and 2020. Similar to the player salary cap, violations in excess of $100,000 would result in monetary fines and loss of draft picks. However, as teams adjust to the new rules for 2019, they may self-report violations to avoid personal fines and loss of draft picks.
On May 31 Robert Wetenhall surrendered his ownership of the Montreal Alouettes back to the league, after having pursued a sale of the franchise for several months. The CFL intended to continue this process, but would operate the team on its behalf.
On September 12, 2018, it was announced that New Era would be the official outfitter of all CFL teams beginning in the 2019 season. This came as a result of the previous supplier, Adidas, not renewing their contract following the 2018 expiry of their previous deal. New Era Cap had been a licensee of the CFL for headwear and apparel since January 2011, and it was the first time that the company provided football uniforms and sideline apparel.
While most teams maintained relatively similar uniforms, the Montreal Alouettes unveiled a revamped identity with new logos and uniforms on February 1, while the B.C. Lions returned to using their normal logo on their helmets rather than a stylized version.
The CFL and LFA hosted a combine in Mexico City on January 13 attended by 51 top Mexican players. The following day, 27 players were selected in a CFL–LFA Draft; the Edmonton Eskimos held the first overall pick, and selected Diego Viamontes of Mayas CDMX.
On April 11, the CFL held its first European draft in which nine players were drafted, one to each CFL team: four of the players were from France, three from Germany, and one each from Italy and Finland.
The free agency period began on February 12 at noon EST. All players eligible for free agency are unrestricted free agents, as is customary in the league. Notable signings in the period included:
|Team||Top 30 Free Agents (CFL.ca rank)|
|BC Lions||Mike Reilly (1), Sukh Chungh (12), Bryan Burnham (13), Duron Carter (21), Aaron Grymes (26)|
|Calgary Stampeders||Bo Levi Mitchell (2), Eric Rogers (29)|
|Edmonton Eskimos||Trevor Harris (3), Kwaku Boateng (11), Greg Ellingson (14), Don Unamba (16), SirVincent Rogers (23), Jovan Santos-Knox (24), Larry Dean (25)|
|Hamilton Tiger-Cats||Delvin Breaux (6), Brandon Banks (7), Ja’Gared Davis (9)|
|Montreal Alouettes||Taylor Loffler (17), B.J. Cunningham (19), DeVier Posey (22)|
|Ottawa Redblacks||Jonathan Rose (15), Jason Lauzon-Seguin (18), Jonathon Jennings (20)|
|Toronto Argonauts||Derel Walker (10), Micah Awe (27), Shawn Lemon (30)|
|Saskatchewan Roughriders||Micah Johnson (4), William Powell (28)|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||Willie Jefferson (5)|
The in-season trade deadline was on October 9 at 3:59 pm EDT.
On February 27, Johnny Manziel, a quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes in 2018, was permanently banned from playing on any CFL team as a result of what the Alouettes called an unspecified "(contravention of) the agreement which made him eligible to play." Manziel has denied any wrongdoing but accepted the banishment, stating he would consider playing options in the United States; he then signed on with the Alliance of American Football who were partly through their inaugural season.
