B.C. Lions players celebrate a touchdown in a CFL game against the Edmonton Elks on June 17, 2023. Jun 17, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; BC Lions receiver Ayden Eberhardt (80) and receiver Justin McInnis (18) and receiver Dominique Rhymes (19) celebrate Rhymes’ touchdown against the Edmonton Elks in the second half at BC Place. BC won 22-0. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Shutouts are rare at most levels of football, with only four of the NFL’s 272 regular-season games in 2022 producing that result. When it comes to the Canadian Football League, shutouts are perhaps even rarer: that league had no shutouts in 81 regular-season games in 2022, and only one in 63 games in 2021 (a season shortened by Canadian government regulations around COVID-19). And the B.C. Lions’ 22-0 home victory over the Edmonton Elks Saturday made history for both sides, with the Lions’ last shutout coming 45 years ago and the Elks’ last time shutout coming 46 years ago (while they were still known as the Edmonton Eskimos):

In August of 1977, current B.C. head coach and general manager Rick Campbell was six years old. In August of 1976, current Edmonton head coach and general manager Chris Jones was nine. So that was quite a while ago. Interestingly enough, the Lions were the most recent CFL team to be shut out before this, and that game (a 45-0 loss to Winnipeg in October 2021) marked the first time they’d been shut out in 54 years. So, almost two years later, they’re on the other side of a shutout.

CFL shutouts are far from common, and that’s partly about the league’s rules. With a larger field (both longer and wider) and only three downs, the CFL emphasizes passing more than the NFL, and that can lead to scoring plays for both offensive and defensive units. The large field and different kicking rules also provides opportunities for special-teams touchdowns. And the league also has a rouge, or single point, that’s awarded off missed field goals or punts that travel through the end zone or kicks that aren’t returned out of the end zone.

As B.C. defensive back Garry Peters told TSN’s Farhan Lalji in a post-game interview Saturday, “I didn’t think it could happen in the CFL with so many ways you can score.” But that shutout Saturday (which Lions’ players are seen at top celebrating during) did happen. And that made history for both teams. It also improved the Lions to 2-0 on the season, and dropped the Elks to 0-2.

[Photo from Bob Frid/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.