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The GridIron Game: NFL & CFL

I’ve always been into the North American style football, Gridiron is mainly the term for this style. Being from Edmonton and growing up at the time when the Elks (old name was Eskimos) were a dominate team of the CFL. Warren Moon first started playing on this team as a Black Quarterback that gave him that stepping stone to do what he did in the NFL. My Dad being a huge Eskimos fan, we’d watch a lot of games on the TV together. All I saw was the green and gold team trying to get the ball down to the other side of the field to score a touchdown. Same went for defence, I saw the green and gold team trying to stop the other team from getting the their end. Everything was so fun to watch cuz our team kept on winning!

I never got into the finer details of the game I just knew enough to know the basic mechanics to keep the chains moving. I especially love the hits and tackles. When a running back can plow through a huge group to get that extra yard and the the first down. Or when the defence machine does it work to stop the plays. I got addicted. The player on the field that I really admired was the punt returner cuz of Gizmo Williams. That guy was so fun to watch. Even watching him as a receiver made me appreciate that role too. The returner, I thought, was the most wild cuz as you were trying to catch a ball with some hang time you had 12 BIG guys coming at you with full speed. When the occasion presented itself, the punt return TD play is one of the most beautiful things to watch.

Even living in BC, I was still a Edmonton Fan. I wore a Edmonton Eskimo Baseball hat to school and some guys took it and wanted to throw it in the girls bathroom. They were just haters cuz the BC Lions sucked at the time and Edmonton had there number. I always looked forward to watching the games with my dad. He even took me and my sister to a live game against the BC Lions. That was a great experience, cuz it was the first time to do the stadium wave, eat junk food, while watching football. To end it off, Edmonton won! After that I was hooked on watching the game. I got to know the players well and was into that provincial rivalry against the Calgary Stampeders. Hated that team.

I got to know the team History well, knowing they won 5 Champions in a row. Though they haven't been able to match that record, they still were a Dominate force in the league and was a tough team to play. After a while, I looked forward to sports highlights of other teams and would see other plays being made. They aired NFL games up here, but wasn’t promoted as much. Only the SuperBowl! Being so used to the CFL way, I couldn’t really grasp the entity of it at the time. The field was more narrow, run plays were more current, and had the 4 downs system. Although I didn’t watch an entire game, I did see highlights and the plays were Awesome! I had no real team to cheer for in the NFL cuz my emotions were with Edmonton cuz I was from there. I always kept an eye on the American game cuz the star players of that league had Celebrity status like Bo Jackson, Joe Montana, & Deion Sanders. Plus the Super bowl was heavily promoted on all the US TV we had up here in Canada.

The CFL runs on a different schedule so their Championship Game called The Grey Cup would be played while the NFL is around it’s mid-season. It didn’t conflict with the Superbowl, so when that Sunday came, Canada would be watching. The era I had my attention to was the Joe Montana/Jerry Rice 49ers! This is where I really appreciated what the Wide Receiver does. Jerry Rice was the man. Joe’s favourite long target! Man, watching those 2 play definitely got my attention to the Game just south. How Rice would get open from his man and get all that space to catch the ball.

We had an awesome sports culture in Vancouver and with that, we had our own local sports segment called Sports Desk and had a dedicated 30 mins just after the 9pm News. The man behind the desk was Don Taylor and he knew how to promote sports. The highlights they showed and the voices he would do would make the show fun to watch. Cuz of the crazy athleticism NFL Athletes were, the highlight plays they would show during the show were crazy. The dudes were bigger and the hits were harder. I got to learn more players like Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, & John Elway. Everyone had their Eye on Bo Jackson and when I’d see a Raiders game on, I’d watch it.

