CFL considering change that would make their footballs same size as NFL

A new CFL football, identical in size and shape to an NFL ball, is being tested around the league and could possibly be used in game action as soon as next season, per sources.

Each team has samples of the new footballs – distributed in April and kept highly secretive – that are made to the same standards as pigskins used in the NFL. Sources say the move, which could make the balls easier to throw and catch, is being considered in an effort to improve scoring.

“The league has asked teams to help us test different footballs. Before any are put into play, it would need to go through a series of approvals,” a league spokesperson says.

Both leagues have standards for the minimum and maximum size their footballs but the Canadian ball is, generally, slightly larger. If a CFL ball is constructed to the maximum specifications and the NFL ball the minimum, which is how they’re currently made, the Canadian football would be a 1/4 of an inch longer and 1/8 of an inch bigger around.

The new CFL ball would also be closer in size to the balls used in American college football, which have slightly smaller specifications than the NFL.

The old CFL slogan ‘Our balls our bigger’ exacerbated the misconception that three-down footballs were much larger, when in fact ‘Our balls are slightly bigger’ might have made for a more appropriate reflection of the pigskins currently used in the CFL.

While the white stripes would remain on the CFL ball, the new balls would essentially be an NFL football with a CFL logo on it.

In addition to changing the size and shape to match the NFL ball, the CFL would also eliminate their raised and textured laces and go the NFL’s flat style. The CFL wants to improve the leather quality of the new balls and tighten its overall specifications, which are currently lower than the NFL’s. Such a move would likely improve the quality, durability and consistency of each and every CFL ball.

Players – particularly quarterbacks, receivers and kickers – have been asked to try the new balls and give feedback to the league.

Sources say players generally support the change. Quarterbacks feel the new balls are easier to throw and receivers find them more catchable. Punters can turn the ball over more consistently and overall kicking distances might improve as well.

There’s likely to be concern from purists who celebrate the differences between the Canadian and American pro football leagues.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (841 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

79 Comments on CFL considering change that would make their footballs same size as NFL

  1. I hope they do it, it would improve the CFL game.

    • Johnny Blumpkin // September 11, 2017 at 1:51 pm //

      How so?

      • ALL of our QBs that have to throw the ball or ex-NCAA or NFL, makes sense that we would use the same ball.
        Can you imagine the MLS using a different size soccer ball to the rest of the world??
        Just makes too much sense to standardize

        • George Porge // September 11, 2017 at 6:36 pm //

          Or the Olympics using a different sized hockey rink than the NHL. Unthinkable!

        • They also need to adjust to a 12th man, larger field, 3 downs….

          Why do we need to change for them??

          They’re coming HERE…get used to it…

    • Wow. It’s CFL football. Not NFL wanna be football. Not happy about this at all. Not sure how this improves the game at all either. Guess I’m a purest as I’d never buy a new CFL football.
      And while being back my two favorite slogans. Are balls are bigger. & Longer, wider faster.

    • Mike W. Smith // September 12, 2017 at 8:27 am //

      Yes I love the idea. Eadier to catch and hold on. Longer bombs

    • Canadian Professional football began in Hamilton Ontario Canada in 1869. The Grey Cup Championship began in 1909. The CFL was officially formed in 1958.
      One way or other Professional Football Originated in Canada. Let’s keep our ball size

    • Noticed the Difference between J5V and the current Wilson ball… won’t.notice much but we miss ball texture. J5V was a better kicking ball…where kicking is at least 25% more important. But a better throwing ball has the edge.

  2. What next, 4 downs.
    I prefer the CFL, leave our “big balls” alone

  3. white stallion in red // September 11, 2017 at 1:57 pm //

    Honestly is this a joke? First off-This would limit the mobility of qbs
    Secondly many new stadiums have just been built. You make the field smaller you affect the great site line in these places.
    How’s this affect the extra receiver and the need for 2 inside dbs?

  4. I’m in full favor of this, no question.

  5. It would be interesting to find out what the true motivation is behind this. If I remember correctly, CFL footballs were reduced in size back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. There was a major difference in size prior to that decision. If the further reduction improves game play then I’m all for it but if it is negligible or no difference then the move doesn’t make sense at all.

    • EVERY starting quarterback in this league is American and they’ve adjusted…

      This league is supposed to be different….

  6. If the change generates a change in consistency of performance and quality, let’s get it done. In response to the ‘purists’ who want to preserve the Canadian game, look at the changes in the transition of the game from running to passing, rule changes, the skill, speed, strength and agility of today’s players, equipment improvements, goal-post positioning and design and even field
    markings. Could go on…..

    • Yes, it’s about standardization.
      Why would Canadians use a different sized ball?
      Do we use a different size basketball?
      Does the MLS use a different sized soccer ball?

      • Since the CFL has existed for about twice as long as the NFL, CFL balls should be considered the “standard” size. Leave the balls alone.

        • Exactly. Let the NFL change their ball to the standard.

        • Details Details // September 12, 2017 at 5:18 am //

          The CFL started in 1958.
          The NFL started in 1920.

          • 1958 was the official name change. The Grey Cup has been awarded since 1907!! You need to do a little research. Canadians taught Americans how to play football. Our roots and history start WAY before something named NFL.

  7. rider rooter // September 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm //

    this will help the qb with throwing range maybe open the big play (long pass even more) I feel the accuracy will improve I hope this is where it stop though

  8. What would Jake Gauder say?
    Is nothing sacred? Just kidding.
    Sounds like a good move.
    Go for it!
    White Stallion…better start to learn how to read in Braille.
    You seem well on your way to needing this skill in near future.

    And what’s this I hear about the Deaf Penalty? Don’t the hearing impaired have enough to worry about without being arrested? What do you say, Illiterate Stallion? We’re all dying to know your undeniable Universal Truths, oh wise one!

  9. Jake Gaudaur…had to check the old J5V!

  10. Why not just make the NFL ball bigger?

  11. Todd Peters // September 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm //

    Do it, but go with the red laces(like the pre-game ones used for Canada 150 celebrations)

  12. Tom Brady: Why not just make the NFL ball bigger?

    Because the NFL won’t accept to change standards and expect everybody else to adopt their rules. The same way U.S. didn’t adopted the metric systems as almost everybody else on Earth.

  13. No way. Part of the tradition and history of our game. Bigger issues than this! Leave it alone!!

  14. Well I am half and half on this subject, Pro 1 is that a lot of our international players are American (all of them), thus have played through the NCAA ranks, which has a smaller version of the NFL Ball, Plus 2 is that any one of our players so wish to take a chance and get tryouts with an NFL Team, he is not worrying about the ball size on top of all the new plays and code words, Minus 1, we are clearly bigger up here, the larger balls hold up well and are durable, and Minus 2 is that Jerry in the post above it hit it right on, the NFL won’t budge for a change at all, once we get a ball just slightly bigger but resembles an NFL BALL, they may go for it, may be an alarm system so if they fall below a certain pressure they would just dump and be a flat hunk of leather (sorry had to put that in) lol

  15. The Pros are for the international Players not for us, we know we are inherently different than the NFL and like to keep it like that, but it does look like our old pigskin has in need of a face lift sooner than later, we”ll still have that moniker “our Balls are bigger” slogan tacked on to the CFL, along with our playground is bigger, and we have more friends than you do lol..

  16. They should adopt the new football but retain the slogan as – our balls are still bigger – Sorry childish I know but could not resist.

  17. leave the balls alone. no reason to change so far as i can tell, no popular groundswell of support for nfl clone wilson balls … if the league wants better balls, then issue manufacturing guidelines that would make it so.
    while we’re at it, let’s go back to the spalding j5v, which was manufactured in st. george, ontario, between hamilton and brantford. part of our history got waylaid there.

    • I agree gman. Leave our balls (ahem) and our game alone. Always loved the old “our balls are bigger” back in the day.

