September 12, 2013 - Canadian Football League (CFL)
TORONTO -- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will move to the West Division of the Canadian Football League in 2014, the league announced today.
"This means the Blue Bombers will reside in the West, where so much of their storied history has taken place, for the purposes of standings and playoffs," said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon, after the move was approved by the league's Board of Governors.
"It also helps pave the way for expansion in 2014, as the Ottawa REDBLACKS join our league as our ninth team, and play as part of the East Division."
The Bombers' Western roots run deep. From 1930 to 1935, they were part of the Western Canada Rugby Football Union. From 1936 to 1957, they were part of the Western Interprovincial Football Union, the forerunner of what is today the West Division of the CFL.
Since the CFL was formed in 1958, the Bombers have spent a total of 34 years in the West (1958-1986, 1996, and 2002-2005), and 21 years in the East (1987-1994, 1997-2001, and 2006-2013).
Overall, since 1930, the Bombers have spent 61 years in the West, 21 years in the East, and one year in the CFL's northern division, during the league's expansion to the United States.
"We are proud of our history in the CFL, but especially proud of our ten Grey Cup victories, eight of which came as we represented the West," said Wade Miller, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Blue Bombers.
"It's no wonder then that so many of our fans consider the West our natural home. We look forward to competing, and succeeding, in the West Division."
Next year, the West Division will consist of the British Columbia Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The East Division will consist of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa REDBLACKS, and Toronto Argonauts.
The playoff format remains unchanged. The top three teams in each division will qualify for post-season play, unless the fourth place team in Division A has a superior record to the third place team in Division B, then the fourth place team in Division A will crossover and participate in the Division B playoffs.
Some other facts about the Bombers in the West:
- The Bombers have appeared in the Grey Cup 24 times since their first berth in 1935, with 17 of those as the Western representative.
- The Bombers' 17 Grey Cup appearances as the Western representative is second only to Edmonton's 24.
- While Edmonton won five straight Grey Cups from 1978 to 1982, Winnipeg is the only team that can claim to have captured the cup four times in a span of only five years as the Western representative: they won Grey Cup games in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962, all against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
- The oldest continuous rivalry in the history of the CFL is between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders: they have met in regular season play a record 229 times.
- The Blue Bombers have a winning all-time record in the CFL, despite facing fierce western competition most of the time: they have 599 wins, 549 losses, and 14 ties. This Saturday, the Bombers seek their 600th win as a CFL franchise, when they visit the Edmonton Eskimos. Game time is 6:30 pm ET and the game will be broadcast on TSN.