Braden Dupuis and Dietrich Neu debate the issue

‘The CFL is a league of real men’

Braden Dupuis
Sports Writer

When it comes to the great superiority debate between the Canadian Football League and National Football League, a lot of people – many Canadians included – are quick to write off the CFL as an inferior league with inferior players. Those people suck, and here’s why:

The CFL, on the whole, is a much more exciting game. Three-down football is where boys become men. Who needs four downs to move the ball 10 yards? Americans, that’s who. The Canadian rules make for a throw-the-ball offense, which is what draws my attention to the game more than anything. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing that Hail Mary bomb sent downfield for a huge reception.

Another Canada-only rule that allows for such big plays is the running start. In the NFL, receivers can’t be running towards the line of scrimmage when the ball is hiked –not so in the CFL. This means players are already headed downfield looking for the pass when the quarterback gets the ball. Our wider field and deeper end zones don’t hurt the throwing game either.

Another reason the CFL is a better and more exciting product is the variation on time-stoppage rules, especially in terms of late-game comebacks. In the NFL, coming back in the final minutes is virtually impossible because once a team has the ball they can effectively kill two whole minutes off the clock without gaining a first down. In the CFL, the ball goes back and forth until about the last 30 seconds, and late-game comebacks are not only common, they’re expected.

Also, we play with 12 players to the NFL’s 11, because common sense dictates that more is better than less.

Except, of course, if you’re talking about the size of the league itself. The NFL, with its 32 teams, means many teams rarely, if ever, get to play each other. Up here in Canada, every game is a rivalry. Also, six out of eight teams in the CFL make the playoffs, because we like to give as many teams a chance as possible.

In keeping with the general warmness that comes with equal opportunity, we also share players. In your average 10-year CFL career, a player will likely play in all eight cities, because sharing is what being a Canadian is all about.

The NFL is like the CFL’s bloated, rich, flashy cousin – much like the USA is to Canada. Of the nearly 1,700 active players in the NFL, the average salary is almost $2 million. Rookies in the NFL make a minimum of $325,000. Compare that to the average CFL salary of around $60,000, and it’s easy to see why the NFL is full of egotistical, gun-toting, self-congratulatory pricks.

The CFL is a league of real men, playing football for the love of the game. It’s a league where, in the off-season, you can buy real estate from your quarterback, have your placekicker clean your carpets or vote your fullback into city council. And in the end, isn’t that what football is all about?

‘The NFL holds an undisputed advantage over the CFL’

Dietrich Neu

Every time write an article arguing against the CFL or the Saskatchewan Roughriders, I feel like I am one step closer to being lynched in a back alley once readers learn what my face looks like. With that said, I’m doing it again.

Call me a traitor, but I think that the NFL’s football product eclipses the CFL in terms of overall quality. I honestly believe that much of the popularity of the CFL can be attributed to the fact that it is Canadian. Americans get a bad wrap for being overly patriotic, but Canadians are just as nationalistic when it comes to sports.

I want to get some quick things out of the way before I get into the meat of this argument. The NFL holds an undisputed advantage over the CFL in terms of player talent and fan accessibility. NFL players are the pinnacle of football talent, capable of accomplishing feats that are beyond the abilities of most players in the CFL, and when you pit these players against each other, the result is the best football entertainment on the planet.

None of those points are in dispute. What often sparks debate between pundits of both leagues are the rule differences between the Canadian and American games. The most obvious is the number of downs.

The NFL is often criticized for the “slow” game that comes as a result of four downs that bring about more running plays. In the CFL, three downs forces teams to throw the ball more often and stretch the field. For people with short attention spans, or modest understanding of football, I can see how moving up and down the field in big chunks would be entertaining. However, this actually hinders the dynamics of the game.

With four downs, teams can run the ball more often if they choose. This is a good thing. There is nothing intrinsically boring about watching the running game for the more educated football fan. Running plays still offer the same highlight-reel moves and bone-rattling hits that are synonymous with football. Additionally, an effective running attack also forces defensive coordinators to continuously expand and contract the spread of their defensive formations to accommodate for the varied assault. Four downs increase the potential for diverse strategies because the penalty for a short gain is not as severe.

Yes, CFL games are said to be higher-scoring – although, as far as I know, no one has actually substantiated that yet – but points are simply numbers on a board. The real excitement of a football game is watching the chess match unfold and change as the game moves on.

Another facet of the CFL that I feel disrupts the authenticity of the game is the way Canadian football handles overtime. Yeah, that’s right, I am one of the few people on the planet who like the NFL’s overtime rules better. If the point of overtime is to briefly extend the game until a winner is declared, the NFL overtime does its job. Many people have argued that it is unfair for a team to win with an opening drive field goal without giving the other team a chance to have the ball. Changes to the rules this year have solved this problem. Frankly, the defensive team does have a chance to stop the other team from scoring a touchdown and winning the game, and if they can’t do that, they should rightfully lose.

CFL overtime is a watered down version of the game that starts each team at the 35-yard line, and lets them repeatedly take pot-shots at the end zone until someone wins.

Ultimately, the NFL maintains the authenticity of how football should be played in the first place, while the CFL just removes parts of what they had.


  1. JimVinolly 6 October, 2013 at 10:01

    I am surprised the writer’s did not add that soccer should adopt a first down system. It would have added more value to this rubbish of a story.

    Money is the only measurement of which sport is better and if you have to compare between the two brands of football, the NFL wins. The worst team in the NFL averages 57,000 per game and the best team in the CFL averages 37,000. The ticket prices are cheaper in the CFL.

    Now we are comparing apples to apples. The people have spoken with their wallets. The best movie each weekend is not measured by the type of actors or special effects it has, its measured by how much it grosses. In the end, that is the true measuring stick of success.

