The Burnside rules were a set of rules that transformed Canadian football from a rugby-style game to the gridiron-style game it has remained ever since. Named after John Thrift Meldrum Burnside, captain of the University of Toronto football team (although he did not originate them), and first adopted by the Ontario Rugby Football Union in 1903, the rules introduced sweeping changes to the way football was played. The rules included:
Although similar to American football rules already in place at the time, which had been developed by Walter Camp in the 1880s, Burnside rules had many differences and evolved separately. Although these rules are standard today, at the time they were considered radical. Other teams outside the Ontario Rugby Football Union refused to adopt them until 1905.
The 1905 college football season had the Chicago Maroons retroactively named as national champion by the Billingsley Report, the Helms Athletic Foundation, the National Championship Foundation, and the Houlgate System, while Yale was named champion by Parke H. Davis and Caspar Whitney. Chicago finished the season 11-0, while Yale finished 10-0. The Official NCAA Division I Football Records Book listed both Chicago and Yale as having been selected national champions.Canadian football
Canadian football (French: football canadien) is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area (end zone).
In Canada, the term "football" may refer to Canadian football and American football collectively, or to either sport specifically, depending on context. The two sports have shared origins and are closely related but have some key differences.
Rugby football in Canada originated in the early 1860s, and over time, the game known as Canadian football developed. Both the Canadian Football League (CFL), the sport's top professional league, and Football Canada, the governing body for amateur play, trace their roots to 1880 and the founding of the Canadian Rugby Football Union.
The CFL is the most popular and only major professional Canadian football league. Its championship game, the Grey Cup, is one of Canada's largest sporting events, attracting a broad television audience. In 2009, about 40% of Canada's population watched part of the game; in 2014, it was closer to 33%, peaking at 5.1 million viewers in the fourth quarter.Canadian football is also played at the bantam, high school, junior, collegiate, and semi-professional levels: the Canadian Junior Football League, formed May 8, 1974, and Quebec Junior Football League are leagues for players aged 18–22, many post-secondary institutions compete in U Sports football for the Vanier Cup, and senior leagues such as the Alberta Football League have grown in popularity in recent years. Great achievements in Canadian football are enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame located in Hamilton, Ontario.
Other organizations across Canada perform senior league Canadian football during the summer.Conversion (gridiron football)
The conversion, try (American football, also known as a point(s) after touchdown, PAT, or extra point), or convert (Canadian football) occurs immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score one extra point by kicking the ball through the uprights in the manner of a field goal, or two points by bringing the ball into the end zone in the manner of a touchdown.
Attempts at a try or convert are scrimmage plays, with the ball initially placed at any point between the hash marks, at the option of the team making the attempt. The yard line that attempts are made from depends on the league and the type of try or convert being attempted.
If the try or convert is scored by kicking the ball through the uprights, the team gets an additional one point for their touchdown, bringing their total for that score from six points to seven. If two points are needed or desired, a two-point conversion may be attempted by running or passing from scrimmage. A successful touchdown conversion from scrimmage brings the score's total to eight.
Whether a team goes for one or two points, most rules regarding scrimmage downs, including scoring touchdowns and field goals, apply as if it were a normal American fourth-down or Canadian third-down play. Exceptions, including cases where the defense forces a turnover during a conversion attempt, vary between leagues and levels of play. One thing that sets the try apart from other plays in the NFL is that, apart from the actual points, ordinary statistics are not recorded on the try as they would be on a regular scrimmage play. For example, on December 4, 2016, Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs made an interception on a try and physically returned it 99 yards for a defensive two-point conversion. However, because it occurred on a try, Berry did not get statistical credit for the 99 yards of return yardage; nor would a player ever be credited with passing, rushing, or receiving yardage on a try.Cornerback
A cornerback (CB), also referred to as a corner or defensive halfback in older parlance, is a member of the defensive backfield or secondary in American and Canadian football. Cornerbacks cover receivers most of the time, to defend against offensive plays, i.e create turnovers in best case or (more common) deflect a forward pass or rather make a tackle. Other members of the defensive backfield include the safeties and occasionally linebackers. The cornerback position requires speed, agility, and strength. A cornerback's skillset typically requires proficiency in anticipating the quarterback, backpedaling, executing single and zone coverage, disrupting pass routes, block shedding, and tackling. Cornerbacks are among the fastest players on the field.Down (gridiron football)
A down is a period in which a play transpires in American and Canadian football. The down is a distinguishing characteristic of the game compared to other codes of football, but is synonymous with a "tackle" in rugby league. The team in possession of the football has a limited number of downs (four downs in American football, three downs in Canadian football) to advance ten yards or more towards their opponent's goal line. If they fail to advance that far, possession of the ball is turned over to the other team. In most situations, if a team reaches their final down they will punt to their opponent, which forces them to begin their drive from further down the field; if they are in range, they might also attempt to score a field goal.East Division (CFL)
The East Division is one of the two regional divisions of the Canadian Football League, their counterpart being the West Division. Although the CFL was not founded until 1958, the East Division and its clubs are descended from earlier leagues.Fumble
A fumble in American and Canadian football occurs when a player who has possession and control of the ball loses it before being downed (tackled), scoring, or going out of bounds. By rule, it is any act other than passing, kicking, punting, or successful handing that results in loss of player possession. A fumble may be forced by a defensive player who either grabs or punches the ball or butts the ball with his helmet (a move called "tackling the ball"). A fumbled ball may be recovered and advanced by either team (except, in American football, after the two-minute warning in either half or 4th down, when the fumbling player is the only offensive player allowed to advance the ball, otherwise the ball is ruled dead at the spot of recovery if the ball bounces backwards or spotted at the point of the fumble if the ball travels forward). It is one of three events that can cause a turnover (the other two being an interception or on downs, though the latter does not count toward the team's total turnovers), where possession of the ball can change during play.
