Faceguarding a rule no longer?

From Dave Naylor TSN: There was some concern raised over the weekend about plays where defensive backs appeared to be defending receivers without ever turning to look at the ball, including on the play where Montreal's Chip Cox broke up a two-point convert attempt throw to receiver Aaron Kelly that would have tied the game for Hamilton. In the past, defenders who do not turn to look at the ball before it arrives have been flagged for faceguarding. However, CFL director of officiating Tom Higgins said [b][i]the interpretation of that foul has evolved in recent years[/i][/b] so that defenders are no longer required to turn and look at the ball before making a play on a receiver as the ball arrives.

"The rule has changed over the course of a decade," said Higgins.


How do rules just "change" and "evolve"?
Ambiguity and capricious officiating are damaging the game and lead to fan and player confusion.

Either it is a rule, or it is not.

Does this now mean faceguarding is out of the rule book altogether?

Ok that just made me mad again.

It must have evolved during this season, because we've been called for it a few times already, although we've gotten away with a few times too. Maybe it evolves differently by official, by game, and maybe even by team?

[I am not one who likes to look up and dissect CFL football rules] whatever the rules says

I always though it was stupid to call a pass interference penalty on a defensive back
if his hands, or his head or his upper body were not obstructing the receiver's vision

So what if he didn't look back to where the ball is coming from, and besides,

looking back would slow up the d-back and cause his man to make a reception
that he might have knocked down if he continued accelerating towards his man.

possibly...But the whole point is to enforce clarity and consistency in officiating.

Either we follow the rule book or toss it in leui of referee anarchy.

The way the rule is written, there is no requirement for the DB to look back at the ball, and he is allowed to make a play of the ball without looking back. Screening (i.e. Faceguarding) is specifically prohibited, but it does not actually define what this is. (My recollection is that it involves putting a hand in front of the receiver's face to prevent him from seeing the ball, but the officials probably have a different definition from that. The other thing is that almost any contact will be called against the DB if he isn't looking back, but "incidental" contact is permitted if he is. Does that mean that the DB can run over the receiver as long as he's looking back to the ball? (I can think of a couple of DBs who might use this technique on occasion.)

that is a BS statement from Higgins, who i now feel needs to be FIRED!

making up stuff on the fly isn't cool.

his call about 'justice being served' when winnipeg didn't punch it in during the Als game added with this, i can't see him keeping this job another year.

he is an embarrasement to the league.

Please excuse my blatant stupidity Catsfan.

It is clear my mother dropped me on my head as a child. :expressionless:

Don't you guys remember Knowlton doing the same exact thing earlyer in the game? As long as the defender has as much right to the ball as the receiver and if he choses to rais his hands to knock down the ball that is his choice as long as he does not touch the receiver.

I think that is the whole point, HFXTC. It isn't consistently being called that way. I have seen our guys do it and not get called and then in the same game I have seen our guys get called for the exact same thing. That is where the frustration comes in. For those who haven't noticed, inconsistency is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. I see it daily in my job and it just bugs the hell out of me. I know everyone is human (well most people anyway) and people make mistakes, but to see such glaring inconsistencies and misinterpretations of the rules just ticks me off. HIggins needs to man up and do something about it. If a change in the wording of the rule is required so be it.

Sorry. I probably should have included the " :wink: " after my comment. But I've been wanting to use that sarcasm sign picture for a while now, and I jumped at the chance.

Exactly. Consistency is key. Although in this game, is was consistently not called, so for this one game, you could say the officials were good. :roll: But where different officials in the same game call it different ways is unacceptable. How are the players supposed to know what they can and cannot do? And as Tom Higgins says, PI is the one penalty that makes the biggest difference in a game, and the yardage can be huge. So consistency in the calling of this particular penalty is critical.

Actually the same could be said of holding, as it can easily make the difference between a 30+ yard play and a sack.

Is this like the strike zone in baseball where every umpire has his own version of what it should be?

Create a rule and stick by it, or change or eliminate it. But do it credibly through legitimate means, not by the old nudge and wink method.

And they wonder why fans get so upset with the refereeing in the CFL.

I see a lot of holding not being called, has the rules changed on holding. :?

I agree, but its not just holding its cunning obstruction ? Slowing a guy down by pushing him, probably, putting your hand in his back to interfere with body control, probably, trying to trip a guy by tangling your feet in his, probably, using a second defender to move into the direction of a receiver and create an obstruction, pushing a receiver out of bounds by different means. Its all over the place and now to make it even more complicated, OC's are designing offences using receivers and running backs where players main role is to create an obstruction call it pick or whatever.

The way to fix this is anytime a player touches or impedes an opponent that alters his current route or purposely impedes his progress, you move the ball 10 yards in addition to whatever gain, this way you don't slow the game down with accept and declines. You put your hand on a back an arm at any point before the ball is on its way or in posession to that player on either side of the ball it is a penalty. You take an angle and shove a receiver out of his route, you call it. Take most of the subjectivity out of the rule. The least rules are subjective the easyer they are to follow and enforce. There is a reason scoring in our game is decreasing every year and people don't come to football games to see ruse, they want to see athletic battles and teams being able to execute.

Is it me or is there a large increase in illegal hits/pushes out of bounds this year?

These plays are also reffed' inconsistently, as some are called, while others completely ignored.

It was consistently called in the Montreal-Hamilton game: no call on Cox, no call on Knowlton. And I remember Bo Smith not being called for it during a game earlier in the season. Expecting 100% consistency across an 18-game season is just unrealistic. The referees are part-time employees of the CFL, and they don't make six figures like NHL officials. Cut them some slack.

Not sure why Higgins is drawing hate for the change to the rule, a change I frankly welcome.

It's not the rule that's changed, it's the interpretation of the rule. Higgins says "We've been asked by the coaches not to call ticky-tack pass interference because the yardage is so big". What in the name of Paul Dojak is "ticky-tack" and why are Higgins and the league allowing coaches to dictate the interpretation of the rules? Why do you need a Director of Officiating if Higgins (a former coach) is simply going to yield to the coaches demands? Just save money and have the officials report directly to the coaches and be done with it - nobody seems to care about conflict of interest in this league anyway.
At this point, I have no idea what constitutes pass interference nor holding by the offensive line - it changes with every game. The calls are inconsistent between different officiating crews and are also inconsistent within the same crew during a single game. Bottom line is the quality of officiating in this league has declined appreciably under Higgins' direction.

Depending on the team!! the Ref!!! and if there are morons in the control center!!