2019 CFL season

Last updated
2019 CFL season
Regular season
DurationJune 13 – November 2, 2019
Start dateNovember 10, 2019
East Champions Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2019-11-17
West Champions Winnipeg Blue Bombers 2019-11-17
107th Grey Cup
DateNovember 24, 2019
Site McMahon Stadium, Calgary
ChampionsWinnipeg Blue Bombers
  2018 CFL seasons 2020 (cancelled) 

The 2019 Canadian Football League season was the 66th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it was the 62nd season of the league. 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.


League business

International partnerships

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. [1] [2]

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. [3] 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. [4]

On January 31 the CFL and German Football League (GFL) signed an agreement to form a long-term strategic partnership. [5] 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), [6] the Austrian American Football Federation, [7] the Federazione Italiana di American Football (Italy), [8] and with football officials in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. [9] In July, the league also partnered with the British American Football Association. [10]

New collective bargaining agreement

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. [11] [12] 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. [13] [14] The length of the agreement aligns with Bell Media's media rights to the league. [15] [16]

The main components of the CBA included: [17] [18] [19]


  • $50,000 increase in the team salary cap each season. For the 2019 season, the salary cap will be $5,250,000 (average of $114,130 per active roster spot)
  • The minimum salary remained at $54,000 for the 2019 season, but will increase to $65,000 in 2020 and 2021
  • Players receiving a 20% share of all future revenue tied to the CFL 2.0 initiative.
  • The CFL will not be allowed to withhold bonus payments in the lead up to the expiration of the new CBA

Roster composition

  • Each team has one global player designated roster spot starting in 2019, increasing to two slots in 2020
  • Canadian quarterbacks now count towards the national roster ratio, otherwise the national-international ratio remained unchanged
  • To protect veteran American players and build continuity - three of the starting American players have to have played for their current team for at least three seasons, or four seasons in the league for any team

Player safety

  • Medical coverage for up to three years for injured players
  • The number of padded practices in training camp was reduced from 10 in 2018, to five in 2019 and then down to only three in 2020


  • Work permits for American players are open, allowing them to seek employment in Canada during the off-season
  • Pending free agents may talk with any team for nine days in advance of opening of free agency

Football operations cap

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. [20] 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. [20] As of the 2018 CFL season, four teams had more than 11 coaches employed and would be directly impacted by these changes. [21] Consequently, there was talk of a potential coaches union being formed to combat the unilateral decision. [21]

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. [22] 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. [22]

Montreal Alouettes ownership

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. [23]

New outfitter

On September 12, 2018, it was announced that New Era would be the official outfitter of all CFL teams beginning in the 2019 season. [24] This came as a result of the previous supplier, Adidas, not renewing their contract following the 2018 expiry of their previous deal. [25] 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. [24] [26]

While most teams maintained relatively similar uniforms, the Montreal Alouettes unveiled a revamped identity with new logos and uniforms on February 1, [27] [28] while the B.C. Lions returned to using their normal logo on their helmets rather than a stylized version. [29] [30]

Player movement

International drafts

The CFL and LFA hosted a combine in Mexico City on January 13 attended by 51 top Mexican players. [31] 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. [32]

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. [33]

Free agency

The free agency period began on February 12 at noon EST. [34] All players eligible for free agency are unrestricted free agents, as is customary in the league. Notable signings in the period included:

TeamTop 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)

Trade deadline

The in-season trade deadline was on October 9 at 3:59 pm EDT. [12]

Johnny Manziel

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. [35]

Coaching changes

Team2018 HC2019 HCNotes
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. [36] 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. [37] 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. [38] 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. [39] 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. [40] 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. [41] 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. [42]
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. [43] 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. [44]
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. [45] 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.

Rule changes

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. [46]

Regular season


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. [47]

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. [53] [54]


Teams in bold are in playoff positions.

West Division
Saskatchewan Roughriders 181350264873867–3W3 Details
Calgary Stampeders 181260244824078–2W1 Details
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 181170225084097–3W1 Details
Edmonton Eskimos 188100164064003–7L2 Details
BC Lions 185130104114520–10L3 Details
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 181530304513447–1W6 Details
Montreal Alouettes 181080204794855–3W1 Details
Toronto Argonauts 18414083735623–5L1 Details
Ottawa Redblacks 18315063125641–7L11 Details


28–3236–3237–1023–3026–1617–1624–1824–2634–40 (2OT)25–933–1719–1823–1617–2130–2837–3328–2921–16
25–3210–4136–2936–1920–1027–30 (OT)10–1740–34 (2OT)28–2221–1625–2738–3723–2521–1724–3527–2426–3842–32
32–2844–4114–2919–361–3116–1730–27 (OT)12–167–2118–4017–465–297–4016–2121–2812–339–3932–42
Home Away Win Loss Tie


2019 CFL Attendance [55]
TeamHome Avg.% of CapacityLeague Avg. Diff.
League Average22,916.873.55%N/A

CFL Playoffs

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.

Playoff bracket

November 10:
Division Semi-Finals
November 17:
Division Finals
November 24:
107th Grey Cup
E1 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 36
E2 Montreal Alouettes 29 W4 Edmonton Eskimos 16
W4 Edmonton Eskimos 37E1 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 12
W3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers 33
W1 Saskatchewan Roughriders 13
W2 Calgary Stampeders 14 W3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers 20
W3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers 35

Award winners

CFL Top Performers of the Week

WeekFirstSecondThirdFans' Choice
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 HarrisAndrew 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 FajardoCody Fajardo
Nine Janarion Grant Brandon BanksC.J. GableJanarion Grant
TenVernon 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 JeffersonChris Streveler
FourteenTre RobersonEric RogersWilliam PowellWilliam Powell
FifteenVernon Adams Jr. Jake Wieneke Andrew HarrisAndrew Harris
Sixteen Simoni Lawrence Cody FajardoDane EvansCody Fajardo
Seventeen Bryan Burnham Shaq Evans Mike Reilly Shaq Evans
Eighteen S.J. Green Andrew Harris Marcus Sayles Andrew Harris
NineteenDane EvansReggie Begelton Tyrell Sutton Reggie Begelton
TwentyBrandon BanksCody FajardoDane EvansCody Fajardo
Twenty One Cameron Marshall A.C. Leonard D.J. Lalama

Source [56]

CFL Top Performers of the Month

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
OctoberBrandon Banks Bo Levi Mitchell Dane Evans

Source [56]

2019 CFL All-Stars



Special teams

Source [57]

2019 CFL Western All-Stars



Special teams

Source [58]

2019 CFL Eastern All-Stars



Special teams

2019 CFL Awards


The 2019 season marked the 11th of the CFL's exclusive Canadian media rights with Bell Media, covering TSN (English) and RDS (French). [59]

On January 14, the league renewed its U.S. broadcast deal with TSN's minority partner ESPN, which expired after the 2018 season; it includes 20 games on ESPN's linear networks, and all remaining games carried on ESPN+. [60] 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, [61] which the league indicated could not happen without a new CBA. [62]

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