New and Improved Instant Replay

TORONTO -- Tom Higgins prefers the term 'command centre' to 'war room', but the Canadian Football League is setting up a new Toronto office to aggressively speed up its video replays and coach's challenges.

Similar to the high-tech bunkers the NFL and NHL use, the new system will do away with the referee peeking under a hood to see if a catch was made legally or a ball carrier was down by contact. Those two calls make up more than 90 to 95% of all challenges, though the hooded monitor will be kept for now as a back-up.

"Our referees were at a disadvantage," said Higgins, the CFL's director of officiating. "They were in the heat of the moment, looking at a replay that sometimes seemed like rabbit ears (reception) with no high definition.

"When the challenge flag was thrown, the ref first had to gather the six other officials to discuss it, go to the coach and make sure it was being challenged properly, then look at the play under the hood. Sometimes it took more than (the mandated) 90 seconds, because he wanted to get it right after all that, no matter if someone was tapping him on the shoulder to hurry up.

"This new system is all about fan interest and continuity. We'll see what the home viewer sees. We're hoping that by the time the ref has gathered the other six together, we'll have a decision back at the office. We can move replays faster, slower and (highlight) some things the fan can't."

Higgins stressed the system isn't foolproof, that no matter how many cameras are available, a random body could block the best replay angle.

"It's not perfect, but in those situations, you'd go back to the ruling on the field," he said.

System trials will be run through preseason games, though not all stadiums can test the necessary television equipment until regular season broadcasts begin.

In a new rule this season, if two successful challenges are made, a third will be granted.


I'm all for anything that speeds up the challenge process.

Good improvement for the league.

I hate challenges. I totally understand why they're there but to me, the thing that makes the CFL great is that its fast. Human error is part of the game and that will never be totally eliminated.
Lets hope this makes a noticeable difference.

yeah but there have been many times in games where an incorrect call was reversed and the right call was made!

I don't argue that for a second. My point is that it really kills the flow of the game and often is used to stop the opposing team's momentum.

...not as often as Mike Mauer pretending he is hurt...

Hey look at that! There's a can full of worms and its open. :lol: