The Top Differences Between the NFL and the CFL

The NFL and the CFL are maybe one of the biggest events in the sports world. Since the beginning of the two leagues, fans from all around the world cannot wait to witness the big events. And over time, either from conversation or just for pure fun, fans have started to speculate who will win the big game, from people predicting one game to trying to predict the outcome of the season, we all have been there trying to see if we know better and guess the lucky winners.  Fans have taken it further and have gone to the betting websites and apps to see if they are lucky enough to guess and maybe win something for themselves. Not only but many sports lover are taking out their phones while the game is still on and placing bets on many famous betting applications like Betsafe mobile, to either place new bets or maybe just keep on track.

With that being said, the betting applications have opted their game and are providing live streaming services for the fans. For example, Betsafe mobile is live streaming both the NFL and the CFL. Betsafe mobile is just one of the places that you can go to make your predictions, but we have to admit that is probably the best.

But some people have always asked the question: “Okay, they are both a big deal, but what is the difference?”, well at first glance there might not be a very big difference between the two sports, but in reality, the two games are quite different. From the player’s salary to the size of the field, The NFL and the CFL have some significant differences that separate the two sports, and today we are going to look at them and see what exactly is different between the two sports.


Football players’ salaries are a significant aspect of the sport, and the NFL offers substantial compensation to its players. As of the 2017 season, NFL players received an average yearly salary of around $2.7 million USD, which has likely increased in recent years. On the other hand, CFL players earned an average salary of approximately $80,000 CAN in 2021, often requiring second jobs in the off-season to supplement their income. The highest-paid NFL player in 2022 is Aaron Rodgers, set to earn $50.3 million, while the highest-paid CFL player is Zach Collaros, whose contract offers $550,000 for the 2022 season, showing a significant discrepancy. Due to the money and fame they offer players, some CFL players leave the league and try out for the NFL.

The field size of the two leagues also differs, with the NFL field being 100 by 53 1/3 yards and the CFL field measuring 110 by 65 yards. The midfield line is at the 50-yard mark for the NFL and at 55 yards for the CFL. Additionally, the CFL has a 20-yard deep end zone, while the NFL end zones are only 10 yards deep, resulting in a total field length of 120 yards for the NFL and 150 yards for the CFL. As a result of the larger field and fewer downs in the CFL, teams tend to have a more passing-oriented offense than in the NFL, which usually has a more balanced offense between passes and runs.

The total number of players on the field is 22 for the NFL, with 11 players on each team. The CFL has a total of 24 players, with 12 players on each side. Both leagues require seven offensive players on the line of scrimmage, resulting in the 12th player in the CFL typically occupying a backfield position. This has resulted in the tight end position being commonly removed from the CFL in favor of having two slotbacks. On the defensive side, the CFL has two halfbacks and a safety, while the NFL has two safety positions: free safety and strong safety.

The NFL offers four downs for a team to advance the ball 10 yards, while the CFL only offers three downs, which some CFL supporters claim creates a more exciting game than the NFL. The CFL rule requiring the defensive team to be one yard away from the line of scrimmage, compared to the NFL allowing the defense to be on the line, makes running plays more effective in the CFL, as there is more space to react to the defense. This, along with a larger field, creates an advantage for the offense, and having only three downs gives some leverage to the defense.

Regarding time rules and timeouts, the NFL allows three timeouts per half and gives a two-minute warning at the end of each half, while the CFL allows two timeouts per game and only permits one timeout during the three-minute warning in the second half. Both leagues automatically stop the clock after each play during the two and three-minute warnings without charging a timeout to either team. The play clock also differs, with the CFL allowing 20 seconds after the play for the offense to snap the ball, while the NFL has 40 seconds.

The scoring system is generally the same in both leagues, with a safety worth two points, a field goal worth three points, a touchdown worth six points, and an extra point kick worth one point. The CFL has a single point, known as a rouge, that is not present in the NFL. The kicking team receives one point when it misses a field goal or punts the ball and the receiving team fails to return the ball out of their end zone.

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