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CFL

Grey Cup Week Is The Anti-NFL At Its Best

CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 24: Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans and a single Hamilton Tiger-Cats fan rally their team prior to the 107th Grey Cup Championship Game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during at McMahon Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Derek Leung/Getty Images

The Grey Cup is Sunday, which is an objectively good thing because it isn’t the Super Bowl. That has been its greatest claim since the Super Bowl became a trade show in the mid-’70s, and the difference has only widened since then. It would be the Super Bowl if America wasn’t run by amoral flesh- and wallet-eating pterodactyls for whom any sensible state would allow for no-limit hunting, but America is rich in flesh, wallets, and pterodactyls, and short in decency and ethics because our characters were formed by Satan’s HR director.

The Grey Cup itself is football just like the Super Bowl, so in that way it is immutably stupid. But the lead-up is glorious, because it is what has always been called “Canada’s National Drunk.” All 10 fan bases (including the Atlantic Schooners, which have existed only in the playground of Halifax’s mind) gather to throw parties for each other, celebrate whatever the hell anyone might happen to have worth celebrating, and while there is some commerce going on, it is on a Canadian scale, which is best described as, “Would you like to buy an overpriced sweatshirt?” as opposed to “BUY A CAR OR WE’LL USE IT TO RUN OVER YOUR DOG.” The Grey Cup is something you have to be at more than watch, while all NFL games are hugely better watched than attended. That, I suggest, says everything anyone needs to know. I did it in 2016 in Winnipeg [Correction: Actually 2015; your editor regrets the error], and my life is worth continuing if only because of the photo of me standing beneath a photo of Miss Winnipeg Blue Bomber 1982 in a bar. I don’t have the picture, but I know it exists, and that it is ridiculous.

[Ed note: I have the picture.]

The only sad thing about this year’s matchup between defending champion Winnipeg and 1999 defending champion Hamilton is that it doesn’t involve the Toronto Argonauts instead, only because the Argos nearly pulled off the sports story of the year when their starting quarterback, the magnificently named McLeod Bethel-Thompson, was sent by his general manager, the equally magnificently named Pinball Clemons, to a Raptors game before the Eastern Conference final to drum up a little attention—only to learn that McLBT’s attendance at said game violated the Canadian Football League’s COVID protocols, requiring a series of tests to make sure he hadn’t been cootied. He cleared, only to lose to Hamilton, 27-19, none of which you care about, and if not for the Raptors story, you wouldn’t. Well, that’s not actually true, since some Hamilton fans tried to fight some Toronto players after the game and were charged with—oh, this is so Canadian—trespassing.

That, though, is why the CFL is infinitely superior to the NFL. The NFL is mechanized boredom, and the proof can be found from five days ago, when clinically ignorant and half-assedly evil writers across the nation (here’s one such idiot) just finished lionizing Bill Belichick for deliberately throwing only three passes in a win, and Sean McDermott getting all snivelly about it. This is the kind of low-grade shitheaditude the NFL loves to traffic in, and it is proof that our culture is doomed that our culture wallows in this stuff. If the meteor that is all of our futures could figure out a way to stop at the border, I think we would all agree that it could come right after dinner tonight and make this a better world for whoever survives.

But such joy causes us to digress. The Grey Cup is Sunday at 6 p.m. ET (7 p.m. in Halifax), and it beats the holy hell out of NFL RedZone closing out the late window and the bleed into SNF. It would be better if you were there, but Canada doesn’t want your leprosy-bearing asses quite yet. You have to get triple-vaxxed and earn it, you scum. Maybe if you’re really good and bathe regularly, you can get to Regina next year for the joy of drinking to fend off frostbite and getting hypothermia instead. Dress in layers and pick up a tab now and then and you’ll be fine, you weenies.