The Choice Is Yours: Picking A CFL Team For You

“The choice is yours…” That was the catchphrase on the delightfully naff British game show Blind Date. Based on the Australian show Perfect Match, which was itself a version of Chuck Barris’ US format The Dating Game. The premise was simple – try and pick from three hopefuls who would be your ideal match and go on a date with them.

In this CFL team selection article we are saying to you once again, “The choice is yours…” But here you will be choosing from nine teams, and we will arm you with plenty of information, so it feels a lot less like a blind choice.

Can you find the CFL team that suits you? That is always the question when you decide on a new league and a new team to follow. Will you find a team that just fits for you? Well, the choice is yours.

Be careful here! That choice could lead to years of frustration and disappointment. Or to multiple successes and celebrations. Either way, you still need to find a team that feels like the right fit for you.

That’s the thing with selecting a sports team to follow. You need to find an affinity. Feel a connection. Have something that makes them, however they perform, very much your team.

Which is where we hope to step in at The Touchdown and help. We want you to make a choice that will help you find a team that you can feel a real bond with.

Addressing A Common Frustration

A lot of NFL fans complain at this time year about the long gap from the draft to the season. Why not give the CFL a go? It is a lot of fun with some great athletes and action to grab the attention. Plus, pro football in summer – who doesn’t like that?

The CFL has a great online community too, so with that in mind there are links to websites and suggestions for twitter fans to follow. Each team has lots of great fans online and the suggested ones here will hopefully act as a doorway to you finding more and discovering a whole new community.


There are 9 teams in the CFL currently. 5 in the West Division and 4 in the East Division. We will start in the East as that is the home of the reigning champions.

Montreal Alouettes

2023 – 11-7 Grey Cup Champions.

If the defending Grey Cup champions are the right choice for you, then that’s the Montreal Alouettes.

Based in Montreal, Quebec, the Alouettes were founded in 1946, though the team has folded and been revived twice. The league considers all the iterations of the Alouettes as one club dating back to their founding. While the Alouettes were originally founded in 1946, the city has a much longer history with the sport dating back to 1872. That was when the Montreal Football Club was founded.

The Alouettes got off to a blistering start to their existence, going 28-18-2 over their first four seasons and winning their first title in 1949. Formed from the ashes of the defunct Baltimore Stallions, the Alouettes last returned to the CFL in 1996. They were incredibly successful appearing in 13 East Finals in their first 15 years back including 8 Grey Cup appearances and 3 wins.

However, when BT Sport first started showing the CFL here they were on the slide, and UK fans saw them go 21-59 over 5 seasons. More recently however they have got some momentum going, with 4 straight playoff appearances and an exciting win in a first-time Grey Cup matchup last year.  

The Als have an all-time regular season record of 527-520-21. Montreal have appeared in 19 Grey Cup games winning 8. For anybody who is wondering Montreal is predominantly French speaking and Alouette is French for Lark.

First Grey Cup win: 1949. Last Grey Cup win: 2023.

Colours: Blue, red, and white. MascotTouché

Team Website: Team Twitter@MTLAlouettes

Suggested podcastAlouettes Flightdeck

Toronto Argonauts

2023: 16-2 Beaten in East Division Final.

No team has won the Grey Cup more that the Toronto Argonauts. But then no other team has as long an uninterrupted history as the Argos either.

Based in Toronto, Ontario, the double blue are North America’s oldest continually playing professional football team. In fact, as they were founded in 1873, they are the oldest existing pro sports team in North America still using its original name. Not to mention the oldest-surviving team in the modern-day CFL.

Since we have been following along in the UK The Argos have won two Grey Cups, but also experienced some real lows (like back-to-back 4-14 seasons).

Since the arrival of Ryan Dinwiddie as head Coach they have posted three winning seasons, finished first in the East Division three times, won the Grey Cup in 2022 and posted a record matching 16-2 year in 2023.

They finished first in the East Division standings in 2022 and defeated Montreal in the playoffs before defeating two-time defending champions Winnipeg in a thrilling Grey Cup game. Last year was an Eastern Final rematch, but this time it was Montreal who ran out convincing winners.

The Boatmen have an all-time regular season record of 679-720-26. Toronto have appeared in 24 Grey Cup games winning 18.

First Grey Cup Win: 1914. Last Grey Cup Win: 2022.

Colours: Cambridge Blue, Oxford Blue and white. MascotJason

Team Team Twitter@TorontoArgos

Suggested podcastDouble Blue podcast/Xs and Argos Podcast

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

2023 – 8-10 Beaten in East Division Semi-Final.

Based in Hamilton, Ontario, the Tiger-Cats were founded in 1950 as a result of a merger between the Hamilton Tigers (1861) and Hamilton Wild-Cats (1941).

Those early post-merger Tiger-Cats were successful, as the team finished first or second in every year from 1950 to 1953.

