NFL vs CFL: What Are the Differences?


If you want to bet on a football league, we can say that you have two main options: CFL and NFL. These are currently among the largest football leagues in the world, and on the best betting sites, you can find a bonus you can use for both. But before you do that, it might be a good idea to learn the differences between the two: The CFL and NFL differ on many counts.

Just because both leagues are for football doesn’t mean they’re the same,” says Casino Bonuses Finder product owner Tony Sloterman. “A bettor must know the differences between the CFL and the NFL in order to be able to make a sound analysis.” Below, we will do exactly that and explain how these leagues differ from each other.

The short history of both leagues

The Canadian Football League (CFL) was founded in 1958 and consists of a total of nine teams. These teams are divided into two divisions, East and West. The CFL season continues from June to November and ends with the Gray Cup championship. Although it was founded in 1958, it emerged as a combination of two leagues established in the early 1900s.

The National Football League (NFL) was founded in 1920 and consists of 32 teams. An NFL season begins in August with preseason games and continues from September to January. During the season, each team plays 17 games, and the two finalists face off in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Main differences between CFL and NFL

The first and most important difference between both leagues is in terms of player salaries. Predictably, NFL players earn a lot more. As of 2022, the median salary for an NFL player is $860,000. In the CFL, the median salary is around USD 60,000 – USD 100,000 per season. However, salaries are not the only difference between the two leagues: the rules of the game also differ in many ways.

  • In CFL games, the field size is set at 110 x 65. The midfield line is located at 55 yards and the end zone is only 20 yards deep. In NFL games, the field size is 110 x 53, the midline line is at 50 yards, and the end zone depth is 10 yards. This may seem like a simple difference, but it makes CFL games more offensive. In NFL games, passes and runs are more important.
  • CFL teams consist of 12 players and 24 players compete in each game. NFL teams consist of 11 players, with a total of 22 players on the field. This causes significant changes in football positions, and for the same reason, styles of play differ.
  • There are four downs in the NFL to advance the ball 10 yards. In the CFL, however, this is set to only three downs. Many people think that this makes CFL games more dynamic and exciting.
  • In NFL games, there are three timeouts per half. In CFL games, this number is limited to two timeouts.
  • Overtime formats are also quite different. In the NFL, the “sudden death” format is used for overtime. This means that the first team to score a goal or touchdown during overtime wins. If neither team scores points at the end of this period, the game is considered a tie. In the CFL, the ball is placed at the 35-yard line when overtime begins. The offensive team tries to advance the ball and the defensive team tries to score points. Then, the same scenario is repeated by switching roles.
  • Even the ball design is different: the ball in CFL games has white stripes. In NFL games, there are no stripes on the ball.

Objectively, it can be said that CFL games are more ‘hardcore’. The game is faster and more offensive, there are fewer rules to stop the flow of the game. In NFL games, the flow of the game is often interrupted, and the focus is on passing the ball correctly rather than being offensive. But of course, it is not possible to say that one is better (or worse) than the other. Both offer an enjoyable experience and true football fans follow both leagues.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.