Offside or not?

There was a thread yesterday, which has been deleted, that suggested that a particular play on the final drive in the Bombers-Riders game was obviously offside. In that thread, I promised to post screen shots to show that the receiver was still onside at the snap of the ball. Here they are.

The ball has not yet been snapped in this shot. The line of scrimmage is right on the 35 yard line.

In this image, you can see the ball has started moving back. All visible Riders players are onside at this point. The twelfth player must be the near-side receiver on the line. No guarantee that he's onside, but given that he's not supposed to be in motion, I would expect this to be easily picked up by the linesman.

Not offside.

Why was that thread deleted?

The OP was warned that his topics would be removed if he continued to post unsubstantiated rumours or make baseless accusatons. Sorry that the rest of the discussion got lost.

True, there was much more in the original post than the suggestion that the play was offside. I tend to ignore stuff like that.

Summary of the discussion after that:

Me: In the past, I have found only one case where the officials have missed an offside. Suggest looking at the play again frame-by-frame.
Others: Here’s a picture that shows it was offside.
Me: Can’t see the ball in the picture. Can’t tell how long after the snap it is.
Others: No one has moved yet, but the receiver is already across the line. Offside.
Me: Just watched the play again on PVR. Not offside. I’ll post pictures when available.

So, as promised, I posted the pictures.

Still only one missed offside by the officials in four years. Pretty good record, if you ask me.

I also promised to post a screen shot of the snap on the TD run, as there was a suggestion that it was offside as well.


Initial motion of the ball.

Not even close. Perhaps close to procedure, with #16 in motion within five yards of the tackles. But he is over a yard from the line of scrimmage, so he's OK.

Good stuff, thanks for getting these!

At full speed on the TV angle, plays sometimes look off side with receivers in motion, even though the correct call is made.

Receivers are allowed to be over the line of scrimmage as long they don't step on the ground past the line before the ball is snapped (thus they can step across the line but can't touch down before the snap). This is done because it's practically impossible for the refs to distinguish if a receiver is offside when they are running full-speed towards the line (without the aid of a slow-motion replay.) That's why it often "looks" like a receiver is offside...and technically they are but the refs give receiver the benefit of the doubt.

Similar to baseball a guy running to first, time goes to the runner in most cases where it's close.

That may be how it’s called - I don’t know for sure - but that’s not what the rules say.

[b]RULE 4 - SCRIMMAGE SECTION 2 – METHOD OF SCRIMMAGE Article 3 – Offside At The Snap[/b] Team A players must be completely behind the line of scrimmage, except that the head, arms and hands of the centre may be in advance of the line of scrimmage.
There is, or used to be, a statement in the rule book saying that backfield players in motion can be within one yard of the line of scrimmage, as long as he is at least five yards from the tackle. I have always assumed that that meant within one yard but still onside. Could be a misinterpretation on my part.

Yeah, I think this is the biggest reason for why some plays look offside. If they had a camera at the LOS on every play, it’d be easier to tell. But that isn’t always possible.

I believe it is called much the same way as to what is in and out bounds. You can hang the ball over the out of bounds but as long as your planted foot is in bounds all is good (one exception being of course on the goal line.)

And the league apparently interprets “completely behind the line of scrimmage” as being that no part of a player’s body has touched the ground past the line of scrimmage. Not complex. No rule book is so specific that interpretation is notv required.

The main reason receivers look offside on almost every play is that we don’t notice the snap until we see players reacting to it a split second later. The receivers are running flat out at this point, and can travel a yard or two in that split second. (Consider that a player with a 4.5 second 40 yard dash covers 2.6 yards in 0.3 seconds, which is typical human reaction time.)

The linesman and line judge, one on each side of the field on the line of scrimmage, has a clear view of the ball as well as all the players on his side of the field. It’s pretty simple for them to spot a player who crosses the line before the ball starts to move.

Yeah I had posted an image in the old deleted thread showing pretty much the same thing. I also tweeted it back to Arash Madani since he was the guy that started this madness. People are taking that old, extremely blurry picture as gospel and putting it all over the CFL facebook page saying that the league is in cohorts with the Riders. I wish people thought before they spoke more often.

this picture is incorrect. You have to show the picture when the receiver was offside not a completely different picture. lol.......

the player was 4 yards offside when the ball was snapped. Either it was offside or illegal procedure.


Either that, or WBBB reborn.

Quite possibly. Has only made a few comments but can clearly be seen as a Bomber fan.

It was him. Now it is not...

this picture is incorrect. You have to show the picture when the receiver was offside not a completely different picture. lol.......

the player was 4 yards offside when the ball was snapped. Either it was offside or illegal procedure.

That would put him in the Bombers secondary on the snap ???