Connect with us

CFL History

CFL Scoring Rules Explained: Touchdowns, Field Goals, and The Unique CFL Rouge

Introduction: Overview of CFL Scoring Rules

Canadian Football League (CFL) stands as a prominent representation of Canadian football, distinguishing itself with unique scoring rules that differ from other football leagues. Understanding these rules, including touchdowns, field goals, safeties, and the mysterious CFL Rouge, offers deeper insights into the game’s complexity and excitement. Let’s break down these scoring rules and their significance.

Touchdowns in CFL: The Six-Point Play

Touchdowns are the primary means of scoring in CFL, contributing six points to the team’s score. A touchdown is achieved when the offensive team advances the ball into the opponent’s end zone through running or passing plays. The touchdown must be confirmed by the officials for the points to be awarded.

Example scenarios:

  • A wide receiver catches a 40-yard pass in the opponent’s end zone.
  • A running back carries the ball over the goal line, breaking through the defensive line.

Field Goals in CFL: The Three-Point Opportunity

Field goals are a strategic scoring option in the CFL, typically utilized when the offense is within kicking range but unable to advance the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. A successful field goal awards three points to the scoring team. The kicker must send the ball through the uprights of the goal post, often under challenging weather conditions or defensive pressure.

Example scenarios:

  • A 30-yard field goal attempt during a tie game in the fourth quarter.
  • A long 50-yard field goal made in windy conditions.

Converts in CFL: Single Point & Two Point Conversions

After scoring a touchdown, the offensive team has the opportunity to attempt a conversion, also known as a convert. A one-point convert (single-point conversion) is scored by kicking the ball through the uprights from a designated spot. A two-point convert is achieved by advancing the ball into the end zone, either by a run or a pass, from a set distance.

Example scenarios:

  • A successful kick after a touchdown, resulting in a single-point conversion.
  • A bold two-point conversion attempt with a pass to a tight end in the end zone.

Safeties in CFL: Defensive Scoring Option

Safeties represent a rare scoring method, where the defensive team earns two points. A safety occurs when the offensive team is tackled or forced out of bounds in their own end zone. This can happen through aggressive defensive play or a mishap by the offense.

Example scenarios:

  • A quarterback sacked in his own end zone.
  • A running back accidentally stepping out of bounds in the end zone.

These essential components of CFL scoring rules contribute to the game’s dynamics, but one of the most intriguing aspects remains the unique CFL Rouge.

The CFL Rouge: A Unique Scoring Rule

One of the most fascinating and distinctly Canadian aspects of the CFL’s scoring system is the Rouge. This scoring play, also known as a “single,” adds one point to the team’s score under specific circumstances, and it’s one of the features that sets the CFL apart from other football leagues.

What is the CFL Rouge?

The Rouge is awarded when:

  • A team kicks the ball into the opponent’s end zone, and the opponent fails to return it out of the end zone.
  • A kicked ball goes out of bounds in the opponent’s end zone.

It doesn’t matter whether the kick is a missed field goal or a punt; if the ball becomes dead within the opponent’s end zone without being run out, the kicking team scores a Rouge.

Example scenarios:

  • A 60-yard punt that bounces into the end zone and rolls out of bounds.
  • A missed 45-yard field goal attempt where the ball lands in the end zone and the defending team fails to return it.

Penalties and Miscellaneous Scoring: Adjusting the Game’s Dynamics

The complexity of the CFL scoring system doesn’t end with regular play. Penalties and other infrequent scoring methods can also impact the game’s outcome.

Penalties affecting the score:

  • Unnecessary roughness
  • Offside
  • Holding
  • Pass interference

These penalties can lead to significant changes in field position, creating new scoring opportunities or nullifying scores.

Example scenarios:

  • A touchdown is called back due to holding.
  • A field goal attempt becomes easier due to an offside penalty against the defending team.

