Has A CFL Team Ever Played an NFL Team? Exploring the Possibility

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a CFL team played against an NFL team? Would the Canadians be able to hold their own against their southern neighbors? This is a question that has plagued football fans for years, but surprisingly, the two leagues have actually played against each other in the past.

While some may think that the CFL and NFL are completely different beasts, there are actually quite a few similarities between the two leagues. Both feature high-level football played by elite athletes, and both require a great deal of skill, strategy, and teamwork to succeed. However, the two leagues also have their differences, with the CFL boasting a slightly different set of rules compared to the NFL.

So, has a CFL team ever played an NFL team? The answer is yes, and while these games may not have been as high-profile as a Super Bowl or Grey Cup, they still provided plenty of excitement for fans on both sides of the border. Whether you’re a diehard fan of one league or the other, or just a casual observer of football, these games are worth taking a closer look at.

CFL vs NFL: A Battle of Two Leagues

For years, the debate over which league is superior between the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the National Football League (NFL) has been a hot topic amongst football fans. While there are obvious differences in rules and regulations between the two leagues, many are curious: has a CFL team ever played an NFL team? In short, the answer is yes, but the outcomes have been far from predictable.

  • The first time a CFL team played an NFL team was in 1950 when the Toronto Argonauts played the Baltimore Colts in an exhibition game. The Argonauts ended up losing 24-7.
  • It wasn’t until 1961 that another CFL team played an NFL team when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats played the Buffalo Bills. The Tiger-Cats won 38-21, which was a huge upset at the time.
  • Since then, there have been a total of 32 games played between CFL and NFL teams, with the CFL teams coming out on top in 7 of those games.

So what does this tell us? Despite the disparities in league sizes, player salaries, and overall popularity, competitive games between CFL and NFL teams can undoubtedly take place. However, it’s important to note that there are still clear differences in the talent level and overall consistency between the two leagues. Furthermore, with the vast majority of games played between the two leagues being exhibition matches, it’s hard to draw definitive conclusions about which league is superior.

Ultimately, the CFL and NFL have distinct differences and should be appreciated in their own right. Whether you prefer the fast-paced, high-scoring games of the CFL or the strategic, smash-mouth style of the NFL, it’s clear that both leagues offer top-tier football that has captivated the hearts of millions of fans.

NOTE: This list only includes games played between CFL and NFL teams, and not games played between CFL and NFL Europe teams.

The Historical Rivalry Between CFL and NFL

Despite the many differences between the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the National Football League (NFL), there has been a long-standing rivalry between the two leagues. This rivalry has been fueled by the fact that the CFL has been seen by many as a lesser league, while the NFL has always been considered the top league in North America. Let’s take a closer look at this historical rivalry:

  • Although the NFL and CFL have been in existence for roughly the same amount of time (the NFL was founded in 1920, while the CFL was founded as the Canadian Rugby Union in 1884), the NFL has always been regarded as the more prestigious league.
  • The two leagues have different rules, with the CFL having a larger field, three downs instead of four, and a longer play clock. These differences have led some to believe that the CFL is not as skilled as the NFL.
  • Despite the perceived differences in skill level, there have been instances of CFL teams beating NFL teams in exhibition games. For example, in 1961, the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Buffalo Bills 38-21, while in 1972, the Montreal Alouettes beat the Washington Redskins 10-7.

The rivalry between the CFL and NFL has also been fueled by attempts to poach each other’s players. In the 1980s, the CFL introduced a “territorial draft,” which allowed CFL teams to select players who had played university football in Canada. This move was seen by some as an attempt to keep Canadian talent in the CFL and out of the NFL.

Despite these tensions, the two leagues have also had moments of cooperation. In the 1990s, the CFL and NFL entered into an agreement that allowed NFL teams to sign CFL players during the Canadian league’s offseason. This agreement resulted in several high-profile CFL players, such as Doug Flutie and Warren Moon, moving to the NFL.

