May 28, 2024


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Unique features that differentiate American and Canadian football


It may look identical to the casual observer but American and Canadian football have many differences. The two gridiron sports are popular in their respective countries with American football being the more popular option.

Firstly, let’s compare the prominence of these sports. The United States treats football as one of its biggest sports events. Most people will look at American football as the bigger dog in this comparison because it has a richer history and it is more well known because of the National Football League.

American football is well-established in the United States because it is seen as the number one sport in the country over other sports like basketball and baseball. On the other hand, football is not as big in Canada because of the popularity of ice hockey. However, they still have big markets compared to other sports. You can even see the market for football betting in Canada is huge because Canadian football has started to grow exponentially. Now, let’s talk about the differences between the two so you can learn more about these two sports.

More players in Canadian football

In American football, there are 11 players on each side of the field but in Canadian football, you can see 12 people playing on each side.

This might sound like a small change but it has become one of the most important differences between both sports. This means that the CFL playstyle will be more defensive-driven because of the additional player. Most of the time, defence is the part of the game that is boosted but some people gravitate towards being an extra piece on offence.

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The extra player will usually be placed in the backfield position on offence which usually turns into a defensive back when the possession shifts. It also allows for more freedom to explore on defence which makes for gritty matches. There will be a lot of variety in the games because the added variables will boost the possibilities in the game.

The field is bigger in Canadian football

American football uses a field that is 120 yards in length and 53 yards in width. This is the standard size for an American football field but Canadian football has something different. In the Great White North, football is played on fields that are 150 yards in length and 65 yards in width.

Since there are more players on the field, there needs to be more space on the field for them. There is more freedom in the field which makes for an exciting product. They have to cover more distance on these fields which makes for a different yet awesome experience when you’re watching or playing football.

More downs in American football

To advance the ball 10 yards, American football has allowed for downs. This makes for faster games because the offensive teams want to get the most points possible. It’s mostly quarterbacks and wide receivers that thrive in this format because they can afford to take risky plays. In this case, they can keep playing until four downs compared to Canada which only has three.

With only three downs, Canadian football has a quicker pace. When paired with the bigger field, you can see the reason why fans of Canadian football are ardent watchers. Canadian players have to maximise the time that they have been given which is why you can see players zipping across the field just to find a spot.

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The three down-rule has also helped balance the game between offence and defence. The Canadian version requires the defensive team to step away from the line of scrimmage which leaves more possibilities for creating space between the defence and offence.

The NFL and CFL have different formats

These two sports have their respective leagues that promote the strengths of their sport. When it comes to their schedules and formats, the NFL regular season will involve 17 games that run from September to January. The playoffs will then run through the next month with the Super Bowl being played on the first Sunday of the match. The NFL is arguably the biggest sports league in North America which is seen in its viewership on TV and in the stadium.

Compared to that, the CFL is smaller because they are not one of the most popular leagues in the NA region. The CFL starts earlier with their 18-game season because it begins in July and ends in November. They have their own version of the Super Bowl called the Grey Cup played on the last Sunday in November.

These are just a few of the biggest differences between American and Canadian football. They are two of the best sports in NA and you should try to enter the betting markets as well. Aside from the NFL, you can have fun by partaking in football betting in Canada, particularly the CFL.