CFL may change rules to combat snoozefests

[u]CFL could tweak rules to help end snoozefests, improve game[/u] Kirk Penton, The Sun

[b]- Possibly coming soon to a CFL stadium near you: converts worth more than one point, greater space for kick returners or even stricter pass interference rules.

Every off-season the league and its football operations folks get together to discuss how to improve the product on the field. Those who watched some of last year's snoozefests would suggest there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the three-down product.

The CFL is looking at making changes to four areas of the game in an effort to increase scoring;

The first, and likely most interesting from a fan perspective, is the boring old convert, which would be taken out back and put out of its misery if we were in charge. One option is forcing teams to go for two, while another is having them kick from greater distances than the 12-yard line like it is now. The longer the convert attempt, the greater number of points that would be awarded if it's good.

That would drive coaches crazy from a strategy perspective, but it certainly sounds entertaining. Another option, according to the source, is getting rid of the convert entirely.
The other three areas of examination revolve around kick returns, pass interference and the flow of the game. All would improve scoring, of course.

Also, the ability to review pass interference calls and non-calls, which the league implemented last season for the first time in any professional football league, could still be removed from the rule book or altered.[/b]

[url=http://www.torontosun.com/2015/01/21/cfl-could-tweak-rules-to-help-end-snoozefests-improve-game]http://www.torontosun.com/2015/01/21/cf ... prove-game[/url]

One season on the down trend does not justify re-inventing the game. The CFL has had soem great seasons of late, which has brought in record viewerships. There was a combination of a lot of things that hurt the game in 2014...to list a few:

  • expanded NFL rosters ate up a few extra players
  • expansion team = some dilution
  • new head of officiating
  • bitter contract negotiation

They need to cool their jets and remember that the rules in place have brought the increase in CFL popularity, towntrend in 2014 aside. Don't allienate the core in efforts to gain a few points, because they DO have other options for 1/2+ of the season. I am not saying that these shouldn't be looked at...discuss it...but don't change the game after 1 season.

Personally I hate the idea of giving returners more room. I want to see strategic attacks mixed with brilliant athletic showings. For me, yes a return is exiting in the moment, but a vast increase in big return in all honesty would detract my interest in the game.

PI calls...no...we don't need them to get heavier on them calling PI...or flags in general. Let's concentrate on defining flagable holding in 2015...something the NFL has done a good job on overall.

Varrying extra-point values...while interesting, I personally think it is a mistake. I already hate OT now because of the forced 2pt attempts, so I can only assume that would translate into the regular game well. Maybe make a 2pt convert worth 3 instead of 2, and a FG worth 4...then you will see a lot more teams going for the 2pt attempt anyways, because the overall points gained will be higher than risked (the 2 pter is ~50/50, meaning it breaks evenish...if you make it worth 3 then it breaks that ratio). I don't like the forced nature of it...you make it an appealing option, then it becomes interesting. I also don't want to see gammes highly dictated because the wind picked up in the 4th quarter and 1 kicker can all of the sudden go for a convert from 10 yards further back than before...total turnoff...I can honestly say this would probably encourage me to find other things to do.

What's made the league popular is not the 12 yard convert :lol: . I've been wanting change to that one for years. Lots to think about in order to get it just right but its the best idea the league has had in a long time.

As for the halo. The amount of penalties taken by cover teams tells you it isn't working. They need to increase that penalty to 15 yards regardless of the ball touching the ground or not IMO.

Going to 4 downs would surely increase scoring as well if they can convince people that the essence of Canadian football is the larger field and 12 men and of course the ratio rule for Canadian based teams (if American based teams did come back into vogue). As well 10 yard halo on punts is key. Forget the single point on tds I'm all for and change it to 2 pt conversion from the 5 or 3 pts from the 10, team has the option of what they want to do.

Anyways, CFL "snoozefests" beat most baseball games hands down in my books. :wink:

They should wait until after the 2015 season to even contemplate rule changes, IMO.
If they make changes before the 2015 season, they are just knee-jerk reactions dictating changes. Never a good idea.
There's a good chance the 2015 season will see a return to form and no changes will be necessary.

I'd lose no sleep if the one point TD convert were changed. I find it very mundane and so routine. I don't know what the stat is for missed converts but it must be exceptionally low. It is exciting when the kicker misses the convert but that is so rare.
I wouldn't mind seeing the 2 point convert become mandatory. I find that play quite exciting to watch. At least it sure beats watching the single point routine convert.

I would like to see the 5 yard halo changed because so often I see the red nylon thrown. For the opposition covering it seems it would be worth taking the measly 5 yard penalty to avoid a huge run back and no doubt that is what happens sometimes. However, a lot of huge run backs are nullified because of penalties called against the punt return team. I don't know what can be done about that.

I'm on the fence with the PI reviews.

That's all we need more penalties being called. That was half the reason for the lack of offense this past season.

...totally agree dg, this all sounds like reactionary measures...

