How may downs are optimal?


Staff member
I was just talking to somebody about CFL vs NFL and he pointed out that the CFL has 3 downs vs the NFL with 4.

I think 3 would make the games much more intense. Generally a team can always move the ball far enough with 4 downs. It just drags out after a while if you ask me. I think with 3 downs we'd see games that were a lot more intense.

Thoughts? Which do you think is better and why? If you think something besides 3 or 4 downs would be better than feel free to throw that idea out here too. I think 2 is definitely not enough and 5 would be almost as bad as watching baseball. :sick:
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Staff member
I like 4 downs because that's all I've known! Offense generates interest and scoring points generates the money. I think by getting rid of a down you're going to see less points score; thus hurting the game on the whole.

It would be interesing to see to one game though.


Creeping On You
#4 was meeeeeeeeee I'm CFLLLLLLL.


I'm pretty indifferent. NFL seems to be a lot more offensive, because with one more down, the players take more chances. In the CFL, with one less down, it becomes a lot more about defense. Personally, I don't mind either. Any less or anymore than 3/4 would not be cool. It'd either be ALL offense, or ALL defense, and that's not cool.


Registered Member
It seems that with 3 downs, we'd see a lot more punting.

That's something that's always bothered me a lot; the frequency of punting. My team gets the ball. I get excited as we make some gains - but then we punt when it's 4th and 2.

I remember watching a Superbowl (I think it was 2 years ago), and I swear they punted a dozen times in less than a quarter. It was boring and annoying.


Trust me, I'm The Doctor.
I like four downs. I don't like that they punt on 4th down too often trying to be conservative. I'm used to four downs and I think that three downs would be awkward. Three downs might ruin the running game forever if teams only have two downs to make it ten yards.


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
I hate three down football and that's one of the biggest reasons I dislike the CFL. Four down is a lot more entertaining and you see more offensive plays develop that way.

Wade is right there's a lot more punting when you have three downs instead of four and it's annoying to watch in my opinion.
I have to agree, 4 downs is the way to go. You see more running and less punting. I didn't know that the CFL has just 3 downs, seems silly. I don't like that idea at all.


4 legs good 2 legs bad
Definitely 4 downs. It's the way football was meant to be played. I think with 4 downs there's a good balance between offense and defense, as well as running/passing offensively. 3 downs would all but eliminate the running game. Let's not forget that the CFL has other oddities to make up for fewer downs though. The field is a lot bigger and they allow forward motion before the snap, both of which benefit the offenses.


Staff member
I like 4 down because 3 downs would result in even more passing than there already is. Not that I hate passing, I just like to see balance.
Great point. I think the running game would be almost non-existant if we changed the per downs to go.

This league is definitely switching to a passing happy league and getting rid of a down will only push that further and further.