When the CFL releases their schedule it serves as the official/ unofficial beginning of the season. So with that in mind today is that day and what a day for the Toronto Argonauts. After years of scheduling nightmares the 2017 schedule for the Double Blue is their best in years. Their home schedule includes 5 Saturday afternoon games, 1 Friday night, 1 Thursday night, a home opener on Sunday afternoon against Hamilton and an odd ball Monday night game against Ottawa to remind us that life can never be exactly the way you want it. But overall complaints will be minimal and for the Argos hopefully this schedule gives them a chance to put more butts in the seats. With that here are my 3 thoughts.
1. What I love most about their schedule is the balance between home and road games. Yes I know they play an equal number of games, but this year they don’t play more than 2 at home or on the road at any one time. That will help keep a successful team fresh on the mind of sports fans. They won’t be disappearing for weeks on end or starting the season for weeks on the road before finally playing a home game. Let’s not forget the final season at Roger Centre that saw the team scheduled for 5 straight home games to end the season and 4 straight the previous season.
2. The last divisional opponent game is Saturday September 30 against Hamilton and that’s too bad. It would be nice to see some divisional games late in the season when playoff spots are on the line. Of course there is the potential of a cross-over so yes a game against Edmonton or Winnipeg can potentially mean just as much.
3. Toronto plays a short week over 2 game segments for the first 6 games. With no more than 5 days off between weeks 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, a rough start to season can prove difficult to overcome. With a new Head Coach coming and new players as well, I’m sure the team would have preferred a little more practice time between games as the players familiarize themselves with the playbook. From a marketing and sales point of view having the first 2 games of the season at home and within 5 days of each other may prove to be a challenge.
I know there are many variables that go into making a schedule but I really wish any team but Ottawa was the opponent for that Monday game. As I’ve written in the past The New Battle of Ontario: Argos v Ticats or REDBLACKS the Toronto-Ottawa rivalry is vital to the success of football in Southern Ontario. A weekend date allowing REDBLACKS fans the chance for a weekend road trip in the 6ix while flaunting their Grey Cup Championship would have been ideal.
Unfortunately like I said before life is good but not perfect. This was, however, a good day for the Argonauts and their fans. Let’s hope there are many more to come in 2017.
Written by Anthony Ciardulli
Follow Anthony on Twitter @comicanthony