Penalty Flags are Ruining the Games

I am becoming completely frustrated with CFL officials. The number of flags they throw in a game is getting ridiculous! They are killing the flow and integrity of games. The old adage says in football you could call a penalty on every play and I believe they must be taking that literally. It's as if they feel they have a quota to meet. Yes I understand there are penalties that need to be called. But questionable calls or infractions that really don't have a direct affect on the play need to be ignored.
This situation reached a zenith last night in the Winnipeg-Montreal game....just brutal. The bottom line is this will start to turn off people from watching the games. I am a dedicated CFL fan but this is driving me nuts. I now expect a flag on every play and breathe a sigh of relief when their isn't one after a big play.
Maybe I am the only one who feels this way but I think Chris Schultz also touched on this indirectly on the TSN panel.

Penalties and how long reviews are taking. Last night's game was at least 35 minutes longer than games should be. Casual fans aren't going to hang around through slow moving boring debacles like last night. They simply won't be around to witness exciting finishes because they will not sit through 3+ hours with stretches of boredom to get there

In the first game last night there was a flag on every play and the game dragged on for 3 and a half hours. I gave up and watched something else at half time. I watched all of the second game and really frustrated with the penalties. I think the refs are trying to prove that they are there and calling far too many penalties.
It's not been a good season so far, not very entertaining at all.

this is like blaming cops for handing out justified speeding tickets. play within the rules = not many penalties.

Even Cops let things go!

I've seen a few questionable calls but most are justified. Players need to clean up their game and coaches need to be on them about following the rules and not taking unnecessary penalties (or teaching them if it applies). I thought the game tonight for the most part had fewer penalties although there was a brief stretch where they seemed to be tossing a few more flags

I'm all for playing within the rules. However, it's the new "rules" that are making the game a farce and unwatchable. If you watched the Arghblow game there was a roughing the passer call against a Calgary D-lineman which left me shaking my head. It was a "blow to the head" call and there was contact by the helmets. No dispute there. But it was how the helmet contact occurred that I would argue shouldn't be a penalty. The Calgary player was making what I thought was a beautiful form tackle on Ray and as the hit approached Ray ducked into the hit and in doing so brought his helmet into the path of the tackler's helmet. How it that a penalty? What is the tackler supposed to do to avoid the helmet contact? Now before anyone says " he could have aimed the hit lower and avoided that problem" well, no he couldn't have because Ray was in the pocket and going lower would have risked a hit too low and another penalty.

Contact football is dead my friends. It just hasn't lain down yet but it is dead. These "rule" changes for "player safety" (read: litigation avoidance) are just the beginning of the destruction of what is perhaps the most perfect game and absolutely the best, most perfect team game in the world. My prediction is that in 10 years we will be watching a form of rugby/CFL/NFL that will little resemble the current game. I'm not sure exactly what it will be but I wont be watching. I can barely watch what this league has recently become.

The Proulx crew at it's finest. How the heck you can see the first pass as a forward pass is beyond me, it's not even remotely close.

Maybe they got reamed out as a group over the Collaros non call and are now fearful of their jobs. Still though, too many is worse than not enough.

Pretty obvious from the camera angle. Perhaps not from where Proulx was standing, a few yards back from the play. Sanders was fading backwards and threw the ball as he was crossing the 45 yard line. Mitchell had to move up to catch the pass, and caught it very close to the 45.

Had that play happened before video review, would Proulx have called it differently? And if not, how many pages of complaints would we have here, demanding that video review be introduced?

I dunno man, he’s clearly ahead of the yard line when he throws it and clearly behind the yard line when he caught it.

Closer than you'd think.

But yes, the line being there should have helped Proulx. But the fact that Sanders was moving backwards when he threw the ball and Mitchell was moving forwards would have made it more difficult to tell from Proulx's position on the field.

The good thing is that the review got the call right. But I'm assuming that that the penalty would have nullified the touchdown, so no automatic review. So Calgary had to challenge the call?

Re: Penalty Flags are Ruining the Games

Yes. Yes they are. Makes the league look cheap and unprofessional. Also slows the game to a crawl.

My thought exactly! They are now erring on the side of safety but I have seen a few questionable RTP calls where the QB was hit a wee bit late and only knocked to the ground (no low or helmet hits). Sometimes it seems to depend on the QB who is being hit too!

Proulx has been off quite a bit this year. There was a time when he was mostly impartial and pretty consistent, but this year he's been really bad.

I never question the impartiality of officials, but their quality/consistency is another matter. Everybody has tendencies/preconceptions. If a ref reacts more to certain fouls, or is told to be on the outlook for them, then the teams that commit that type of penalty gets called more often.

Different crews definitely seem to call games differently. Proulx, for example, seems to call RTP more than other referees. And I'm sure teams know the crews' tendencies and adjust accordingly. Or at least they should; if not, that could explain the excessive flags.

Have to agree with Jimmy Jones on this one. Too many flags being thrown too often. I don't watch the games to see the Officials, I go to watch the players play. The problem as I see it is that infractions as defined in the rules are being interpreted to strictly, especially pass interference. Offsides seem to occur on almost every play, but not all are called and are probably the most obvious to see. Roughing the passer is sometimes another joke. I mean, sure lets not let the QB get bashed, but, hey, it's a football game, it gets rough. Bump into the QB, he falls down, oops roughing, automatic first. c'mon! Call the calls that need to be called, but have some common sense and let the teams play, that's what we are there for.

Yes penalty flags are ruining the games and I don’t know who to blame, do the players not know the rules or are the refs getting payed by how many flags they throw? I love the CFL and will never stop watching but even me a die hard fan is having a hard time watching these flag fests. I can only imagine what a casual fan or someone giving the CFL a shot for the first time thinks when he sees flags on pretty much every play. I’m hoping this improves as the season progresses.

From Paul LaPolice of TSN


There were 110 (27.5 per game) last week.

In the last 20 years, there have been only two weeks with more penalties!

[b]One thing you always look at as a coach are penalties that occur before the ball was snapped, those are usually based on mental errors such as not following the snap count on offence or watching the ball on defence. The before-the-whistle penalties can be eliminated by focusing on your assignment. Offside, procedure, time count and too many men would fall in that category. Last week there were 31 of those penalties or 28 per cent of the total penalties.

Some interesting stats

  • Holding was the highest penalty called last week with 25 calls including 11 times in one game.

  • Almost 1000 yards was penalized last week, which moved the ball up and down the field.

  • 298 penalties so far this season

  • 99 penalties per week

  • Almost 25 penalties per game

  • Penalties are up in all areas: offence, defence, special teams

As a coach, you are always stressing and coaching the correct fundamentals of the game but it is sometimes hard for players to learn how to correct penalties until it happens to them at full speed in a game. Also we have lost a lot of veteran football players this past season.

We shouldn't blame the officials for the increase in the penalties because they are calling what they are seeing happening on the field. Usually coaches range with agreeing with 70-90 per cent of the calls when they see them on film. Every week the coaches still see penalties on the game film that were not called that should have been called.

I'm not sure what the reason is for so many penalties this year, but I'm sure the coaches and players are working hard to correct them.[/b]