Some rule clarifications on no yards and roster size please

For decades the league had a team roster of 46 players and there were always 2 healthy scratches announced at game time, so 44 players dressed for the game. The telecasts never mention this or tell us who is sitting out and who are the "designated imports" (3 US players who can play on the teams or substitute for American starters). So my first question is: Has this system changed since they have Global players? IOW, are 44 players on the field for the game, or has this ticked up to 45? Do they still leave aside 2 full roster players and not dress them for the game?

Next, in the Grey Cup there was a 5 yards "no yards" penalty on a punt where the return went for around 8 yards. Referee Proulx announced he would add the 5 yards from the end of the play. During the season there were definitely situations where the yards gained exceeded the penalty and so the penalty would be declined. In almost all these situations the telecast goes to commercial after the change of possession and we never actually see how all the illegal block and no yards penalties get sorted out. what is the rule please? Does no yards apply if gain exceeds penalty?

Third, we all understand from the depth charts how many American, and N players can be on the field on offence and defence. what is the rule for the Teams? Can anyone be on the field ? Officially the punt team is on offence and the receivers on defence, but there seem to be way more Canadians than on the depth chart. Is this a convention that all the teams have agreed to but that is not codified in a rule? Is there so much holding and illegal blocks on punts because these Canadians are not competent? OK - you don't have to answer this last bit.

It hasn't been 44 dressed + 2 reserve for decades.. perhaps a decade. Prior to that it was 42 dressed. In the 90s the dressed roster was in the high 30s. In the 72 Grey Cup it was 32.

Ya unfortunately our telecasts treat the game with such contempt these details are never discussed.

Not sure.. I haven't taken much interest in this global project so I'm not sure what they did here.

From the rulebook:

(c) if the player does not allow five (5) yards and the ball struck the ground before being touched by the receiving team: PENALTY - in field of play - L 5 from PBT or PBD - in goal area - L 5, applied at 10-yard line or PBD..

So I'm guessing it's supposed to be the better of PBT "point ball touched" and PBD "point ball dead".

On special teams the ratio does not apply.

I've always found this to be somewhat arbitrary because you're absolutely right, there is nothing on a 3rd down play that differentiates team A "the offense" from team B "the defense" aside from how they present in the formation.

If you line up for a QB sneak on 3rd down, best have your mimimum required Canadians out there.. If you line up for a punt, theoretically you can have an all American formation.

There tend to be more Canadians on the punt team because aside from the mandated 7 Canadian starters, the rest tend to play backup and special teams. Those 7 starters are a minimum. There is not maximum on Canadian participation.

So eventhough special teams don't have ratio requirements, there are more Canadians than required anyhow.

1 Like

Thanks for your input. I'm still not getting the 5 yard NoYard penalty. The rule quote didn't help me. Are you saying the penalty is always added where it will hurt the most? Did I get it wrong perhaps because the ball placement or right to decline the penalty is different on the 5 yd NY than on the 15 yd NY?

Also, the 44 starters was quite recent because I was debating it with Jeff Hecht on Twitter just a couple of years ago. I argue that since you are paying them anyway you might as well dress them. Jeff tried to argue that would be unfair if there would be an injury. I found that unconvincing in the extreme. [This btw is all really under the category of what changes we should be proposing to improve the league following all the handwringing over 2021]

1 Like

Above is a snapshot of the rule which does indeed seem to treat the penalty differently depending whether it is of the 5 or 15 yard variety.

I remain confused. It seems to me not long ago that all penalties were enforced from where the ball was caught, except if it was in the end zone. It also seems to me that all penalties are now enforced from where the ball is eventually downed, which would make more sense. If they were not this would discourage kick returns, which is the impetus for the rule in the first place.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can straighten this out for us.

I go back a ways and I think I remember a playoff game where the wind was so strong, it was determined before the game the no yards rule would not necessarily be called. I believe the game was either in Toronto or Hamilton. But maybe I was dreaming.

Hey Doubleblue, thanks for the memory. I go back a long way too. To when Dick Shatto was your running back. The NFL (!) network showed the FG try by Sean White a few years back, maybe with Montreal, where the wind got hold of it and changed its direction back toward the kicker as it approached the goal line.

Yes Dick Shatto was a great player. Maybe be used more as a slot back now a days though. The windy game I was thinking about was the punting that was affected as the kicks would only go 10-15 yards.

@DoubleBlue You’ve got me trying to think of more players from the Argos team of the mid/late 50’s. And frankly I’m drawing a blank. I remember a really big guy name Billy Shipp, but that’s it. I don’t think it was yet televised then, so it has to come out of my memory from when Dad took me to Molson Stadium on Saturday afternoons. But I do remember a lot of TiCats from that era - just not Argos. DO you remember any other names? The QB?


