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American Football VS Canadian Football: What’s The Difference?

Posted on: February 21, 2023. Last updated on: February 21, 2023 American Football VS Canadian

Football is a beloved sport in Canada and the USA, but each country’s version of the game varies significantly. US Gridiron football differs drastically from Canadian football, from the number of players to points awarded and rules enforced. Are you curious if these two versions are truly different? Read on to find out more.

The Difference Between Canadian & American Football

Here are some of the things that make the football played in the US different from the one played in Canada. 

The Game Location

When compared with their NFL [National Football League] counterparts, the football fields in Canada are much more significant. The field measures around 110 x 65 yards, and in the US, the football pitches are 100 x 531/3 yards. This indicates that the CFL fields are 34% larger than their NFL counterparts. They are also pretty wide and long. Since the CFL fields are more extensive, the players must also cover the additional space while playing. 

Punt Returns And Fair Catches

In the NFL, the punt returns will send out a signal by waving their hands that they might not catch the ball and advance the gameplay with immediate effect. But as per the rules, the opposing teams must permit him to catch the ball without any interference.  

This rule is called the fair catch rule. It might sound a bit unjust towards the opposing team, but fairness regulations are pretty standard in sports like basketball, soccer and many more. Even online casinos have fairness rules.  

But in CFL, you will not encounter such a rule. In Canada, the opposing rules must stay at least 5 yards away from the ball. Also, they cannot attack until the punter from the opposite team catches the ball. 


Another difference between Canadian and American football is that all the rules are linked to a scrimmage. It means how a game will begin. In the CFL or Canadian Football League, the match starts with a snap. But in the US, there is no need for football matches to have the same beginning. 

Also, the distance between the zone of scrimmage and the defensive squad is different in both NFL and CFL. The distance is about 11 inches in the NFL, and in CFL, the distance is around 1 yard. The difference will have a massive influence on a player’s reaction both in offence and defence. 

The Number of Downs

The most glaring difference between NFL and CFL is the number of downs on all sides. The NFL has four downs when compared with the CFL’s three. For such reasons, the offensive players in CFL happen to be more aggressive when passing the 10-yard mark. Along with that, the number of downs grabs the attention of many critics where Gridiron is played. 

Many commentators in the NFL argue that the number of downs enables the players to become much more open and relaxed rather than showing their aggression. The CFL fans utilize their passion for the game and charge themselves up. This is one of the reasons why the CFL is superior to the NFL. 

Points For Each Touchdown

In CFL and NFL, teams are allowed to be the attacking team to obtain extra points right after a touchdown. The units can earn touchdown points through the scrimmage zone or kicks. But the main difference between these two leagues is about ‘where the ball is placed to make the points.’

The NFL teams place their ball within a 15-yard line within the 33-yard line. 

The two yard-line is for the conversion attempt. The CFL teams position their ball within a 25-yard line when they want a 3-yard line attempt. Otherwise, they are free to place the ball at the 3-yard line for a conversion attempt.

The Time Rules

In Canadian Football League, teams should start playing within 20 seconds, right after the referee blows the whistle. Regardless of the preceding circumstances, this particular rule is applied to all types of sport. But in the National Football League, the management differs significantly because of several situations. For instance, all teams must start playing after 20 seconds within the junior division, high school. 

The time rule gets applied to all situations. Also, teams receive around 40 seconds to commence the consecutive or second play in NFL and college football. But if the game is starting right after a penalty, it will take 25 seconds. For time outs, CFL has two time outs for each half and a three-minute warning. Under the NFL, there are three times and a two-minute warning sign.


When betting on the CFL or the NFL, one must always consider the differences in their rules and regulations. To ensure a successful bet, it is essential to be familiar with the particularities of each league before placing any wagers.

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