July 6th, 2012 by Colin M Jarman
The CFL is now live and available on ESPN America from the start of the season through to its crowning glory, the Grey Cup.
For those viewers and football fans who are not yet totally clued in about all footballing things Canadian, here is an introduction to the Canadian Football League, and some of the more discernible differences between the CFL and the NFL.
WHAT IS THE CFL?
The CFL was officially founded on January 19, 1958.
It is Canada’s equivalent to the USA’s NFL with some major differences [see below].
Canadian Football is the second-most popular major sports league in Canada, after the National Hockey League.
The League honors its top players with the annual Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player Awards, while the Coach of the Year wins the Annis Stukus Trophy.
The CFL has its own annual Canadian College Draft in which the teams select eligible Canadian/non-import players, typically from the ranks of Canadian Interuniversity Sport or NCAA football.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS, MONTREAL ALOUETTES, TORONTO ARGONAUTS & WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
BC LIONS, CALGARY STAMPEDERS, EDMONTON ESKIMOS & SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS
TEN MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CFL and NFL
The NFL famously has FOUR downs to gain ten yards, as in 4th and 10.
The CFL in an attempt to reduce the emphasis on the running game and promote more passing & excitement, has only THREE downs.
2. PLAYERS ON THE FIELD
The NFL has ELEVEN players on each side of the ball, with seven on the line of scrimmage and five in the backfield.
The CFL has TWELVE players on the field, with an extra player in the backfield.
The CFL allows ALL offensive players (except for the QB) to be in motion at the same time unlike the NFL that only allows ONE.
3. SIZE OF PLAYING FIELD
The NFL gridiron is 100 yards long (with 10 yard endzones) and 53 1/3 yards wide.
The CFL field is 110 yards long (with 20 yard endzones) and 65 yards wide.
The NFL season runs from September through to February with a 16 week playing schedule spread over 20 weeks.
The CFL season runs from June through November with a 18 week season over 19 weeks.
5. CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
The NFL has the Super Bowl every February.
The CFL has the Grey Cup every November. The Cup was originally donated by Governor General Earl Grey in 1909 to the team winning the Senior Amateur Football Championship of Canada.
6. KICKING GAME
Unlike the NFL…
The CFL allows one point for a touchback from a kick off called a rouge.
Missed Field Goals in the CFL are live and can be returned by the receiving team.
The CFL has no fair catch rule and all punts must be returned live, thpugh defenders cannot come within five yards of the catcher before he touches the ball.
The CFL ball is slightly larger than an NFL ball, and has two white stripes near each end.
The NFL has 25 seconds in between plays and three team time-outs each half.
The CFL has 20 seconds between plays and only one team time-out per half.
9. OUT OF BOUNDS
In the NFL, when a loose ball goes out of bounds the team last in possession of it is awarded it.
In the CFL, the last team to touch the loose ball before it goes out of bounds takes possession.
10. BUMP & RUN
In the NFL, the defensive player can bump / hold and offensive player for the first five yards.
In the CFL, there is only a ONE yard “bump zone”.
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