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How does overtime work in CFL

The Canadian Football League is the highest-ranking professional football league in Canada. It constitutes nine teams that are based in different cities in Canada. CFL is subdivided into two divisions: the West Division, which consists of 5 teams, and the East Division, which consists of 4 opponents. Sometime CFL games proceed to overtime.

The overtime segment was introduced to CFL playoffs for the first time in 1941 and to the regular pre-season matches in 1955. The NFL Betting Guide can allow a better understanding of how the league differs from the CFL.

Regulations governing overtime vary from sport to sport. Whereas others have set time duration that they play for the extra time, others rely on the ‘sudden death’ approach where the first team to score during the additional time wins. In regular games, a match can be declared a draw. However, the game proceeds on in playoffs until a winner is determined.

As far as overtime is concerned, CFL functions more similarly to college football than the National Football League (NFL). Both teams are accorded an equal number of offensive possessions during CFL overtime. The game clock is abandoned during overtime, and the play clock is used instead. A coin is tossed for establishing the team that commences the offense. The team that wins the first attack begins its move with the ball toward the opponent’s line. The side initiates the play at its competitor’s 35-yard line.

After the team has scored or turned over the ball, it’s the second team’s opportunity to stage an offense. It also begins the play at the opponent’s 35-yard line and strives to make it count. If any side scores a touchdown during the two attacks, it has to seek out a two-point conversion. Before 2010, the team could have been straight-out declared the winners; however, following an amendment of the rules that year, the leading team is required to seek a two-point conversion before being announced the winners. A decree was also introduced barring teams from scoring an extra point by a kick after a touchdown during overtime.

If either team emerges ahead after equal offensive possessions during the spare time, then the team is declared the winner. However, if the scores are still level, both sides score another opportunity to get the winning touchdown from the 35-yard line. If it’s a playoff game, this sequence continues until either team emerges a winner. However, if it is a regular game, a draw is declared after both teams get two opportunities to score the winning points after regular playtime.

A difference between CFL and NFL overtime includes the winner of the coin toss in the NFL being allowed to choose whether they like to kick or if they would like to have the ball. Overtime play then commences. However, unlike CFL, if the first team with the ball manages to score a touchdown in NFL overtime wins the game, and the game ceases to go on. If not, the team that scores the next attempt is declared the winner. A similarity between NFL and CFL is that both leagues keep playing in playoffs until a winner is announced. Likewise, the game is declared a tie in both competitions if the scores remain level by the end of overtime in regular plays.

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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.
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