|Team||2018 HC||2019 HC||Notes|
|Toronto Argonauts||Marc Trestman||Corey Chamblin||On November 3, 2018, the day after the last regular season game, the Argonauts announced they had parted ways with Marc Trestman. Trestman had led the Argos to a Grey Cup victory the previous year, but was unable to duplicate his success in 2018, winning only four games in the regular season, finishing at the bottom of the East Division standings. On December 10, 2018, the Argos announced Corey Chamblin as the team's 44th head coach. Chamblin had served as the Argos' defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach, and assistant head coach for the 2017 season. Previously Chamblin was the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for three and half seasons from 2012 to 2015 (29 wins, 34 losses), winning the Grey Cup in 2013.|
|BC Lions||Wally Buono||DeVone Claybrooks||On November 13, 2018, the Lions held a press conference in which Wally Buono formally retired as head coach of the BC Lions. Buono had been the head coach of the BC Lions for 12 seasons between 2003 and 2018, winning the Grey Cup twice. He was also the head coach of the Calgary Stampeders from 1990 through 2002, leading the Stamps to three Grey Cup victories. Buono retired as the CFL's all-time leader in most wins by a head coach with 282. On December 11, 2018, the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as their new head coach. Claybrooks began his coaching career in 2012 with the Stampeders as a defensive linemen coach, and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2016. During his time coaching with the Stampeders he won two Grey Cups.|
|Hamilton Tiger-Cats||June Jones||Orlondo Steinauer||On December 3, 2018, the Tiger-Cats announced that Orlondo Steinauer would become the team's head coach. Steinauer had been Hamilton's defensive coordinator from 2013 to 2016, he then spent a year in the NCAA as the defensive coordinator for Fresno State, before returning to Hamilton as the team's assistant head coach for the 2018 season. Jones, after initially agreeing to stay on as associate head coach and offensive coordinator, left the Tiger-Cats in May 2019 to take over coaching the Houston Roughnecks; he accrued a 14–14 record with the Tiger-Cats.|
|Saskatchewan Roughriders||Chris Jones||Craig Dickenson||On January 15 Jones resigned as the head coach of the Roughriders and later that day accepted a job as a defensive coach for the Cleveland Browns of the NFL. Jones was the head coach of the Riders for three seasons, winning 27 games, and losing 27. On January 25, special teams coordinator Craig Dickenson was promoted to head coach.|
|Montreal Alouettes||Mike Sherman||Khari Jones||On June 8, less than a week before the start of the season and roughly a week after the team's owner surrendered the franchise back to the CFL, the Montreal Alouettes announced that Sherman had departed from his post in an ambiguously worded statement that claimed the two parties had "agreed to part ways." Sherman coached the Alouettes for only one season, winning 5 games and losing 13. Offensive coordinator Khari Jones was announced as the new head coach. Like Sherman, Jones joined the Alouettes before the start of their 2018 season. This was Jones' first time holding the office of head coach, having been an offensive coordinator for two other CFL teams.|
In March the CFL's Rules Committee submitted a variety of rule changes to the Board of Governors, to be implemented for the 2019 season. As had been the case in previous years the proposed changes once again focused on improving game flow and increasing player safety. The proposals were reviewed and accepted by the CFL's Board of Governors on April 10.
The regular season schedule was announced on December 20, 2018, and was played over 21 weeks from June 13 to November 12, 2019. There was an increase in Saturday primetime games with 7:00 p.m. ET kickoffs, appearing in all but one week of the season. Only three games were played on Sundays, and three were played on Mondays.
Highlights of the schedule included:
For the first time in league history, no games were played on Thanksgiving.
In the late evening of August 9 at 9:06 pm EDT, a weather delay was declared at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in Montreal due to an approaching thunderstorm with intense lightning; the Saskatchewan Roughriders were leading the Alouettes 17–10 with 2:41 left in the 3rd quarter. Because the game had not restarted by 10:06 pm EDT and over 7:30 had been played in the 3rd at that point, the 17–10 score was declared final.
Teams in bold are in playoff positions.
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||18||11||7||0||22||508||409||7–3||W1||Details|
|25–32||10–41||36–29||36–19||20–10||27–30 (OT)||10–17||40–34 (2OT)||28–22||21–16||25–27||38–37||23–25||21–17||24–35||27–24||26–38||42–32|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||BC||Bye||EDM||OTT||TOR||OTT||HAM||TOR||CGY||BC||EDM||SSK||SSK||Bye||MTL||HAM||SSK||MTL||CGY||CGY||Bye|
|• • • •|
|Team||Home Avg.||% of Capacity||League Avg. Diff.|
Main article: 107th Grey Cup
The Grey Cup was played at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta, on November 24. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers won their first Grey Cup championship in 29 years, ending the longest current championship drought in the Canadian Football League. Winnipeg native, Andrew Harris was named both the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player and Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian. This was the first time that a player won both awards in the Grey Cup championship.
