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 Thrift Burnside, captain of the University of Toronto football team (although he did not originate them-- see below), 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:
- the reduction to 12 players per side from the standard 15
- the "snap-back" system in which the ball was heeled backward from the line of scrimmage by the centre
- the requirement for a team to make ten yards in three successive downs or lose possession of the ball
- the reduction to six men from the previous eight allowed on the line of scrimmage when the ball was put into play.
All of these rules were derived from American football rules already in place at the time, which had been developed by Walter Camp for use in American football in the 1880s. 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.
See also 
- http://greycup.cfl.ca/page/grey-cup-history-timeline-1900 History of the Grey Cup
- American Football by: Walter Camp http://books.google.com/books?id=Vb5OAAAAMAAJ&dq=walter+camp&source=gbs_navlinks_s