As I got to know more on both games, I could certainly see the differences and how different they are. The highlights just got better! I’d even witness successful stories like Jeff Garcia who played with the Calgary Stampeders first before playing with the 9er’s and would get to toss it to none other than T.O. (Terrell Owens). His TD Celebrations were the best! The Cell Phone and the most famous Dallas Cowboy Star highlight. Straight savage. During this time, I still didn’t have a real team to cheer for, I just had favourite players to watch. Randy Moss was a player that was fun to watch. Catching those dimes. I still remember that TD Cheer when he slowly jogged to the goal post, pretended to pull down his pants and wipe his ass on the post. The announcer with the most Whitest Voice ever

“That is a disgusting act by Randy Moss…”

Had me howling after cuz the way it all played out made it like a comedy skit.

As more time went by, the NFL did a significant marketing job and got more eyes on their brand. Fantasy football Leagues were getting more popular and with that, so did players in each positions. I never got into it, but I did get more into the finer aspects of the game. Being a smaller guy that was fast, I would always pay attention to the Kicker/Punters, Punt Returners, Wide Receivers, & the Smaller Quarterbacks. When I started paying attention to “The Line” (The Lineman Position), a whole new World opened up. With each play, it all begins with The Line”. When the QB yells “Hut” and then the collision of 2 monstrous machines collide is such a thing of beauty. Even when defending the kicker, having to hold that line to protect the kicker in such a small space seems is quite the task.

You gotta give credit to the kicker. When it’s time for him to do his job, he got 11/12 guys all going for him at once. With an offensive play in football, you have other factors like the Running Back and Tight Ends to look out for. When the Kicker is in play, EVERYONE is Gunnin’ for you. It’s a different kinda pressure. This game, every position plays a purpose. When everything is running perfectly, its a fine tuned machine running as smooth as it can be.

Although I don’t dedicate as much time to watching games anymore, I can still say that I’m still a fan of the sport. I still watch CFL games here and there, but the more dominate game is obviously the NFL. It became entertainment at the end and in a way, they got what they wanted. More eyes and attention to them. I can’t forget the time when Richard Sherman going off on Michael Crabtree on camera acting gangsta and ending off with “L.O.B!”

When I do have the time to watch some games, I try to find either NY Giants Games, cuz of my family & friends out east. This is the team they always talked about. I also got interested in the team when they took out the undefeated New England Patriots with the most famous “Helmet Catch”.

Being from the Pacific Northwest, the team most promoted are the Seattle Seahawks. The L.O.B (Legion of Boom) Era was a fun defence to watch. I did know players of the past like when Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander played for them.

I definitely got some emotional connection with this sport and at times, takes control of my emotions when it comes to certain games. I am a fan and promote it during the right moments. I still have love for the CFL, my hopes is that something good will happen so that they can have more viewers. As of now, I’d say in comparison with with fanbase is that the NFL would be like the Premiere League in Europe and the CFL is the MLS here in North America.

For those readers who aren't as familiar with this sport and think that CFL and NFL are the same, I’ll tell ya 5 key differences from my point of view that you would find easy to pick out if you ever watch either game in either leagues.

5 Key Differences from JedRocks POV

The Field

CFL’s is Wider and Longer and the Ball is Bigger

  • The NFL Field is 100 x 53 ⅓ Yds

  • The CFL Field is 110 x 65 Yds

  • The CFL Ball is slight bigger in circumference than the NFL Ball

The Punt Returns

  • The NFL Punt Returner can call a fair catch and start at 25yd line

  • The CFL Punt Returner has no Choice but to catch & run to get into a good field position

The Downs

  • The NFL has 4 downs (3 plays/attempts before kicking the ball away)

  • The CFL has 3 downs (2 plays/attempts before kicking the ball away)

Running Starts for Receivers

Because of the 3 downs system, CFL teams must rely on receivers more to get down the field

  • The NFL Receivers can’t move until the QB gets the ball

  • The CFL Receivers can’t cross the line until the QB gets it so they can have a running start before the play turns into action

Number of Players on the Field

  • The NFL has 11 players on each team on the field, Total 22

  • The CFL has 12 players on each team on the field, Total 24

If you were already a fan and already knew about these difference, pls feel free to comment below on more differences between each league. For those who didn’t know some of those differences, now you know!


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