New Rules commitee is meeting today

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REGINA - Improve player safety, coaches’ challenges and the role of the eye-in-the-sky official, while at the same time cutting down on penalties and trying not to interrupt the flow of the game. This is the task at hand for the 12-person rules committee as it meets to kick off CFL Week in the Saskatchewan capital.

Here’s a look as the some of the topics that will be discussed before the committee takes a vote on recommendations for changes on Wednesday:

  • The CFL reduced the number of flags thrown by its officials by 13% last year, which is a significant improvement, but it’s still not good enough.

“Reducing penalties is something we’ve been working on for a number of years now and we continue to realize that there are still too many penalties in the game,? Johnson said. “It’s a shared responsibility between coaches and players and officials and we keep working hard to try to figure out ways to get that number down.?

Committee members also will try to identify penalties they can remove from the rule book.

“We took out a certain kind of penalty last year that reduced the number of penalties by about 100,? Johnson said. “It was a procedure movement by the offensive linemen. We allowed them to be a little more fluid and only stationary just prior to the snap.?

Another idea is changing the standard by which certain calls — like illegal blocks on kick returns — are made.

“Possibly we’re going to make a certain type of play more lenient on the standard,? Johnson said. “We don’t want fans saying, every time there’s a big play, ‘Oh my goodness is there going to be a penalty.’ We want to get to a spot where you are enjoying that excitement and only on those rare occasions will there be a penalty.

  • Player safety is always at or near the top of the list for the CFL and Johnson expects the committee to focus on actions related to blocking this week. In order to not increase the number of flags thrown — that would conflict with one of the other major points of discussion — one idea is to look at making certain kinds of penalties more punitive.

  • The league was forced to make a rule change in mid-season last year because too many coaches’ challenge flags were being thrown. They made the decision to throw a challenge flag more punitive for coaches by putting a timeout at risk for every challenge, whereas, in the past, they only put a timeout at risk with their second challenge.

Until the change was made, coaches' challenges had risen to 2.2 per game from 1.26 and the new timeout rule helped bring that number back down to 1.6 per game. Of course, last year at this time the rules committee added seven new penalties that coaches could challenge, which certainly contributed to the rise in flags.

“We feel we’re still not in a spot that’s good enough,? Johnson said. “We’re looking at, ‘Should we challenge less things? Some of those penalties, should we take them out?’ We’re also looking at changing the process itself, so potentially, how many challenges coaches get or the actual process we use to do it. If we can make it faster does that make more sense? Have the number be the same but have the whole thing just take a shorter period of time.?

  • The committee also will look at the way the league uses its video official, who works out of the command centre in Toronto and is connected by headset to the officials on the field.

Introduced last season, the “eye-in-the-sky? helped with “administrative? aspects of the game, like correcting spots, adjusting game clocks and, on rare occasions, telling on-field officials to pick up flags. That happened only 10 times all season.

The rules committee is looking at more ways for the video official to become involved and get things right, without affecting the flow of the game.

“Fix something that is obviously wrong, fix it in a hurry,? Johnson said. “Let’s do the right thing and just keep moving.?

The rules committee could recommend allowing the video official to call penalties, but only in a situation where the play is already stopped by another flag.

“We don’t want to start officiating the game from the command centre,? Johnson said. “But once a flag is already down, and we’ve already stopped the game, there’s some administration that’s going to happen and we want them to just think about getting the situation right.?


  • Representative from each of the nine teams

  • Representative from officials association

  • Representative from the CFLPA

  • Representative from the league head office

Recommendations will be presented on Wednesday to the competition committee for further discussion and implementation.

Lets hope that the scrap those challenges on illegal contact penalties that are 60 yards in the opposite direction of the play.

* Player safety is always at or near the top of the list for the CFL and Johnson expects the committee to focus on actions related to blocking this week. In order to not increase the number of flags thrown — that would conflict with one of the other major points of discussion — one idea is to look at making certain kinds of penalties more punitive.

Making the more "dangerous" penalties would seem like an attempt to protect players by discouraging the behaviour, but it just as likely will discourage refs from making those calls because they will be viewed as having a HUGE impact on a game.

CFL considering expanding powers of video review officials
By Gary Lawless

REGINA - Video review officials in the Canadian Football League were given the power to pick up flags last season. They might have the power to throw them this year.
The CFL is considering a proposal that would allow video review officials to assess penalties, not just confirm or deny calls made on the field.
Video review officials were given the opportunity to help on procedure penalties last year. The head referee could communicate with the command centre in Toronto to determine if an offside was really an offside without a challenge from either of the head coaches. If the call was right, the flag stayed on the field. If it was wrong, the flag was picked up.
The rules committee is now throwing around the idea of letting the video review official change the call. So if the offence was flagged but it was actually the defence crossing the line of scrimmage illegally, the video review official could penalize the defence.

The rules committee, chaired by CFL vice-president of football Glen Johnson, held its first meeting on Monday night and is scheduled to reconvene today with an eye to voting on proposals late Wednesday.

Also being considered is giving the video review official the power to intervene in penalties after the whistle.
The CFL believes it gets 50 per cent of these calls on the field wrong because it often misses the first offence and only flags the retaliating player. The video review official would be able to see if there was more than one illegal act after the whistle on the all-24 camera, and then assess the proper penalties.
The committee is also looking at easing the standards on penalties like roughing the passer and illegal contact. The goal is to uphold player safety while maintaining the pace and integrity of the game. Committee members believe some of the roughing the passer and illegal contact challenges made last season fell outside the bounds of the spirit of the rules.
The committee also wants to improve the pace of play where coaches’ challenges are concerned. There are discussions about having the television broadcast go to commercial when a challenge is issued.
Low blocks and blindside blocks are also being looked at. The rules committee wants to eliminate them all from the game.

It scares me that they seem to want to expand video review even more.

Why not look at updates that may add reviews every other year, so teams and the league can actually adjust to it.

I second the motion. :thup:

Yeah because dirty hits away from the ball carrier have no impact on player safety... NO.... :roll:

Dirty hits away from the ball and illegal contact are 2 different things.

Does not matter where on the field you are , you will still get a flag for a dirty hit.

The issue is putting your hands on a guy away from the play after the ball has been passed to the other side of the field.


So, let me get this straight. Of 12 people on this rules committee only ONE is an actual (former) official...who hasn't been on the field in five years? Seriously?