Potential Rule Tweaks for 2007

The league needs to address a number of issues to return the entertainment value of its games to pre-2006 levels. It’s the idea that a CFL game will give the consumer a back and forth contest with a number of big plays that kept the league afloat through the worst of times. On the CFL forum, I suggested a number of tweaks to address this issue. I’ve ordered these in terms of importance. Despite this I’m perplexed as to why the league has not addressed the items I’ll discuss later on in the list pertaining to the rouge and kick returns in general.

From the discussion on the CFL forum:

The league definitely changed from 2005 to 2006. Only two things stick out to me as having been significantly different. Those things of course were the change in blocking rules on kicking plays, instant replay as well as a changed game ball. Being in an aerospace undergrad, I have to say; those stitch-on laces can definitely have a significant impact on the flight of the ball.

I will admit that these changes alone don't constitute the significant drop in scoring this year so a lot of credit had to go to defensive coordinators & players alike in finding solutions to previously potent offensive schemes.

If making the CFL classically entertaining is a matter of getting every game one and a half more passing & one more kick return TD, then a number of things can be done without drastically changing the game:

  1. Completely outlaw contact after 1 yard on receivers. I understand interference as it exists is already technically defined as such but referees have to call it this way. No contact what so ever unless the defender is CLEARY playing the ball. Even if contact is accidental, if it’s not a result of CLEARLY playing the ball then call pass interference. The NHL has had to force a change in officiating culture, I'm sure the CFL can do the same. With that said, some would like to see this limitation applied only after 5 yards like the NFL. I think that would hamper the passing game even further as the rule is defined in the CFL as 1 yard presently and passing is still down.

  2. Uncatchable pass interference penalties should be assessed as “illegal contact on an eligible receiver? and result in a 10 yard penalty. It was my understanding that this change was made a couple years ago but it seems the refs or league went back on it & failed to penalize interference calls if they were found to be "uncatchable".

  3. Strictly call "illegal contact on eligible receiver" penalties with the gravity described in point #1. The feedback from receivers seems to be that this penalty has not been called especially when it occurs away from the play. The problem is that these contacted receivers may turn out to be offensive lifeboats on plays that would otherwise end in a sack, hurried interception or pass out of bounds.

  4. Eliminate the requirement for 2 eligible receivers set, one of each on either side of the ball the line of scrimmage. This will throw a kink into defensive reads especially if more receivers can explode out of the backfield quickly across the line of scrimmage in a blink before the snap.

  5. Allow blocking from the side on kick returns only if its near the play. Blindside shots should still be outlawed as unnecessary roughness if its completely away from the play.

  6. Keep the ball's surface single layered. No stitch on layers for stripes. If they want to mitigate the slipperiness of paint, find another solution, perhaps a sticky paint? Removing the stripes all together really doesn’t make a difference to me. However slippery the old stripes were, the new balls don't seem to have the degree of control the old ones did.

  7. Make the rouge applicable only on kicks that are "returnable", that is, kicked balls into the end zone that touch the goal area or a return team player. This will eliminate the possibility of a game being decided by a punt through the end zone with no chance of return and reinforce the original purpose of the rouge to encourage the return game.

8 ) Award scrimmage at the 20 yard line for simply bringing the ball out of the end zone on kicking plays as per the CIS. This should reinforce the original intent of the rouge as to encourage the return. Without the fear of relegating the offense to scrimmage close to the goal line will bring kick returners to flight speed exiting the end zone. From here it would leave the possibility for a lucky block to spring the returner well beyond the 20, perhaps even a score. It provides the possibility for an exciting play that seems to have disappeared in recent years.

  1. Extend this concept of “returnability? to all kicks from scrimmage. There have been mullings over whether or not to outlaw kicks out of bounds. Coffin kicks should still be rewarded but only on the condition that the kick was returnable. Again this means that kicks from scrimmage will all be required to at least land in bounds before bouncing out or making contact with a return team player. I’m not sure how to sanction this either with a penalty of yardage added to where the ball went out or bringing the ball up to the 45 as per kickoffs or forcing a re-kick from further back. A return team option on either of the possibilities might be the best.

