No Yards

I posted something similar to this on The Scratching Post:

No yards penalties are great when they are big enough to be respected by the cover team. If the punt hits the turf the maximum penalty is 5 yards. Most cover teams would be willing to give up 5 yards. The alternative, trying to leave the protected area, could lead to a long return. I think the refs should have the option of bumping the penalty up to 15 yards if the cover player makes no attempt to leave the restraining zone.

In addition, rather than give the receiving team the option of taking the penalty, or the yardage the returner gains, I think that the 5 or 15 yard penalty should be added on to the yardage gained by the returner.

These changes would, in my mind, lead to more awareness and respect of the encroachment zone by the cover team, and also would open up more opportunities for long run-backs. The current system, though well intentioned, is not being respected. A rule that isn't respected must be tweaked to gain respect (in my opinion at least).


They already have that option, but I have never seen it called. I suppose it’s the judgement call on whether the player is hovering or not.

[b]RULE 5 - KICKING SECTION 4 – KICK FROM SCRIMMAGE AND OPEN-FIELD KICK Article 1 – Restriction On Offside Player (No Yards)[/b] (d) if a kicking team player is making no attempt to withdraw from the 5-yard zone, and is hovering over the ball or the receiving team player about to take possession of the ball, a 15-yard penalty will apply regardless whether the ball bounced.

Not a bad idea.

I thought the rule was there and not called but wasn't sure. Thanks for clarifying things CFiO.

Perhaps the league can instruct the refs to be more vigilant as I've never seen players try to leave the restraining zone as they know the refs will only flag them 5 and not 15 yards. If the penalty is there it should be called. If not called it should be removed, again for respect reasons if no other.

Thanks for bringing this up. On Sunday, the Cats declined a no-yards penalty off
a shanked rider punt. Any idea as to why it was declined? It was in the first half
but not exactly sure when.

I’m thinking the return must have been more than five yards, although the game log on CFL Live Play shows the return as five yards, so probably only by a foot or so.

If the punting team is penalised for no yards (either the 15 or 5 yard penalties), I'd like to see the rule changed so that the returning team has the option to have the punt re-kicked from either 5 or 15 yards, depending on which penalty it was.

Then you'd see the 5 yard cushion respected, because intentional infractions would get them no where.

Not bad there either. That could work. No team wants to punt the ball twice in a row, as their players would be tired the second time down - unlike the returner, who’s still rarin’ to go.

Players’ Association would resist on the grounds that a rule like this could increase the risk of injury to players. Mind you, the Players’ Association showed this year that they have no teeth…

Lets not complicate it for the refs they struggle to call it right as it is now

How about NOT calling no yards when the ball hits the ground and bounces? I understand giving the 5 yards when the ball is in the air but when it's bouncing around it is almost impossible for the kicking team players to get out of the way.

Wow you guys have a different set of eyes to me. I agree, eating the 5 yard penalty is a good option for the punting team when the ball is bouncing around, which is why I've always wondered why the punting team gives the penalty TOO MUCH respect. Only thing I ever notice is guys running away from the ball.

Anyway, the spirit of the No Yards rule is not to create big returns, its to protect the returner in a dangerous situation. In an ideal world, where the laws of physics were changed and injuries were not possible, the penalty wouldn't exist.

On that, I believe the penalty is often too severe already. Most No Yards are called when a guy is hovering around 5 yards and the ref eyeballs them to be at 4.9 yards. The player respected the rule, the returner was safe, there's no need for a free 15 yards. Give a 5 yard penalty and reserve 15 yards for those that disrespect the rule.

Coverage players would love that. If the ball hits the ground, the returner is fair game to be hit as soon as he touches the ball.

Nope. Doesn’t work.

However, how about if the player is within five yards when the ball is touched, but then all players manage to back out of the five yard zone, then there’s no penalty. If a player comes in before the first player gets away, it’s still a penalty. Think delayed offside in hockey.

Unfortunately, there’s no big wide blue line circling the ball to help the officials call it and the players to avoid it. (Could they go high-tech and use a laser to draw the circle on the field? The trick would be in actually tracking to the ball. Maybe once the NFL pays to develop the tracking technology for some either purpose, e.g. detecting TDs on QB sneaks, field goals. Still a few years away, I guess.)

The big pro soccer league in Germany uses a computer vision based tracking system, and data analysis influenced Germany’s World Cup team:

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FIFA has experimented with systems that put a transmitter in the ball:

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The NBA internally uses a computer vision system called SportVU:

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Here’s a writeup re: gridiron football:

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So, maybe not quite as far away as I thought. Huh. But would the “purists” support it?