After the National Football League (NFL), the Canadian Football League (CFL) is the world’s second most famous professional league. Players from all over the world take part in this tournament every season. In addition, football enthusiasts take pride in this prestigious sporting event and stake large on their favorite teams in online sports betting platforms
In this regard, this article shines the spotlight on this championship and highlights the various unique features that make it one of the best sporting events in the football league.
Canada is internationally known as one of the countries with the most elite ice hockey teams. However, besides its rich NHL history, the Canadian football league has its fair share of memorable moments.
The first football match in Canada dates back to 1861 at the University of Toronto. This set the pace for various leagues later formed in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. And in 1909, the Gray Cup was created. This trophy still rewards the winning team of the championship today.
The Canadian Football League (CFL) was born in 1958 when officials decided to unite all the professional teams in the same league. Since then, it has received significant viewership, with approximately four million viewers in Canada watching the 2019 championship final.
Differences Between the CFL and the NFL
A few details distinguish the CFL from the NFL. For example, the distance between the CFL goal lines is 110 yards (approximately 101 meters)apart, while the NFL spaces its goal lines at 100 yards (91.44 meters). In addition, the CFL posts are located at the entrance toward the end zone (like in rugby), whereas in the NFL, posts are at the very end of the field.
Other differences between the CFL and NFL include:
● A standard CFL squad consists of 12 players – one more than in the NFL.
● There are no tight ends in the CFL, but two players called slotbacks. Two additional receivers are positioned behind the offensive line before each action. There are not four defensive backs in defence, as in the NFL, but five.
● While an attacking team in American football is entitled to four attempts to gain 10 yards, the Canadian football league limits the attempts to three.
● In a regular season, each CFL formation plays 18 games. However, the NFL has recently increased their games to increase to 17.
● Finally, the point system between the NFL and CFL differ. Unlike the NFL, Canadian teams can score a point on an action that involves a kick. For example, the team can score a point when they miss a field goal, but the ball enters the end zone. Also, if the ball lands in the in-goal again or the receiving team don’t leave this area during a clearance kick, the kicking team gains a point.
Teams Playing in the CFL
Canada has very few big cities and not many football teams. Currently, there are nine teams divided into two conferences. The Toronto Argonauts are the pioneers in this league. The east division also features the Ottawa Redblacks, which was formed in 2014, making them the third team to play in Ottawa.
The other seven franchises are the Montreal Alouettes, British Columbia Lions (based in Vancouver), Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and Edmonton Elks. The latter has long been called Edmonton Eskimos but changed their name on June 1, 2021, due to the controversy around the word “Eskimo,” now considered racist vis-à-vis the Inuit.
Toronto is the record holder for Gray Cup victories (18), making their latest debut in 2022, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a participation record of 27. The 2020 CFL season was not contested due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the championship was played from June to November.
Canadian, American, and International Players
Some remarkable American players who come out of the NCAA championship but can’t find a place in the NFL have been known to pursue their careers in the CFL before a possible return to their country. For example, Quarterback Joe Theismann, who won the Super Bowl with Washington in 1983, previously played in Toronto from 1971 to 1973.
Before being one of the best passers in the history of the NFL (the 12th of all time), Warren Moon played six years in Edmonton and won the Gray Cup five times in a row. Doug Flutie, the best NCAA player in 1984, failed in his first attempt at being a successful NFL player but became a star during the eight years he spent in Canada before retrying his hand in the NFL and succeeding.
Although quotas ensure a controlled number of Americans end up being signed into CFL teams, this has recently been met with opposition. Ideally, the rule specifies that a team can have 46 players but no more than 20 Americans. In addition, each can also have two players who are neither Canadian nor American.
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