The Canadian Football League (CFL) is a professional football league in Canada. The league has a three-down system and features an 18-game regular season schedule. The CFL’s playoff format includes division semifinals and a championship game called the Grey Cup.

Teams use two timeouts per game and have 12 players on their roster. American players are added to teams through the CFL’s negotiation list, which allows any team to unilaterally claim 45 names.


The CFL is a professional league whose revenue streams are dependent on the presence of paying fans in the stadium. Therefore, a lack of fan support can be a major problem for the teams.

In the early 1900s, Canadian teams began competing for the Grey Cup, a trophy donated by Governor-General Earl Grey in 1909. The cup was initially competed for by amateur clubs, but was eventually taken over by professional teams.

In 1994, the CFL expanded into the United States, and American teams such as the Baltimore Stallions, Las Vegas Posse, Birmingham Barracudas, and Memphis Mad Dogs joined the league. The expansion prompted the league to adopt more American-style rules, and it also negotiated its first national American television contract with ESPN2. The CFL playoffs were shifted from an East-West format to a South Division that included the five American teams and eight Canadian teams.


The rules of Canadian football are similar to those of the NFL, but there are some key differences. For example, teams have only three downs to gain ten yards, which makes the game more challenging for offenses. Also, defensive linemen must be one yard away from the ball when they take their stance. In addition, there are 12 players on a team instead of 11 in the NFL. The extra player is usually used as a wide receiver or back.

There are also a few different penalties in the CFL, including an additional point for a missed field goal or punt and a single-point called a rouge. Other statistics include rushing yards, average yards per carry, rushing touchdowns, and passing yards, completion percentage, and efficiency rating.


CFL teams have 12 players on a roster instead of the NFL’s 11. This makes for more offensive depth and lateral passing. The playing field is 110 yards long rather than the NFL’s 50, encouraging a more open passing game. Teams also have three downs to gain 10 yards, which forces them to try for big gains on each play.

After a touchdown, the team that scored gets one point (a “point after”) or two points (a “two-point conversion”). The kicking team can also score a single point, known as a rouge.

A ‘rouge’ occurs when the kicking team misses a field goal or punts the football into the end zone without it being touched. The defending team can’t recover the ball or return it.


The defending team must stay a yard or more back from the line of scrimmage and attempt to stop runners behind it. This requires a strong front seven led by the defensive line and linebackers.

In the neo-modern CFL, where offences often run five receiver sets, some defences deploy a sixth defender that plays linebacker but has pass coverage responsibilities. This is commonly referred to as a Nickelback.

The line judge is positioned on the end of the defence line opposite the head linesman to supervise player substitutions, the line of scrimmage during punts and game timing. They also alert the referee when time has expired at the end of a quarter and at halftime. They may eject players for serious misconduct. These penalties affect the yards a team must gain to obtain first down yardage.


When betting on CFL games, shopping around is essential to getting the best odds. This is especially true early in the week when odds come out, as sharp money can move a line significantly. It is also important to know that there are many factors out of your control, such as injury and weather.

The CFL hopes to re-energize its global expansion plan with player combines in Mexico, Europe and elsewhere, but that will require substantial league investment. A government backstop, similar to those provided to companies like General Motors and Bombardier and cultural institutions such as Cirque du Soleil, would help. But it must be attached to conditions that ensure the league retains its core characteristics and does not become another disposable entity.

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