Rule changes build on strengths of the CFL game

TORONTO — The CFL is unveiling a package of changes designed to leverage some of its game’s greatest strengths: a big field, exciting kick returns and high-octane offence.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

To summarize some of these.

Hashmarks moving closer together was a given to happen and the most talked about realistic change.

Drives after FGs and Singles now from the 40. Kickoffs from non safety are from the 30. All No yards calls are worth 15.

No reduction in holding penalties to 5 yards. Glad they didn't make that change

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I'm ok with most of this, except maybe the end of quarter penalty. I always considered it as a bonus( a free play for no charge... happy days!)

Most of the changes, I believe were predictable no big surprise for me Maybe except moving the out of bounds to the 15, the ejection for two UR/OC penalties and the penalty for QB "fake" slide.

I like it and expect the game flow will improve, offences may have too much advantage now. Will see.
Most interesting is 2 QB's on field..... could only imagine how a backup like Chris Streveler would impact the game.


I find most of the rule changes to be relatively minor. Maybe the 15 yard no yards will have the most impact. I don’t like the rule to begin with and believe that change may add more sandlot action to the game.

It is interesting that there are several rule changes that are intended to promote kick returns, when the NFL has moved the other way. I predict that in the long run they may have to walk back opening up kick returns for liability and player safety reasons, although NFL returns without the sandlot halo and the smaller field were definitely more brutal than CFL returns.

Not a big fan of limiting intentional OB punts to the 15 and in. For me this takes an element of skill out of the game.

Definitely in favour of the QB fake slide being penalized, although I don’t think that was a frequent problem up until now.

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So, they made a few rules change to solve issues that don't exist. The hashmarks have not been an issue and their current position does open up the wide side of the field. But, it is closer to the US game. Moving kick offs back may have the impact of giving the receiving team more opportunities for field goals.

The game on the field is fine. Leadership is where things must change. Where are all of the new revenue streams coming from? What was the distraction with the XFL all about?

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Scoring and flow have been down over the past ten years or so. And so have attendance and viewership, so I think there are issues that these changes at least attempt to address. I'm most curious about the new communication ref. I hope this works to decrease the dead time between plays that can prompt fans to turn their attention elsewhere.

New revenue streams are slated to come via gambling and the Genius sports partnership. But that's an issue separate from rule changes.


I like this, but would take it further to make all OB punts a penalty. The real skill is in punting the ball inbounds and hemming the returner into a corner where his momentum takes him out of bounds or allows the cover team to surround him and stop his return progress.

I think the OB kicks should allow the receiving team to take the ball where it went out, IE a short shank, or have the kick redone 5 yards back. I dont like when the ball is shanked out 15 yards downfield and the receiving team gets the ball there plus extra penalty yardage.

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Agreed. As for the OB kick limited to the 15 that's OK too. If you've ever tried to kick a ball with 2 pointy ends 40 yards close to the sideline you can land it 5 yards inside & still have it go awry. Should be some reward for good kicks left in the game. I pretty much like all the changes.

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Should have moved kickoffs back to the 25
And for the love of god cancel the single point for a missed field goal and punts into the end zone


That is one way to look at it, but it is also a skill to kick it out of bounds. Coffin corner and all that. Some time ago someone posted a criticism of Jon Ryan for not being adept at kicking it out of bounds, but rather only being able to boot it a mile. Either way there is a considerable element of luck to both kicking it out of bounds intentionally or kicking it into the corner so that a returner must field it and have no option fir a runback. Wind and unpredictable bounces are factors. I wouldn’t like to see the skill of kicking it out of bounds deep eliminated.

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Total bull. The wide side of the field being so much wider made for creativity in matching up different guys combined with space. Now both sides are essentially the same width. They'll just keep throwing to the right (QB dexterity) even more than they do now.

