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The Differences between American Football and Canadian Football (NFL vs CFL) – EXPLAINED!

The Differences between American Football and Canadian Football (NFL vs CFL) – EXPLAINED!


Ninh Explains the Difference between American
Football and Canadian Football. This is a game of American Football.
This is a game of Canadian Football. They both look the same, so they must be the
same sport, right? Well – no. Not quite. There’s several rule differences between
the two that makes them almost completely different sports.
Before I explain the differences, if you guys want a more detailed explanation of the rules
of these games, click here for American football and here for Canadian Football. Right, so … differences. Let’s start with
the field. The Canadian field is both longer and wider
than its southern counterpart. An American football field is 100 yards by
53 yards. The Canadian football field is 110 yards by
65 yards. The reason why it’s 110 yards is that Canada
(with its love for the metric system) originally specified that the field should be 100 metres
… and 100 metres is roughly 110 yards! American football endzones are 10 yards long
with the goalposts at the rear. Canadian football endzones are 20 yards long
with the goalposts at the front goal line. So how about the players?
There are 11 players on the field per side in American Football.
Canadian Football has 12 players per side. In American Football, only 1 man is allowed
move during the snap and can only move laterally or backward.
In Canadian Football, anyone who isn’t a quarterback or a lineman can move in any direction
before the snap. In American Football, defensive players are
allowed to line up at the line of scrimmage In Canada, defensive players have to line
up 1 yard away from the line of scrimmage. How about some rules differences? Well …
In American Football, you have four downs to make 10 yards.
In Canadian Football, you only have 3 downs to make those same 10 yards.
In American Football, you can signal for a fair catch, allowing the receiver to catch
the ball safely. The Canadians think that this is an abomination
and they don’t have a fair catch rule. In American Football, you have either 25 seconds
or 40 seconds to play the ball. In Canada, you only get 20 seconds.
And you get a two minute warning in American, and a 3 minute warning in Canadian. The scoring is exactly the same in both games,
except in Canada you get 1 point for missing a field goal. Wait what? Missing a field goal? Yep, if you
miss a field goal and it clears the endzone, the kicking team gets a point. This is known
as a ‘rouge’, but more commonly known as a ‘single’.
You can also score a single by tackling a ball carrier in their endzone after a field
goal attempt or punt attempt. To add further confusion, a kicker is allowed
to recover his own kick so long as it travels 10 yards in Canadian Football, whereas south
of the border it has to travel at least 10 yards AND be touched by an opposing player.
In American Football, a missed punt or missed field goal is ruled ‘dead’ and play stops.
In Canadian Football, a missed punt or missed field goal is ruled ‘live’ and the other
team may run with the ball to try and score a touchdown. There are other rule differences between the
two, but these are the main ones that you need to know about. So what does all this mean?
These rules generally mean that American Football is more defensively and tactically minded.
The extra down means that the American game is balanced between running the football,
passing the football and kicking the football. Canadian Football, they have one less down
to move the ball 10 yards, so emphasis is usually based on passing the football.
Kicking is more important in the Canadian game, as kicking the ball occurs more frequently.
The 1 yard gap rule and the fact that there’s only three downs is a severe disadvantage
to the defences of Canadian teams. This means that it’s pretty much an offensive
shootout every game, with high scores being the norm.
American football players tend to be bigger in size and strength, whilst in Canadian Football,
the players are slightly smaller as they need to be able to move more and be faster than
their American counterparts. There are various myths that people think
about these two types of football, and I’m here to hopefully dispel some of them. MYTH 1: Canada has bigger balls.
It’s a common misconception that the balls in Canadian football are bigger, but the actual
allowed dimensions fall into each other’s specifications meaning that they in theory
both sports can use the same ball. Given also that both balls are made by the same manufacturer
– it seems implausible that Wilson would have two different machines that make two
different balls that vary by only a couple of millimetres. (Hint – they don’t!) MYTH 2: The CFL is just a graveyard for has-been
NFL and College players. Actually, the CFL has actually produced many
top players that went on to have good NFL careers such as Joe Theismann, Warren Moon
and Doug Flutie. MYTH 3: Canadian Football has taken American
Football rules and blatantly changed them. Hate to burst your bubble there Yanks, but
the Canadians invented their game first. MYTH 4: Canadian Football is inferior to American
Football. I wouldn’t say that. I mean sure if you’re
talking about the amount of money it generates and the amount of money the players get paid,
American football wins hands down. But in terms of the actual sport itself, Canadian
Football is not inferior, it’s just different to the American game.
I watch both kinds of football regularly and I can honestly say that I prefer Canadian
Football, but that’s just me. You’re entitled to think differently. If you have found this video helpful, please
comment rate and subscribe. It takes ages to make these things and good karma is appreciated.
Likewise for further explanation of the rules for each game, see my other videos. Ninh Ly, www.ninh.co.uk, @NinhLyUK

Comments (100)

  1. Yes, I'm fully aware that there were a few errors in this video. (Metric system, 10 yards for a kick, missed field goal is live, Alaska is not part of Canada etc.) I corrected these with annotations, which you should be seeing in the video as the errors come up. Can people please stop pointing these things out, as they appear on screen and it's visible enough to read?
    This was one of my first attempts at video production and have improved massively since 3 years ago.