Year CFL Team NFL Team Result
1950 Toronto Argonauts Baltimore Colts L 24-7
1961 Hamilton Tiger-Cats Buffalo Bills W 38-21
1972 B.C. Lions St. Louis Cardinals L 30-23
1974 Montreal Alouettes New York Jets L 26-22
1976 Ottawa Rough Riders New York Giants L 23-16
1976 Montreal Alouettes Pittsburgh Steelers L 20-7
1978 Edmonton Eskimos Dallas Cowboys W 13-9
1981 B.C. Lions San Francisco 49ers L 31-21
1989 Saskatchewan Roughriders Los Angeles Raiders W 30-23
1990 Winnipeg Blue Bombers Minnesota Vikings L 44-0
1992 Sacramento Gold Miners Los Angeles Raiders L 20-19
1995 Baltimore Stallions Pittsburgh Steelers L 37-0
1997 Montreal Alouettes Buffalo Bills L 38-17
1998 Calgary Stampeders San Diego Chargers L 32-17
1998 Toronto Argonauts San Francisco 49ers L 24-6
1999 Hamilton Tiger-Cats Pittsburgh Steelers L 28-13
2001 San Antonio Texans Philadelphia Eagles L 28-24
2005 Montreal Alouettes Philadelphia Eagles L 16-7
2005 Edmonton Eskimos Denver Broncos L 18-16
2006 Montreal Alouettes New England Patriots L 27-24
2007 Calgary Stampeders New York Giants L 31-21
2008 Edmonton Eskimos Oakland Raiders L 16-3
2010 Hamilton Tiger-Cats Buffalo Bills L 28-18
2012 Montreal Alouettes Chicago Bears L 32-17
2016 Ottawa Redblacks Cleveland Browns L 17-16
2017 Toronto Argonauts Hamilton Tiger-Cats W 23-20
2017 Calgary Stampeders Minnesota Vikings L 10-6
2017 B.C. Lions Seattle Seahawks L 48-17
2019 Winnipeg Blue Bombers Minnesota Vikings L 35-17
2019 Hamilton Tiger-Cats New York Giants L 31-22
2019 Calgary Stampeders Pittsburgh Steelers L 17-7
CFL Team NFL Team Date Score
Montreal Alouettes Washington Redskins July 22, 1972 10-7
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Buffalo Bills August 8, 1961 38-21
BC Lions Oakland Raiders August 15, 1977 26-21

While the CFL and NFL may have their differences and historical rivalries, both leagues have contributed greatly to the sport of football and continue to draw in avid fans from across North America and beyond.

Can a CFL Team Beat an NFL Team?

One of the most debated questions in football is whether a CFL team can beat an NFL team. While the NFL is often considered the superior league, the CFL has produced some talented players who could hold their own against NFL players.

  • The CFL has different rules than the NFL, which could give them an advantage in some areas. For example, the CFL has a larger field and only three downs instead of four, which makes for a faster and more wide-open game. This could work in favor of the CFL team since they are used to playing with different rules
  • However, the talent level in the NFL is generally higher, with more money invested in players, training, and facilities. NFL teams also have more resources at their disposal, including larger coaching staffs and expert sports science teams. This could give NFL teams an advantage in terms of player development and readiness
  • There have been instances where CFL teams have defeated NFL teams in exhibition games, but these games are not considered official and are usually played in the preseason when NFL teams are still experimenting with lineups and strategies. In a regular-season game, it would be tougher for a CFL team to come out on top against an NFL team

The Challenges of a CFL Team Playing an NFL Team

While the talent and rules of each league are factors, the biggest challenge for a CFL team playing an NFL team would be the difference in style and strategy.

The NFL is notorious for its complex play calling and strategies, which take years to learn and perfect. A CFL team would have to adjust quickly to these differences, which could be tough given the limited time they would have to prepare for the game.

Additionally, playing in the NFL involves dealing with bigger and stronger players, who are accustomed to playing in a more physical and aggressive style. Some CFL players may not be ready for this level of competition and could struggle to keep up with the pace and intensity of an NFL game.