  2. Tickle-me -elbow 17 January, 2014 at 03:10

    Don’t forget that america has TEN times the population of Canada and most of the big money to pay these players came from television revenue. In the beginning CFL players made more money than NFL players until tv revenue (way more tv stations and viewers in the US) became a factor and more star players followed the money and thus more fans as well.

    By the way, you’re retarded if you think money is the only measurement of which sport is better. That`s like asking someone if being a rockstar is better than being an actor. Depends on the individual. That`s maybe not the best example so here`s another: There are a lot of shitty mind-numbing tv shows (i.e. reality shows) that made more money than more quality entertainment on tv. Does that make those shows better? I think not.

    There is such thing as better sports and games (both for the individual to play, and/or for the spectator, but there’s also such thing as tradition and patriotism. The CFL game may be a better sport but the US/NFL would never change their traditional sport to the Canadian version.

  3. Conrailgrille 6 March, 2014 at 12:26

    The CFL is boring…players are second tier. Each has a dream of playing in the NFL and the odd one who says different knows he will never make it.

  4. Conrailgrille 6 March, 2014 at 12:29

    CFL is full of Americans as well…and is FORCED to have Canadians on the roster…lol…why not pay the best players to play…what a joke…put you to sleep league…i was at an Argos home game the season they won the Cup….could have read a book it was so quiet…12 ppl showed up…I find it funny when ppl compare the fact of Argos low attendance to having an NFL team in Toronto…I would buy season tix for nfl and could care less about the CFL. They are not the same thing and are irrelevant to each other. True CFL fans will still go to their beloved games….so why would they care if there’s an NFL team in Canada…has nothing to do with them. Totally different game. Different rules…different fans.

  5. Jordan Weaver 17 July, 2015 at 12:59

    Wow so many people that know nothing about football.

    The best lineman in the CFL are Canadians guys, its well documented fact.

    If the CFL was fifth rate why was Ricky William (a 1,000 yard rusher before he came to the CFL, and 1,000 yard rusher in the NFL after he left the CFL) DEAD LAST IN YARDS PER CARRY IN THE CFL???????

    Its because the CFL is an entirely different game. Any time and any place at Canadian rules an NFL team would get destroyed

    Also already happened, Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Buffalo Bills and that game was actually played with half American rules. If it was all Canadian rules the NFL team would get completely owned and everyone would be on oxygen masks by the 4th quarter.

    Yknow what else makes me laugh is how every NFL field goal is a straight kick the hashmarks line up directly with the goal posts. Go watch BC Lions leone kick from the right hash marks from 55 yards out no wind, way harder to make a 55 yard kick in the CFL as the hash marks are way wider than the goal posts so you actually have to kick a diagonal across a longer distance to nail a 55 yarder where as the NFL where the hashmarks line up directly with the goal posts just have to kick it straight and you’re golden. So weak.

    NFL is 5th rate when it comes to being good at Canadian Football.

    You wanna talk about being true to football? Why does the NFL hand out FREE YARDAGE for Touchbacks? You just put your knee down and that’s it. In the CFL they give a point to the other team for touchbacks its called a Rouge, famously misinformed to be a point for missed field goals which it never has been, it forces players to run the ball out instead of the whimpy NFL way of taking a knee, the CFL games you will see guys run the ball out on a consistent basis ACTUALLY PLAYING FOOTBALL

    How about the last two minutes of an NFL game? Nothing happens. QB takes a knee and they stand around, worse than they do for the 60% of the game with that 40 second play clock (CFL is 20 seconds with a ref that stops the clock for about 5-10 seconds or 20 if theres a substitution). Last game the BC Lions played Saskatchewan Roughriders last weekend, there was 1:38 left and the Lions got a TD, kicked the ball away got the ball back and kicked the 55 yard field goal I was talking about to tie the game, also getting the 2 point convert in 1:38. In the NFL the Riders would’ve been able to sit on the ball for the last 2 minutes game over, you call that football???? In the CFL the teams actually have to play football right to the last second of the game, and the Lions ended up winning in OT and rightfully so, because they had to keep playing football to prove who was better till the last second unlike the NFL where they take a cheap QB knee out of every game its a boring joke.

    Any NFL lineman comes to Canada gets destroyed by the One yard line of scrimmage as opposed to the NFL one foot line of scrimmage. CFL line of scrimmage is way bigger requiring guys to actually play football and move left to right instead of sumo wrestler fat lard NFLers that just stand up and block and hardly move compared to a CFL line of scrimmage.

    Lets not forget about the way wider field. You think you’re gonna throw your NFL 5 yard outs all the way down the field, also with one less down, you are dreaming. NFL strategies are useless with the 3 down and wider field you have to actually play football to get it down field in the CFL. You also gotta travel an extra 10 yards to get there on our 110 yard field.

    No NFL stadium can even hold a CFL field, you would have to take 20,000 seats out of every NFL stadium to accomadate CFL unless they were designed for both. CFL field is bigger than a soccer field. BC Place is bigger than Silverdome that held 76,000 but our stadium only held 59,681 when it originally opened, how is that possible? because that’s how much bigger the CFL field is, if BC Place was originally built for an NFL field its an 80,000 seat dome built in 1983. One of the biggest stadiums in North America. Seahawk Stadium would be a 45,000 seat CFL stadium, 10,000 less than even the current BC Place configuration at 55,000.

    Any time any place NFL lets have a game of all CFL rules all game. You will get defeated.

  6. Doug Phillips 21 September, 2015 at 20:38

    Whil I love the CFL game Jordan there were a multitude of games played between a CFL team and an NFL team using rules of of each league in different halves. In every instance the CFL teams were handily defeated. In 1960, as you mentioned, the Ti-Cats defeated the Bills of the newly formed American Football League. Do a Google search for the game results.

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