An American's Guide to the Canadian Football League


If you are an American contemplating a move to Canada if Trump wins the presidential election, get ready to learn a new national anthem, deal with a different currency, convert to the metric system, embrace the NHL, and trade the NFL for the CFL.

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Not so sure about that last one? Never fear—the following guide to the key differences between the National Football League and the Canadian Football League should help you out. Here is what you should look for:

The fields are different sizes
Canada is a big country, so perhaps it makes sense that they play football on a bigger field. The standard Canadian field of play is 101 m by 59 m while the American standard is 91 m by 49 m. The biggest difference are the end zones, which in Canada are 10 yards deeper than American football end zones.

The Canadians have more players
Used to making sure there are only 11 players on the field? Get ready to count to 12, since Canadian teams add an extra player, most often in the backfield (so the line of scrimmage will look the same).

But there are fewer downs
Instead of having four downs to move the football ten yards, Canadians have only three downs.

Canadians allow more motion
At the snap in the NFL, players on the line of scrimmage are virtually nose to nose and only one player is allowed to move behind the line. CFL players are further apart and much more motion is allowed. As a result, the use of big, impenetrable players on the offensive line isn't as necessary and CFL players tend to be smaller and more nimble.

Expect more passing and less rushing
Since Canadians have more yardage to cover in a shorter period of time to achieve a touchdown, Canadians tend to favor more of a passing game than a rushing game. The extra movement of players behind the line also facilitates a passing game.

Victoria Otto Franzese owned, operated, and wrote for a successful online travel guide for 15 years. Now, thankfully, all of her travel is purely for fun. See where she's going next at @VOFranzese.


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