CFL fine officials

Thought you might find this from today's National Post interesting:

CFL apologizes for 'boneheaded' calls Vicki Hall, CanWest News Service; Edmonton Journal
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 Article tools
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EDMONTON - George Black pleaded guilty on behalf of his officials Monday for dropping the ball on a crucial call in Calgary's 20-17 win last week over the Edmonton Eskimos.

So guilty, in fact, the CFL office plans to issue undisclosed fines to both Glenn Johnson and Jake Ireland for botched calls over the weekend in Edmonton and Winnipeg respectively.

"It's embarrassing," said Black, the CFL's director of officiating. "I'm upset, disappointed and somewhat furious. But as long as we have humans officiating football games, I guess we're going to have the odd mistake here and there."

The mistake in question came in the second quarter with the Eskimos facing second-and-three. Quarterback Ricky Ray found Andrew Nowacki over the middle on a 15-yard strike and the Edmonton receiver took four steps before falling down.

The ball popped out when it hit the grass. Three officials in the area called Nowacki down by contact and declared a first down for Edmonton.

Not so fast. Calgary coach Tom Higgins threw the yellow challenge flag, and Johnson headed under the hood to watch the video replay. He overturned the original ruling, and Edmonton was forced to punt.

"We made a boneheaded call on the Nowacki catch," Black said. "Just a plain boneheaded call. We made a lot of calls that were right, but that one was just wrong."

So wrong, that the entire Edmonton bench went ballistic on the sidelines.

"With these CFL refs, you never know," said Edmonton wideout Trevor Gaylor. "Truly, they're human, so there's going to be human error. But I don't know. I think a Little League ref could have made that call. And on some calls, you're a little less forgiving than others, like judgements calls."

The Eskimos also felt they were robbed on a so-called catch made by Ken-Yon Rambo. The Calgary receiver appeared to trap the ball, but the play was called complete.

Edmonton coach Danny Maciocia threw his yellow flag, and Johnson went under the hood. The referee had only two video angles on the play, and neither provided conclusive evidence that the ball hit the ground.

"If I'm a betting man, I say the ball came loose and the receiver picked it back up," Black said. "But you can't tell on the replay. We tell our guys that unless they see the ball hit the ground, they've got to call it a complete pass."

The Winnipeg gaffe came on a Saskatchewan kickoff when players from both teams fielded the ball at the exact same time before it flew out of bounds. In the rare cases of simultaneous contact, the CFL rule book calls for the kick to be repeated.

Ireland looked at the video replay and gave Winnipeg the ball instead of allowing Saskatchewan to re-kick.

"I can tell you Jake was literally ill," Black said. "He was kicking himself at the hotel all night. Jake is probably our best rules man. He's embarrassed and disappointed in himself."

The CFL issued a statement late Monday apologizing to fans for the errors.

"Officiating in the CFL is a very challenging job and our officials are true professionals," Michael Copeland, the league's chief operating officer said in the statement. "However, professionalism requires the constant pursuit of improvement and accountability when mistakes are made.
"We owe this to our fans and to the game."

In spite of video replay failing twice in the same weekend, Black believes the technology has improved the game.

"We're only a year-a-and-half into this stuff," he said. "We're trying to get it right, as you know. But there's still going to be some tweaks here and there."

Edmonton Journal
  • with files from Scott Petersen

© CanWest News Service 2007

An Argo-Cat fan

IMO there are three inevitabilities in life.

Poor officiating in the CFL

No sense fighting it you will only go insane.

ahhh... Jake Ireland.... The Ticat's "Kerry Fraiser"

Hmmm where were the fines on some of the awful calls they botched on us this year???

In lieu of fines, I say they line them up at IWS and let us throw rotten eggs at them.

Well, did anyone see the offensive pass interference call on fourth and goal at the end of the Bengals/Ravens game last night?

It was offensive in all senses of the word.

Wow. I suggested on these boards that fines and apologies become a league policy after reading that the English Premier League does it.

