Review: The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia

Published on June 25, 2011 2:04 PM by dbo.

A gift to Canadian football fans, The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946-2010 is available just in time for the start of the 2011 season. The promise of an all-inclusive guide to the players, coaches and results of the CFL post-WWII is not without its challenges, but the authors of the CPFE rise to those challenges and deliver.

Purchase Process

Purchasing The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia was simple and easy. Provided through the self-publisher lulu.com (founded by Ti-Cat owner Bob Young), the check-our process was quick and efficient. With over 600 pages of stats, the $34.95 price is very reasonable. The book arrived ahead of schedule, under the necessary time for printing and shipping, and in excellent condition.

The Book

The CPFE is a perfect-bound paperback, about 8.5” x 11” in size and 1.5” thick. The cover design is very professional looking. Inside, the pages are packed with information, but it is well laid out and fairly easy to read. The information-laden Player Registry pages are the worst with columns for all offensive, defensive and return stats across the page but it is hard to see how it could be presented better without making the book 1200 pages. The font size and typeface made for easy reading for me without have to resort to a magnifying glass. As a reference book, you may need a ruler to read it, but all the stats you want for a player are there, handy on one or two pages.

There are a lot of uncommon statistic columns titles on many pages, so it may be necessary to copy the key pages to have as a separate reference so flipping back and forth to the key page is not necessary. Over time you may come to memorize all abbreviations like a professional football researcher.

The Content

The book is broken down into the following sections:

  • Historical Highlights
  • The Game Scores
  • The Grey Cup
  • The Awards
  • The Head Coaches
  • The ORFU
  • CFL Statistics History
  • The Annual Record
  • The Annual Leader
  • The Career Leaders
  • The Player Register
  • The Kicking Register

This isn’t a book to read cover-to-cover. There are no stories or opinions. It is the facts. While called an encyclopedia, it is not filled with articles on various topics. It is just pages and pages of facts. The results and statistics by year and alphabetically, making it easy to find what you are looking for.

Beyond what is promised in the title, the CPFE contains 65 years of game records, aggregate season data, individual player stats and more. Want to know how many penalties the 1988 Grey Cup finalists took in the regular season? It is there. (201 each for Winnipeg and BC, tied for the league lead). Which team had the highest per-rush average in the 1976 regular season? It is there. (Ottawa, 5.5 yards). The years of CFL service, biographical information, draft details, other pro leagues played in and full individual stats are there for Pat Abbruzzi to Jake Zumbach and all players in between.

One question that will be on the mind of some purchasers is the completeness of the book. Does it really contain every player that played from 1946 to present? I can’t verify but based on the league records the authors had access to and the number of players listed with one game to their credit, I believe they have produced a complete history based on the written record. There is always the possibility the written record was not accurate in the post-WWII era, but that would only be on the player side, likely one out of thousands listed.

The CPFE will serve as the bible to Canadian football fans from this point forward. Noted as the 2011 Edition, it is encouraging that this record will be maintained on an annual basis.

The Authors

The authors, Tod Maher and Bob Gill, laboured over this effort for 20 years. Members of the Professional Football Researchers Association, it is interesting they are both US residents (I do not know if they are Canadian ex-pats).

Tod and Bob are to be congratulated and thanked for their effort to produce such a critical document of Canadian football. In addition to an annual edition it wouldn’t surprise me if they are working on a pre-1946 edition as that is the last frontier in terms of Canadian football research.

Two Thumbs Up

The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia is a worthwhile buy. For football fans, statistic buffs and those who just love the CFL it will be a treasured addition to their bookshelf. For descendents of players who played in the Canadian leagues, it can be an affordable record in print of their time playing professional football. It would make a great gift to anyone connected with the CFL in the last 65 years. Overall, it gets two thumbs up from CFLdb.

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Review: The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia was published on June 25, 2011 2:04 PM by dbo.

868 words.

This article is categorized under Review and tagged with books, canadian-pro-football-encyclopedia, history and stats.