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).
|Highest governing body||International Federation of American Football|
|Nicknames||Football, Gridiron football|
|First played||November 9, 1861, University College, University of Toronto|
|Team members||12 a side|
|Glossary||Glossary of Canadian football|
|Part of the American football series on the|
|History of American football|
|Origins of American football|
|Close relations to other codes|
In Canada, the term "football" may refer to Canadian football and American football collectively, or to either sport specifically, depending on context. Outside of Canada, the term Canadian football is used exclusively to describe this sport, even in the United States; the term gridiron football (or, more rarely, North American football) is also used worldwide as well to refer to both sports collectively. The two sports have shared origins and are closely related but have some key differences. With the probable exception of a few minor and recent changes, for which there is circumstantial evidence to suggest the existence of at least informal cross-border collaboration, the modern rules of the two sports evolved independently.
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.