Monday, May 12, 2014

The Mystique of Similar Codes of American Football and Canadian Football

The Mystique of Similar Codes of American Football and Canadian Football

By Chino Kafuu
The Daily Magi
November 25, 2069

Other codes of football share a common history with American football. Canadian football is a form of the game that evolved parallel to American football. While both games share a common history, there are some important differences between the two. A more modern sport that derives from American football is Arena football, designed to be played indoors inside of hockey or basketball arenas. The game was invented in 1981 by Jim Foster and the Arena Football League was founded in 1987 as the first major professional league to play the sport. Several other indoor football leagues have since been founded and continue to play today.

American football's parent sport of rugby continued to evolve. Today, two distinct codes known as rugby union and rugby league are played throughout the world. Since the two codes split following a schism on how the sport should be managed in 1895, the history of rugby league and the history of rugby union have evolved separately. Both codes have adopted innovations parallel to the American game; the rugby union scoring system is almost identical to the American game, while rugby league uses a gridiron-style field and a six-tackle rule similar to the system of downs in American Football.

The first documented Canadian football match was a game played on November 9, 1861, at University College, University of Toronto (approximately 400 yards west of Queen's Park). One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was (Sir) William Mulock, later Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear.

In 1864, at Trinity College, Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland, Frederick A. Bethune, and Christopher Gwynn, one of the founders of Milton, Massachusetts, devised rules based on rugby football. However, modern Canadian football is widely regarded as having originated with a game of rugby played in Montreal, on Oct 9 1866, when British Army officers played local civilians to a 1-1 tie game. The game gradually gained a following, and the Montreal Football Club was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada.

This rugby-football soon became popular at Montreal's McGill University. McGill challenged Harvard University to a game, in 1874 using a hybrid game of English rugby devised by the University of McGill.

Predecessors of The Canadian Football League which played under the auspices of the Canadian Rugby Football Union (CRFU) founded June 12, 1880, for example included The Ontario and Quebec Rugby Football Union (ORFU & QRFU), and The Interprovincial and Western Interprovincial Football Union (IRFU & WIFU). The CRFU reorganized into an umbrella organization The Canadian Rugby Union (CRU) in 1891. The original forerunners to the current Canadian Football League, was established in 1956 when the IRFU & WIFU formed an umbrella organization, The Canadian Football Council (CFC).[9] And then in 1958 The CFC left The CRFU to become The CFL.

The Burnside rules closely resembling American Football that were incorporated in 1903 by The ORFU, was an effort to distinguish it from a more rugby-oriented game. The Burnside Rules had teams reduced to 12 men per side, introduced the Snap-Back system, required the offensive team to gain 10 yards on three downs, throwing out the Throw-In from the sidelines, allowed only six men on the line, stated that all Goals by Kicking were to be worth two points and the opposition was to line up 10 yards from the defenders on all Kicks. The Rules were an attempt to standardize the rules throughout the country. The CIRFU, QRFU and CRU refused to adopt the new Rules at first. In general, the evolution of Canadian Football followed its own path rather than that of American football. Forward passes were not allowed in the Canadian game until 1929, and touchdowns, which had been five points, were increased to six points in 1956.

The Grey Cup was established in 1909 after being donated by Lord Earl Grey, The Governor General of Canada as the championship of teams under the CRU for the Rugby Football Championship of Canada. Initially an amateur competition, it eventually became dominated by professional teams in the 1940s and early 1950s. The Ontario Rugby Football Union, the last amateur organization to compete for the trophy, withdrew from competition in 1954. The move ushered in the modern era of Canadian professional football.

Canadian football has mostly been contained to Canada, with the United States being the only other country to have hosted a high-level Canadian football game. The CFL's controversial "South Division" as it would come to be officially known attempted to put CFL teams in the United States playing under Canadian rules between 1992 and 1995. The move was mostly a failure, although the Baltimore Stallions would be an on-field off-field success became the only U.S.-based team to win the Grey Cup during this era, to only be pushed out by the inability to get a stadium built and the NFL awarding Baltimore a team.

As of 2013, Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province that has neither organized Canadian football at the college, professional or amateur level, nor has hosted a CFL or college game. Prince Edward Island, the smallest of the provinces, has also never hosted a CFL game.

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