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Everything There is to Know About Canadian Football

When most people think “Sports in Canada,” the first thing that comes to their minds is hockey. For good reason too, as hockey is easily Canada’s favorite sport, with an overwhelming majority of the population claiming it as their favorite. Children are taught it from a young age, and hockey tournaments are something that Canada excels at, both nationally and internationally.

However, there is another sport, albeit much less popular outside of the country, that also has gripped the hearts and minds of Canadians. Some Canucks might call it football, and you may hear others refer to it as football canadien. However, to most people, both out and within Canada’s borders it is “Canadian football.”

Canadian Football Popularity

Canadian football may not be as popular as soccer, American football, or rugby, but to Canadians, it is easily one of their favorite sports. Not only are Canadian football stadiums consistently filled with passionate fans, but bookies make a pretty penny out of wagers made on matches. These bookies also often double as casinos, such as Metaspins Canada, where fans of slots, roulette, and other table games can go and play all of their favorite titles.

Because Canadian Football is not as popular as its predecessors, we would like to delve deep into the sport, its history, and what separates it from similar games out there. Without further ado, let us discuss everything there is to know about Canadian football. 

Canadian Football History

As is the case with American football, Canadian football has rugby to thank for its existence. The history of rugby in Canada dates back to the mid-1800s. The first recorded game happened in 1860, though many suspect that the game has been played in Canada much earlier. Evidence for that remains sparse though. Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain; Canadian football definitely stems from rugby.

Between the 1860s and 1880s, Canadians drastically altered rugby’s rules. Different colleges in the country played football by slightly different rules. Which eventually led to the rules of Canadian football being codified. The first Canadian football match was played in the 60s, but it wasn’t until the 80s that Football Canada formed.

What is Football Canada?

Football Canada is the governing body responsible for amateur gridiron football in the country. Though they are responsible for all forms of gridiron football, their primary focus lies with Canadian football. If you’ve ever been interested in the popularity of Canadian football, knowing that Football Canada is the only national governing body that focuses on the sport will show you just how unaware the world is when it comes to this sport.

What is the Canadian Football League?

What the National Football League is to the United States, the Canadian Football League (CFL) is to Canada. It is the country’s primary and highest level of Canadian football competition. Established in the 1950s, the CFL has gone uninterrupted for over 90 years. Today, it remains one of Canada’s more popular sports organizations, and it easily attracts huge crowds of fans and punters, at least in the country. However, it has not managed to attract much of a following outside of Canada.

Canadian Football vs. American Football

When discussing Canadian football, the comparison to American football inevitably comes up. For good reason, as many believe that Canadian football and the American counterpart are largely the same game. While it is true that there are some similarities, the two games are actually quite distinct. In this section, we are going to go over the differences and similarities between Canadian football and the American version of the game.

  • The Field

The biggest similarity between Canadian football and American football is in the field. Both sports take place on a rectangular field. There are yard lines, end zones, and goal posts. However, there is one major difference; the Canadian field is much larger. Not only are they longer, but they are also wider and have longer end zones. 

  • The Objective

As both games derive from rugby, their objective is, fundamentally the same. The players have to move the football down to the opposing team’s end field, and score points. The primary ways to score points are touchdowns, field goals, and safeties in both.

  • The Ball

At first glance, the ball in both sports is the same. An oval, brown, laced pigskin. However, there are some differences. For example, Canadian footballs are larger and slightly heavier. Whereas the standard American football is 397 to 425 grams and measures around 72 cm, the Canadian ball is around 567 grams with a circumference of 70 cm.

  • Game Structure

Both games have a similar structure. The competition is divided into four quarters, with each team having a set number of downs. Of course, both games have kickoffs, special team plays, timeouts, penalty rounds, etc. Though the penalties in both games are governed by different rules entirely.

  • The Popularity

Canadian football is not nearly as popular in its home country as the NFL is in the USA. Anyone who is familiar with the Super Bowl will already know this is the case. Despite that, Canadian football does manage to draw in a huge amount of fans and punters.

  • Miscellaneous

In this final point, we are going to look at a few miscellaneous differences in similarities. For example, both sports make heavy use of blocking and tackling. While both games incorporate punting, punts play a much more significant role in Canadian football, than in American. Finally, Canadian football teams are comprised of nine players, as oppose to the American teams which are comprised of 11 players.

Final Thoughts

Canadian football is an interesting iteration of gridiron football. The sport has an over-century-old history that dates back to the 1880s. Though derived from rugby, there are significant differences that make Canadian sport unique in its own right. From small rule changes to glaring differences, Canadian football stands as its own, unique thing. However, despite its uniqueness, it remains relatively unpopular outside of its country of origin.

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Priyanka Chaudhary
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