CFL boss sees NFL coming to Toronto
CFL commissioner Mark Cohon believes the NFLcould becoming to Toronto.
"All of the tea leaves are indicating that it's shifting," Cohon said Friday in his state of the league address during Grey Cup week in Toronto. "You have guys like Ted Rogers and Larry Tanenbaum and Phil Lind, very powerful Canadians who are interested, you have an owner Ralph Wilson in Buffalo who has said, 'When I die, my estate will sell the franchise,' [and] you have the Bills interested in marking Toronto as part of their territory."
"I'm not sticking my head in the sand. That would be the worst thing for the CFL commissioner to do. So I think there's a real potential."
Cohon's comments mark the first time the CFL has taken such a definitive stance on the issue.
The commissioner also said an NFL team in Toronto would threaten the CFL in southern Ontario, a key region for the league.
Cohon hopes that should the NFL bring a team north, it will do so in partnership with the CFL.
The NFL's Buffalo Bills announced in October that they are seeking approval to play one pre-season game and at least another regular-season contest at the Rogers Centre in Toronto as part of the team's plan todevelop its market outside western New York.
The move sparked speculation that the Bills are eyeing Toronto as a potential permanent home in the future. But the team remains adamant that its plan to play in Toronto is not the first step in relocating north of the border.
Canadian communications mogul Ted Rogers said in early November that efforts to bring the NFL to Toronto are currently focused on having the Bills play two games a year in the city and not on permanently relocating the franchise.
Rogers —thepresident and CEOof Rogers Communications, which owns baseball's Toronto Blue Jays —and Tanenbaum —the chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which controls theNHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA's Toronto Raptors —are heading a group interested in landing an NFL team for the city.
Speculation has run wild since Wilson, the 89-year-old Bills owner, announced the franchise would be sold to the highest bidder upon his death.
With files from the Canadian Press