What Are The Differences Between American and Canadian Football?

Rocketplay Casino observes punters mistaking football for soccer most times, which tends to create confusion. There is football or soccer, then there’s Canadian and American Football. Canadian and American Football is a sport that sees two teams compete for territorial control of a field of play. Each team tries to advance with a pointed end ball to the opposing team’s end zone to score points. This sport is most popular in Canada and America and for a first-timer, they may look identical because they share many same features. However, Canadian Football and American Football differ in many important ways than one which include:

Number of Players

This is the first difference to note between American and Canadian Football. The number of players on each team for the different nationalities also differ. Canadian football has twelve players in each of the teams on the field, while American Football has eleven in each of the teams.


The number of timeouts allowed for Canadian and American Football is also different. For American football, also known as the National Football League (NFL), each of the teams has three timeouts per half, while for Canadian Football League (CFL), each team has one timeout per half. There is also a difference in warnings for the two football leagues as the NFL gives its players a two-minute warning, and the CFL gives its players a three-minute warning.


NFL allows four downs while CFL allows three downs when teams move to advance the ball ten yards.


In both leagues, as in all sports with a ball or a projectile, scoring is essential, and it is identical. Safety can be scored in both leagues, and it is worth two points, a field goal is worth three points, a touchdown scoring is worth six points, and a conversion run is worth two points. Also, an extra kicked point is worth one point in both leagues.

The difference in scoring between both leagues is the range of single points, which is exhibited only in the Canadian Football League. This point is given when the kicking team punts the ball or loses a field goal, and the receiving team successfully catches it and chooses not to run the ball out of their end zone.


A very important difference to note also is the regular season period for each league. The NFL regular seasons start from September to early January, with the Super Bowl scheduled to hold on the first Sunday in February. The CFL, however, begins its season in July and ends in November with the Grey Cup (the equivalent of the Super Bowl) scheduled to hold on the last Sunday in November.

Field Size

Also notable in the differences between American Football and Canadian Football is the length of the pitches. The Canadian pitch is longer at 150-yards while the American pitch is at 120-yards, also wider is the Canadian pitch at 65 yards while the American pitch is at 53 yards.

Punt Returns and Fair Catches

The fair catch rule only applies to the NFL league, and the punt returner can decide to wave their hand to signal a fair catch which means the opposition players are obliged to not tackle or make contact with them. The punt returner, however, must not advance the ball.

Whereas in the Canadian Football League, there is no fair catch rule, and the punting team is obliged to give the punt returner five-yard space to grab the ball in the air, or after it bounces, or to pick it up and run when it stops bouncing.


Generally, the NFL records more success commercially as it gets tons of sponsors and, of course, the annual Super Bowl. This popularity also shows in the pay of players in the NFL as their best players can get up to millions of pounds in tens annually, according to a survey by ESPN and sportingintelligence.com. Whereas in the CFL, a huge contrast is observed with players of the leagues receiving an average annual salary was between 94,000 dollars and 115 thousand dollars.


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