Everybody has heard about American football; it is one of the most popular sports in the world. However, not a lot of people have heard about its northern cousin called Canadian football. At first glance, they look the same, but there are some crucial differences between them.
Unfortunately, Canadian football is not globally popular like the American version, but it is one of the most popular sports in Canada. Some even claim that it is better and more interesting than the NFL, which is basically considered a religion on the whole continent.
A Brief History of Canadian Football
The first documented Canadian football match happened on November 9, 1861 in Toronto, CA. Soon after that, a football club was established at the University of Toronto, even though the rules of the sport were still unclear. The first official rules were written down in 1864, which is when the game started gaining more followers. Soon after that, all the major cities established their own teams.
During the 20th century, the rules went through numerous revisions to make the game look less like rugby. That way, a game similar to American football was formed. The main differences between the two occurred because the American side introduced several major changes in rules, which the Canadian side did not do.
Today, Canadian football is mostly played in Canada. The only other country which has organized high-level Canadian football games is the US.
How Is Canadian Football Played?
Canadian football is played on a field that is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide. Therefore, the midfield is the 55-yard line. The goal of the game is to get the ball across the field, tackling opponents along the way and bringing it into the so-called “end zone”.
The game is played with 12 players in each team, which is more than in American football. Therefore, the game is more conducive to passing that is encouraged thanks to the longer and wider field.
The teams can use three downs to pick up the first one, compared to the American option that allows four of them. The result of this rule is larger number of passing, so the game is more dynamic in general.
In Canadian football, any kind of motion is allowed at the time of the snap, if there are enough players on the line. All players can move in any direction, which is different from American football where only one player is allowed to make lateral movements. Moreover, punts need to be returned and the returners get a 5-yard halo.
The rule regarding singles is an interesting quirk that cannot be seen in American football. If a team fails to return a kicked ball from the end zone, the other team will receive one point. However, the first team gets to keep the ball.
Canadian football is much less known than the American one but it is a more dynamic game that deserves more popularity. As you can see, the rules are easy to learn and are not much different than those of the NFL.