CFL to change return rules?

Henry (Gizmo) Williams scored an astonishing 33 touchdowns on kick returns during a brilliant 14-year CFL career with the Edmonton Eskimos.

That's a total that's unlikely to be threatened under the revamped blocking rules that severely cut into the number of special teams' TDs last season.

In 2005 CFL fans witnessed 18 TDs on kick returns – 12 on punts, three on kickoffs and two on missed field goals. Last year those numbers dwindled to two on punts and one kickoff return. Not one missed field goal resulted in a TD.

Williams, who remained in Edmonton after his retirement, would like to see a change in the rule come out of the CFL meetings in Montreal this week during the annual coach-of-the-year gathering.

"It's like taking your No. 1 quarterback or top receiver out of the game," he said. "You're taking out one of the most exciting aspects of our game."

Argo president Keith Pelley said league officials are aware of the criticism surrounding the rule and he expects some recommendations for change.

"I think all of us have read you journalists and there's certainly been dialogue regarding the scoring and entertainment factor," he said. "I strongly believe there will be some changes, which the rules committee will put forth to the governors, that will see us bring back the excitement to our game."

The CFL's director of officiating George Black said the interpretation of the rule, brought about by last year's changes, produced the problems.

"The rules as written are very simple," said Black. "It says you can't contact an opponent from behind. But then it became a matter of what's from behind?"

Black explained that the CFL originally saw players having four sides – a front, a back and a right and left side. It was only illegal to hit a would-be tackler in the back.

Last year, however, the rule was changed to say a player only has a front and a back.

"The difficulty with this was that any hit from the side is now open to interpretation by the officials," said Black. "Any time you give the officials the right or need to interpret, you're going to have differences and lose some consistency."

Williams said that by watching and talking with players he found they weren't sure how an official would interpret a block, particularly from the side.

"A guy who wants to block for the returner won't take a chance anymore because he doesn't want to be yelled at by the coach for taking a penalty."

Argo linebacker and special teams captain Chuck Winters agreed the problem with the rule was the lack of consistency.

But he also said the rule forced players to improve their blocking techniques.

"In my opinion it forced you to get in good position (to block). If you didn't you had to let the man go or you picked up a personal foul. If I'm a returner I may have a different perspective, but as a blocker it made me get into better position."

Argos defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler suggested the two-man increase in rosters last season led to fewer long returns.

He said it allowed coaches to use two fresh players on special teams rather than starters doubling up on kick coverage.

Taking a long second look at the blocking rule will be among the items on the agenda in the two-day meetings. The highlight of the session will be picking the 2006 coach of the year. The finalists are B.C. Lions' Wally Buono, Winnipeg's Doug Berry and Argos' Mike Clemons.

It's no brainer. This is the CFL where special teams are supposed to be as impoatant as the offence and defence.

Do the right thing.

It would be a huge boost for Hamilton with Corey Holmes.

Needs to be done as we want one of the most exciting plays in our game back.

This is the CFL where special teams are supposed to be as impoatant as the offence and defence.

  • I agree with that completely, and I wish Corey still was a Rider:(

I'm glad they are looking at it again. I think they should go back to 2005 standards.

CFL coaches may talk ... that they want change ... but often vote otherwise .... chickens! :slight_smile:

There are some different rule changes being talked about(2 time-outs per half)

The blocking rule needs to specify that blocking a guy on the shoulder is a clean block, that's still "in front" you just shouldn't be allowed to hit a guy in the back. if you hit the numbers on the back it's illegal.

Sportmen wrote:

I'm glad they are looking at it again. I think they should go back to 2005 standards.
Good point. The CFL should also go back to using the football that it used in 2005. Quarterbacks seemed to have trouble throwing the new ball for distance and accuracy during the 2006 season.

It was a dumb selfish rule change rail roaded through by a majority of coaches who didn't have kick returners to compete with the Argo kick returners. :x

compete with Argo kick returners? lol
2005 top returners were punting: Holmes and Tompkins
Kickoffs: Holmes

Overall best return team: Saskatchewan.

2006: Punting: albert Johnson III
Kickoffs: J.Ruffin(CGY)

Best overall: Winnipeg.. maybe, But for sure not Toronto, between Winnipeg, Calgary and Saskatchewan.

The rule needs changing, Clean shoulder Blocks are FAIR!!!

Why bother? They are still going to punt out of bounds!

read up on the rule changes, their talking about making punts that go out of bounds illegal between the 25's which is good plan.
Balls that bounce out near the 25's are ok.

it should be a 20 yard penalty if a ball go's Directly out between the 25's and 5 yards if it bounces out between the 25's. NO penalty if Two bounces out on a punt(that Rule should also move to Kickoffs NO penalty on Kickoffs that two Bounce out)

What will that rule Change mean? some kickers will go for insane Squib Kicks but get Burnt bad because of the Random Bounces the ball will take.(The rule may include something that the ball must not be a squib kick)