Would love to take credit for this new openness on the part of George Black, but will just assume he reads the same newspapers.

Wow, totally agreed borehamgirl - where was the outrage when the Tiger-Cats were getting screwed? Could it be that we're expected to be the whipping boy for other teams in the league at this point? And that when we complain it isn't taken seriously?

For shame, CFL management.

I think we should commend the CFL for standing up and taking responsibility.
It's a complex game with many participants and things move very quickly, it isn't easy getting it right every single time.
I don't think anybody here can tell me that they have honestly never had a 'bad day at the office'.
I think that is what happened here, a bad day at the office. The CFL could have said nothing. They could have dealt with it "in-house", but they didn't. They took responsibility for their officials and apologized to the fans.
I think it takes stones to do that.
Could you see Gary Bettman or Bill Daly doing that? And there are PLENTY of boneheaded calls in the NHL, anyone remember Brett Hull's foot in the crease? I bet Sabre fans do. Did they get their apology? Notta chance.

Good work CFL!

About time! just covering-up for his guys again. Fines ??? That will be the day.
Lord just trying to silence the masses. Full-time Reff's paid a full-time the only way to fix this problem that has gone on for decades, in the CFL. And until that happens games at times WILL be decided by the guys in the strips..and not the teams playing against each other...plain and simple.

I am still wondering why Braidwood wasn’t called for facemasking Burris, right in front of 2 men in stripes.

I agree with the above and when it was happening I was in disbelief no fag was thrown.

There is likely, a "penalty on every play", but its a b*tch of a job to see each and every one of them and make the call, especially when its only supposed to be "when it affects the play"...

Not that I don't get "excited" about "officiating", either, but its a four star "b*tch" of a job to keep it entirely "fair", and in fairness, the Cats make more than enough glaring errors, that our stats are showing huge losses due to penalties that are "textbook" in nature, aside from the "marginal" calls...

It is nice to think that an official would be "fined" for a screw up on an "obvious" call, and that Jake Ireland would be sobbing onto his hotel pillow over a very plainly "blown" call...give the ball to Wpg? Can you "affect the game" any better? What a lousy decision!

I was impressed by Kent Austin, that he was such a "sportsman" to shrug this off at the time...maybe he knows that Jake will make a "totally idiot call, on the other team, in the second half, for no good reason" as says a rather funny ad..."to make up for it...

A tip of the Black hat to the new commissioner for taking this step.

I'm glad my mistakes at work aren't published too often,it is a tough job.

Kudos to the CFL!

Fines are currently being used, SJR.

"CFL office plans to issue undisclosed fines to
both Glenn Johnson and Jake Ireland for botched calls
over the weekend in Edmonton and Winnipeg respectively."

Lord just trying to silence the masses.

Full-time Reff's paid a full-time salary..
is the only way to fix this problem
that has gone on for decades, in the CFL.

Although many people think this is an obvious solution,
there is no pool of full-time CFL refs to draw on.

Refs only get an opportunity to referee games
when games are being played

and that is almost exclusively on weekends.

NFL or NCAA refs aren't full-time either.

Many of them have other full-time careers
and hold very responsible positions.

What the CFL can do is keep an eye on
the referees working University games

and encourage the best of them
to keep getting game experience,
and attending lots of clinics.

Tell them they have potential
to be CFL refs if they do that.

I don't know if the CFL is
putting on clinics for them

I do know they are beefing up
the training of their own refs.

And until that happens games at times WILL be decided by the guys in the strips..

and not the teams playing against each other...
plain and simple.

I'm pretty sure there would be a lot more complaints if that happened.

Fining Officials,doesnt make for good pr, and is a band aid solution, for a problem that needs to be properly addressed by the bog in the off season,- IMHO the CFL should Fire a 50% of the "name officials, and bring in young officials , who have no longstanding tendencies,. !!! CFl should train them in officiating Pro football, they are not there to teach, Just enforce the rules., keeping in mind the entertainment aspect of the game's if its an borderline infraction ?no flag!-let the players decide the outcome!!