Canadian Football

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  • Canadian football

    The University of Alberta Golden Bears (at left, in

    white) line up on offence against the University of

    Calgary Dinos.

    Highest governing body Canadian Football League

    Nickname(s) Football, Gridiron football

    First played November 9, 1861


    Contact Full-contact

    Team members 12 at a time

    Categorization Outdoor

    Equipment Football

    Olympic No

    Diagram of a Canadian football field

    Canadian footballFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played in Canada inwhich two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a

    field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide[1]

    attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposingteam's scoring area (end zone). In Canada, the term football usuallyrefers to Canadian football and American football collectively, or eithersport specifically, depending on the context. The two sports haveshared origins and are closely related, but have significant differences.In particular, Canadian football has 12 players on the field per teamrather than 11; the field is roughly 10 yards wider, and 10 yards longerbetween end zones that are themselves 10 yards deeper; and a teamhas only three downs to gain 10 yards, which results in less offensiverushing than in the American game.

    Rugby football in Canada originated in the early 1860s,[2] and overtime, the unique game known as Canadian football developed. Both theCanadian Football League (CFL), the sport's top professional league,and Football Canada, the governing body for amateur play, trace theirroots to 1884 and the founding of the Canadian Rugby Football Union.Currently active teams such as the Toronto Argonauts and HamiltonTiger-Cats have similar longevity. The CFL is the most popular andonly major professional Canadian football league. Its championshipgame, the Grey Cup, is the country's single largest sporting event,attracting a broad television audience (in 2009, about 40% of Canada's

    population watched part of the game).[3] Canadian football is alsoplayed at the high school, junior, collegiate, and semi-professionallevels: the Canadian Junior Football League and Quebec JuniorFootball League are leagues for players aged 1822, many post-secondary institutions compete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport forthe Vanier Cup, and senior leagues such as the Alberta FootballLeague have grown in popularity in recent years. Great achievementsin Canadian football are enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall ofFame.

    Other organizations across Canada perform senior league Canadianfootball during the summer.


    1 History

    2 League play3 The field4 Play of the game

    4.1 Kickoff4.2 Stoppage of play4.3 Scrimmage

  • Footballs and a helmet at a Calgary

    Stampeders (CFL) team practice

    4.4 Live play4.5 Change in possession4.6 Rules of contact

    4.7 Infractions and penalties4.8 Kicking4.9 Scoring

    4.9.1 Resumption of play4.10 Game timing4.11 Overtime

    5 Players5.1 Offence5.2 Defence5.3 Special teams

    6 See also7 Notes and references8 External links


    The first documented gridiron football match was a game played on November 9, 1861, at University College, University ofToronto (approximately 400 yards west of Queen's Park). One of the participants in the game involving University of Torontostudents was (Sir) William Mulock, later Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon

    afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear.[2]

    In 1864, at Trinity College, Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland and Frederick A. Bethune devised rules based on rugby football.However, modern Canadian football is widely regarded as having originated with a game of rugby played in Montreal, in

    1865, when British Army officers played local civilians.[2] The game gradually gained a following, and the Montreal FootballClub was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada.

    This rugby-football soon became popular at Montreal's McGill University. McGill challenged Harvard University to a game, in


    Predecessors of the Canadian Football League include the Canadian Rugby Football Union (CRFU), and the CanadianRugby Union. The CRFU, original forerunner to the current Canadian Football League, was established in 1882.

    The Burnside rules were implemented in the early part of the 20th century in an effort to transition from a more rugby-orientedgame to a game more closely resembling American football. In general, the evolution of Canadian football has generally laggedbehind that of the American game by several years or even decades in some cases. Forward passes were not allowed in theCanadian game until 1929, and touchdowns, which had been five points, were only increased to six points in 1956, in part toplacate the new base of American fans brought on by a new television contract. Several relics of the older game remain inCanadian football: the use of only three downs, the longer 110 yard field (the field is still measured in yards, even though therest of Canada switched to the metric system in the 1970s), the larger number of players on the field, and unrestricted forwardmotion on the offensive side of the ball.

    The Grey Cup was established in 1909 as the championship of all of Canadian football. Initially an amateur competition, iteventually became dominated by professional teams in the 1940s and early 1950s. The Ontario Rugby Football Union, the lastamateur organization to compete for the trophy, withdrew from competition in 1954. The move, coupled with theestablishment of a well-paying American television contract (Canadian television had carried games since the debut of themedium in 1952), ushered in the modern era of Canadian professional football. The Canadian Football League establisheditself as an organization in 1958.

  • Canadian football has mostly been contained to Canada, with the United States being the only other country to have hosted ahigh-level Canadian football game. The CFL's controversial "South Division" as it would come to be officially knownattempted to put CFL teams in the United States playing under Canadian rules between 1992 and 1995. The move wasmostly a failure, although the Baltimore Stallions became the only U.S.-based team to win the Grey Cup during this era.

    As of 2013, Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province that has neither organized Canadian football at the college,professional or amateur level, nor has hosted a CFL or college game. Prince Edward Island, the smallest of the provinces, hasalso never hosted a CFL game.

    A game between theHamilton Tigers and theOttawa Rough Riders,1910

    A game between the 4thCanadian ArmouredDivision Atoms and 1stCanadian Army Red andBlue Bombers, inUtrecht, Netherlands,October 1945

    Touchdown monumentoutside the CanadianFootball Hall of Fame inHamilton, Ontario

    League play

    Canadian football is played at several levels in Canada; the top league is the professional eight-team Canadian FootballLeague (CFL). The CFL regular season begins in June, and playoffs for the Grey Cup are completed by mid-November. Incities with outdoor stadiums such as Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Hamilton, and Regina, low temperatures andicy field conditions can seriously affect the outcome of a game.

    Amateur football is governed by Football Canada. At the university level, 26 teams play in four conferences under theauspices of Canadian Interuniversity Sport; the CIS champion is awarded the Vanier Cup. Junior football is played by manyafter high school before joining the university ranks. There are 20 junior teams in three divisions in the Canadian JuniorFootball League competing for the Canadian Bowl. The Quebec Junior Football League includes teams from Ontario andQuebec who battle for the Manson Cup.

    Semi-professional leagues have grown in popularity in recent years, with the Alberta Football League becoming especiallypopular. The Northern Football Conference formed in Ontario in 1954 has also surged in popularity as College players thatdo not continue to or get drafted to a professional team but still want to continue playing football. The Ontario champion playsagainst the Alberta champion for the "National Championship". The Canadian Major Football League is the governing bodyfor the semi-professional game.

    Women's football is starting to gain attention in Canada. The first Canadian women's league to begin operations was theMaritime Women's Football League in 2004. The largest women's league is the Western Women's Canadian Football League.

    The field

  • Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium:

    the largest venue in the Canadian

    Football League

    The Canadian football field is 150 yards (137 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide with end zones 20 yards (18 m) deep, andgoal lines 110 yards (101 m) apart. At each goal line is a set of 40-foot-high (12 m)

    goalposts, which consist of two uprights joined by an 18 12-foot-long (5.6 m)

    crossbar which is 10 feet (3 m) above the goal line. The goalposts may be H-shaped (both posts fixed in the ground) although in the higher-calibre competitionsthe tuning-fork design (supported by a single curved post behind the goal line, sothat each post starts 10 feet (3 m) above the ground) is preferred. The sides of thefield are marked by white sidelines, the goal line is marked in white, and white lines

    are drawn laterally across the field every 5 yards (4.6 m) from the goal line.[1] Theselateral lines are called "yard lines" and often marked with the distance in yards fromand an arrow pointed toward the nearest goal line. In previous decades, arrowswere not used