Toronto councillor a party crasher

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks at the 100th Grey Cup Festival Launch at Scotiabank Theatre in...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks at the 100th Grey Cup Festival Launch at Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto May 30th, 2011. (DAVE ABEL/QMI AGENCY)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

TORONTO - Doug Ford really knows how to crash a party.

The rookie Toronto city councillor and trusted advisor of Mayor Rob Ford wasn't even invited to the 100th Grey Cup Festival on Monday morning, but that didn't stop him from declaring the pair's intention to bring an NFL team to Toronto before their four-year term in office is over.

The fact that it was at a CFL press conference where he made this statement and the idea that the arrival of the NFL might be the death of the CFL, apparently isn't a concern of his.

In a seven minute interview with various media members following the launch event of the festival, Ford was asked specifically when he thought the NFL would arrive in Toronto.

"I can't answer that," he said before adding, "I'll tell you one thing, (it will happen) before the administration of our four-year term is up (2014). Hopefully, we'll have an NFL team."

That's quite a bold statement from a guy who, in all likelihood, put himself on the NFL's most annoying list after he told a Toronto television reporter that the city was higher on the list of places awaiting an NFL franchise than any market but Los Angeles.

He went on to say the Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints were in play for relocation.

"I was told that and it was off the cuff, but if you want to call it mis-speaking or telling the truth, it depends on how you want to interpret it," Ford said Monday.

Ford said he believes the NFL and CFL can coexist in Toronto.

"It's just my opinion," he said. "We would have to sit down and chat with both leagues, but in my opinion when you bring more football to an area it will enhance everything from high school football to college football. Plus there's only three games that overlap if you look at the (NFL and CFL) schedules and within those three games one or two will be away."

Ford then put his own unique spin on a joint CFL/ NFL venture.

"I think if someone buys an NFL ticket, they can buy a CFL ticket as well," he said. "Who knows? Maybe we could have doubleheaders. We have them in baseball. Why not in football?"

Ford's belief that the NFL's arrival would be a financial windfall for the city is impossible to argue, but when he suggests it could also benefit the Argonauts fortunes in particular and the CFL's in general, one starts to wonder how much thought he has really put into this.

"We are huge supporters of the CFL," Ford said. "Rob goes down to the games all the time. He's passionate about the CFL. I think there's room for an NFL team and a CFL team. The GTA has over 5 million people. I think that's more than enough to support both teams.

CFL commissioner Mark Cohon tried his best not to let the Ford comments detract from the promotion of the 100th Grey Cup that Toronto will host in 2012, but he was fighting a losing battle.

"Listen, this is not a new story," Cohon said. "Four years ago when the Bills Series started here, we said we were going to focus on our league and make our league successful and that is what we have done. I am not going to take away from the 100th Grey Cup drive to talk about this."

Cohon didn't stop there, though, labelling the NFL's supposed interest in Toronto as a potential expansion market in the near future as "speculation because that's exactly what it is.

"I know my colleagues in the NFL have much bigger issues that they are dealing with right now than thinking about expansion."

Ford went on to suggest he would not be doing his job as Toronto city councillor and deputy mayor if he failed to pursue the golden goose which is how he envisions the NFL.

This is how he responded when it was put to Ford that every time he mentioned the prospect of the NFL coming to Toronto, he was, in fact, doing the CFL a disservice:

"So I guess what you would recommend is that I don't say anything when there's a $2-billion investment coming to the city with thousands and thousands of jobs to be created? I shouldn't say a word?

"A Fortune 500 company comes to the city, I should keep my mouth shut. No, I am not going to," he said.

"The CFL is first and foremost right now, but there is an opportunity to have a Fortune 500 company like the NFL come to town and create thousands and thousands of jobs and support the CFL. That would be great.

"It all comes down to the money and what better company to come along than the NFL to support the CFL? It makes sense. It's all about the money folks."

We would politely suggest the rookie councillor do a little more research on the matter before discussing it further publicly.

Or at the very least have the common decency to save his remarks for an event that isn't being hosted by the very group his actions would likely put out of business.


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