CFL USA Teams: What Caused Their Failure
In the early 90s, the CFL USA teams ratings weren’t the best. To increase the number of viewers not just in Canada but also in the USA as well they decided to expand to America. In 1993 the CFL added the first American CFL team, the Sacramento Gold Miners.
In this article, we will look at the different American CFL USA teams and why the USA project for the CFL eventually crumbled.
Sacramento Gold Miners- The Gold Miners, as previously mentioned, were the first of America’s CFL USA teams. The CFL made a huge profit off of the American project by charging each team a fee to join the league. By joining the league, the Gold Miners helped the CFL not collapse.
Shreveport Pirates- The Pirates were founded in 1994 and quickly earned the title of the worst team by going 8-28 from 1994 to 1995. The Pirates had the worst attendance rate in the league, with ownership not paying bills and constantly getting fined by the CFL.
Baltimore Stallions- The Stallions were the best American team to come out of this project, going 27-9. They also appeared in the Grey Cup in both of their two seasons. The Stallions pretty much paved the way for the Ravens as they showed the city it was ready to support another football team after the Colts.
Las Vegas Posse- The Posse are right there with the Pirates for the most unsuccessful CFL USA teams. They finished their one and only season in 1994 in last place in their division and had the second-lowest attendance rate in the CFL.
Birmingham Barracudas- The Barracudas were the last American CFL team. The Barracudas were mediocre in their one season in 1995, and attendance was okay.
Memphis Mad Dogs- The Mad Dogs were overshadowed by the Memphis college football team, that about sums it up.
San Antonio Texans- Last but not least, we have the lesser-known Texans not from Houston but from San Antonio. The owner was Fred Anderson, a stakeholder in the Pittsburgh Pirates and Sacramento Kings.
Why It Collapsed
The CFL expanded to the US basically out of desperation to stay afloat. The league had ended its Television sponsorship in 1987 and was looking for a new way to broadcast its games.
As this project was getting underway, the new CFL Commissioner Larry Smith pursued control of two defunct World League of American Football (WLAF) teams, the Sacramento Surge and the San Antonio Riders, and changed the names to the Texans and Gold Miners.
The truth is only a few teams in the US experienced packed stadiums teams like the Stallions and Texans. Meanwhile, teams like the Pirates and Posse and pretty much the rest of the teams in the US experienced poor attendance and ratings.
Most of the Canadian teams were bleeding money, and after two years of the American project, most of the CFL USA teams were bleeding money as well.
The truth is there was really no room for Canadian American football teams in the US because of the success of the NFL and College Football. Fans were already spoiled when it came to football. The CFL/USA project just didn’t work out in the end.