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The Burnside rules were a set of rules that transformed Canadian football from a rugby-style game to the gridiron-style game it has remained ever since. Named after John Thrift Meldrum Burnside, captain of the University of Toronto football team (although he did not originate them), and first adopted by the Ontario Rugby Football Union in 1903, the rules introduced sweeping changes to the way football was played. The rules included:
Although similar to American football rules already in place at the time, which had been developed by Walter Camp in the 1880s, Burnside rules had many differences and evolved separately. Although these rules are standard today, at the time they were considered radical. Other teams outside the Ontario Rugby Football Union refused to adopt them until 1905.