Under American rules a fumble may be confused with a muff. A muff occurs where a player drops a ball that he does not have possession of, such as while attempting to catch a lateral pass or improperly fielding a kicking play such as a punt (you cannot "fumble" a loose ball). Ball security is the ability of a player to maintain control over the football during play and thus avoid a fumble. Thus, losing possession of the ball via a fumble includes not only dropping the ball before being downed; but, also having a ball taken away, or “stripped” from the runner’s possession before being downed.Gridiron football
Gridiron football, also known as North American football or, in North America, simply football, is a football sport primarily played in the United States and Canada. American football, which uses 11-player teams, is the form played in the United States and the best known form of gridiron football worldwide, while Canadian football, featuring 12-player teams, predominates in Canada. Other derivative varieties include indoor football, football for smaller teams (most commonly eight players), and informal games such as touch and flag football. Football is played at professional, collegiate, semi-professional, and amateur levels.
The sport originated in the 19th century out of older games related to modern rugby football and soccer (association football). American and Canadian football developed alongside each other and were originally more distinct before Canadian teams adopted features of the American game. Both varieties are distinguished from other football sports by their use of hard plastic helmets and shoulder pads, the forward pass, the system of downs, a number of unique rules and positions, measurement in customary units of yards (even in Canada, which mostly metricated in the 1970s, yards are still used), and a distinctive brown leather ball in the shape of a prolate spheroid with pointed ends.
The international governing body for the sport is the International Federation of American Football (IFAF); although the organization plays all of its international competitions under American rules, it uses a definition of the game that is broad enough that it includes Canadian football under its umbrella, and Football Canada (the governing body for Canadian football) is an IFAF member.Interception
In ball-playing competitive team sports, an interception or pick is a move by a player involving a pass of the ball—whether by foot or hand, depending on the rules of the sport—in which the ball is intended for a player of the same team but caught by a player of the opposing team, who thereby usually gains possession of the ball for their team. It is commonly seen in football, including American and Canadian football, as well as association football, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, as well as any sport by which a loose object is passed between players toward a goal.
In basketball, a pick is called a steal.Muffed punt
In gridiron football, a muffed punt is defined as "touching of the ball prior to possessing the ball.”
A muffed punt occurs when there is an "uncontrolled touch" of the football by a player on the returning team after it is punted. This can occur when:
The kicking team interferes with the other team's right to catch the punt
A player on the kicking team is struck unaware by the football running down-field to cover the punt.
A player attempts to return the ball, makes contact with it but cannot retain the ball in his hands and it comes loose.
To be a fumble, the receiving team must possess the football, then lose control. In the case of a fumble, the ball is live and can be returned by the team that recovers the ball. In the case of a muffed punt, it is possible for the punting team to recover the ball and continue the drive, but at least in NCAA and NFL rules, they cannot advance the ball on that same play. Rules vary by league about how to handle a muffed punt.
Nonetheless, a muffed punt is a turnover. In the NFL, a muffed punt recovered by the kicking team cannot be challenged by a coach for review because all turnovers are automatically reviewed.Ontario Rugby Football Union
The Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU) was an early amateur Canadian football league. As its name implies, it comprised teams in the Canadian province of Ontario. The ORFU was founded in 1883 and in 1903 became the first major competition to adopt the Burnside rules, from which the modern Canadian football code would evolve.
For most of the first half of the 20th century, the ORFU was one of the stronger unions in Canada, and its champion was a frequent fixture in the Grey Cup even as the game became increasingly professionalized in the 1930s.
During World War II, the Ontario-based military teams played in the ORFU, filling the gap during the suspension of play by the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union. (Toronto Navy - H.M.C.S. York played out of Varsity Stadium, using the Toronto Argonauts' equipment and uniforms.) The Toronto RCAF Hurricanes were the last amateur team to win the Grey Cup in 1942. Many from the ranks of the military teams in the ORFU became stars in the CFL after the war.
