D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

A Yank’s Guide to the Grey Cup

Sunday, November 28, 2010 9:20 AM

Today is a big day in Canada – Grey Cup Sunday! It’s the day our Canadian Football League (CFL) hosts its championship game, and its a country-wide celebration!

Being Canadian though, we’re generous and gracious in offering our championship game to people of other nations, and since the US has a league that plays a similar game to its Canadian counterpart, I figured I’d put a little guide together.

The Teams

This year is a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup: The Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. the Montreal Alouettes! The game is being played in Edmonton, Alberta.


The Alouettes

The Als are the defending champions, winning in controversial style last year when the Roughriders were flagged for too many men on the last play of the game, allowing the Als to re-try their FG attempt – which they made to win the game. They’re stacked with veterans and outstanding young players, and its typically a given that they’re in the running for the Eastern championship every year. They’ve been in 7 Grey Cup games since 2000, and 4 of the last 5 Grey Cups (counting this year’s).

The Roughriders

Arguably Canada’s team, mainly because the Rider Nation shows up EVERYWHERE, in every city across Canada. The Saskatchewan Roughriders have been a strong Western team, winning their last Grey Cup in 2007 and being contenders in years since. They have an embarrassment of riches at the receiver position and also bring a core of veterans that are hungry to avenge last year’s loss.

Where to Watch

I’ll get into the differences between the CFL and NFL rules in a sec, but first, here’s a listing of where you can watch the Grey Cup outside of Canada:


Rule Differences

I remember at TechEd 2005 having a discussion with an American friend about the CFL rules, and every time I explained one he would laugh and accuse me of making things up. So, let’s do a run down of the differences between our games:

# of Downs 3 4
Field Size 110 x 65 yards 100 x 53ish yards
On-Field Team Size 12 11
DEF Distance from Line of Scrimmage 1 Yard 11 Inches
Fair Catch Allowed No – defensive players must give receiving team 5 yards when receiving the ball. Yes.
Motion at Snap All offensive backfield players allowed in motion. One player, and cannot be in motion at snap.
Play Clock 20 seconds 40 seconds
Warnings Before Ends of Halfs 3 minute warning 2 minute warning
Clock Stoppage Within the last 3 minutes of each half, the clock stops at the end of each play and starts again when the ref whistles it in. Keeps going and going unless out of bounds or incomplete pass, regardless of time in the game.
Points for kicking through the endzone 1 0


Those are the main ones, but for more details and rule differences check out the excellent comparison on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_American_and_Canadian_football

Enjoy the game!!!


# re: A Yank’s Guide to the Grey Cup

Don't forget the forecast for Edmonton today where the game is played outdoors on a 'grass' field.
High -6C/21F
However, the temperature will likely drop during the game.
Luckily, there isn't much wind or the effective temperature (known as windchill in these parts) could be MUCH colder. 11/28/2010 9:45 AM | Aaron Kowall

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