FAQs: Common Questions about CFL Scoring Rules

Canadian Football League (CFL) scoring can be an intricate subject for newcomers and seasoned fans alike. Here, we tackle some frequently asked questions about CFL scoring, including comparisons with NFL rules and insights into unique CFL scoring features such as the Rouge.

What is the most common way to score in the CFL?

The most common way to score in the CFL is through touchdowns and field goals. A touchdown is worth six points, and a field goal is worth three. Extra points, called “converts,” can be scored after a touchdown, either through a one-point kick or a two-point pass or run.

How does CFL scoring differ from NFL scoring?

Several key differences set CFL scoring apart from the NFL:

  • The CFL Rouge, or single point, for certain kicks into the end zone.
  • Three downs instead of four, leading to different scoring strategies.
  • The wider and longer field in CFL, which affects scoring opportunities.
  • Differences in point values for certain plays, such as the one or two-point convert after a touchdown.

What makes the CFL Rouge unique?

The CFL Rouge, or single point, is awarded for specific kicks into the opponent’s end zone. It adds complexity and excitement to the game and represents a scoring method not found in other major football leagues.

How does overtime work in the CFL?

In the CFL, overtime consists of a mini-game format where each team gets an opportunity to score from the opponent’s 35-yard line. If the game remains tied after two possessions, additional mini-games are played. This system emphasizes offense and strategy, offering thrilling conclusions to close games.

What are the penalties that can affect scoring in the CFL?

Penalties such as offside, holding, pass interference, and unnecessary roughness can dramatically shift field position and scoring opportunities. Penalties can negate scoring plays or create more favorable conditions for teams to score.

How is the CFL Rouge scored, and when does it apply?

The CFL Rouge is scored when the ball is kicked into the opponent’s end zone and is not returned out or when it goes out of bounds in the end zone. It applies to both missed field goals and punts. This rule creates additional strategic considerations and makes every kick near the end zone potentially significant.

Can a CFL game end in a tie?

During the regular season, a CFL game can end in a tie if the score remains level after two overtime mini-games. In the playoffs and Grey Cup, additional mini-games are played until a winner is determined.

Embracing the Complexity and Excitement of CFL Scoring

The Canadian Football League’s scoring system is both complex and intriguing, reflecting the league’s rich history and commitment to innovation. From the thrill of touchdowns to the strategic value of field goals, and the unique charm of the CFL Rouge, these rules create a dynamic and exciting game that captivates fans across Canada and beyond. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the game, the depth and nuance of CFL scoring offer endless opportunities for enjoyment, analysis, and debate.

Continue the CFL Football discussions on our offical CFL Discord Channel
author avatar
Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry is the founder and editor of CFL News Hub. A dedicated and experienced football analyst, he has been providing comprehensive coverage of the sport since 2018.


  1. Dave Wharton

    November 20, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Mark,

    On the final play of yesterday’s Grey Cup, with Winnipeg down 28-24, the Winnipeg QB passed to the punter, who then tried to kick the ball into the end zone.

    What was the purpose of this?

    Dave W.

  2. Michael Muldoon

    November 23, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    This is a holdover from rugby. Any player can advance the ball toward the opposing goal by means of a punt from anywhere on the field at any time. All players behind the punter at the time the ball is kicked are considered to be onside and are eligible to recover that punt. (Teammates in front of him are offside and have to abide by the no-yards rule.) If the ball had gone over the Montreal kick receiver’s head and into the end zone, or if the ball had hit the turf and no Montreal player had picked it up, any onside Winnipeg player could have picked it up and tried to advance it into the end zone or could have picked it up in the end zone, resulting in a Winnipeg touchdown. With the quick kick, you’re trying to catch the defending team off guard in this situation, but defences are usually ready for something like this in the late stages of CFL games.

  3. Dave Wharton

    November 23, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you so much Michael for solving the mystery – concisely and eloquently!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in CFL History

CFL News Hub