I think those rule changes will go a long way in returning the CFL's entertainment value to pre-2006 levels. I don't think the league should be scared of change when necessary. Football itself was only born out of slowly altering rugby over the last century.

I'll be very interested to see what the competition committee proposes & the BOG passes this off-season.

OK, i'll bite.
You've got some good points Joe, some I partially agree and a some I totally disagree againt.
Pass Interference- I like instuting more restrictions. I don't see much of a proplem with the little push back and forth and don't see how this can be penalized but it can slowly get out fo control and where do you draw the line. As for accidental contact, if it truely is accidental then how can this be a penatly. But how can the official really tell that is was indeed an accident. This will eb a tough area, and hope somehting happens, but not everyone will be happy about what happens.
Uncatchable passes- The definitly feel that these should not be assesed at point of foul. The ball would not have been caught, but the foul did occur.
2 eligable recievers- Has worked so far. I say try in pre-season and see how the teams like it.
Blocking on kicks- if it will have a direct outcome, call it. If it could seriously hurt someone call it an OC or UR. Everything let go. The kick returns are very exciting and dissapeared this past season.
Our balls- Here's a consept, The player's hated the new ball. Go back to what we had in 2005 and work with the to see WHAT THEY WANT, NOT WHAT YOU TELL THEM TO WANT.
Rouge- This is somehting I have said for a while. I like this enw twist of award a point only if it cna be returned.
20 yrd line- I'm sorry but if you decide to return it, you get the ball where you get it to. 1 yrd line or 30 yrd. line. Sorry.
Punting- Part of the strategy in the game. Coffin Kick is a key to kickers artilery, and I would love to see them for years to come.
1 issue you didn't touch on was instant replay. Calls were not called consistantly on reviews,a nd this is not acceptable. It needs to somehow change. 1 rule change I want to see would be regarding fumbles. Currently it is set that if it is fumbled and then blowd dead the ball is turned over ot he other team. This sets it up for a scrum after the whistle to fight for the ball for try to sway "posessions" and will lead to unesisary in injuries. It was even said of the 5th quarter earlier this season that this ruling was addopted because the NFL changed to this,a nd we don't want to use rules that they don't deem fit anymore.

Sure. I'll buy that one.

2) Uncatchable pass interference penalties should be assessed as “illegal contact on an eligible receiver? and result in a 10 yard penalty. It was my understanding that this change was made a couple years ago but it seems the refs or league went back on it & failed to penalize interference calls if they were found to be "uncatchable".
I'll buy that one too, but I don't see a big effect as this doesn't happen all that often.
3) Strictly call "illegal contact on eligible receiver"
Throw it in my shopping cart, I'll buy that too. This may be more significant than the others.
4) Eliminate the requirement for 2 eligible receivers set, one of each on either side of the ball the line of scrimmage. This will throw a kink into defensive reads especially if more receivers can explode out of the backfield quickly across the line of scrimmage in a blink before the snap.
The tradiionalist in me says no. The line must be set and that's that. I really don't see a need, especially if the above rule enforcements are to occurr.
5) Allow blocking from the side on kick returns only if its near the play. Blindside shots should still be outlawed as unnecessary roughness if its completely away from the play.
Absolutely yes! I don't know anyone who doesn't want to see a return to the previous return game that we're used to seeing.
6) No stitch on layers for stripes.
Seems the QBs don't like. No big deal to get rid of it.
7) Make the rouge applicable only on kicks that are "returnable".
Agreed, but again it hardly happens that the ball goes right out of the endzone without touching the field of play first.
8 ) Award scrimmage at the 20 yard line for simply bringing the ball out of the end zone on kicking plays as per the CIS.
In principle yes. Do whatever it takes to remove the incentive to concede a point and encourage returns out of the endzone. More play, more action and less touch back like boredom.
9)outlaw kicks out of bounds... forcing a re-kick from further back. A return team option on either of the possibilities might be the best.
ALL out of bounds kicks should be rekicked as per kickoff rules. Again, remove the incentive for game stoppages and ecncouragge risk taking and action. It translates directly into excitement.

