CFL admits referee mistakes
July 10, 2007
The director of officials for the Canadian Football League, George Black, has acknowledged two mistakes were made by the referee in the game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday.
Black told Sportsnet.ca on Tuesday that Bud Steen erred on one play by not allowing it to be reviewed, and by reviewing another play that, according to the rules, should not have been reviewed.
On the first play, Saskatchewan receiver Andy Fantuz had the ball dislodged when tackled and Calgary recovered it. It was adjudged to be an incomplete pass, but Calgary head coach Tom Higgins challenged the call, believing it to be a completed pass followed by a fumble.
Shortly after challenging the call and conversing with Steen, Higgins picked up the flag. Higgins appeared to have made a significant mistake by not following through with the review, particularly after television replays showed the ball was fumbled after the catch and recovered by the Stamps
Black said what Higgins was trying to say to Steen was lost in translation.
"We had a communication issue. The referee was incorrect," Black said. "He should have reviewed it."
On the second play, Saskatchewan's James Johnson intercepted a pass by Calgary quarterback Henry Burris. After falling to the ground, Johnson regained his feet and ran out of the end zone and was tackled, which produced a fumble that Calgary recovered.
In the television audio replay of the play, the sound of the referee's whistle can be clearly heard after Johnson fell to the ground following the interception. The official closest to the play deemed Johnson had been downed by contact, hence the reason for the whistle and the immediate stoppage in play.
Black said because the whistle had blown, the play should not have been reviewed. Following the review, Steen said the player was downed by contact, which appeared to be a phantom call.
"You can't question judgement calls. It's somebody's judgement," Higgins said on Tuesday. "It's too bad, it happens and you move on."[url=http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/article.jsp?content=20070710_165151_2768]http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/ar ... 65151_2768[/url]