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.