I have no problems with the suggestions re illegal contact and pass interference that have been made.

Regarding stacking one side of the field with six receivers: no. I think the defence is entitled to having some uniformity per play from scrimmage, i.e. one receiver on each end of the line being mandatory.

However, I think the big issue right now in the special teams area is now the blocking rules are being enforced. The pre-2006 standard should be returned to.

Punting: coffin corner punting and punting out of bounds is a strategic part of the game and should be allowed, with no penalty or restriction.

The rouge: it's a weapon. If a punter can hoof the ball out of the end zone to score a winning point, more power to him and his team. I love seeing the opposing kicker and punter in the end zone having to kick the ball out on a last play, but I'm a purist...

The return issue on missed FGs is well raised: the ball should be brought out to a minimum of the 20-yard line, unless the returner can break one for a bigger return than that. That would encourage more returns and be a further disincentive for teams to miss FGs...

The ball: one uniform surface with a painted stripe on both ends. Again, I am a traditionalist on a lot of things. The 2005 football, please! :wink:

Oski Wee Wee,

Would it be fair to say then that you prefer strategy over action?

I'll take action and play over stoppages anytime. I understand where you're coming from, I just disagree.

The NFL is more strategic which I believe leads to a more static brand of football with far too many stoppages. Boerdom is always a concern.

The more the ball is in play, and the more a player has to do with the ball, the better the game, IMO.

lets make the endzone bigger and sit the fans right on the sideline and allow them to make tackles if they can reach the ball carrier without stepping in bounds. also lets make touchdown worth 12 points thus creating the illusion that more points are being scored (more points means more fun for the fans) of course field goals will be worth 6. any strategy that limits or takes away from the other teams athletic ability should be penalized. if this game planning continues the offending coach should be ejected and fined appropriatley. obviously im just joking but the game is fine. aside form some fine tuning of the instant replay and getting some decent reliable refs lets enjoy the canadian game.

I think more importantly -establish a rule that when the Cats achieve a first down, we get a single point.

How about free beer, instead?

Intentional safety shouldn't be allowed.

an untweaked rule thought...

Any 3rd down punt that goes out of bounds untouched by the returning team, between the returning teams goal line and 20 yd line is to be scrimmaged from the 20 yd line.

Takes away the coffin corner, if anything it should be there is a penalty for all punts which don't make it to the 20 and go out of bounds.

If you're going to get rid of the coffin corner, how about no intentional safety. Should there be an safety that is deliberately conceded (going out of bounds, one knee, etc.), it's first down at the line of scrimmage of the play that brought the safety for the other team.

I agree. In principle, you should never have an incentive to concede points in sports.

adapt the CIS rule for kick returns out of the end zone, scrimmage from the 20 or 25 even. NO more conceded Safeties!

Most of your Ideas are good ones

Make it mandatory that all new onfield officials be former players of the game. Present officials could be red circled until they retire.The reason for this regulation seems obvious to me. Too many roughing penalties are called by officials who seem to think that football is a non contact sport.Football common sense seems lacking with most of the zebras. Why can't the league bring back the Paul Bennetts and Lee Knights in our communities and allow them to referee the game they loved . Former players know that the game is about the players, not the officials.
Pat Lynch (the old guy in section 7)

What makes you think that former players would want to be refs?

Lol, that's one funny idea.

Hmm, maybe the prerequisite could be that the official must be a former hated player, so the fans can carry on hating a tad longer.

Mike O'Shea's life would be a living hell.

Isn't it already? He DOES play for the blue team... :twisted: