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Why You Should Watch the Canadian Football League

There is no better time to get into the sport of Canadian football than now.
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay:


Last month, millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the 58th Super Bowl — the pinnacle of professional American football. For decades, American football has been the go-to sports entertainment in American households. But, unbeknownst to many, you’ll find a whole different kind of football north of the border.

What is Canadian Football?

Played on 110 yards of turf, Canadian football is a fast-paced and beautiful sport. With similarities to American football, the sport is easy to pick up, while the differences make it all the more exciting to watch.

In fact, Canadian football actually predates American football, being a relative to the American pastime. As a result of this, the Canadian sport has maintained several aspects that were derived from rugby — the origin sport of both American and Canadian football.

So what makes Canadian football so different when compared to American football? For starters, as previously mentioned, the field of play is dimensioned differently. In Canadian football, you will find longer and wider fields, deeper endzones, and goalposts at the goal line. Additionally, Canadian football teams are allowed 12 players on the field at once — one more than is allowed in its American counterpart.

The most noticeable difference, however, has to be the number of downs. In Canadian football, teams have only three “downs” to earn the line to gain. This difference is by far the most impactful.

With fewer attempts, drives are shorter, offenses are more pass-oriented and both teams see more possessions. As a result, Canadian football games carry a consistent level of excitement throughout the entire game. With these rules, it’s a lot more difficult for a team to be “out” of a game. In fact, the phrase “no lead is safe” has become a staple for the sport.

As one digs deeper into the rules of Canadian football, they will find all sorts of quirks. For example, the “rouge,” a fan-favorite rule, says when the ball is kicked across the goal line and is not brought out of the endzone, the kicking team is awarded a single point.

A single point, which is almost impossible to gain in American football, has a larger impact on the game than one might expect. In fact, rouges have even changed the entire trajectories of some of the biggest games.

Each year the Grey Cup wraps a ribbon on the season, crowning the champion. The Grey Cup has become a national spectacle for Canadians. Many fans travel long distances just to attend the game. With a long history — the game itself is older than the NFL — the tradition each Grey Cup game carries is beyond notable.

Perfect Time to Start

With the off-season in full swing and the start of the 2024 season looming, there is no better time to get into the sport of Canadian football than now. Last year, the Canadian Football League started its CFL+ platform. This platform has made games more accessible for fans in the United States and it is completely free.

The Canadian Football League has a long history, providing new fans with countless stories. The CFL has been a hotbed of talent for generations, producing star NFL players. Legends like Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Joe Theismann, Chad Johnson and more all played in the CFL. More recently, former BC Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke produced a viral play for the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason.

Furthermore, Canadian football is once again on the rise. The CFL saw a notable jump in viewership during the most recent season. Continuing talks of expansion look to extend the reach of the sport. Recently, the CFL has organized games hosted in markets without teams to spread the game. With these games, the league tests the feasibility of potential expansion locations and provides opportunities for new fans to attend and experience games.

The CFL has made it easy to get into the sport, even creating a “team-picker” for new fans. The fan culture within the CFL is beyond significant. It is not uncommon to see fans extremely dedicated to their teams and the league as a whole. With continued fan support, the CFL has recently been able to grow and strive.

Considering the fan culture, accessibility, state of the league and proximity to the start of the season, now is a better time than ever to get into the CFL. Games of utter excitement await, so pick a team and tune in this summer for the 2024 season.


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About the Contributor
Jonah Marriott
Jonah Marriott, Sports Writer
(he/him) Jonah Marriott is sports writer from Ogden, Utah. He inherited his love for sports from his parents and is an avid fan of the major Detroit sports franchises. He joined the Chronicle in the fall of 2023 and is studying mechanical engineering.

Comments (8)

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  • S

    SteveApr 9, 2024 at 3:27 pm

    2023 Grey Cup is the perfect example of how thrilling a CFL game can be. There are so many games that are decided in the last 3 minutes that it’s really worth watching.

  • M

    MnbluebomberfanApr 8, 2024 at 1:47 pm

    I am a recent convert to 12man3down football, but US 11man football seems alien to me now. Canadian football is much more entertaining. I might also mention that freer pre-snap motion on offense and the defense required to line up a yard off the line of scrimmage partially offsets the obstacle of only four downs. Other rule differences help make the game even more inter- esting, but there are too many to detail here. Look up CFL on You Tube and you will find many samples to study.

  • B

    Best Damn RefereeMar 6, 2024 at 6:59 am

    I have followed the CFL for years. I have season tickets for the Grey Cup winners 🏆🏈🇨🇦 Montréal Alouettes and also the B.C. Lions. The game is worth watching now and in the future. Grey Cup is in Vancouver and I can’t wait for the season to begin.

  • P

    PierreMar 5, 2024 at 4:59 pm

    Unfortunately until the CFL accepts change & gets modern it will continue to be an afterthought, nothing has changed !

    • D

      DamonMar 5, 2024 at 7:11 pm

      What’s changes ? And what changes you would like to see Pierre.

    • R

      Richard OlenderApr 8, 2024 at 7:41 am

      What changes? How is it not modern?
      Do you want it to be like the NFL where you need a giant arrow on the screen to tell you which way the offence is moving?

    • S

      SteveApr 9, 2024 at 3:24 pm

      Following CFL Football since 50 years, CFL evolved and modernized its game way more than NFL. Thence, I fail to understand your point. Please give us more details on your thought so we can get in which way you state this.

  • K

    KarenMar 5, 2024 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks for spreading the word about the CFL. I have been a season ticket holder for over 40 years – although I am a huge fan of my hometown team (Hamilton Tiger Cats), I am also a big fan of the league!
    Exciting games, last possession wins, walk-off field goals, punt return TDs….it’s true what they say: It ain’t over til it’s over!
    Good story, I hope it draws some more eyeballs to the league