The Canadian Football League

By Alexa DeVore


This article focusing on the differences between Canadian and American Football leagues is a subsection of the main article, Are YSU Football Athletes in Danger?

Canadian football has different rules for the way they play the game. It is all up to how the Canada league decides to play their games.

Ray Rychleski, veteran college and professional coach, said the key differences are the width of the field. There are only 3 downs and in Canada the defensive line has to be a yard away from the ball when it is snapped. There are 12 players in the field in the CFL, while there are 11 in the NFL.

“In Canada there were probably less injuries then American, NFL, but in Canada half the team has to be Canadian,” Rychleski said.

In a team of 44, Ryschleski said half of that team will be 22 Canadians. Of those 22, none of the players could play division one in the states. In the NFL, those 53 that make up the team are big-time players. Whether they are division one or division two, they all are the best of the best.

“The speed of the game in the NFL is faster then the speed of the game in the Canadian Football League,” Ryschleski said. “To me, that is the difference.”

The collisions are harder and the speed is faster in the NFL, so there will be more injuries in the NFL then the CFL. However, these are all still division one and division two athletes, so Ryschleski said they are all just as good.

“The way the rules are set up, half the team has to be Canadian. You can have 40 Americans that want to be on the team that are better than everyone else but that does not happen. They have to be better then the Americans on the time,” he said.

“In Canada this is the rule, right or wrong.”

Diving in to the CFL, they recently decided to do away with full contact padding practices within the season, according to an article on

The reason for the change is to reduce the amount of injuries by giving the athletes more rest.

Brian Ramsey, Executive, Director of the Canadian Football League Players Association said, “Reducing full contact in practices while adding an additional week of rest to the schedule will be an immediate benefit to our members’ welfare and the game of football.”

Ryschleski said he is disappointed they think it is only football.

“Soccer uses their head. Have they done the studies they are doing in the NFL on soccer players? My discussion would be take normal men at their certain ages, test as many as you can that do some kind of hard labor job [and] do CTE on them when they pass away. Then compare that study with that they do in the NFL.”