Is it normal for CFL teams to be so good at special teams?

Seems like there’s been a lot of kick/punt returns for touchdowns this year.

  • American fan here.

It is much more common in Canadian football because of the wider field, but this season has been exceptional. IIRC, they said the other night that this season has already tied the record for most kick return TDs in a season.

The real question given the unprecedented numbers of return touchdowns is who is causing them? Are the returners just better this year than any other? Is it sloppy tackling and coverage by the kicking team? Are the referees taking fewer touchdowns away for borderline calls? I would say that it has been more of a case of the coverage team executing poorly then the returners’ skill, not to discredit that.

And yes PTBO Dave, you did recall correctly

The rules guaranteeing most kicks are returned coupled with the extra space on the field gives more opportunity to score on special teams in relation to the same types of plays in American football.

That said, this year is clearly exceptional regardless.

It’s more because of there being no fair catch in CFL returns than it is the wider field. CFL returners are literally forced to return every kickoff and punt, so there will naturally be more scoring.

That’s true. I’d also add in the fact that our FG posts are on the goal line, making missed FG returns more likely. But I still think that our wider field makes it much tougher for coverage teams to cut off all possible return routes compared to the NFL.

The CFL is certainly designed for more action and returns in the kicking game, which is reason #271 while I prefer the CFL over the NFL.

That said, the explosion of return TD’s this year…is it possibly another unintended consequence of the no-pad practice rule?

Gotta say, no matter the reason…I’m lovin’ it!

I blame the lack of padded practice for this…not in full, but a big part of it. I also point to that for the sack totals

I love big plays and all, not so much when they are founded in regressive policies

Which players whiffed on Dedmon on that second return? Here’s the list: Spencer Moore, Martin Bedard, Brandon Calver, Ty Cranston, Greg Reid, Jarnor Jones (a body check, really?), Bedard again, and Bo Lokombo. Give the returner credit, but there’s no way a professional football team can allow that to happen.

Extremely well said.

I’m all for the no pad practices. No player forgets how to tackle because they can’t in practice.

Players take enough abuse in the games, so the league is imposing a forced rest from hard contact.

Back in the late 90’s when they could practice with pads most teams still didn’t. I went to see the Ticats in camp in 98, and the head coach Ron Lancaster got pissed when a player hit another too hard with pads on, and made everyone take them off. They spent the rest of the day without pads.

I think that we’ve seen an explosion of these returns this year due to a couple of things:

-the NFL has largely gone away from the importance of returns resulting in less drafting and rostering return specialists and the CFL has more opportunity to employ these type of guys.
-the CFL has quietly discouraged officials from throwing flags unless the foul is very obvious and directly impact the play.

Another reason… the CFL only has 3 downs, so there is inherently more kicks to return.

If we’re trying to explain why return TDs have dramatically increased this year over last year, the answer needs to be something other than rules and field dimensions which have not changed.

Here’s a random attempt: What about the football operations cap? Are teams spending less money or time on special teams coaching, and does that somehow favour return teams over coverage teams?

I believe you are right on about the officials finally being reigned in on the borderline calls. The kick return that was called back last night was a very obvious and stupid push in the back by Sopik. I have no issue with those calls. It was the ones where a tackler would turn his back at the last second and appear to blocked illegally. Like Mike Miller did a couple of years ago in front of Levi Noel and cost the Lady a million dollars.

The return game is being phased out of American rules football.
So returns in CFL seem even bigger than years ago.
Of course the bigger field lends itself to it.
I agree that not just non padded practices are hurting tackling all around football in general.
But also the Coaches Salary cap appears to have led to worst special teams coverage on kicks.
Alot of special teamers are usually alot of yung Canadian players as well as Canadian & US players doing double duties due to roster size.
Prolly just not alot of time put into coverage teams do to all these reasons.

Good. Bad. Or indifferent. I love great returns. It wat makes the CFL unique!