107th Grey Cup
McMahon Stadium – Calgary
|W3||Winnipeg Blue Bombers||33|
|W3||Winnipeg Blue Bombers||20|
|W3||Winnipeg Blue Bombers||35|
|One||Trevor Harris||C.J. Gable||Andrew Harris||Andrew Harris|
|Two||Greg Ellingson||Dominique Davis||Sean Thomas Erlington||Sean Thomas Erlington|
|Three||Cody Fajardo||Eric Rogers||Ja'Gared Davis||Cody Fajardo|
|Four||William Stanback||Tre Roberson||Mike Miller||Mike Miller|
|Five||Brandon Banks||Vernon Adams Jr.||Andrew Harris||Andrew Harris|
|Six||Charleston Hughes||Matt Nichols||Shaq Evans||Matt Nichols|
|Seven||William Powell||Jumal Rolle||Ryan Lankford||William Powell|
|Eight||McLeod Bethel-Thompson||DeVonte Dedmon||Cody Fajardo||Cody Fajardo|
|Nine||Janarion Grant||Brandon Banks||C.J. Gable||Janarion Grant|
|Ten||Vernon Adams Jr.||Trevor Harris||Reggie Begelton||Reggie Begelton|
|Eleven||Willie Jefferson||Dylan Wynn||DaVaris Daniels||Willie Jefferson|
|Twelve||Dane Evans||Bralon Addison||Derel Walker||Dane Evans|
|Thirteen||Chris Streveler||John Bowman||Willie Jefferson||Chris Streveler|
|Fourteen||Tre Roberson||Eric Rogers||William Powell||William Powell|
|Fifteen||Vernon Adams Jr.||Jake Wieneke||Andrew Harris||Andrew Harris|
|Sixteen||Simoni Lawrence||Cody Fajardo||Dane Evans||Cody Fajardo|
|Seventeen||Bryan Burnham||Shaq Evans||Mike Reilly||Shaq Evans|
|Eighteen||S.J. Green||Andrew Harris||Marcus Sayles||Andrew Harris|
|Nineteen||Dane Evans||Reggie Begelton||Tyrell Sutton||Reggie Begelton|
|Twenty||Brandon Banks||Cody Fajardo||Dane Evans||Cody Fajardo|
|Twenty One||Cameron Marshall||A.C. Leonard||D.J. Lalama|
|June||Trevor Harris||Brandon Banks||Sean Thomas Erlington|
|July||Winston Rose||William Stanback||Charleston Hughes|
|August||Willie Jefferson||Trevor Harris||Dylan Wynn|
|September||Bralon Addison||Dane Evans||Charleston Hughes|
|October||Brandon Banks||Bo Levi Mitchell||Dane Evans|
The 2019 season marked the 11th of the CFL's exclusive Canadian media rights with Bell Media, covering TSN (English) and RDS (French).
On January 14, the league renewed its U.S. broadcast deal with TSN's minority partner ESPN, which expired after the 2018 season; it included 20 games on ESPN's linear networks, and all remaining games carried on ESPN+. Prior to renewing with ESPN, it had been speculated that the league was courting NFL Network, which carried the league's games in 2010 and 2011; that network requested a significant change in the schedule that would have moved the season opener to an earlier date in order to secure carriage, which the league indicated could not happen without a new CBA. The league also entered a deal with MVS Comunicaciones which saw MVS broadcasting a CFL ‘Game of the Week’ beginning with the Week 1 of the regular season through until the end of the regular season on November 2.
The league continued to make games available to fans outside of major broadcast areas via CFL Game Pass, a service that streamed games over the internet to regions not covered by major broadcasters. In partnership with Yare Media, the CFL internet streaming service added a number of new territories. Additional countries included Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, New Zealand, Peru and all of Africa.