  18. We are the CFL not the NFL assholes. Get a brain.

  19. Southwest cowboy // September 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm //

    Why the Yankee worship??
    I like that our game is different and I’m proud of it.

  20. Simple. If the players want it, then do it. Period.

  21. The players are mostly American playing in a different country with its own game and rules . As it should be!

  22. Southwest cowboy // September 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm //

    Is this part of the ongoing NAFTA negotiations? LOL
    Has Trudeau been Trumped?

  23. Blackhawk89 // September 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm //

    Get rid of the yard off the ball rule too, and the no yards penalty on punts.

    • George Porge // September 11, 2017 at 6:41 pm //

      And make the field smaller and add a down and subtract a player and move the goalposts to the back of the field and stop awarding a point for a missed field goal and make Budweiser the main sponsor and add more commercials COMMERCIALS COMMERCIALS!!!

      There. Better?

      • True George…..let’s make it just like the NFL so that the game is over with 3 minutes left in the game.

      • And make the field smaller and add a down and subtract a player and move the goalposts to the back of the field and stop awarding a point for a missed field goal and make Budweiser the main sponsor and add more commercials COMMERCIALS COMMERCIALS!!!

        There. Better?

        And… drop the ratio crap.

  24. If you want to sit down and watch a langerie game then watch the NFL, with its 4 downs to get 10 yrs go ahead. But if you want to watch a man’s game with 3 downs to get 10 yards and bigger balls CFL is the game.

  25. Since 1986, the CFL & NFL balls are actually very close in size. I bet this proposal has everything to do with economics and nothing else. Standardization almost always reduces costs. So the little fish in this case(CFL) would have to adhere to the big fishes little ball. Having said that, what is the long-term goal of this league(ie. what does the CIS use?) I’m looking forward to the day when only a handful of internationals are allowed, and the rest of the roster are Canadians. This is the CFL, right?

    • I can understand your sentiment for more top notch Canadian players…..but it seems to me there are barely enough to go around once injuries strike? Interesting that a league making such a statement about diversity being strength….so adamantly clings to such a nativist sentiment with regard to player nationality? Interesting?
      I just want to see the highest caliber football being played….I give not one crap we they are from, where they went to school, etc. Performance

  26. Leave the ball alone!

  27. Exactly wonderfully put.

  28. White Horse // September 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm //

    I don’t think as a preferance it would make any difference either way to Reilly, BLM, Kevin Glenn etc. I would think that they would approve the new ball but over all not a big deal to them.5

  29. Cue AC/DC

    “…I’ve got big balls…’ve got big balls….who’s got the biggest balls of them all?”

  30. CFL you people are really screwong things up with new rules and regulations already.If you want to change something that would make a difference. Then start penalizing the quarterback for throwing balls out of bounce to avoid get a sack. Witch takes away from defence stats of not getting a sack.

  31. Philip Nicholson // September 11, 2017 at 4:53 pm //

    Confusing article…So is it “the same size ball as the NFL” or “closer in size to the balls used in American college football, which have slightly smaller specifications than the NFL.”
    Here’s an idea, if “the CFL wants to improve the leather quality of the new balls and tighten its overall specifications,” do that, but leave our proud game and history alone.

    • Yes, the article was poorly written and misleading. The NCAA ball and NFL ball are supposedly different. So why doesn’t the NCAA copy the NFL too?

      The CFL adopted the current U.S.-made Wilson football in 1986 which has the same specifications as the NFL ball (the Duke). The only difference is the NFL chooses balls which fall into the smaller range of allowed tolerances, while the CFL generally chooses balls which are in the larger range.

      Our balls used to be bigger, the original Canadian-make Spalding J5V (used prior to 1986) was fatter and heavier than the Yankee ball.

      From what I gather from the article, the CFL is now adopting the NFL’s practice of choosing balls which are is the smaller range (we’re probably talking about 1/16th of an inch, here) and have improved leather grain?

      I frankly preferred the old J5V, which Warren Moon could almost put into orbit on his long bombs. The J5V was definitely more difficult to catch compared to the U.S. ball.

