Plays from scrimmage

Anyone know what percentage, on average , the CFL average game has of plays from scrimmage compared to an average NFL game? Seems to me I've heard this number somewhere and I'm in a discussion on another forum about this now.


I don't know the numbers, but I imagine that with the extra down, it's more in the NFL than the CFL.

That's the perception KK but remember they waste more time because they have 40 sec to put the ball in play. Last time I heard the CFL averaged more plays from scrimmage but I just don't have the source.

Well, this has absolutely no scientific value, but I just compared the number of plays from scrimmage in the last Grey Cup game and in the last Super Bowl game.

  • Grey Cup = 122 plays (and we had a double overtime)
  • Super Bowl = 129 plays (without overtime)

Shocking, eh?

Interesting ... I am surprised, I would assume that the CFL would have more plays in a game (due to the shorter play-clock)

Thanks Third for that info, appreciate it. I suppose that with 4 downs, more of these plays could be categorized as just looking for a yard or two, I don't know.

You missed something third. Or theres a didget out. CFL games are average 160 to 180 plays while NFL range from 120 to 145. I did a two month comparison last September. Did you include punts, kickoffs and converts? Your numbers for the Grey Cup seem really, really low.

I knew something wasn't right....The Grey Cup game had 164 plays in it! Superbowl had 151 plays.Third, you only counted first and second down plays! (And 3rd down for NFL)

151 plays for the Superbowl was the second highest play total (Comparing my Sept survey) Games involving Indianapolis tended to have plays closer to the 145 play top range while teams like Baltimore, and Chicago tended to be closer to 125 plays at the bottom end.

That's very interesting, thanks guys. Stating what most of us thought was obvious.
Which brings an interesting perspective, during the previous years when I would watch the odd NFL game, it struck me as a stupid rule when a team with the ball and the game presumably won, could walk off the field with 39 seconds left. Brutal.

fascinating, so in general, the CFL has more plays?

I remember what I read an NFL fan saying the other day that the plays in the CFL were too predictable, like a sack on 1st down would always mean a pass play in the 2nd, but I like 3 downs a lot more cuz it keeps the procession moving (like in other sports) and one team doesn't hog procession unless they make the frist.

overall, this once again shows why the CFL is better than the NFL.

But a sack on second down in the NFL means the same thing. Second and long means you have to pass, just like third and long means you have to pass in the NFL.
As a lover of great defence, I prefer three downs, because something like a sack has a greater impact on the drive. I can't stand when I'm playing computer football (NFL rules, of course!), knock down a pass on first down, get a sack on second down, and end up allowing a first down on the next play.

Well, I did let out the special team plays, because they don't result in any gain from scrimmage (unless its a fake run or pass). I thought that was the question. My numbers included pass attempts and runs, which really are what we look for in a game.

Sorry for the confusion.

I don't know why it's three downs, but I have a feeling it has to do with athurian leagend (it always take three times to do something). Same maybe ture about hockey (although I like to tie up a game on my NHL to send it into the extra OT peroid then have the team that was leading win, I have a thing for quaters, except for downs in football)