While the Tiger-Cats were only founded in 1950, as we have seen football in Hamilton goes back much further than that. In fact, Hamilton has one of the oldest traditions of football in the country. Hamilton and Toronto have been playing each other in one form or another since 1873, although those early games bear little to no relation to what we see now!

The Tiger-Cats have had ups and downs since UK fans have been following along, culminating in two seasons, 2019 & 2021 where they went 23-9 but came up short in the Grey Cup game both times. (There was no 2020 season due to Covid restrictions).

Hamilton have an all-time regular season record of 567-598-17. They have appeared in 22 Grey Cup games since 1950, winning 8 times. Hamilton has the longest current run of any CFL team without a title having last won in 1999.

First Grey Cup Win: 1953. Last Grey Cup win: 1999.

Colours: Black, gold and white. Mascot(s)Tc & Stripes as well as crowd hyper Pigskin Pete.

Team Team Twitter@Ticats

Suggested podcastPodskee Wee Wee

Ottawa RedBlacks

2022 – 4-14 Last in the East Division

Based in Ottawa, Ontario, the RedBlacks were founded as recently as 2014. This is a little misleading for new fans as there has been a team in Ottawa, on and off since 1876.

The Ottawa Rough Riders were a founder member of the CFL and played up until 1996. An Ottawa Renegades team lasted only from 2002-2005. Akin to the situation with Montreal, some Ottawans see this team as the continuation of their former representatives. The RedBlacks name came from a fan competition and is copyrighted in both English and French (Rouge et Noir).

This Ottawa team has an all-time regular season record of 55-101-2.They have appeared in three grey Cup games and won one. After a 2-16 inaugural season, from 2015-2018 they went 39-31-2 in the regular season and 3-1 in the playoffs. This includes 3 East Division titles, 3 Grey Cup appearances and 1 championship win.

However, they have really struggled of late. Back-to-back 4-14 seasons are just part of a 14-54 run following their last Grey Cup appearance in 2018. It is the sort of run that tests fan loyalty. This year is their 10th anniversary and if you don’t want to be seen as jumping on a bandwagon this is a good place to start!

First Grey Cup win: 2016. Last Grey Cup win: 2016.

(Of course if you do accept all the Ottawa teams as one non-continuous entity, like Montreal, then their first Grey Cup win came in 1925 as the Ottawa Senators).

Colours: Red, black and white. MascotBig Joe

Team Team Twitter@REDBLACKS

Suggested podcastBehind the R


Time to switch over to the West Division. There can be little doubt that this has been the stronger circuit in recent years. Even though the East have posted back-to-back champions, the West, for most CFL observers until recently, has been where the depth of talent has been.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

2022: 14-4 West Division Winners & Grey Cup runner-up.

If one of the most consistently successful squads of the last few years are the right call for you, then it’s possible that’s the Blue Bombers. The Bombers are based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Founded in 1930, they are a community owned team and ‘Big Blue’ have a very loyal fan base.

Perhaps the most recognizable name from their coaching history for NFL fans would be that of Bud Grant who won 4 Grey Cups. Before famously going on to lose 4 Superbowl’s coaching the Vikings.

Winnipeg has an all-time regular season record of 702-628-15. They have appeared in the Grey Cup 28 times and won it on 12 occasions.

As recently as 2015 the Blue Bombers were enduring a 5-13 season. Part of a four-year 21-51 run. Not to mention not having won a Grey Cup since 1990. However, of late they have become the team to beat. Winning the Grey Cup in 2019 & 2021 has been the icing on an 84-38 regular season run over the past seven seasons.

After winning back-to-back Grey Cup games, they have lost back-to-back Grey Cup games and are desperate to reclaim the title.

First Grey Cup Win: 1935. Last Grey Cup Win: 2021.

Colours: Royal blue, gold and white. Mascot(s)Buzz and Boomer

Team Team Twitter@Wpg_BlueBombers

Suggested podcastHandled internally/Let’s Go Bombers Podcast

BC Lions

2023 – 12-6 Beaten in West Division Final.

Based in British Columbia, Vancouver the Lions were established in 1954. The BC Lions fan-base is one of the smaller ones alongside Toronto and Montreal. However, new team owner Amar Doman has been hard at work improving that.

Vancouver is one of the few CFL cities with an NHL team, an MLS team, and a sizable NFL fan-base. According to fan forums the most popular NFL team in Vancouver is the Seahawks by some margin, but that doesn’t mean they don’t support BC too.

The Leos have an all-time regular season record of 573-577-24. They have appeared in the Grey Cup 10 times and won it on 6 occasions. 

Throughout this century the Lions have been consistently competitive without ever achieving dominance. They come off the back of repeat 12-6 seasons that saw them lose to Winnipeg in the West Final. They have appeared in 10 Grey Cup games, winning on six occasions. They last won in 2011, which means they have had the longest wait since winning of any West Division team.