Some math:

NFL: field width 52.5 yards, hashmarks roughly 23 yards from sideline
short side 23 yards, wide side 29.5 yards - difference 6.5 yards or 28% wider, a space advantage of 28%

Previous CFL: field width 65 yards, hashmarks 24 yards from sideline, short side 24 yards, wide side 41 yards - difference 17 yards or almost 71%, a space advantage of over 70%!!

New CFL: field width 65 yards, hashmarks 28 yards from sideline, short side 28 yards, wide side 37 yards - difference 9 yards or just over 32%, a space advantage of just 32%

So the advantage of the wide side is the space available for receivers to get open. The CFL has just cut this advantage by more than half. That is a HUGE cut. The wide side will now get used even less!

Roughly 2/3rds of plays go to the short side, because of easy reads to the QBs dexterity to avoid pressure, but the one-third that go the other way are usually deep plays when they have more time to throw and where they have a space advantage to isolate 1 on 1 coverage. Now the shorter plays will stay on the right (because they're based on time and quick reads and not so much on space, and the deep plays will even out more to the right since there is much less space advantage to exploit.

Randy, ya schmuck, you gotta think this out. (shakes head) Listen to Trestman. Listen to Dickenson. Listen to Condell. These guys know. Genius Sports are idiots. Forget them.

These are garbage changes. The league continues to self destruct itself, because the perceived problems just have to be the result of rules. "Let's hurray up and change some rules to make it look like we did something."

I understand why young people think the CFL is a joke, just not a funny one.


prairiedog72, I disagree with your conclusion for the very reasons that you say it will happen. As the two sides of the field become more similar the QB will be able to make the throw to the wider side more often. It is no longer a throw with as much hang time for the DB to react to. The wide side throws were very often the TD interceptions as DBs could read and undercut the throw catching the ball in full stride. Often the wide side throws were only targeted as short gain plays. Now there will be more throws attempted to the wide side that have more depth.

You did a very thorough analysis but I trust the CFL coaches and offensive coordinators ( in this case) who will have also done a similar analysis and believe the opposite of what your conclusions are. As well, they are the people who will be directing/calling the offenses to use the wider side of the field for plays.

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While I really don't like most of these changes very much, they're less obnoxious than many others I've read about. I would like to see more balance in the number of national starters on each side of the ball before they fiddle with.

I know it's a longshot, but what's going to happen if both quarterbacks are injured on the same play? Having a third QB dressed would seem a wise idea then.

Nothing stopping teams from dressing 3 (or 4) QBs if they want to. I wonder if this rule change will change any team's thoughts on drafting Tre Ford. His athleticism in the backfield as an option to run or throw could be enticing.


You're right about dressing extra QB's but my guess is that nobody will do it until they DO have both injured, whether or not on the same play, and it definitely costs them a win.

This is an interesting and intriguing new rule. I wish it would have been in place decades ago when the Riders were transitioning away from Nealon Greene. That man, much like Strevlar, was a serviceable QB but an absolute bull rushing the ball. If we could have had him put in as an option at fullback, it may have been fun to watch. Have him run on first down, show the same formation on second down and draw the defense up but instead have him heave the ball 40 yards down field (needed to have a good receiver though as throw would have travelled far but might land anywhere with 15 yards of the target :slight_smile: ) .
I remember the Riders getting called for this some years ago with just a slight variation when Burris lined up in a receiver position and someone else was under centre. At that time you were only allowed to have the QB under centre.
I look forward to some creativity on offense.


The problem with the wide side is that it also allows the safety to get over in coverage because the ball is in the air so long. When you have equal distances each way it'll be harder to get help when you're beat & you'll need faster guys @ Safety. Here's a comment on 1 of the Safeties in this year's draft.

"A Canadian Junior Football League All-Canadian safety turned U Sports All-Canadian safety, Dalke likely isn’t fast enough when covering space to achieve that same elite status in the CFL."

The longer the throw, the more chance of a beat defender to recover, the ball being underthrown or off, the safety coming over to make a play. Guys like Hufnagel having been asking for this for awhile to speed up the game.

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