The CFL has a reputation for having offensive units that tend to be pass heavy. So why would the CFL be more pass-heavy than most professional football leagues? The answer lies in the size of the field in Canadian football. Canadian football fields are 150 long, 110 that define the “field”, and each endzone is 20 yards deep.
The Canadian fields are also much wider than any other type of football with a width of 65 yards. Midfield in the CFL is the 55-yard line marked as the center line with a “C”. In the past, the hash marks have been 17 yards apart and 24 yards from the sideline, but with a rule change this season they are now only 9 yards apart and 28 yards from the sideline.
When you contrast the Canadian football field with any other professional football field you will find there is a great deal more space. Space for the defence to defend, and space for the offence to attack. Most teams realize that successful offensive teams will find ways to maximize their use of space. Those teams will spread teams out their opponent’s defence and throw the ball to space.
If they can successfully force a defence to defend the entire field it allows the offence to then use their running game effectively due to the defence being spread out. When in the red zone the offensive team has a huge end zone to work with so it would be logical to pass even when relatively close to the end zone to maximize the space.
Another difference between all other professional football leagues and Canadian football is the location of the goal posts. The CFL goal posts are the same width as those in the NFL, but they are on the goal line rather than the end line of the end zone. This means that field goal attempts are 10 yards shorter than in other professional football leagues.
Due to this location field goals that are attempted close to the end zone can be difficult due to odd angles. So when a CFL kicker misses a short field goal it could be due to an unusual angle. Also, the goal posts can create additional issues during goal line plays and when a team is trying to punt out of its end zone.
Like many features in the CFL, the size and organization of the playing field can take some getting used to for fans new to the league. But ultimately, it is yet another feature of the CFL that sets it apart from all other professional football leagues.
It also adds some opportunities for coaches to be innovative and creative to take advantage of the extra space, or for defensive coaches to find ways to defend that space. The size of the field also affects front office decisions when it comes to the evaluation of personnel. The unique Canadian field is just another reason that CFL football is fun to watch, and can result in situations that can only occur in the CFL.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7
Full coverage of the 2022 season on CFL News Hub.
Big Announcement: CFL Unveils Free Live Streaming Platforms
Get Alerts & Stay ConnectedCFL iPhone App
CFL Android App