But neither is it exciting to see a guy surround dead by opponents get downed once he picks up the ball. Maybe eliminate the "circle" concept and make the 5 yards a simple "no one allowed past the 'scrimmage line' five yards from that of the returner when he touches the ball" and a 5 yard bump in each of the no-yards penalty; the judgement would become simpler and space created to the sides.

PI is a horrible Catch-22. Bad calls can both ruin drives and prolong them unjustly. Maybe eliminate the coach's challenge for PI and move to a command centre review of all PI calls. While that would be lead to the question of whether it is "fair" to the onfield officials but the ref going "under the hood" is too slow and disruptive. So, make all reviews CC calls but have the refs linked in by "phone" right from the field (cell phones, walkie-talkies linked to VOIP, etc.) like NHL refs for goal reviews. The refs can explain what they saw but the final decision is by dispassionate, if vocationally biased, person/group.

I like getting rid of the popgun kick but agree there would need to be a means to keep the excitement of the 2 pt conversion option. Options could include giving 7 points for a TD, no kick but allow the option of :

  1. running a play from scrimmage to try for 8 from the five but if it fails the TD is worth only 6; or
  2. running a play from scrimmage to try for 8 from the fifteen, 9 from the 25 with the "penalty" being having to kick off 5 yards (for the 8 pts), 15 yards (for the 9) further back if missed; or
  3. kicking from the 45 for the 8th point that could be returned if missed.

Wonder if the CIS would be willing, for a cash bribe, to "test" some rule changes?

You might wonder why it took Canadian football nearly 100 years to figure out the U.S.-style convert was a complete waste of time? Traditionally, the convert was attempted at the point of the field where the TD was scored (but back 10 yards.) At least with the acute angles, this involved some skill in convert attempts.

Here is a Hamilton Spectator story from November, 1926 about an American football exhibition game played in Toronto which was discovered and submitted by Stewart Brown of the Spectator sports department:

[b]LARGE CROWD GREATLY ENTHUSED BY PRO STRUGGLE

Think More of Canada Game After Tilt[/b]

No matter how wildly enthusiastic Americans are over their style of football, the American game will never find favor in Canada. That seemed to be the consensus of opinion following yesterday's exhibition at Toronto, where "Red" Grange's New York Yankees battled "Wildcat" Wilson's Pacific coast professionals, and scored a 28 to 0 victory.

About ten thousand fans turned out to compare the American brand of rugby with the Canadian game, and there appeared to be very little enthusiasm apart from the interest in the players and a little excitement stirred by good individual plays. The absence of kicking, and the narrow outlet for scoring proclivities of the teams, together with the forward passing and the general interference, made the game seem comparatively tame to the hard-boiled fans who like to see the pigskin sailing for points, an aerial duel up and down the field, extended end runs and solo field goals.

Kicking was seldom indulged in, as no points are allowed in the American game unless the kick is a bona fide field goal or kick from placement. The placement is made by one man taking the ball out and holding it on the ground in position for the kicker. The method of converting touchdowns by bringing the ball ten yards out and directly in front of the goal posts was another feature that looked too soft to the fans.

The line-plunging was fast and hard, and although the gains were mostly small ones, all these plays were well meant. The extensive interference didn't appear to help either team, except on rare occasions, due, probably, to the defensive skills of the teams. Then the feature of any player recovering a punt without being offside was confusing to the fans and took the thrill of kicks being run back, out of the game.

From the standpoint of curiosity and interest in a comparison, the game was a decided success, but from a propaganda standpoint it was a failure. It would take a long time for Canadian football fans to take to the pastime.

Footnotes: In his accompanying letter, Mr. Brown points out that the story appeared on the third--and last--sports page. He adds: "It's interesting to note that a Canadian football game between the Hamilton Tigers and Balmy Beach of Toronto, played the same day at Varsity Stadium in Toronto, drew a 'handful' of fans. However, another sporting event in Toronto that Thanksgiving attracted 8,000. They watched the Bethlehem Steel soccer team from the U.S. defeat Toronto Ulsters 3-2 in an exhibition soccer match. (Ed. Note: There's little doubt about the popularity of soccer in Canada, it really is the game of the future!)


Rather than reinvent the wheel with some gimmicky changes, I'd suggest going back to our rugby roots and attempt converts from the point on the field where the TD was scored. At least this would introduce some skill in convert attempts. :cowboy:

I can see it now. Down by 7 in the last minute of the game and completing a long pass for a 60 yard touchdown. Receiver heading in for the score, crowd going crazy - but wait - this will mean we need a 60 yard convert to tie the game. Hope the receiver remembers to take a knee at the one yard line - so we have a chance to score from there - and have a short convert to tie the game. :stuck_out_tongue:

Earl, I can't believe you even floated the idea of 4 downs.
That is akin to blasphemy, no way no day.
The 2 point convert rule I am all for as to get rid of the single point is a great idea.

I meant to suggest converts would still be attempted at the 12 or 15-yd line but from the angle at where the player entered the endzone to score the TD (like in rugby.) The maximum angle should probably be at the hashmarks, allowing for a normal line of scrimmage formation (while in rugby the convert can be attempted at the extreme sidelines.)