  2. CFL > NFL for me. Like the offensive drive like the video says. More hits it seems. Went to a B.C game a few years ago, cheap tickets great game.

  3. The big difference I notice is that in cfl you have time for 2 possessions. You can't just run the clock down which makes for more exciting endings

  4. Nonnononono…CANADIANS have bigger balls

    Edit: warren moon was in the nfl before he was in the cfl

  5. Personally, I find Canadian football to be much more interesting than American football.

    I started watching Canadian football last summer and I have to say my mind was blown by the number of differences from American football. If I could choose, I'd have to say I prefer Canadian football over American football.

  6. That's fine but I can't get over the uprights being in the way in Canada. Isn't that just dumb to have them there.

  7. The size of a Canadian field has nothing to do with the metric system. We converted to metric in the 1970s, while Canadian football (and rugby before that) was played for decades before that.

    Also, trivia, but until the 1980s CFL end zones were 25 yards deep, in the mid 80s it was changed to 20 yards.

  8. Also back in the 80s, the CFL ball WAS a different size. The ball was known as a “J5V” and it was quite a bit rounder than an NFL ball. The CFL changed to an NFL sized ball in the mid 80s after the USFL failed and there was an influx of talent north.

  9. 1:49 Am I the only one who thinks that Canada beating the US in American football is probably the most ironic thing ever

  10. Two different sports 100%

  11. CFL has played US teams in the past. Many American players have come North and cant adjust to our game so dont just throw it out there that the CFL would get destroyed by the NFL. They are much different games. That and part Canada is developing good football players. Canada has won the IFAF U-19 World Cup more than any other country.

  12. I hate how the goal post is in front of the end zone. Impossible to throw a pass down the middle into the end zone. Very difficult at the very least

  13. The CFL did (at one time) use bigger footballs. The size was standardized in order to help reduce costs and to try to increase scoring in the league.

  14. Thanks man
    I'm from Germany and I'm playing American football here. I will go to Canada next year so I'm happy that there is someone like you to explain me the differences

  15. Love the breakdown!!! Spot on!

  16. Now what’s the difference between American football and Australian football?

  17. Great video and props for spreading the good word of Canadian Football! It's a shame that so many Canadians, particularly in the bigger cities dismiss it as "amateur".

  18. I much prefer watching Canadian football, especially my former home team—the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The reduced number of downs makes the game faster and more aggressive, with lots more passing and elaborate running plays. I find American rules football rather slow and tedious in comparison, simply because of the luxury of that extra down to make 10 yards. That said, I don't agree with the Canadian rules 1 point for a field goal that goes beyond the end of the field. That's a goofy rule that was developed after I left Canada in 1986 to live in the U.S. with my American wife. The only problem I have is that I don't get to watch live TV Canadian football, and a subscription to ESPN is too expensive just for Canadian football season.

  19. It’s like rugby union and rugby league.

  20. Basically the Canadian one is nfl blitz

  21. Canada the peaceful country of the world

  22. Does any body remember when the CFL expanded in the the USA?

  23. 3:51. “Canada has bigger balls.” You got me trippin honestly!😂😂😂

  24. I find the Canadian game more entertaining

  25. I agree that Canadian football is a better game and more enjoyable to watch.

  26. I’m American and I like CFL more

  27. Wait… there's an international American football competition. So there's an American American football team and a Canadian American football team?

    I'm lost.

  28. Alabama would easily beat any CFL team. Probably any top 10 NCAA team has superior talent.

  29. Canada if you change your rules we will give you an nfl team 😃

  30. I work retail and i get paid more than Canadian football players 🤣🤣🤣

  31. Captions: English, French.

    cute, eh?

  32. great video.. thumbs up
    BTW, I'm in Texas, just kicking back watching some CFL on ESPN. i like it a lot.
    looks like it's more fun to actually play. thanks

  33. I’m sorry but I need to point out mistakes that make me angry: Myth 1 was incorrect- the fact is, Canadian ball are bigger, and coloured differently, and because of this Wilson DOES have more than one machine to make each ball, and in fact Wilson has MANY different machines to make different balls, for example, you can buy Wilson mini balls, junior balls, nfl, or cfl balls, and to make these you WOULD need more than 1 machine!

