No doubt refs have a thankless job

Tue, August 7, 2007

Ridin' with Chevy
No doubt refs have a thankless job, but that said, the officiating in the CFL needs to be more consistent -- and correct


My mom used to tell me, "If you have nothing good to say, then don't say anything at all."

I wonder, though, if you have a few good things to say are you then allowed to comment on the bad, as well? Well Ma, I am assuming so.

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion on the quality of the officiating in the CFL around the league. Everyone from the fans, media, owners, GMs, coaches and players, have been casting a shadow of doubt over the men who don the black and white stripes.

With all those people pointing their fingers at the referees, it would seem logical to assume there may be a problem.

Jim Daley the CFL's senior advisor for officiating development and football ops has stated the league is doing everything it can to improve the quality of the calls. But he has also stated the refereeing is top notch and the problem does not lie with the officials but actually with the neighsayers' interpretation of the application of the rules.

So, I guess in plain English, he is saying his refs are not perfect, neither is our understanding of the game.

And apparently there are many football minds that lack sophisticated knowledge of the rules, including Hamilton's GM Marcel Desjardins, who suggested importing American refs. Now, although the suggestion of hiring Americans to ref a Canadian game seems extreme, the idea of hiring full-time refs is not.

The CFL and its referees can only work with the resources they are given. If the league cannot afford to hire full-time refs, then they must get the most out of the part-time guys they have. It is kind of like sending the reserves into war -- they train on the weekends and know how to fire a gun so they must be ready ... right?

The refs have a thankless job because when the right call is made, it is expected, and when a call is blown, a hell breaks loose. And lately so much hell has broken loose the league issued a memo stating that fines will be given to teams for excessive verbal abuse of the officials.

On defence, our job is to play hard and fast. When a questionable call goes against you, it hinders your ability to play at a high speed. If I cannot go full speed to the quarterback because the ref will flag me the split second as he is throwing the ball, I will never get any pressure on him.

Hesitation then sets in because you do not want to cost your team 15 yards and then all of a sudden, you're not playing quality football. And when players stop playing quality football, they lose their jobs. Maybe that point has not been hammered in at 'referee school.' If I were a ref, I would hate to be the reason some kid lost his job all because I threw my flag a little too quickly or in poor judgment.

Oh yeah, I have also heard when the league acknowledges one of their own has made an error they send an apology letter to the team affected by the poor call. I wonder if my coach would accept an apology letter from me if I blew a snap or missed a tackle. Probably not.

The worst things to do as a player is complain about officiating after a loss, because it looks like you are making excuses. This is why I choose to write this article after a win. This way, I have no ulterior motive except for the betterment of our game.

I realize the zebras do their best, but there needs to be a sense of urgency in doing better. People's careers depend on it. And next time I am bearing down on a QB, please apply my mom's logic to the situation: 'If you don't have a good flag to throw, don't throw one at all!'


  • When A.J. Gass retires from football, he could try out for the U.S. Track and Field team to throw the hammer. He showed great form and technique as he launched John Comisky's helmet down the field before being ejected from Saturday's game.

  • And finally in a case of only in the CFL ... During pre-game warm-up, Eskimos offensive lineman Kevin Lefsrud asked Tom Higgins if he could hitch a ride back to Calgary after the game. Apparently, he had a wedding to get to. Tom told him to come ask him after the game which is coach-speak for, 'Only if we win.' Not sure if he did get that ride.

Yes, they do have a thankless job, but the best referees are the ones that you dont notice.

…as much as we all want the refs to get it right, being human and all I think what we should be expecting is that it is at least called even for both teams…making consistent calls is at least something the teams can deal with…

The officials who do the best jobs are the ones that you are not talking about after the game. Instead you are talking about your team's play or how one individual played in that game.

- And finally in a case of only in the CFL ... During pre-game warm-up, Eskimos offensive lineman Kevin Lefsrud asked Tom Higgins if he could hitch a ride back to Calgary after the game. Apparently, he had a wedding to get to. Tom told him to come ask him after the game which is coach-speak for, 'Only if we win.' Not sure if he did get that ride.

Sambo great statment!

Thanks... my statement goes for any sport, not just for the CFL.

well red it seems to you there ''only human'' when they kick to players of edmonton out when clearly your two players started it and nothing happened to them''......or when your team gets the call

And where exactly do you get "clearly"?
The only clear thing here is Gass throwing a helmet!

Its and old adage in sports.. usually the person who retaliates gets caught.. its no different in this case.

I don't want to notice the officiating in any game; but the Esks/stamps tilt was over the top on Saturday. I'm sorry but It was too much to handle-- offensive pass interference on BO was crazy but has anyone noticed more fighting this year?? Do you think it might be the result of frustrated players at the officiating?
The thing is fans expect top notch-- not just good enough officiating. Jim Daley needs to realize fans will lose interest as College football and NFL starts shortly. IF these games continue to have shabby INEPT reffing they have lost my interst as well as others I know. For the league to be in denial is the problem; acknowledge a problem and fix it. Quit being so damn proud

Show me where they started it. How in the world Corny can you even think that the nut job Gaas can even come up with a straight story. He has no credibility. If you watch the film it is plain as day that the stamps were doing their blocking assignments when the nut job went crazy. He should stay off those roids.

Well it proves one thing Daley not only su-cked being a coach but now he su-cks at his new job as well. I think the officals have made steps backwards in being better. My opinion of course. But usually you can expect a mistake in a game but this many each time out. Yes we have video replay but before that we had the chance to see it on video. Time to hire a professional ref and have him come in and train these guys. Even if we have to get one from the USA who cares if they can produce results all the better.

Interesting choise of words! :lol:

:lol: :lol: I forgot about that your right Ro! I heard Pilon say he has none so why is he complaining? :lol: :lol:

The only bad refs are the ones that take bribes from the BC Lions. It seems like every call favours them :wink:

I agree that Reffing is a thankless job to do, and realize that no one is perfect. But Mr. Chevrier is right, its the players that get beheaded by the coach when a 15 yard PI, roughing the passer, objectionable conduct, etc type of penalty flag is thrown on them, or if a big 40 yd completion is called back, regardless of whether the call is correct or not. I'll bet that coaches do make decisions on keeping people for next year partly based on how many penalty yards against their team were attributable to said players. Refs don't necessarily need to be full-time, but as i said in a previous thread, they do need a Refs-Ed 101 type course each year to be clear on how the current rules are applied, and how the League and the teams expects them to interpret the rules.

On the case of Gass, if i'm coach Maccocia, i'm telling him to take a few cold showers, work the hate out of the system, and take some extra reps to get back into the proper game attitude. Besides getting ejected, throwing helmets around the field is just going to put Gass back on the injury list when someone on the other side of the ball takes serious offence and cheap shots him when the Ref ain't looking. Its inexcusable to be doing that on the field. If the o-lineman is doing objectionable things to you in the pile, the way to deal with that is to run over the guy on the next play while on a direct path to sacking the QB or RB for a loss. Thats called playing tough football the right way.

I knew It!

Good post!

It seems Randy is being fined for this article.