Is There a Difference Between Canadian And American Football?

The U.S. and the Great White North has a lot in common. They share a language, a border, and a colonial British origin. But most importantly, and above all else, they share a love for football. The rest of the world may criticize the use of the term itself, but there’s no denying the athletic display and sheer power of the gridiron sport. When you’re on the field, you’re in the realm of monsters. Giant men with bad intent and genius strategic ability come face to face to see who can rush and defend best. Who can guide their warriors past the 300 pound beasts hurdling themselves at insane speeds, with no fear and no hesitation? It is not for the faint of heart. But while both are virtually the same on the surface, there are a few differences. 

The Similarity 

These games take a tremendous amount of damage and require an insane amount of speed and muscle. On top of a rigorous training regimen and a complete dedication to the sport, one needs to maintain a certain size relative to their position. This means having every advantage. Steroids and drug use are strictly prohibited by all regulatory bodies in sports. But there are legal bodybuilding supplements that work like steroids yet do not flag on a lab test. These have become normal in the world of sports and are often encouraged. One has to be sure that the purity and integrity of the label is assured. There have been cases of people taking tainted supplements like creatine without even knowing there was a banned substance in it. Many MMA fighters have fought and won cases against these kinds of lackadaisical supplement companies 

Field Size 

The most noticeable difference is the size of the field. In order for an American stadium to accommodate a Canadian football game, it needs to extend about 15 yards on either side. The standard American football field is 100 yards long and 53 and 1/3 yards wide. The Canadian football field is 110 yards long and ⅓ yards wide. This is a prime reason why you don’t really see very many Canadian football leagues play in the United States. There was a stint in the early nineties, but it didn’t last very long. In order to accommodate a Canadian football game, you’d need to have it in a U.S. soccer stadium. 

Number Of Players 

Canadian football players have twelve players instead of the eleven that an American football team has. This comes into play, not on the line of scrimmage itself–that still has the same number of required players, but on the backfield. Canadians have an extra slot back player instead of a tight end. They also have two defensive halfbacks and a safety instead of the two safeties that American football has. 


One of the most glaring differences between the two is the number of downs. In American football, there are four downs. Canadian football has three. This changes the angle of attack and the way the game plays out. In Canadian football, there’s a lot more passing and kicking due to the number of chances one has. 

Football, either American or Canadian, is a hard and demanding sport. One has to be at the top of their game to play in any sort of league outside of the amateur ones. And at the highest levels, you have the top 0.001% of the population’s physical beasts going toe to toe in one of the most intense sports ever created. Football is war. Football is a skill. And no matter where in the world you are, football will always be one of the toughest challenges on the field. 


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