to other “post high school community based football leagues”
operating in Canada the MFL is unique. For example, in
2006 the 9 teams in the MFL drew from a total of 36 high school teams
(N.B. 18, N.S. 15, P.E.I. 3). The percentage of players in the
Maritimes that continue on playing beyond high school is therefore
much higher than elsewhere in the country. We should be very proud of
fielding 9 teams from such a tiny player pool!
the downside is that we have a vast drop off in terms of talent from
top to bottom in the MFL. In fact we sort of have two tiers of teams
in the MFL. The top four teams (Wanderers, Mustangs, Knights and
Shockers) did not lose a single game to the other five teams during
the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
suppose this might be an argument for splitting into two separate
leagues or conferences based on strength . In
with a few exceptions our teams are NOT in favour of tiering.
Consequently I am proposing a restructuring of the MFL that attempts
to address the lack of parity in the league WITHOUT resorting to
of Conferences and Expansion of Regular Season Schedule
the last two years we have organized ourselves into two conferences,
the 6 team NBFC and the 3 team EFC. A seven week regular season
allowed each team to play 6 games without any real allocation of games
based on conference. This was followed by a three weeks of playoffs to
determine conference champions and a Maritime champion.
results of the first round of the playoffs were, for the most part, a
foregone conclusion. The final four teams have been the same for the
last two seasons and there really is no reason to believe that this
will change in the foreseeable future. Also the conference structure
of 6 and 3 teams has lead to some problems, most notably the 5th
place NBFC team filling in as the 4th place team in the EFC
playoffs. It has meant a long trip to
some would argue that due to the conference structure the two best
teams have not met in the Maritime championship game. As well
depending on scheduling, teams in the “middle” of the league can
have very good or very bad seasons based on who they end up playing.
The 2005 and 2006 Marshals and the 2005 and 2006 Gladiators would be
examples of teams affected by this problem.
many teams get their gear from high schools we can’t play beyond
August 11-12. Access to fields and the minor football spring leagues
mean we can’t reliably start our regular season until the first
weekend in June. With an odd number of teams being the reality of the
present situation somebody must be idle every week during the regular
forward to 2007 we can start play on June 3 and need to finish by
August 11. That is 11 weeks.
propose that (assuming 9 teams) we begin play on June 3. (This would
be preceded by a jamboree on May 26, most likely on an all-weather
field.) The regular season would run a total of 9 weeks: June 3,
9-10, 16-17, 23-24, June 30-July 1, July 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29.
This would give every team 8 regular season games, ie one game against
every other team compared to 6 games each of the last two seasons.
NBFC and EFC would no longer exist. Instead the MFL would be a 9 team
a 9 week regular season the MFL would have two weeks left for
playoffs. In order to have more competitive games I recommend that the
playoffs be tiered. The top four finishers in the regular season would
play for the “competitive” championship. The fifth through
eighth place teams would play for the “developmental”
The ninth place team would not advance to the playoffs.
would recommend that the MFL seriously consider having both
championship games back to back on the same field in the same city.
This could be followed by the MFL Awards Banquet in the evening. In
order to properly organize the day, I believe the league should
seriously consider selecting the location before
the start of the regular season. Maybe teams could submit proposals to
the league to host the event. Perhaps a portion of the gate receipts
could go back to the participating teams as well as to the MFL, ie all
the teams. The details of this need further discussion if the format
above is adopted.
selecting the location ahead of time (like the NFL, CFL, CIS and N.B.High Schools
already do) the ability to promote the championship day and the league
is greatly enhanced. Certainly the opportunity to have a well
organized and well attended Awards Banquet is much improved. Under the
present system the location of the Maritime Bowl is only known one
week in advance. That leaves little time to get organized. Having the
awards banquet after the season usually means it is not well attended.
no conferences the question arises as to what we do with the venerable
Burchill Trophy and the EFC Cup. Because the regular season is a
single round robin the Burchill could be awarded to the highest
finishing N.B. team in the regular season. The EFC Cup could go to the
highest N.S.–P.E.I. team in the final regular season standings.
McIntyre Cup would go to the “competitive” champion. We would need
a trophy for the “developmental” champion. I have an idea for this
which could be discussed at a later date.
note that the terms “competitive” and “developmental” are only
being used in this proposal to differentiate the two championships. If
we go to this playoff format it probably would be advisable to have
“Maritime Bowl Saturday” consist of say the Mariner Bowl Game for
the “????? Cup” and the Maritime Bowl Game for the “McIntyre Cup”.
The two games would be followed in the evening by the “MFL Awards Banquet”.
the elimination of the conferences we would select outstanding players
and all-star teams for the MFL only. Also medals would likely only go
to the two teams meeting for the “competitive” championship.
We spent $3,400 on awards in 2006. That should drop to less than
$1,500 in 2007 under the restructuring.
this proposal the regular season would grow from 6 games to 8 games
for each team, ie a 33% increase. If this takes place it is likely
unrealistic to also try to go from playing 10 aside to 12 aside in the
same year. That would be too much to ask taking into account our small
player pool. I believe that we can eventually get to 12 man football
and I have some thoughts on how to do it but that can be left for
$3,000 per team deposit should still suffice under the new structure.
We would be moving from a 34 game season to a 42 game season. At a
conservative $400 per game for officials our costs would go up by
$3,200 or $355 per team. Each team was refunded $550 in 2006 so there
is enough to cover the increase in officials’ costs. With a drop in
awards costs plus perhaps the MFL getting a share of the gate on
“Maritime Bowl Saturday” we should be able to keep the team
deposit at $3,000.
proposal represents a significant change in direction for our league.
Therefore I felt it was very important to get it out for discussion
well in advance of our AGM. Feel free to circulate it to others for
their feedback. Please send back your comments, suggested
modifications and constructive criticisms. A good exchange is very
much needed on this in order to get it right.