    You also mentioned that on a kickoff in the CFL the kicker can recover the ball once it pasts the line of scrimmage, when any player on kickoff can actually recover the ball, once it has traveled at least 10 yard! I think you were thinking of a punt where the punter, and any player behind him is onside, and will not be penalized for no yard if he attempts to recover the ball!

    I am a referee, in different Canadian football leagues and know the rules! Also, I own a variety of Wilson balls and it is obvious that they are different sizes, and cfl balls actually cost more to buy than an nfl ball – a cfl ball was about $120 and an nfl ball is around 90 (I think, it was a while ago)

  34. thank you for those informations!!

  35. I don't care about Canadian football or anything else Canadian. But I was talking to Doug Flutie once, and he gave a very long talk about how he liked Canadian football better than the NFL. And as he played in both, and I've played in neither, I guess his word counts for something.

  36. its funny when people say that the cfl is a nfl knock off when we had the sport first lol, grey cup is much much older than the tom brady bowl 😀 Plus in the CFL you can win games on missed kicks or punts so it makes the returners have to be much more aware of their surroundings, just ask rainey of the argos about that what happened on saturdya night when he tried to return a missed field goal out of his endzone only to realize he stepped out of the endzone before doing so, this is why the CFL to me will always be more interesting than the nfl, you can have a 7 point lead in the nfl at halftime and sit on it and win 99 percent of the time but the cfl you can hav a 20 point lead and blow it with 10 mins left, just a more unique sport.

  37. I wish CFL wouldn't be underrated and it would be more popular and known as NFL Greetings from a new CFL fan from Mexico

  38. On punt there’s no fair catch in Canada but returners are given 5 yards space or a no yards penalty is called

  39. Like to have 2 american teams play Canadian rules. On a Canadian field, would be interesting.

  40. 0:53 (not important) why is Alaska with canada

    Amazing video!

  41. The biggest difference is one's in the United States and one's in Canada.

  42. Wish there is a way to have an NFL team vs CFL team game someday. If there was a way we can alter the rules to accommodate both teams, we can have something called "The Champions Bowl". It will pit the Super Bowl champs against the Grey Cup champs.

  43. An interesting note is that the CFL is several years older than the NFL. Tjus the NFL is a spin off from the CFL. Thus the NFL concept or idea is a copy cat or a modified version of a successful business vrnture. The MFL created nothing new just "improved" a sport then claimed it as their own brilliant conceptual idea. They have always been king of manipulating mere perception of their peoples:
    P R E T E N D I N G and D E C E I V I N G
    those that pay their salaries (definitely not a novel idea, for politicians on all levels of governmeny have always done this without a conscience that the indwelling Holy Ghost csn work with. They are all hopelessly lost and useless to anyone other than themselves. Selfish loveless and souless: paraditical to the host the live off of).

  44. Canadien football has the five yard rule that’s why there’s no fair catch

  45. When "imports" . Thats Americans coming up to play in the CFL love love love the size of the end zones. A QB or wide recievers just love the size of the end zones. I have seen thousands of NFL games after the CFL season is done. and noted lack or room to through the ball. Their end zones get to be crowded vary fast. An American wide reciever (import) seeing the size of the CFL end zone say OMG & think I have died and gone to heaven.

  46. The CFL is good summer football. CFL ends in November.

  47. Doug Flutie would say I like throing "outside the numbers" (on the field) because of the wider field.

  48. The actor Woody Strode of Sparticus movie fame played for the Calgary Stampeders.

  49. One time an American called Canada "The land of the black quarter back" as in Chuck Ellie, Warren Moon, Barret and many more. and the first black head Coach for Toronto.

  50. The main reason many like the NFL better is because it looks better on TV. better close ups more cameras. better slow motion replays etc etc. Some games televised for a CFL game must have had cameras put in the nose blead section. But it is getting better. but you still can not top the NFL for hipe and the seamingly 200 cameras per game.

  51. A Canadian football is bigger…

  52. I only watch CFL. 4 downs just seems to wierd to me. How do you not get a first down with 4 downs?

  53. I realize this is an older video, and things may have changed a bit. But to my understanding NFL overtime is sudden death. Where as CFL is considerably different.

  54. NCAA football IMO is better than the NFL and the CFL. It's usually more offensive and faster paced than the NFL but still has good defensive play and formations which the CFL clearly lacks.

  55. Years ago the Canadian football was made by Spalding and those balls were a bit more portly.

    The then Spalding football was called a J5V

    The name goes back to when the. CFL was actually called the Canadian Rugby Union. The ball they originally bought came from the then Eatons Catalog

    Section J
    Page 5
    Item V

    Hense J5V

    In the late 90's the CFL switched from Spalding to Wilson hense why the two footballs are in the same manufacturing parameters.