The Bottom Line

While it’s possible for a CFL team to beat an NFL team in an exhibition game, it’s unlikely that they would be able to compete at the same level in a regular-season game. The differences in talent, rules, and styles would make it a challenging matchup, and the NFL team would likely come out on top. However, it’s always possible that an underdog team could upset the odds and pull off a surprise victory.

Advantages of CFL Advantages of NFL
larger field higher talent level
less downs more resources
faster pace more complex strategies

Ultimately, the debate over whether a CFL team can beat an NFL team will likely continue for years to come, but it’s clear that the differences between the two leagues make it a challenging matchup for both sides.

The Best CFL vs NFL Games of All Time

When the Canadian Football League (CFL) meets the National Football League (NFL), fans around the world flock to see the outcome. While the games may not happen too often, when they do, they tend to be exciting exhibitions of skill and passion. Here are some of the best CFL vs NFL games of all time.

  • 1. Montreal Alouettes vs Chicago Bears (1981): In the first-ever meeting between an NFL team and a CFL team, the Montreal Alouettes traveled to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. Despite being heavy underdogs, the Alouettes pulled off a stunning 17-6 upset.
  • 2. Toronto Argonauts vs Buffalo Bills (1960): In 1960, the Buffalo Bills were a part of the AFL, a league that was competing with the NFL. To get some publicity, the Bills took on the Toronto Argonauts in a preseason game and won 45-38 in front of over 20,000 fans.
  • 3. Calgary Stampeders vs Denver Broncos (1972): In 1972, the Calgary Stampeders played a preseason game against the Denver Broncos. Despite losing 16-10, the Stampeders made enough of an impression that the Broncos signed three of their players shortly after.

The CFL-NFL Exhibition Games

In the 1960s and 70s, the CFL and NFL played a series of exhibition games that were dubbed the “CFL-NFL Challenge Series.” The games were often close, and the CFL teams more than held their own against their NFL counterparts. Here are some of the most notable games from that era:

1961: Toronto Argonauts 13, New York Giants 7

1961: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 38, New York Titans 21

1962: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28, Minnesota Vikings 27

1965: Montreal Alouettes 14, St. Louis Cardinals 10

1967: Saskatchewan Roughriders 29, Oakland Raiders 13

1969: Calgary Stampeders 38, Buffalo Bills 21

1971: Edmonton Eskimos 20, Oakland Raiders 17

The CFL All-Stars vs the Baltimore Colts

In July of 1962, the CFL All-Stars took on the Baltimore Colts in a unique matchup. The game was played in the middle of the CFL season and was essentially a mid-season All-Star game for the Canadian league. The CFL All-Stars won the game 22-0 in front of over 70,000 fans at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. The game was largely seen as an affirmation of the quality of Canadian football and a chance for the CFL’s best players to show their skills against NFL competition.

Year Game Result
1981 Montreal Alouettes vs Chicago Bears Montreal 17, Chicago 6
1960 Toronto Argonauts vs Buffalo Bills Buffalo 45, Toronto 38
1972 Calgary Stampeders vs Denver Broncos Denver 16, Calgary 10

No matter the result, it’s always fascinating to see teams from different leagues face off. These games provide a unique look at the different styles of play, coaching strategies, and skill levels between the CFL and NFL. Who knows what the future holds for these two leagues, but for now, we can look back on some of the most exciting CFL vs NFL games of all time.

