The history of sport can be interesting, and it is in this case. Rugby was introduced to Canada by the British in the 19th century and became popular in Montreal in the 1860s. At that time in the United States, football (soccer) was the most popular game being played. Sports clubs from Canada’s McGill University and the U.S.’s Harvard University got together to play in Cambridge, Massachusetts in mid-May 1874. The Canadians wanted to play rugby and the Americans soccer. They ended up creating a new sport which is now known as football in the U.S. and Canada. The Canadians took the new sport back to Canada, and Harvard popularized it in the U.S.
The rules ended up being a little different in the two countries. Canada, for example, has a playing field of 110 yards, but the U.S. only 100 yards. The biggest difference which makes the games look very different is that American football has four downs, meaning four chances to move the ball 10 yards. But Canadian football has only three downs. Because of this, Canadian football has much more passing and involves more risk taking which makes the game more exciting. What may be curious to students of psychology is that, although Canadian football has a larger field and only three downs, games typically end in much higher scores than in the U.S.
Canada’s major football league is the CFL which currently has eight teams. The playoff round is crowned by the season championship game, played in November, known as the Grey Cup. Each year, it is played in a different city.
Financially, the CFL … could be doing better (let’s put it that way). In order to attract more, especially younger, fans of the sport, they have begun inviting popular recording artists to play at the Grey Cup final. Huge names last year resulted in a 44% increase in television viewership from the previous year.
This year, with a new album on the way, Vancouver multiplatinum pop band Hedley will be playing the half-time show. Saskatchewan boogie rockers The Sheepdogs will open the game, and Serena Ryder will sing the national anthem. The 2013 Grey Cup game will be held on November 24 in Regina which was also this year’s site of the JUNO awards.