CFL issues statement on the role of the Command Centre

With the 2019 CFL regular season about to kick off, we want to be as clear as possible on the role of the Command Centre, the standard on which it will conduct video reviews and the philosophy behind that standard. The Command Centre will focus on only overturning calls or non-calls made on the field where a clear and obvious mistake has been made. In other words, we do not want the game officiated from the Command Centre. The officials on the field have the best sense of the game and usually have a superior vantage point compared to a camera on the sidelines or in the stands.
The Command Centre is just a “back up? to correct clear and obvious mistakes – what are sometimes called egregious errors. Anyone who has played the game, or cheered for a team, knows how one views any play can be somewhat subjective. So how do we, as objectively as possible, define clear and obvious? Clear refers to the visibility of the issue in question. Can you see, for example, the ball clearly on the replay? Or the foot on the sideline? Is the camera angle straight down the line? Or is it off to the side? Obvious refers to an indisputable reference point, such as a yard line, a sideline, or a knee down. Can you easily see, for example, that the contact on a receiver was early? Or do you have to resort to looking at it in slow motion?
Simply put, you shouldn’t have to watch something several times, or watch at different speeds, if it is clear and obvious. Why is clear and obvious our standard? Why not strive to get every single call right, even if the error was less than clear and obvious? We want to keep the length of Command Centre reviews reasonable. We do not want video review to slow the pace or flow of the game. We especially do not want it to adversely affect our fans’ enjoyment of the game.
Watching players stand around while the Command Centre looks at a play for a long time is simply not fun. We also want to reduce the total number of challenges by making sure our coaches know they should not use a challenge to simply seek a second opinion; they should only use it to challenge clear and obvious mistakes.
Like every player and every official in every game, no standard is perfect. But we believe this approach is in the best interests of our great game.
Randy Ambrosie
Darren Hackwood
Senior Director, Officiating

How seamless would this be?.. I’m assuming it won’t be…

It’s not the policy I’m concerned about so much as how often the booth is WRONG!

In my view the only way to measure if this is successful ishowmuch the lengthof games is measured.

I’m less concerned about’getting it right’ these days.

I’m with you. Of course, I want to see the calls correct as much as possible, but challenges and lengthy reviews have caused way too many long delays over the past five years or so and the league really needs to address the amount of dead time that slows the pace and kills excitement.

I’m not as concerned about overall length of game as much as length of delays in the game. This off-season, the idea of going to 12-minute quarters was suggested but I don’t think that solves anything as the ratio of dead time would stay the same. I think people don’t mind full 3-hour games if those three hours are filled with action.

Getting it right is important … easy to say its not until an egregious error costs your favourite team a game … but as you say the key is to expedite the review process … slow-motion reviews should not be used for PI calls and each angle viewed only once for knee touching ground, stepping out of bounds (or not) and crossing the goal line … if it isn’t obvious that once its not obvious … repeated views only if it is essential to determine where to spot the ball in the case of turnovers.

Remember though the play stops in football after every play, I think people tend to forget this. But I agree, less about getting it right, even the “majors” with all the money and camera angles and highly paid officials don’t get it right all the time and can really blow as in that Saints playoff game. And try and keep down time with reviews and review time to a minimal.

Other than checking if the ball crossed the line or first down, i think all reviews should be done at game speed.

The point was blatant missed calls. For example, Slowing down a called pass interference to see that the player arrived .25 seconds before the ball arrives is not blatant. How is the players supposed to calculate timing at that rate. The only way to do that is let the player catch it first, wait and then try to hit them.

Command centre should have 30 seconds tops.

This is a welcome change.

The status quo is those 5-minute reviews with slow motion in which it’s so close there has been little consistency in rulings.

Refreshingly only the clear AND obvious, not “or” for all the damn armchair refs out there and especially the homers, will be overturned.

It’s live football not a video game and if the result works against you for your fantasy league or gambling and you want to whine about that, go cry on Niagara Falls too.

Good point, and Johnny agrees 100%

Obvious calls are a big yes .

Fishing calls no .

I was stunned to read the comment by Mightygoose

I'm less concerned about 'getting it right' these days.
But Mightygoose and PTBO Dave and GHT120 have changed my mind. We've all sort of forgotten that this is a game for humans, by humans. Humans by their nature are flawed. To expect humans engaged in a fast-paced action to be perfect is...inhuman. To stop the game to make sure every play is perfect, that every call is perfect, that every action is an imperfect solution to something that's supposed to be fun.

We want the refs to get it right. And to be REALLY fair, we want the players to DO it right without cheating. But to interrupt the opera just because the fat lady sang the wrong word? Disrupts the flow and enjoyment. Mightygoose is right. Keep interruptions to a minimum. Let 'em play.

The phrase “CLEAR AND OBVIOUS” is mentioned 7 times

I think it should be clear and obvious, that is what will be called or overturned by the command center

On a side note … several years ago a colleague and I spent 6 months working (not solely) of a definition of “clear and evident” … it never satisfied anyone … too subjective … likeUnited States Supreme CourtJusticePotter StewartinJacobellis v. Ohio,explaining why the material at issue in the case was notobscenehewrote:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. ButI know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

I’m all for this change. Are there gonna be calls I don’t like? Absolutely. Am I gonna call the CC wrong because I disagree with the decision? Unlikely. What I see at home pales in comparison to the angles and views available to them, and they are supposedly the rules experts, with, presumably, the rules at their fingertips. I think it’s silly to think I know more than they do. There was even an example in pre-season where the play-by-play guys discussed why they thought a certain challenge would go a certain way, only to have it go the opposite way because they hadn’t considered a clear and obvious out of bounds mistake by a player that was caught by the CC.

There have always been and there will always be controversial calls in football. As long as the officials are consistent, efficient, and get it right the vast majority of the time, that’s about as much is fair to ask of them.

There’s a term called naked review, which means anything that can’t be seen at a cursory glance shouldn’t be called. So no squinting to find some imagined or hard-to-see infraction.

So that’s what that term means. Guess I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. :slight_smile:

Then you’re not drinking enough beer during the game. :wink: