Capital Area Minor Football Association
Canadian Football Rules vs American Football Rules

  Note:  The comparison below is between 12 man Canadian and 11 man American Football. Our games against 

  the American teams will be 8 man. See Rules section of Bantam page for details.



the Canadian field is larger, similar in size

twelve men a side rather than eleven

ten yards must be made in three downs rather than four

the defensive line must stay a yard away from the ball at the scrimmage

because of the above rule, a play can never start inside the defending team's one-yard line; if an offensive play results in the ball being advanced between the one-yard line and goal line, the ball is moved back to the 1

there is no fair catch instead no players from the kicking team except the kicker and any player who was behind him when he kicked the ball may approach within five yards of the ball until it is or has been in the opponents' possession

all offensive backfield players, except the quarterback, may be in motion at the snap; players in motion may move in any direction as long as they are behind the line of scrimmage at the snap (in American football, only one backfield player is allowed to be in motion, and he cannot move toward the line of scrimmage until after the snap)

Canadian football allows each team only two 1 minute  time-out in each half (however, during the last three minutes of each half the clock is stopped after every play and a final play is allowed if time expires between plays, therefore additional time-outs would be of little value)

the offensive team must run a play every 20 seconds, while in American football a 45-second interval between plays is allowed.

a kicker, or a player behind the kicker when he kicks the ball, may recover his own kick and advance with the ball.

the defensive line can only hold up a receiver within 1 yard of the scrimmage lines, rather than 5 as in the NFL, allowing for more open plays

there is no single-point score in American football, the same events that result in a single in Canadian football result only in the award of a touchback

receivers only need to have one foot in bounds for a catch to count as a reception, as in American high school and college football

when the ball is fumbled, the last team to touch the ball before it goes out of bounds gets possession (rather than the last team to possess the ball as in American Football)

the goal posts are at the front of the end zone (goal line) rather than the back (end line)

missed field goals which do not hit the uprights are live; if the ball is not returned out of the end zone, the kicking team receives a single point, but the returner has the possibility of returning the missed kick for a touchdown; failing this, his team will receive possession at the point to which he returns the ball. Note: if a single is scored (Rouge) the ball will be put in play at the receiving teamís 35 yard line.  Or if the player can return it out of the end zone, the worst position a returning team can expect is the 20 yard line.

extra points are from the 5-yard line (rather than the 2- or 3-yard line), but the offence can score a single for kicking a convert or 2 points for running or passing the ball into the end zone exactly as in American football.  The ball is dead and no return is permitted on an unsuccessful convert.

following a successful field goal, the team scored upon has the option of receiving a kickoff or scrimmaging at its own 35 yard line (opposed to there being a kickoff after every score in American Football.)

the ball used in Canadian football has a different shape (the Canadian ball being rounded rather then pointed at the ends due to its spheroid shape) and has slightly different dimensions then the ball used in the American game. The ball is also painted with 1-inch white stripes, similar to the way it was formerly done in American football.

With the larger field, greater number of players, deeper end zones, more frequent plays, clock stoppages after every play in the last three minutes of the game, returns of every punt and kick, liberalized motion rules, a yard between offensive and defensive lines at the scrimmage, and three downs instead of four, the Canadian game often features more wide-open play than is seen in the American game. Specifically, these differences diminish the value of the conservative "three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" tactic that American teams sometimes employ and encourage forward passing and scoring.

Note player numbering is different in Canada

1 to 39  are eligible

40 to 69 are ineligible

70 to 99 are eligible  

All players must wear numerals on their jerseys in accordance with Rule 5, Section 3, Article 3c (see NOTE 1), and such numerals must be by playing position as follows: quarterbacks, punters, and place-kickers, 1-19 (and 10-19 for wide receivers if 80-89 are all otherwise assigned); running backs and defensive backs, 20-49; centers, 50-59 (60-79 if 50-59 unavailable); offensive guards and tackles, 60-79; wide receivers and tight ends, 80-89; defensive lineman, 60-79 (90-99 if 60-79 unavailable); and linebackers 50-59 (90-99 if 50-59 unavailable).  

Field dimensions:  

Length   from goal line to goal line  110 yards (100 yards)

From Goal line to Dead ball line       20 yards (10 yards)

Width  Sideline to Sideline                   65 yards (53.33 yards)

Sideline to hash mark                           24 yards