      This is actually a non-story, blown out of proportion to create a controversy for some reason?

  32. I can see the emotion involved with this. If we take emotion out however; we are not above changing rules yearly, or sometimes in the middle of the year, if it improves the game. If making a change to the ball, one that would not be visible to viewers/fans, but will improve the game, why would we not entertain it? Truth be told, if we as fans were not told about it, we would never know that it happened. As the article clearly states, the argument that our ball is bigger is largely symbolic now anyway.

  33. If changing the ball makes for a better game, bring it on. Standardization may help with international players coming to the CFL and Canadians playing in the NFL. I’m all in favour of making the CFL more attractive for quality international players.

  34. Just leave our game and balls the way it is. Balls are easier to catch if smaller?? These guys are professional football players!!! If the ball is in the vicinity of the player, big or small ball, he should be able to catch it…

  35. change is good donkey..maybe not in this will be fair catch and then no single on missed field goals or punts for a single point..

  36. Why doesn’t the NFL change their ball instead? Why do we always follow everything American? We need to start leading.

  37. Change the ball. It’s not about CFL or NFL, it’s about the ability to throw a good ball with a spiral. Any of you try throwing a CFL ball? Not easy. Keep the white stripes. While you ar it, get rid of the centre field yard line and reduce the end zone to 15 yards. Oh ya, scrap the no yard penalty and leave the rest alone. Any body watch both leagues on the weekend? Our game is a whole lot more exciting.

  38. Ditchbanger // September 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm //

    Reading without comprehending again.

  39. It’s the CFL, emphasis on the C!!!!
    And, as for the “other” ball being easier to catch, tell that to Duron Carter…he has shown signs of being able to catch the current one, once or twice.

    Leave the damn thing alone. We AREN’T the NFL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Get rid of those old school white ugly lines too, that are more suitable for amateur and minor league football and high school and college football, not professional football! Actually the CFL use to have a browner looking and more professional looking CFL ball without the white lines, that was bigger than our current CFL ball. If the CFL is going to change our CFL ball to make it better and look more professional looking, do it right and don’t make it still look like our current old school CFL ball with those amateur looking ugly white lines.

  41. To an earlier comment, what are u drinking if u think cfl has been around 2x as long as the nfl? Nfl was founded in 1920. CFL 1958

    Sorry to burst your bubble. The Rugby history is completely irrelevant lol.

  42. OSKEE WEE WEE // September 11, 2017 at 9:40 pm //

    No No No, BS I love those classic football’s.

  43. Dundas dude // September 11, 2017 at 10:43 pm //

    They should use those little nerf footballs…less likely to hurt their fingers catching them (also I can throw them farther than a real one).

  44. Don’t do it.

  45. wtf- Next 4 downs- 11 men..100 yards.. no rouge ..fair catch..Continuous clock.

  46. I’m a big CFL fan that also likes the NFL, but I’m not sure it’s gonna make the game any better, you can’t hit a QB or a punter anymore, did that make the game better?? DBs might as well just let the receivers go because it will be pass interference anyway, bring back the hitting , it’s a contact sport and leave the ball alone , …. that’s just me

  47. Let’s change the name of this site to and just follow the NFL rules too. Then we don’t have to have pride in our league. Lift the salary caps too, so our players don’t have respect and heart, just dollar signs. If the players want it, whatever. But where will the changes stop after that? Until the CFL is the new NFL?

  48. This is just another step eliminating the uniqueness of the CFL. What’s next?

  49. Ask the players; let them settle it. Keep the stripes to differentiate it from the US league. I did like the prototype that was out last year, with the black laces and stripes – or could use the home team’s main colour for laces and stripes.

  50. I have no problem changing the ball, as long as it keeps the stripes on it. Seemed just like yesterday that the CFL changed from the old Spalding J5V to Wilson. No difference. Might even make the game better, it’s just a ball. Even the NFL has slightly changed their ball over the years.

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