The old saying “all good things must come to an end”, but when it is your favorite sport you wish the season would never end. The sport with the shortest season is most times the one that is the missed the most.
After the first Sunday in February, we have to wait six months before another snap of football is played. The secret to not having to wait to watch football is to turn the channel to the Canadian Football League.
The CFL season is a 21-week schedule running from June and ending in November so the season comes at an opportunistic time when there is no football. You may think the summer time is not the best time to play football, but the average temperature in Canada during the summer is in the low 70’s compared to the 80’s here in the US.
The game is different compared to the NFL. The CFL is a tad more exciting with more points (23 points per game compared to 22 for the NFL).
Here are a few ways that make the game different:
- CFL fields are both longer (110 yards compared to 100) and wider (65 yards compared to 50). End zones are also deeper (20 yards compared to 10).
- Goal posts are at the front of the end zone whereas they are on the back line in the NFL. This has a few secondary effects such as extra points being taken from the 5 in the CFL (the 15 in the NFL), and makes it more likely that a missed field goal will be returned in the CFL.
- There are 12 players on the field in the CFL with the extra guy on offense in a backfield position; on defense, it can be anything.
- There are three downs to gain 10 yards for a first down in the CFL. Between this and the larger field, this tends to create a more pass-oriented game, as the short running game isn’t as viable.
- In the NFL, only a single offensive player can be moving when the ball is snapped, and the player may not be moving forward. In the CFL, any backs may be moving when the ball is snapped, and in any direction (i.e. WRs can get a running start if they time it right).
- When a ball is fumbled out of bounds in the NFL, it goes to the last team with clear possession; in the CFL, it goes to the last team to touch it.
- No fair catch rule in the CFL; instead, no player except the kicker or a player behind the kicker can approach within five yards of the ball until the receiving team touches the ball.
Additional scoring option in CFL – the “rouge” gives a single point when a kickoff goes out of the end zone or is not returned out of the end zone.
If the viewer can remember these changes then they will enjoy watching the CFL.
If you ever wondered what happened to that one player who was great in college, but did not fair well in the NFL he may be in the CFL (Johnny Manziel plays for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats).
We should appreciate the CFL because without it we would go the whole summer football-less.
You can sit in the dark and wait on the NFL to start back up or you can shine the light on the CFL and be happy with the choice you made.