How to limit penalties during a game

Does the NFL let penalties go during a game if it does not impact the play? For us, can this be the rule and not the exception? an example, what if you are within the 5 yards of receiving a punt but you do not affect the punt returner, should that be called? Same with receiver offside. If they aren't anywhere near the play can't we let that go if it is on the other side of the field? With all the positive things this year, we can't have flags on every play this year. Coaches challenge needs to improve as it seemed to take too long last year. They must decide right away or forget it. Anyone else have any suggestions

Also can"CFL Control" be like another referee and have an instant answer to an infringement. The wait was too long last year.

Coach the players?????????????????

1 Definitely the waggle for the receivers is a cause for off sides . Maybe allow the player touch back pass the line of scrimmage like hockey would at least stop the bone head 5 to 10 yard runs ahead of the ball being hiked
Or make that player ineligible to catch the pass or get rid of the waggle altogether.

2 I think holding calls are better now than before but some are still iffy .

3 The interference calls are bit questionable at times . I don't like the coaches appeal on those calls either . That is one rule they should get rid of. It slows the game and if you have to have the replay slowed down for interference then it most likely is questionable interference to begin with so get rid of it and live with the referees decision .
Just clean up the interference and make it uniform so that its called the same way every game from every referee.

4 The no yards rule will always be there to protect the receiving player from being killed if he catches it in the air .
To clean it up if the ball is allowed to touch the ground then a two yard rule should apply it would clean up the nonsense on scrubbed kicks to allow five yards which is unnecessary the player needs to pick it up as soon as possible and play it . It is too easy to be caught on the no yards zone on scrubbed rolling kicks . It's bad enough the punter is terrible you don't need to give the opposing team penalty yardage advantage on top of it .

I would scrap all challenges on whether it was a catch or not and all pass interference calls. I would instruct officials to only call holding calls that they see...rather than looking for them.

It's tough to not call penalties away from the play. Officials would be crucified for throwing late flags waiting to see if infraction was in the line of play.

I agree that too many penalties and the delays they cause (in and of themselves and from delays in reviewing calls) are the biggest on-field issues the league has to work on.

I like some of the ideas mentioned already, but here's another thought: a rule along the lines of basketball's 'fouling out' idea. If a player gets x-number of penalties in a game, he then has to sit. It might make players more conscious of holding, interfering, going offside, etc.

Another idea, which has been mentioned many times in the past, is expanding the ref pool by recruiting some from the US.

Hmmm...fouling out...interesting.

Most penalties occur on O-line and d-line.

Any idea how many penalties an individual in those positions would take in a game where he was singularly bad? 3?
How many is a lot for one player you think?

How does that even work? Simply by being there, you're affecting the punt returner. He can't go the direction you're in, because you're already there, and within the restraining zone, so he doesn't have room to make a cut to try and go around you. You've changed the outcome of the play by your mere presence.

Same with receiver offside. If they aren't anywhere near the play can't we let that go if it is on the other side of the field?
At the time a receiver offside flag is thrown, the official has no idea where the play is going, because it hasn't developed yet. The defense also has to react to that offside receiver or leave someone wide open in the hope a flag is called. Once again, it's affected the play even if the ball doesn't actually go there.

The problem with these kinds of suggestions is that they come down to a simpler solution: if the penalty truly didn't affect the play at all, then there was no reason whatsoever for the player to do it.

The solution is not for officials to have to try to figure out which penalties should and shouldn't count based on how they think the play may have developed differently if it didn't happen. That's a pandora's box of judgement calls that will cause nothing but endless arguments.

Players should try something novel like not breaking the rules for no reason. If they can't do that, either increase practice time so they learn how, or simplify the rules so they're less prone to being broken.

Coaches challenge needs to improve as it seemed to take too long last year. They must decide right away or forget it. Anyone else have any suggestions

Also can"CFL Control" be like another referee and have an instant answer to an infringement. The wait was too long last year.


Yes, that should be the case. If it takes 5 minutes to figure it out, it's taking too long. Especially with how many stoppages they have for this stuff.

That would be the key question; and no, I'm not really sure how many penalties are a lot for linemen or the secondary (re: PI), but 3 does sound like a reasonable place to start, if the stats back it up.

Finding some competent refs would be the best approach.

Look at how terrible the NFL calls were when they were forced to use unqualified and incompetent refs during the 2012 lockout.

Anybody have any idea how many receiver offside calls there are per game on average? Something tells me it's somewhere between zero and one, perhaps a bit over one, although without the stats, I can't say for sure. But whatever it is, it's not one of the common penalties, and reducing them wouldn't have much of an impact. And as Tridus mentioned, how would the officials know that the play isn't going to that receiver at the moment he steps offside?

I like the idea of the "no impact" non-call, and have suggested that players inside five yards of the punt returner but are backing away shouldn't be called. But again as Tridus mentioned, the fact that they are inside five yards could in itself affect the returner, possibly cutting off a running route, or just being a distraction. Interesting dilemma.

And I suspect that holding is already not called when it's away from the play. It sure seems like a lot of holding is let go, especially by teams playing the Ticats :wink: . Illegal contact on a receiver, on the other hand, is pretty much always called away from the play because it's possible that it prevented the QB from throwing to that player. So no "no impact" there.

The waggle is something not everyone can do ask Chad ocho cinco Johnson and there are way too many of these penalties for a pro league . There should be zero to none . One or two a game is too many . The same with the penalty of lining up off side . I guess I watch too much CFL I see receivers run off side way too often . Linemen are usually lured in by cadence or coming out of there stance too quickly .