In rugby, the try is not scored until the ball carrier "touches down" the ball. So ball carriers often try to position the ball as close to centrefield as possible to allow for an easier convert attempt. This "touchdown" feature could also be re-introduced to Canadian football to add some variety and excitment.

ArgoT wrote: Earl, I can't believe you even floated the idea of 4 downs.
But it is okay for the league to have considered it at some point? I believe that was the case if I'm not mistaken. Look, if it's about scoring more td's, no one would say going to 4 downs was "gimmicky" compared with some other ideas being floated.

Also, 4 downs might make more Canadians stay in Canada and play CIS rather than in the US if the scholarship they get isn't very good or they don't get one but just want to play more American type rules. Consider this argument at the minor football level:

The only difference is 4 downs. I think the fact that the OV is 4 downs is one of the main reasons why it is attracting the top talent in the province. Maybe the OFC should look to changing to 4 downs as well...it might actually pull some of the top talent from the OV over to their league

[url=http://www.allcanadagridiron.info/forum2/index.php?topic=14450.0;wap2]http://www.allcanadagridiron.info/forum ... 450.0;wap2[/url]

Also:

[i]Math man:
I just did the math because I didn't believe it. It took me a few hours. But it is true, the OVFL does pass the ball more percentage wise than the 3 down OFC. It kind of destroys one of the main arguments from 3 down supporters about how QBs develop more in 3 downs. This is a myth. All the data and history tells us that 4 downs is better for developing the pass game.

Do you think we would see more QBs in the CFL if the CIS switched to 4 downs? It makes for interesting debate. Based on existing evidence, all signs point to yes[/i]

[url=http://www.allcanadagridiron.info/forum2/index.php?topic=21463.15;wap2]http://www.allcanadagridiron.info/forum ... 63.15;wap2[/url]

I have to agree with the notion that any changes right now may be unnecessary knee jerks. It was a bizarre year last season thanks in part having an expansion team, teams with new young QBs in starting roles (Ham, Mtl, Wpg), and two teams that suffered long term injuries to their starters (BC, Sask). The QB situation should be more settled heading into 2015 and Ottawa will now have had a year under their belt and another offseason to build up their roster. Plus you have the new rules of the CBA coming into effect which may increase the amount of roster turnover and player attrition to the NFL, which may be for the better or make things worse. It would make sense IMO to see how these things shake out before making too many changes.

There's only so much that can be done before both the NFL and CFL start mirroring each other too much. You've got the NFL looking at potentially adding a PI challenge rule now after this years playoffs. In 10 or 20 years they may become indistinguishable.

Maybe 4 downs increases scoring, maybe not. Maybe the idea is to appeal to a younger demographic which for the most part is more attracted to the NFL in hopes they take an interest into the CFL. Maybe having more NFL type rules would make it easier for the International players coming into the league to adapt. But IMO, if the CFL starts adding rules to become more like the NFL, then it becomes more and more like a junior league like all the other failed NFL rules leagues like the UFL.

I also agree with the others, the kick the PAT from the field position of the down on which it was scored is ridiculous because of the long TDs. The variable point score based on picking a distance from which to kick the PAT is an interesting idea, but then does that mean you get rid of the 2pt convert as it is right now in favour of a longer kick?

It would not add more penalty. They are talking about increasing the halo or upping the punishment. In fact it should decrease it.

Well I'd like to see the CIS able to attract as many top talented Canadians as possible without changing the entire nature of university athletics here ie. the full scholarship model in the US. If it means the CIS takes on some more American rules, then it only makes sense the CFL does likewise. As well, the CFL needs to understand that more American rules could make marketing the league to younger people simply an easier task. What has the CFL done throughout it's history? Yes, taken on more American rules.

Perhaps it's time for more standardization of gridiron in NA. We talk about standards in industry being beneficial for the most part to consumers and producers of products after all. Practice guidelines, which basically are standards, in medicine are generally heralded as the best medicine according to the evidence available.

If the CFL want's to experiment/evaluate rules. Maybe what they should do is ask the CIS to try it for a season. In exchange the league could give the CIS teams some cash. Let's say it worked out to 10k per program. That would help out a lot of schools that are operating their football programs on a shoestring... If not try it during Pre-season and if it goes well then you implement or adjust next season until you've gotten it right.

Like getting ride of the 1 point convert is fine but how does it impact the score. Does it mean that teams now can close out games because they have four or nine point leads instead ??? or do you award two points but if you can't cross the end zone the team still gets one point instead of none ??? Do you run the clock on converts or not ? What happens if the offense takes a penalty or two on convert attempts to kill some of the clock ? From what line do you scrimmage ?

Interesting approach Hf. Now that there are some leagues in Canada using 4 downs or some other rules that the CFL doesn't want to try directly right away, asking the best amateur league in Canada to try it, if they actually want to try it, seems a logical development.

Look, I'm fine with the CFL as it is for the most part although I'd love to see more excitement in the punting game, but there are many other issues as we've mentioned that the CFL needs to consider here. The bottom line is that not many people want to see scoring go down as it did last year and especially not a trend in this. That will be the end of the CFL IMHO.