Wednesday, June 13, 2018 — To open the 2018 CFL season, last year’s Most Outstanding Player Mike Reilly leads the Edmonton Eskimos to Investors Group Field to take on Andrew Harris and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 14. Canadian country duo ‘The Reklaws’ will perform at halftime to kick off the 2018 campaign.
Week 1 continues with Friday Night Football and a rematch of the 2017 Eastern Final between the reigning Grey Cup Champion Toronto Argonauts against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Field. Entering their second season at their new stadium, Saskatchewan will be looking to improve on their 5-4 record at home last season. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET.
Saturday concludes the opening week of the season with a double-header. The first game takes us to McMahon Stadium where the Calgary Stampeders challenge the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. Calgary owned the league’s best record at home last season, going 7-2. Hamilton will look to carry their momentum from last season when the team went 6-4 after appointing June Jones as head coach.
The second game of the double-header has the BC Lions hosting the Montreal Alouettes. Wally Buono will lead the Lions out in his final season on the sideline and Montreal Alouettes head coach Mike Sherman will make his debut in the CFL. The game is scheduled to begin at 10:00 p.m. ET.
**Each game in Week 1 will be televised on ESPN2**
2017 CFL SEASON RECAP
- Games averaged 53.1 points per game, a 17% increase from 2014 (45.5) and the third-highest scoring season in the past 20 seasons.
- Nearly 60% of games were decided in the final three minutes, and 30 games were decided by fourth-quarter game-winning drives.
- Penalties dropped 9% to 16 per game.
- There was an average of 1.57 coaches’ challenges per game; 51% of them were overturned.
- The average game saw 153 plays and the average duration of a game was 2:50.
- Away teams won 48% of the time (39-41-1)
- West vs East: The West Division went 29-10-1 versus the East Division.
- 25 games were decided by four points or fewer and five games went into overtime
MILESTONES ENTERING 2018
- Saskatchewan’s Charleston Hughes’s first sack in green and white will be his 100th career sack. He trails Rodney Harding by six to join the top-10 in CFL history.
- John Bowman, who ranks 8th all-time in sacks with 121, is five short of Stewart Hill for 7th all-time.
- Race for 1,200 points: Winnipeg’s Justin Medlock (1,186) needs 14 points for 1,200 in his career, while Sean Whyte (1,153) needs 57 points to reach 1,200.
- Winnipeg’s Weston Dressler needs 509 receiving yards to become the 17th player in CFL history to reach 10,000. He is 30 receptions away from 700.
- Kevin Glenn (52,867) needs 389 passing yards to pass Danny McManus for 5th all-time.
- Argonauts pivot Ricky Ray needs 10 TD passes to pass Ron Lancaster (333) for fourth all-time. He also needs just 52 completions to reach 5,000 for his career and is 3,210 yards away from matching Henry Burris (63,639) for third all-time.
- Andrew Harris enters the season with 6,268 rushing yards. He needs 577 to pass Jon Cornish for second all-time among Canadians. Harris currently ranks 19th all-time.
- Manny Arceneaux needs 384 receiving yards to reach 8,000 for his career. Only 44 players have reached that mark in the CFL.
- When Adam Bighill plays opening night it will be his 100th game in the CFL. He needs 21 total tackles to reach 600.
- 493 players appear on the initial Week 1 CFL rosters
- 323 players returned to their 2017 team while 89 players moved to different clubs.
- 65.5% of players returned to their club with Toronto leading the way with 48 repeat players, and Hamilton and Calgary with 40 each. Saskatchewan (31) and BC (24) have the fewest.
- 16% (89 players) are first-year CFL players. Montreal has 18, the most in the CFL, while Toronto has the fewest with two.
- The nine projected starting running backs have an average age of 29.9. Andrew Harris and Jerome Messam have a combined 184 starts compared to just 179 by the other seven players combined.
- The lowest 2018 CFL Draft pick to make a roster this year was Hamilton’s Nicholas Parisotto who was selected 68th overall. In 2017 the lowest pick to make an opening day roster was BC’s Jordan Herdman who went 60th overall.
- Among the 18 players selected in the first two rounds in 2018, 14 of those players made it onto 2018 Week 1 CFL rosters.
- The 2018 CFL Year will mark the 105th season of Canadian football, and the 61st as the CFL itself.
- Home teams in Week 1 last year went 2-1-1
- Opening games since 2008:
- Calgary 6-3-1
- Montreal 6-4
- Saskatchewan 6-4
- Toronto 6-4
- Winnipeg 5-5
- Edmonton 5-5
- BC 3-7
- Hamilton 1-9
- Wally Buono enters his 25th year as a head coach with a record of 273-156-3. He is 120-77-1 with the BC Lions.
- Adarius Bowman played 88 games in green and gold while amassing more than 7,000 receiving yards, 445 receptions, 36 touchdowns and four 1,000+ yard seasons.
- Bowman returns to Winnipeg this season, where he played 27 games (2009-10) and recorded 105 receptions, 1,616 yards and nine touchdowns.
- Mike Reilly will attempt to become only the fourth player to win consecutive MOP awards: Jackie Parker (1957-58), Doug Flutie (1991-94 and 96-97) and Anthony Calvillo (2008-09).
- The Argonauts will try to become the first team to win back-to-back Grey Cups since the Alouettes did so in 2009 and 2010.
- The opening game between Edmonton and Winnipeg will be the earliest regular season game in league history by one day. The previous record was June 15, 2004 between Saskatchewan and Toronto.
- Chris Streveler will become the first quarterback to start Week 1 straight out of college football since Anthony Calvillo did so in 1994 for Las Vegas. In total it has occurred 11 times. Some notable quarterbacks to do so: Joe Theismann (1971) and Joe Kapp (1959)
- This will be the fourth time ever that Edmonton and Winnipeg played the CFL’s opening game. Winnipeg has the edge, going 2-1 in these games: 1969 EDM 33 – WPG 0, 1965 WPG 21 - EDM 14 and 1958 WPG 29 – EDM 21.
- Five teams appear to have the same starting QB in Week 1 in 2018 as they did in 2017; BC (Jennings), Calgary (Mitchell), Edmonton (Reilly), Ottawa (Harris) and Toronto (Ray)
- Hamilton’s Johnny Manziel joins five players who have won the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback to play in the CFL. The list includes; Terry Baker (16 games played), Eric Crouch (7), Doug Flutie (135), Troy Smith (17) and Andre Ware (29).
- A season with one player collecting 1,000 receiving yards and 1,000 rushing yards has never been accomplished in the CFL. The closest a player has come was Winnipeg’s Andrew Harris last season (1,035 RUSH, 857 REC). If a player were to play all 18 games they would need to average 56 rushing and receiving yards per game to reach the benchmark.