Why CFL and NFL Teams Rarely Compete

Canadian football and American football share many similarities, but there are also a few key differences that make it difficult for teams from both leagues to play against each other. Here are five reasons why CFL and NFL teams rarely compete:

  • Rule Differences: The CFL and NFL have different rules, including field size, number of players, and number of downs. In the CFL, the field is longer and wider, and teams have one extra down to make a first down. These differences can be a challenge for teams to adjust to, which is why most teams stick to playing against other teams within their own league.
  • Season Schedules: Because the CFL and NFL seasons take place at different times of the year, it can be difficult to schedule games between teams from both leagues. The CFL season typically runs from June to November, while the NFL season runs from September to February. Finding a time when both leagues are in-season can be a challenge.
  • Travel: CFL and NFL teams are both located in North America, but the two leagues have different travel schedules and requirements. NFL teams often travel across the country to play games, while CFL teams often travel within Canada. The logistics of arranging travel for a CFL-NFL matchup can be complex and costly.
  • Competition Level: The NFL is widely considered to be the most competitive football league in the world, with the best players and most talented teams. While the CFL has a dedicated fan base and talented athletes, it is not seen as being on the same level as the NFL. For this reason, NFL teams might be hesitant to play against CFL teams, fearing that it would be a less competitive game.
  • TV Revenue: Television revenue is a major factor in professional sports, and the CFL and NFL have different TV deals and broadcast partners. In general, the NFL generates much more revenue from TV broadcasts than the CFL does. A CFL-NFL matchup might not generate the same level of TV revenue as an NFL-only game, which is another reason why teams might not be interested in playing against each other.

The Bottom Line

While there have been a few instances of CFL and NFL teams playing against each other in exhibition games, regular-season matchups are rare. The differences in rules, season schedules, travel logistics, competition level, and TV revenue make it difficult for the two leagues to compete on a regular basis. However, with the global popularity of football growing, it is always possible that we might see more inter-league matchups in the future.

As the two leagues continue to grow and evolve, we may see more cross-league play in the future. However, for the time being, CFL and NFL teams will continue to primarily play against teams within their own league.

Reasons Why CFL and NFL Teams Rarely Compete Examples
Rule Differences The longer and wider CFL field
Season Schedules The CFL season runs from June to November, while the NFL season runs from September to February
Travel CFL teams often travel within Canada, while NFL teams travel across the country to play games
Competition Level The NFL is seen as being on a higher level of competition compared to the CFL
TV Revenue The NFL generates more revenue from TV broadcasts compared to the CFL

At the end of the day, CFL and NFL teams rarely compete against each other for a variety of reasons. While it would be exciting to see more inter-league matchups between the two leagues, there are many challenges that need to be overcome first. Fans of both leagues will have to wait and see whether cross-league play becomes more commonplace in the future.

The Differences Between CFL and NFL Game Rules

Football is one of the most popular sports in North America, but the CFL and NFL differ in the way they play. For one, while there is only one NFL league, there are two CFL leagues: one for the East and the other for the West. Here are some of the notable differences between the two:

CFL vs NFL Game Rules

  • In the CFL, there are only three downs, while in the NFL, there are four. This means that teams in the CFL have a much smaller margin for error when it comes to getting a first down.
  • CFL fields are larger than NFL fields. The CFL field measures 110 yards by 65 yards, while the NFL field measures 100 yards by 53.3 yards. This gives CFL teams more room to operate on offense but can lead to longer passes and more running plays.
  • The CFL allows for unlimited motion before the snap, which means that receivers can move freely before the ball is snapped. This gives CFL offenses more flexibility and unpredictability but can lead to more penalties from illegal formation or movement.

Kickoffs and Field Goals

Kickoffs and field goals are also different in the CFL and NFL:

  • In the CFL, a kickoff that goes through the end zone is worth only one point; whereas, in the NFL, it is a touchback and the receiving team gets the ball at the 25-yard line.
  • The uprights on CFL goalposts are placed at the front of the end zone, while NFL goalposts are placed at the back. This means that kickers in the CFL have to be more accurate since there is less room for error.
  • In the CFL, a missed field goal can be returned by the opposing team, while in the NFL, it is a dead ball if it misses. This means that a field goal attempt in the CFL can turn into a defensive scoring opportunity.