    Oh the Canadian ball has those two stripes. They are there for a reason.

    In measuring for a first down using the yard chains the NFL uses the nose of the football to get a first down. In the CFL the stripe must pass the marker chain.

  56. Canada has bigger balls

    Not inaccurate. Just in a different way

  57. The NFL is actually really good to the CFL. They don't see them as competition, they treat the CFL quite well. Believe it or not. I'm Canadian & pay attention. I ❤️em both.🇨🇦/🇺🇸

  58. NFL came before CFL

  59. Alouettes de Montreal

  60. Unfortunately, this sport will be decaying because of head trauma and CTE

  61. Does the UK use metric?

  62. my naighbors nephew plays Canadian football as a qb

  63. took me 10 seconds on google that cfl was started in 1958 but the nfl was started in 1920.

  64. 4:35 i found my poutine

  65. Great work on this

  66. Both versions are great IMO, although the NFL cant beat the CFL Thursday Night Football theme song

  67. You can return missed field goals in the NFL. They call it a kick six (instead of pick 6 where an interception is returned for a touchdown). Also, blocked field goals behind the line of scrimmage can be recovered by the defense and scored.

  68. CFL is the better sport – there's a reason it's called the "No Fun League". NFL could easily add a few things to improve their sport – such as multiple players in motion… But the biggest difference of 3 and 4 downs makes the CFL so much more entertaining. Let's admit it, there are only so many times we can wait a minute just to see a running back smash into a wall of humanity for no gain before it starts to get tedious.

  69. One difference, we're not as polite when running you over

  70. The Canadian football 🏈 needs to change all their rules except for 1 just like the NFL & I guarantee more NFL players will come to CFL & have a beautiful career. It will bring more teams & great business to the CFL if they decide to follow the path of the NFL.

  71. I find the ftoni field goal post stupid in Canadian football. It interferes with the play and players but I guess you can call it a twist

  72. Can u do a video on how baseball is played differently in Canada and America?

  73. The ball is bigger in cfl

  74. Thank you. That was very informative.

  75. Should have mentioned the no-yards penalty as well

  76. Inferiority is inherent if NFL generates billions more than CFL😒

  77. You can say that our northern neighbor is more scientific.

  78. Canadian fan here. I've watched both through the years and prefer the pace of the CFL way more. More explosive plays and a shorter time to get it together on the field.

  79. Uhhh…no. Canada didn't "adopt" a 110 yard field because it was 100m (metric). Canada didn't adopt the metric system until 1970, and had been playing football since 1896. Not only that but between 1906 – 1911 American teams played on 110 yard fields and with 3 downs not 4.

  80. In American football the opposing team does not have to touch the ball after 10 yards for u to recover the ball on a kick off, just needs to travel 10 yards. If the opposing team touches the ball before 10 yards the kicking team can recover it.

  81. Does anyone actually think of the CFL as a competitor to the NFL? Like it might be the closest thing to its level but come on. Everybody thinks of it as a development league for players trying to make the NFL

  82. Don’t get the Goal post at the front.

  83. I’ve seen QB hitting the goalpost when WR was clearly open. Also most likely to get injured from front post compared to back post.

  84. The real difference is CFL sticks closer to rugby rules, that`s why the field is bigger and the point system too.

  85. Imagine being tied at the championship game and with no time left, have a bad kick and still win the match

  86. i think we should invade canada and make them play american football … but that's just me.

  87. I prefer the NFL's fair catch compared to the CFL's "No Yards" Penalty". Makes me mad when I watch a CFL game and a team is penalized for not giving the kickoff receiver 10 yards

  88. The CFL is a much faster game and the teams are evenly matched that makes for close games. They are usually high scoring games and the CFL game a lead is never truly safe because of the comebacks CFL teams can make in just a couple of minutes. The CFL quarterbacks need to run just as pass and speed is prefered in their players. There is great special teams because of the wide field where you see incredible runs from punts and kickoffs. The NFL looks slow motion compared to the CFL game and you see much more passing than runs. But defense wins championships in the CFL like the NFL.

  89. Go Riders! Gainer is the greatest mascot in sports!

  90. CFL is more exciting cause there are less downs to make 10 yards which makes it difficult but i results in literally twice as many punts as an NFL game, NFL is a slower game having 40 seconds on the play clock gives lots of time to set up each play and more downs to make 10 yards can be kind of boring but there are more offensive plays so its based on perception but i enjoy both games

  91. I'd like to know more about how all codes of football are related. Very good video!

  92. Interesting that the CFL doesn’t have larger footballs because in the 90s they used that as a marketing line. Something like “We have bigger balls”, to try and promote CFL.

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