With the return of peace, however, the ORFU found it increasingly difficult to compete in an environment dominated by the IRFU and the Western Interprovincial Football Union, which had both become fully professional. Indeed, by then it was the only fully amateur union still challenging for the Grey Cup. Even so, it retained enough prestige that it played the WIFU champion for a berth in the Grey Cup final. The IRFU was reluctant to accept the WIFU as a full equal even after it was clear that its quality of play had become the equal of the IRFU.
The ORFU withdrew from Grey Cup competition in 1954. Although the amateurs would not be formally locked out of Grey Cup play for another four years, this heralded the start of the modern era of Canadian football. The ORFU ceased to operate as a true senior league after 1960, but continued play at the intermediate level. Eventually the word "senior" came to replace the word "intermediate." By 1974, the ORFU had ceased to exist.Punter (football)
A punter (P) in American or Canadian football is a special teams player who receives the snapped ball directly from the line of scrimmage and then punts (kicks) the football to the opposing team so as to limit any field position advantage. This generally happens on a fourth down in American football and a third down in Canadian football. Punters may also occasionally take part in fake punts in those same situations, when they throw or run the football instead of punting.Quarterback
A quarterback (commonly abbreviated "QB"), colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offensive team, and is often responsible for calling the play in the huddle. The quarterback also touches the ball on almost every offensive play, and is the offensive player that almost always throws forward passes.Snap (gridiron football)
A snap (colloquially called a "hike", "snapback", or "pass from center") is the backwards passing of the ball in American and Canadian football at the start of play from scrimmage.Toronto Argonauts
The Toronto Argonauts (officially the Toronto Argonaut Football Club, commonly referred to as the "Argos") are a professional Canadian football team competing in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Toronto, Ontario, the team was founded in 1873, and is the oldest existing professional sports team in North America still using its original name, and they are the oldest-surviving team in both the modern-day CFL and East Division. The team's origins date back to a modified version of rugby football that emerged in North America in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The Argonauts played their home games at Rogers Centre from 1989 until 2016 when the team moved to BMO Field, the fifth stadium site to host the team.
The Argonauts have won the Grey Cup a record 17 times and have appeared in the final 23 times. Most recently they defeated the Calgary Stampeders 27–24 in the 105th Grey Cup in 2017. The Argonauts hold the best winning percentage in the championship game (73.9%) and have the longest active winning streak in games in which they have appeared, at six. The Argonauts have faced every current western CFL team at least once in the Grey Cup, while their most celebrated divisional rivalry has been with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The team was owned by the Argonaut Rowing Club for its first 83 years, and has been owned by a series of business interests since 1956. The Argonauts were a fixture on the Toronto sports scene for decades, with attendance peaking in the 1970s. In May 2015 it was announced that a consortium of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's Larry Tanenbaum (via the Kilmer Group) and Bell Canada would acquire the team. The sale included a scheduled move to MLSE run BMO Field for the 2016 season, which has long been proposed given attendance under-utilization at Rogers Centre and announced plans to install natural grass at the domed stadium, rendering it unfit for football. (The move has since been done, albeit only the infield turf replaced with dirt, instead of grass) MLSE announced in December 2017 that it had agreed to purchase the team outright, with the deal finalized on January 19, 2018. The previous owners continue to indirectly own stakes in the Argos, as Bell Canada and the Kilmer Group respectively hold 37.5% and 25% stakes in MLSE.Given the length of franchise history, dozens of players, coaches, and management have been honoured in some form over the years. The team recognizes a select group of players with retired numbers: early greats Joe Krol and Dick Shatto, stalwart offensive lineman Danny Nykoluk, and Michael "Pinball" Clemons who has been the most recent face of the team.Two-point conversion
In American and Canadian football, a two-point conversion or two-point convert is a play a team attempts instead of kicking a one-point conversion immediately after it scores a touchdown. In a two-point conversion attempt, the team that just scored must run a play from scrimmage close to the opponent's goal line (5-yard line in amateur Canadian, 3-yard line in professional Canadian, 3-yard line in amateur American, 2-yard line in professional American; in professional American football, there is a small dash to denote the line of scrimmage for a two-point conversion; it was the previous line of scrimmage for a point after kick until 2014) and advance the ball across the goal line in the same manner as if they were scoring a touchdown. If the team succeeds, it earns two additional points on top of the six points for the touchdown, for a total of eight points. If the team fails, no additional points are scored. In either case, if any time remains in the half, the team proceeds to a kickoff.
Various sources estimate the success rate of a two-point conversion to be between 40% and 55%, significantly lower than that of the extra point, though if the higher value is to be believed, a higher expected value is achieved through the two-point conversion than the extra point.Wide receiver
A wide receiver, also referred to as wideouts or simply receivers, is an offensive position in American and Canadian football, and is a key player. They get their name because they are split out "wide" (near the sidelines), farthest away from the rest of the team. Wide receivers are among the fastest players on the field. The wide receiver functions as the pass-catching specialist.