Potential Rule Changes for 2024

Back to actual rule suggestions. I have three things that have always bothered me. Two regard kicking and one is with regard to the distance required for a 1st down line near the goal lines.
I suggest the following.

  1. All punts must land within the field of play. Any punt that goes out of bounds in the air is flagged. The penalty is either a repunt from 10 yards deeper or the receiving team can take possession where the ball went out of bounds in the air with the receiving team having the choice. My thoughts are if you have to keep it in bounds at the 50, you should have to at the 5 as well.
  2. A rouge point is only awarded when the ball is kicked into the endzone and LANDS in the endzone on either a field goal attempt or a punt or a kickoff and the receiving team fails to bring it out of the endzone either before the ball rolls or bounces out of bounds or by the ball carrier being downed by contact. The receiving team is allowed to move the ball out of the endzone by kicking it. This kick must also land within the field of play. If it goes out of bounds in the air and was kicked from within the endzone, a rouge is awarded. Any kicked ball that rolls or bounces into the endzone is included in the above. Any ball that goes through the endzone or out of the side of the endzone in the air without landing is a dead ball even if it had already touched the ground within the field of play prior to crossing into the endzone (i.e. a bounce from the 1 yard line crossing the endzone in the air but going out of bounds before landing again). No point is awarded and the receiving team is awarded the ball on their own 20 yards line.
  3. Where there is not sufficient room on the field to measure off awarded penalty yards, the first down markers are adjusted instead. For example team A is on offense, 1st and 5 on their own 5 yard line. They get called for holding and are assessed a 10 yard penalty. They cannot be forced to move back 10 yards and start the play from with in their own endzone so the first down marker would be moved to the 25 yard line instead of the 15 and it would now be first and 20 yards from the previous LOS. The LOS would not move back in these cases.

Not a rule change but a couple of changes overall:
Change one - go to 4 downs - that would be entertaining on a CFL sized field. Would be even more entertaining if they played with two players less like the NFL on a CFL size field.
Change two - scrap the single points, make teams work for their points, don’t award a team for missing a FG

I will quit watching and supporting the CFL if they go to 4 downs.

As for scrapping the single, the team IS NOT rewarded for missing the field goal, they are rewarded for kicking the ball into the endzone and the returning team is not able to advance the ball out of the endzone. If the defending team is able to advance it out of the endzone, there is no single point and to your way of thinking, the kicking team was not rewarded for missing a field goal. The only change necessary is for the ball to have to land in the field of play.
The single can also be a strategic play by punting it into the endzone to EARN the single point.

I do wish that people would understand what the rouge actually is and how it works and stop ragging on the “missed fieldgoal” aspect.


You’re totally correct with your points. I am with you all the way.:beer:

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Do something about Quarterbacks throwing the ball away so they won’t be sacked. Seems so bush.

Would be foolish to throw the ball away to save a sack with only three downs available.

Not an advantage or recommended as a coach.

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If you throw to no one or don’t make it to the LOS, you’ll be called for intentional grounding. It’s fine as it is.


Can we not keep it simple with the kickoff and merely return it to midfield with perhaps the stipulation that the kick must land in the field of play?

Wouldn’t this reduce the momentum and collisions somewhat?

What I don’t understand about the XFL/NFL/American Gladiators version of the kickoff is why bother keeping the kicker all the way back on his end of the field? Why not just have him line up with the rest of the team and chip it in with the requirement that a legal kick land in the field of play?

It’d be a tad less gimmicky this way

As I’ve mentioned in the past, if the CFL wants less “learning time” with American qbs and the CFL does seem to want to do everything in their power to attract American qbs to come up here and be as successful as possible and as quickly as possible, absolutely 4 downs is the way to go, without question. It really is a no-brainer to me and while some fans wouldn’t want this as we read here, I think it would draw in a newer younger set of fans and help the league in the long run. Even easier for Canadians to transition from CIS to the CFL with 4 downs I’d say. I also like the idea of two less players on the field, with you on that as well on the CFL sized field. Would be really neat to see this.
Not with you on the single points, love the rouge, to me this is crucial to keep in our game.

The above being said, I will say this is an excellent read from the U.S. media from a student publication, from the University of Utah:

"The most noticeable difference, however, has to be the number of downs. In Canadian football, teams have only three “downs” to earn the line to gain. This difference is by far the most impactful.

With fewer attempts, drives are shorter, offenses are more pass-oriented and both teams see more possessions. As a result, Canadian football games carry a consistent level of excitement throughout the entire game. With these rules, it’s a lot more difficult for a team to be “out” of a game. In fact, the phrase “no lead is safe” has become a staple for the sport."


That is a great article about Canadian football, all CFL fans should read it.


I find that freer pre-snap motion on offense and the one yard neutral zone tends to moderate the effect of only three downs. With no fair catch and other differences I believe the Canadian game much is more interesting than the 11man4down game.


Bingo, no matter what arguments I have made above and others for 4 downs, I believe I’m “trumped” by the more important aspect of Canadian football with the 3 downs. I hate to admit my arguments don’t stack up, despite some very relevant arguments on my part, but yes at the end of the day, as much as much of me hates to admit this, the CFL should/must keep the game as 3 downs. Simply a must, again as much I hate to admit this and am not 100 percent correct the CFL and CIS should remain 3 downs. Ok, I’m in what they say I’m “in” philosophy, a sort of “existential crisis”. :grinning:


Thank you for your positive response. CFL football is the only sport I follow these days, as I’ve lost interest in most others. The only other game that interests me is rarely available here in the USA; Australian rules football. I like it because sometimes it’s FUN to be totally confused about the rules.


Sans me prononcer sur les 2 premières suggestions, en ce qui concerne la 3ième, je pense que le spectacle en souffrirait. Quand on sait que les probabilités de marquer un touché en deçà de sa ligne de 20 est d’un peu moins de 20%, d’en rajouter en imposant un gain additionnel de terrain rendrait le spectacle moins attrayant. Je serais toutefois d’accord pour appliquer cette règle pour les punitions de degré 2.