Regarding the roster numbers, during this 2021 Covid season it was a 45 man roster. A team could choose to dress 44 or 43 players ( 2 QB's, max. 20 Americans, min. 21 Canadians, 1 Global player) so only one player was off the game day roster as a reserve (reserve players are paid as long as they were on the game day roster).
As for the punt return rules, if the ball is caught in the air by the returner and the 5 yard infraction rule occurred, a team could choose to have the 15 yard penalty added from where the ball was caught or if the return was longer they could decline the penalty. If the ball hit the ground first and the 5 yard infraction occurred the penalty of 5 yards would be added on to the distance of the punt return. I hope that answers some of your questions

1 Like

Along with Shatto and Shipp some of the other more popular Argos during the late 50's would have been running backs Bobby Kuntz, Dave Mann, and Boyd Carter plus quarterbacks Ronnie "The Golden Boy" Knox and Jerry Doucette. The early 60's would have included players like QB Tobin Rote, RB Cookie Gilchrist and Jim Rountree.

Pope is right. 5 yard no yard is from the end of the run.

15 yard no yard is either or.

never understood why the 'ratio' was not also applied to coCHING STAFF AND gm

1 Like

Yes that was some of the names I remember. Billy Shipp was heralded as the first 300 pound lineman in the CFL. C Norm Stoneburg and OT Danny Nykoluk were long time main stays up front. The Argos at the time seemed to sign NFL players away from the New York Giants, Shipp and receiver Bill Stibling, G Bill Allbright, Chicago Bears Rec Dave Mann and DB Stan Wallace and Detroit Lions QB Tom "Dubber" Dublinski and later QB Tobin Rote. Other names that stick with me were RB Corky Tharpe and WR Pete O'Garro. All-American MLB Jim Andreotti came in 1960. Another QB named Al Dorow was signed in the late 1950's from the Eagles but I think he only lasted a year and was gone. The Argos were a last place team in that era until Tobin Rote arrived in 1960.

No yards is a trickly one because every 4 or 5 years they make a change either to the rule itself or the interpretation of it. In order to fully understand it you have to keep up to date with not only the changes (which isn't too hard if you're willing to google), but also the interpretations (which can sometimes be impossible).

The 15 yard no yards I believe has been a 'tack on' penalty for a while, that is, added to the end of the play like a major foul. It hasn't always been. There have been some changes to the no yards rule in the last 30 years, changing back and forth. For a while, if I recall correctly, if you had a big return and there was no yards, you had to decline the no yards to take the return. Then I think there was the era in the late 80s when there were guys like Gizmo, Pinball and Darnell Clash and coaches were totally willing to take a 15-yard penalty for blowing up the returner to keep him from busting off a big one, so no yards became a 'tack on' like a major foul.

The 5-yard no yards penalty only came in during the 80s when a lot of teams would let the punt roll around on the ground deliberately, often to a stop, just to get a ring of players around the returner and then flinch and fake to try to draw a tackler into the circle before touching it. It was really stupid to watch and the league gad to do something. So they added the 5-yard version for a bouncing ball which made the 'chicken in the circle' game not worth the effort. I believe that the 5 yard version as well has been at different times a 'tack on' or a 'choice', the rule changing every so often.

There's also been interpretation changes for the rule over the years where at times the 5-yard halo was a hard rule, and then at other seasons the officials were allowed discretion if they felt that the tackler made a legitimate attempt to vacate the 5-yards or otherwise avoid contact rather than just go for the hit, they could keep the flag in their pocket.

@prairiedog72 If it is that damn tricky, I cannot figure out why they cannot simply clarify the damn rule!

And you gave the exact opposite answer as did Pope above, who I thought had answered the question!

Now I'm confused!

1 Like

The current iteration is as follows:

No yards for a kicked ball caught in the air or touched by an offside kick team player in the air is 15 yards from the point the ball was touched. If the infraction occurs in the end zone, the penalty is assessed from the 10.

No yards on a bounce is the better of 5 yards from point last touched or point ball dead. If the infraction occurs in the end zone, the penalty is assessed from the 10 unless the ball was brought out beyond the 5 in which case point ball dead +5 yards would result in a better result.

If the bounced kicked ball touches an offside player and they did not intentionally play the ball, then its 5 yards.

1 Like

Thanks for the info but I remain confused as well.



I think part of the confusion is that they often go to commercial right after the play and we don’t get to see what happened. And the announcers also don’t always get it right. In fact Rod Smith often says there was a no yards as they head to commercial, but it is often an illegal block.

Thanks, Stephen

1 Like

Paolo?” please explain what “ 5 yards from point last touched or point ball dead” means.

And for the last bit, if the ball hits an “offside” player, I’m guessing mean a player from the kicking team, your explanation means that the ball would be immediately dead. But what if it bounces off him and then someone makes a play for 25 yards? And what if he was > 5 yards from the any receiver when it hits him.

Thanks, Stephen