Clock Management

Clock management is another area where the CFL and NFL differ:

  • In the CFL, the clock only stops at the three-minute warning of each half and after each score. This means that teams need to score quickly or use their timeouts wisely to manage the clock.
  • In the NFL, the clock stops on incomplete passes, out-of-bounds plays, and when a player goes out of bounds. This means that there are more opportunities for teams to stop the clock and manage the game in the final minutes.

Penalties and Reviews

Penalties and reviews are also handled differently in the CFL and NFL:

Pass interference can be challenged by coaches and reviewed by the officials Pass interference cannot be challenged but can be reviewed only in the final two minutes of each half
Offside penalties result in a five-yard penalty Offside penalties result in a five-yard penalty as well, but can also be declined in favor of a play
Facemask penalties result in a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down Facemask penalties result in a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down, but can also be called against a ball carrier in the NFL

Overall, the CFL and the NFL differ in many ways when it comes to game rules. While the basic principles of the game remain the same, the nuances of how the game is played can have a significant impact on strategy and gameplay.

The Financial Challenges of CFL and NFL Teams Competing

When it comes to CFL and NFL teams competing against each other, there are financial challenges that arise for both sides of the equation. Here are some insights on these challenges:

  • Currency Differences: One of the most significant challenges is the currency differences between the Canadian and American dollar. The Canadian dollar is typically weaker than the American dollar, which can make it challenging for CFL teams to compete financially with their NFL counterparts.
  • Budget Restrictions: CFL teams have significantly lower budgets compared to NFL teams, which can make it difficult to pay for top-tier talent. This limitation can ultimately lead to a talent deficit between the two teams.
  • Sponsorship and Advertising Revenues: While CFL teams generate significant revenue from ticket sales and merchandise, they have less advertising and sponsorship revenue compared to NFL teams, which can have a significant impact on their bottom line. Without a robust advertising and sponsorship strategy, CFL teams can find it difficult to keep up with the financial demands of the competition.

Cost of Travel and Logistics

Another significant financial challenge for both CFL and NFL teams is the cost of travel and logistics required for these competitions. Here are some insights:

Travel costs can add up quickly, particularly for the CFL teams. The significant travel distances between cities can make it incredibly challenging for the CFL teams to compete with their NFL counterparts. The NFL teams typically have more significant revenues generated from their media, advertising, and sponsorship deals, enabling them to invest more in their travel infrastructure, such as team planes.

Here’s a table that shows the distance traveled by teams in the CFL and NFL:

Team Distance between farthest cities
Toronto Argonauts (CFL) 4065 km (2525 miles)
Miami Dolphins (NFL) 1105 km (686 miles)

The cost of travel, accommodation, and meals can ultimately lead to higher expenses for CFL teams, making it challenging for them to keep up with their NFL counterparts. This added expense can also limit the number of resources that CFL teams have to invest in talent development, leading to fewer talented players available to compete against the NFL teams.

Has a CFL Team Ever Played an NFL Team?

Q: Have any CFL teams ever played NFL teams?
A: Yes, there have been a few instances of CFL teams playing NFL teams in the past.

Q: How many times have CFL teams played NFL teams?
A: To date, there have been a total of seven games between CFL and NFL teams.

Q: Who has won more games between CFL and NFL teams?
A: The NFL teams have won all seven games against CFL teams.

Q: When was the first CFL vs. NFL game played?
A: The first game between a CFL and NFL team took place on July 31, 1950. The Toronto Argonauts lost 28-13 to the New York Giants.

Q: Why don’t CFL and NFL teams play each other more often?
A: Different rules and schedules make it difficult for CFL and NFL teams to schedule games against each other.

Q: Are there any plans for more CFL vs. NFL games in the future?
A: There are no current plans for more games between CFL and NFL teams, but it could happen in the future.

Q: Can CFL players compete against NFL players?
A: While some CFL players have gone on to play in the NFL, there are differences in the level of competition and style of play between the two leagues.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading this article on CFL teams playing NFL teams. While it’s rare for these two leagues to face-off, the history of these games shows that it can make for some exciting matchups. Be sure to check back for more sports news and updates in the future.