Ah, Labor Day. A day set aside each year to honor the American worker. It is a day filled with parades, cookouts or maybe even a trip to the beach. It also marks the unofficial end of summer and the dreaded return to school for many kids.

Labor Day is treated pretty much the same up in Canada as it is here in the U.S., but north of the border, it is spelled Labour Day, and a big part of Labour Day in Canada is football!

In the United States, Thanksgiving has become just as much about football as it is about eating turkey and giving thanks. In Canada, the Labour Day Classic games are the highlight of the day. There is always a pair of Canadian Football League games played on Labour Day each year that feature some storied CFL regional rivalries, the Toronto Argonauts at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Edmonton Eskimos at the Calgary Stampeders.

This year, however, the Labour Day Classic game at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario was definitely one for the record books. Toronto Argonautsí quarterback Damon Allen, the older brother of Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen, became the all-time leader in pro football career passing yardage. He surpassed quarterback Warren Moon, who just last month was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Moon played six seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos and led the team to five consecutive Grey Cup championships before moving on to the NFL in 1984. (The Grey Cup is the CFL equivalent of the Super Bowl) Moon is the only player to ever be inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and the CFL Hall of Fame in Hamilton.

Allen, age 43, had 207 yards passing in the Labour Day game and currently stands at 70,596 career passing yards. He is playing in his 22nd CFL season.

Moon has 70,553 career passing yards from a 23-year career that includes time in both the CFL and the NFL. By comparison, the all-time passing leader in the NFL is Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins. Marino ended his 17-year NFL career in 1999 with 61,361 passing yards and ranks third on the pro football career passing list behind Allen and Moon.

By the way, Toronto won the game, defeating Hamilton 40-6 while Calgary defeated Edmonton in the other Labour Day game, 44-23.

The CFL game is played a bit differently from the NFL. For example, the NFL field is 100 yards long with 10-yard end zones; the CFL field is 110 yards long with 20-yard end zones. CFL teams feature 12 players on the field; the NFL has 11. The CFL allows only three downs to go 10 yards; the NFL has four downs. The CFL is more pass oriented and the larger field makes for a wide open game that is never dull to watch.

Many satellite and cable providers in the U.S. do carry CFL games, some are live and others are tape delayed. Check with your particular service provider to see when and if CFL games are shown in your area. You can also go to the official CFL web site and look at their U.S. broadcast schedule.


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