Kent Tukeli | Sun 04/02/2018 - 06:13 EST

Super Bowl vs Grey Cup: Canada's Unique Gridiron Spin

Super Bowl vs Grey Cup: Canada's Unique Gridiron Spin

Canada's Super Bowl Is The Grey Cup

Grey Cup Versus Vince Lombardi Trophy

1909 CFL Grey Cup

At first, Earl Grey wanted to donate a trophy to celebrate Canada’s amateur hockey champion, but Sir Montagu Allan beat Earl to the punch. Instead, Earl Grey gave the Grey Cup to the Canadian football scene, celebrating the best club in the country since 1909. The trophy survived as an east versus west gridiron clash between provinces, before the Canadian Football League was formed out of smaller Canadian football unions in 1957.

The Super Bowl started out as the AFL-NFL World Championship game, with the stylized football initially named the “World Professional Football Championship”. When the coach of the Green Bay Packers passed away, the trophy was named after Vince Lombari, who lead the Packers to wins in the first two Super Bowls.

Similar to the Stanley Cup, the Grey Cup becomes emblazoned with the members of the winning team, resulting in a physically-impressive, cup-style trophy. Over the 100-plus years of Canadian football, the Grey Cup endured rough handling which damaged the trophy, including a massive fire that destroyed surrounding sports memorabilia. 

This Canadian artifact’s been stolen twice and held as a hostage for ransom, a situation unimaginable in the NFL. America’s football’s previous championship trophy, the Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy, used to stay with the winning team for an entire year. When the Vince Lombardi Trophy was christened, the rules changed. 

Unlike the quirky Canadian tradition of letting the players and organization spend some quality time with their Stanley Cup or Grey Cup championship, the Vince Lombardi trophy remains in the hands of the NFL. This symbolizes the businesslike nature of the NFL, compared to the CFL, which allows players to enjoy triumph at the highest level.

Grey Cup Football Wide Open Compared To Super Bowl

My Team's Next MatchNew England Patriots

Canadian rules football differs greatly from American gridiron. The biggest change involves the number of downs, with the CFL running on three downs and the NFL providing four downs to earn ten yards. Canadian teams must average five yards per down before punting, while American teams need 3.33 yards, passing is more prevalent in the CFL.

Several other rule differences quicken the pace of a Canadian football game compared to the American product. The size of a CFL pitch is much bigger than an NFL field, providing more space for the offense. CFL teams have 12 men on field while NFL squads have 11 players, with the extra player often acting as another receiver or blocker for the Canadian game.

Crucially, American football allows only a single offensive player to be in motion before the snap, moving either laterally or backwards. In the CFL, all wide receivers and backs may be in motion before the snap, providing a speed boost for the offense while increasing the difficulty for the defending team. Consider Julio Jones charging scrimmage full steam before the snap, and try to imagine how an NFL secondary would deal with this scenario. This is the challenge faced by CFL defenders every Grey Cup.

Field goals also happen to be a bit easier in the CFL, because the goalpost stands at the goal line, while the NFL positions the posts behind the end zone. Canadian football’s faster and higher scoring than the American variant, even if the NFL is the pinnacle of gridiron.

Super Bowl Turned To A Massive Marketing Machine

Companies spend fortunes for 30 seconds of television time during the Super Bowl. The biggest celebrities in the world perform at the halftime show, which has become a big enough spectacle to draw its own crowd. The combination of new, high-profile commercials and the halftime show attract millions to the Super Bowl, many of whom pay more attention to the ads than the game itself.

Plenty of celebrities perform at the Grey Cup halftime show, and corporations still spend big advertising dollars to show their brand in front of millions of Canadian football fans. However, the CFL is a fraction of the NFL in terms of brand power and revenue. Professional Canadian football survives because of passionate fans, while the NFL’s become propped up by a massive marketing and media empire.

Canadian football will never overtake American gridiron in terms of revenue and popularity, but Canada’s version of gridiron remains the faster, friendlier sport – especially when the Grey Cup’s in town. 

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Category : NFL

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