5 questions we have about that weird Canadian Football highlight

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  • By Ralph Warner
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It's easy to forget, but our neighbors up north love football too. Of course hockey is (and will always be) Canada's No. 1 sport, but Canadians have a real interest in American football as well. A prime example is the Canadian Football League being around for 59 years now. However, the game is a bit different in Canada.

Examples of those differences came in this clip from the 81st Hardy Cup on Saturday.

OK, I have a few questions:

First of all, why are there two 50-yard lines?

Before the ball was even snapped, I was already doing double-takes. Is this some sort of metric system measurement that I don't know about or did the field maintenance crew just make a big mistake? This reminded me of a bootleg '90s handheld football game that my friend had back in the day. Instead of having 50 yards on each side of the field, you know, like a normal football field, the markers went in one direction and just kept counting up from midfield, so 51, 52, 53 and so on till the end zone. Seriously, he got it at a flea market so I guess you get what you pay for.

Anyway, back to the first issue, what's up with the length and layout of this field.

Answer: Canadian football fields are actually 110 yards (end zone to end zone), the midfield mark is the 55-yard line and it's marked by a "C." The field is wider too -- 65 yards sideline to sideline (an NFL field has a width of 53 1/3 yards) .

Why is the goal post at the front of the end zone?

As the kick goes through, I once again have to pause and rewind... is that the goal post at the front of the end zone? Isn't that dangerous?

Answer:

Apparently the goal post is there because if it were at the back of the end zone, it would eliminate the vast majority of field goal attempts because of the deep end zones on Canadian fields (20 yards vs. 10 yards in the NFL).

Also, because of the wider field, collisions and/or interference with the goal post are somehow rare.

Fun fact: NFL goal posts were at the front of the end zones until 1974.

What is the Hardy Cup and why are we hearing about it for the first time when it's (presumably) been around for over 80 years?

I saw the #HardyCup81 hashtag and wondered how this was the first time I've ever heard about the Hardy cup, and what exactly is the Hardy Cup?

Answer: The Hardy Cup is the championship game for the Canada West Universities Athletic Association Football Conference. Canada West is a part of U Sports -- the national governing body of university sport in Canada.

The winner of this championship game is presented with the Hardy trophy which is named after Evan Hardy, a former professor and head of the agricultural engineering department at the University of Saskatchewan. Why would this game and trophy be named after the head of Saskatchewan's agricultural engineering? Well, Hardy actually coached and even played for the Saskatchewan Huskies for five seasons in the 1920s before a rule was made saying only students could play.

Is "Dinos" short for Dinosaurs? Do they have a Dinosaur mascot?

Prior to this tweet, I believed that the NBA's Toronto Raptors were the only sports team to be named after a dinosaur. So, when I saw #WeAreAllDinos and #GoDinos, I had two questions:

1. "Dinos" as in dinosaurs?

2. How exactly are we all Dinos?

Answer: Yes, the Calgary Dinos are named after Dinosaurs and their mascot is Rex O'Saurus.

Hmm... Rex O'Saurus looks strikingly similar to the Raptors' mascot -- The Raptor (yes, that's his name).

I never found out the meaning behind the inclusive #WeAreAllDinos (can you be one if you're not a student or even Canadian?), but the hashtag seems to be a hit among students and alumni.

Who made the kick and what does this mean for the Dinos?

Now onto the question that should've popped into my head first, if it weren't for the weird aforementioned circumstances. A potential game-winning 59-yard field goal is difficult for NFL kickers much less collegiate kickers in Canada.

Answer: Dinos kicker Niko DiFonte nailed six field goals including the 59-yarder to win the game. The Dinos successfully defended their Canada West title and DiFonte made history too.

The Dinos will now play in the Mitchell Bowl -- the semifinal of U Sports football -- next Saturday. If they win that, they'll advance to the Vanier Cup a.k.a. the Canadian university football championship.

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