CFL Rules Committee makes recommendations


TORONTO -- The Command Centre will have a bigger say on some potentially big plays if the Canadian Football League’s Rules Committee gets its way.

“Some of the toughest calls for on-field officials are what the media sometimes calls ‘bang-bang’ plays, when a decision has to be made on a potential change of possession in what can seem like the blink of an eye,? said Tom Higgins, the league’s Director of Officiating.

“The rules committee is looking to give the use of instant replay more say in two of the most prominent examples: when the ball comes loose as a quarterback is hit in the pocket, and when officials have to decide if a pass was caught, not caught, or caught and then fumbled.?

Here is what will change if the recommendations made today by the Rules Committee are approved later this Spring by the CFL Board of Governors:

  • When a quarterback drops back to pass, is hit and the ball comes out, and the play is ruled an incomplete pass, the defensive team can challenge the call. The committee is suggesting the Command Centre be allowed to overturn the call on the field, declare the play a fumble, and award possession to the defensive team if the ball had been recovered immediately. Currently, the Command Centre can only review whether the play constituted an incomplete pass or a fumble, but it cannot award possession.

  • When an on-field official rules an incomplete pass, the offensive team can challenge the ruling, hoping to have the Command Centre rule it a completed pass. Under the change recommended today by the Committee, a defensive team that believes the ball was caught, and then fumbled, can also challenge the on-field ruling. And the Command Centre could award the defensive team possession of the ball if it decides it was indeed caught, then fumbled, and then recovered immediately. Currently, the Command Centre can only rule if the pass was complete or incomplete; it cannot award possession.

In both of these instances, the defensive team would be awarded the ball where it is recovered. The Command Centre could not award return yards after the recovery.

The committee is looking to make significant changes to three other rules that affect blocking, punting and illegal participation:

  • To promote player safety, the committee is suggesting only blocking above the defender’s waist be allowed following a completed pass across the line of scrimmage. Blocking below the waist on such a play would result in a 10 yard penalty. Blocking below the waist had previously been eliminated on kick returns, interception returns, and fumble returns. It would still be allowed on running plays and passes completed behind the line of scrimmage.

  • When a punt goes out of bounds in flight in between the 20 yard lines, the committee is suggesting the receiving team should have the option of taking the ball where it went out of bounds plus a ten yard penalty against the kicking team, or requiring the kicking team to re-kick ten yards back from the original line of scrimmage. Currently, the receiving team can either take the ball where it went out of bounds or require a re-kick ten yards back.

  • The committee is suggesting that if a player is pushed out of bounds by an opponent, he can return to the field of play and make a play. If he goes out of bounds on his own, or is bumped out of bounds by a teammate, he cannot legally participate in the play. This would clarify the current version of the rule, which does not specify bodily contact from an opponent.

The CFL Rules Committee is made up of head coaches, general managers, team presidents, league officials and a representative of the CFL Players’ Association.

It met today in Toronto on the eve of the CFL’s Evaluation Camp presented by Reebok. Tomorrow and Sunday, CFL teams have the opportunity to evaluate more than 50 top prospects for the CFL Canadian Draft, scheduled for May 8th.

Nice. :thup:

What?? No 3 point safety or returnable-only-rouge??? Balls.. :slight_smile:

From a quick glance at this, I like these changes. Especially like the ball out of bounds on a kick between the 20's and the tacking on of a 10 yard penalty from where it went out of bounds.

In all seriousness, I don't mind the changes either. Subtle tweaks to improve safety and better address punts out of bounds.

The old punt-rule had return teams taking the punt out of bounds over having a re-punt that could potentially be worse. Now a shanked 15 yard punt eliminating a return will earn a net 5 yard punt.


well at least they aren't recommending some stupid changes that don't exist.

These changes are good, but in my view, the League made a serious oversight in not limiting the amount of time that the officials have to make a decision on replay challenge. Case in point was in the West Final where the officials took over 7 minutes (and in the cold it felt much longer than that) to determine that the referee's on-field call was incorrect. If they cannot determine the correct result within 1 - 1.5 minutes from the replay, the referee's call should prevail. Any longer than this and the replay officials are given way too much authority to determine the possible outcome of a game.

When the head referee was making the replay decision from field level they had a timer on it but they dropped that when they went to a command centre. Personally, I'd rather they take their time and get it right than rush and possibly get it wrong.

I got $10 saying Mullin breaks a lamp when he sees this :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree. Getting the correct call is more important.

Yes, I really like that change too!

Or making changes for the sake of making changes. These are minor "tweaks".