First Grey Cup Win: 1964. Last Grey Cup Win: 2011.

Colours: Orange, black and white. MascotLeo the Lion

Team Team Twitter@BCLions

Suggested podcast1standnow

Calgary Stampeders

2023 – 6-12 Beaten in West Division Semi-Final.

Based in Calgary, Alberta the Stampeders were founded in 1945 although they are part of a football tradition in the city that dates to 1909.

Like the idea of an unbeaten team? Perhaps the Stamps are the right call for you. In 1948 the Stampeders became only the second Western Division team to win the Grey Cup. That year, including playoffs they finished 14-0-1 and to this day the ’48 Stamps remain the only undefeated team in CFL history.

Formerly community owned, following financial difficulties they were put into private hands in 1991 and have been privately owned since.

Before Winnipeg rose to the top, the Stamps were the most dominant team in recent CFL history. They have appeared in the playoffs 18 years in a row. From 2012-2018 they appeared in 7 consecutive Western Finals and won 5 of them and therefore appeared in 5 Grey Cup games. Prior to 2023, they had last had a losing season in 2007!

In fact, if they had managed a winning season in 2023, they would have become the first CFL team ever to have a record above .500 for 15 consecutive seasons. It was not to be. Given the amount of success they have had, Stamps fans will want to get back to winning ways fast.

The Stampeders have an all-time regular season record of 699-556-21. They have appeared in 17 Grey Cup games and won it all on 8 occasions.

First Grey Cup Win: 1948. Their last Grey Cup Win 2018. 

Colours: Red, white and black. MascotRalph the Dog

Team Team Twitter@calstampeders

Suggested podcast: The Go Stamps Go Show/Horse Power podcast

Saskatchewan Roughriders

2023 – 6-12, fourth in the West Division

Based in Regina, Saskatchewan the Roughriders were founded in 1910. Alongside Winnipeg, Saskatchewan are another of the community owned teams in the league.

The Riders are the 3rd oldest pro football team in existence behind the Arizona Cardinals and the CFL’s own Argonauts. 

More Rider merchandise is sold than any other sports team in Canada with the exceptions of the Toronto Maple Leafs & Montreal Canadiens.

Saskatchewan has a pretty rabid fan base who have a tradition all of their own – the carved-out watermelon worn on their heads! You will often find someone in a ‘Rider jersey in a sports crowd – and not just CFL games.

I believe they have the largest fan base in the CFL. Invariably if somebody goes on social media & decides to support a team based on how many responses, they get from each franchise’s fans they will end up supporting Saskatchewan!

The Roughriders have an all-time regular season record of 614-641-23. They have appeared in the Grey Cup on 19 occasions and won it 4 times. They last won it all in 2013.

First Grey Cup Win: 1966. Last Grey Cup Win: 2013.

Colours: Green and white. MascotGainer the Gopher

Team Team Twitter@sskroughriders

Suggested podcast: Piffles Podcast

Edmonton Elks

2023 – 4-14 Last in the West Division

Based in Edmonton, Alberta, the Elks were founded in 1949. For much of that time they were known as the Eskimos. Edmonton announced their name rebrand in 2021. The rebrand has been generally well received.

They are currently a community owned team with a loyal fan base. Although they may be going into private hands in the future. Their colour and uniform choice was decided for them as they started out with hand me down uniforms from the University of Alberta Golden Bears.

NFL fans will probably recognize the name Warren Moon, who helped lead them to 5 straight championships from 1978-82.

Edmonton has an all-time regular season record of 696-534-18. They have appeared in the Grey Cup 23 times and won it on 14 occasions. They last won it all in 2015.

Edmonton hold the distinction for the longest run of making the playoffs for any North American sports team – an incredible 34 years between 1972 and 2005.

They have not enjoyed the success they are accustomed to in recent seasons going 10-39 in the last three years. Fans and management will be keen to return to former glories.

First Grey Cup Win: 1954. Their Last Grey Cup Win: 2015.

Colours: Green, gold & white. Mascot(s)Spike & Punter

Team Team Twitter@EdmontonEsks

Suggested podcastElks Podcast/The Turf District Podcast

Hopefully one of those teams had something that hooked you in. If not, don’t give up. Watch some CFL football. It’s fast, fun and action packed! Give it a try and see what you think – fill that summer football void and fall in love with a whole new league.



Chris originally started following the NFL with the ‘first wave’ of fans when it was shown on Channel 4 in the 1980’s. He has been a keen supporter of the Miami Dolphins since 1983. Chris first encountered the CFL in 2016 and instantly fell in love with the Canadian game. He has been writing about the CFL 2017. Chris has a degree in history, postgraduate degree in librarianship and can be found on twitter as @CFLfanUK