The five yards is solely for players safety in punt returns you don't need this if not caught in the air it looks unprofessional having grown men in a hot potato drill with an un pro like kick followed by a kids school yard drill . Lessen the yards to two to avoid such nonsense on the field and still protect the player to pick up the ball.

One of the reasons I hate the dead ball in the NFL it looks stupid , boring and unsportsmanlike the opposition should be forced to retrieve the ball and advance forward . NFL loses an opportunity to entertain the public but chooses a chess move instead of an athletic one.

NFL andNCAA allow for contact whether intentional or incidental between a D back and receiver up to 5yards from the line of scrimmage also gas the receiver is not being held. I believe the CFL rule is 3 yards. Given that CFL receivers canbe in motion in amy direction prior to ball snap, IMO the League need to give the defense 5 yards instead if 3. Thatwould cut down on some flags thrown

Again, I don't know what the actual stats are - and what happened to the "One Yard Off the Ball" feature on "3DownNation"? - but I suspect that there are fewer than one offensive offside penalties by receivers per game on average. Most of the time, it's because the receiver completely blew the snap count, similar to a lineman coming out of his stance early. The rest of the time, the receiver tried to cut it too close and was a split second early.

Does anyone have the actual stats on number of penalties by type?

Two yards? That might be OK if the coverage team is standing around waiting for the returner to pick up the ball. But what about the player coming in at full speed? He'd have the returner flat on his back before the returner has had a chance to even look up after picking up the ball. Guaranteed injuries given that scenario. And don't tell me that coverage teams wouldn't be practising the timing on that.

On this, I agree wholeheartedly. A bunch of guys standing around watching the football rolling around before one of them reaches in to stop the play has to be THE most boring play in pretty much any sport.

Some great points.

In all seriousness....hire a new head of officiating. He may or may not be a part of the problem, but he is not part of the solution. If I see another campaign from the CFL again this year for the 3rd year in a row saying "please be patient while we tweek the rules" I am likely to walk away. If I propaganda from them telling us the penalties are not as bad as we are making them out to be (that is pretty bad when you need to do that), then I am likely done, because they have stopped listening to the audience at that point.

I will never say the NFL has all the answers....I shake my head watching those games as well. There are 3 teams out there, and sometimes people forget that....and they all make mistakes.

I will say that IMO the NFL is "generally" better at not calling stuff that has zero potential effect on the play. There was a little too much contact on a WR on the far side of the field where the QB never even looked...he rolled the other way from the snap...yeah, let that bump go and maybe give him a "don't press your luck with me."

The biggest difference IMO is the holding though...we get that holding or can be called on almost any play...some of it has to be let go though. I always thought the CFL was respectable, but the holding calls have been gross since Higgins left the posting. It is pretty embarrassing at times.

These penalties when you hit someone on the sideline...IMO are BS. If he has let up, sure, but you see one or 2 of them per week were it is like "yup, I would have been hitting him to." That does not amount to a lot of penalties, but it has frustrated me the past 2 seasons.

The hand play seemed to get a little more lenient later in the season, but it is still over the top. There were a lot of games that the D would have been better off having 3 safeties deep , letting the guy catch the ball, and then attempting to just destroy him with a hit. You are putting your team at risk by defending now...it is ridiculous. The idea that you can not steer or rotate a WR...I get it, but there were feather hands on backs that were called all too often.

Above all...they need to get the Challenge back as a coaches challenge...not a team of staffers watching in slow motion replay and then telling him what to do. This would be insanely simple to do.

I see penalties like illegal formation, illegal participation, too many men in the huddle, no end, etc....these used to be rarities, and now they happen all the time...what has changed? Why are these mental errors now suddenly commonplace? Could be a lot of things, BUT, the reduced work week of the new CBA seems to likely be too restrictive. It is not enough time to do things properly.

I thought it was 5 yards in the CFL as well. Honestly though, with receivers being allowed forward motion before the snap, I’d like to see maybe 10 yards where contact on a receiver is allowed. I mean even if there is contact in that area and it’s blatant DPI, they’ll throw the flag anyways.

In my opinion, A rule of thumb for Referees should be
A referee should have to answer yes to 2 of these 3 questions on a lot of borderline infractions before throwing a flag.

  1. Was there an infraction on the play?

  2. Was a players safety compromised on the play?

3.Unless it is of a personal foul type, Did the infraction have any bearing on the outcome of the play?

But wouldn't point 3 mean they would be throwing a flag after the play is completed? That would seem to me to create late, late flags and chaos.

This bugs the hell out of me. If you are on the field of play, you should NOT let up whether you have the ball or are making the hit. It bugs me on the sidelines, it bugs me when they slow up running in for a TD.

Until he is OUT, he is fair game to start a tackle on. There should be none of this "oh you could tell he was going to go out". These are great athletes that can change direction on a dime, there is always a chance he could cut back in.

Me too. How about a one yard grace zone, i.e. the white stripe? If the ball carrier is still on the white stripe, it would be the same as hitting a player whose knee has touched down. Immediate hit, no flag. Late hit, flag. And if a player doesn't want to get hit, hustle to get over the white stripe as soon as possible, which would also make it obvious earlier that he's out of bounds.

What would you consider “late,late flags” 1 second, 2 seconds?
I would rather the ref’s take a couple of seconds more time and make sure they are right.
There have been too many instances where penalties are called and no infraction has even occurred.
Some phantom calls have even cost ball games.