Suggested Rule Change

The rule where a dynamite return (kickoff or punt) is negated by a blocking from behind penalty on the other side of the field (or way behind the play) has to be changed.

Too many officials get a certain amount of joy dropping a flag when the TD return hits the stretch cuz some idiot player decides to inflict himself on an opponent.

Here’s how you handle it.

Let the TD stand - if its obvious the penalty was NOT in the line of play to the endzone.

Instead, give the guilty party a 15 yd penalty (for stupidity basically) to be tacked on against the kickoff. Not that easy, if there was any intent to injure the player should be suspended for the game, face a 1 game financial penalty in fines and be on the watch list for subsequent/similar infractions.

I think that might tighten the penalties and discipline significantly. It won’t remove them all - cuz stupidity is endemic.

But it will prevent the officials from soiling some great plays with inconsequential (to the return) penalties. Refs will have to get their joy somewhere else!

If it does not have an impact on the play , a flag should not be on the turf.

Until that is mandated, players still need to be smart.

IMHO, An Official should ask himself these three questions before a flag is thrown.

  1. Was there an infraction on the play?

  2. Did it have any bearing on the outcome of the play?

  3. Was any players safety compromised on the play?

They already do.

If a potential blocking infraction is not at or near point of impact (the ball) it's not usually called...same with holding. Exceptions are hard blocks to the back of the legs which are UR and called anywhere, anytime. With regard to your point 2, an official needs to decide whether or not the blocked player had a reasonable chance to make a play...on a kick off that threshold is wider as the play is more dynamic than a normal scrimmage play.

I like the idea; the only issue is that an illegal block may look like it is not part of the return but it the returner reverses field suddenly that blocked player may end up being the critical missing contain on along return

So add more grey area?
"he clearly could have had an impact on the play"
"no he couldn't"

IF (big if) one wants to address this then eye in the sky should be doing so....and it pains me to say that.

This is the same argument as the contacting the receiver thing though...receiver gets a bump on the other side of the field where the QB never looked and never intended to and it is not only potentially a flag by the official but even worse can be challenged. There were a couple times I recall a HC challenging those last year and they had a look of 'man, this ain't right, but ok'

We don't need to muddy the waters by making the rules thicker. I hate seeing big plays snubbed because of 'iffy' calls, but this just screams opportunity for refs to argue for several minutes on whether it should a TD or not.

Well, ultimately officials have to make calls based on their judgement as it pertains to the rules...and if you don't like that then there's not much anyone can do to make you or any other fan happy.

With regard to the scenario you suggest where a potential receiver is bumped "on the other side of the field where the QB never looked...", well, it just doesn't matter if he (QB) looked or not. The rule is quite clear about leaving receivers alone past a certain point..the officials don't have to judge whether or not it could have made an impact or's a penalty and if they don't call it they get docked, disciplined and sent back to CIS if they continue.

And who's to say the receiver wasn't prevented by the bump, grab or hit from getting to a position that the QB could have seen him and made a throw? The players know the rules and they will push them until they get caught, it's just that simple. They know there's only seven officials and a two acre field...the zebras are never going to see everything.

Kinda sounds like we are agreeing here.

I like some of the proposals above.

I would like to see a rule change on a field goal. NO single point for a missed field goal if it rolls through the end zone. A single point is awarded only if the kicking team misses the field goal and the kick returner can not get it out of the end zone. that was the intent, to force a running play - not the other

Also a ratio modification, let the ratio stand but let the coach decide who he wants to play. No on field player ratio anymore. I think the league has evolved to this level now and the Canadian players on the team can compete without this rule.

If there is an infraction and everyone knows the penalty will not be accepted only announce the infraction as the ball is spotted. Do not let it hold up the game. Just say offside penalty declined.

If that were true then there would be no complaint that the rule exists because it would be a moot point.

The point of the point (hmm...weird) is that you are ending a play (dead ball) on the other side of the scoring plane when the ball was previously live (in possession). As example:

  • the reason it is not awarded on a kickoff that might go through the endzone (rare) is because a kickoff is not actually in possession until touched....which makes sense not to reward the kicking team, because they have not progressed the ball via an 'in play' down. Of course if it stops in the endzone it is going to become a live ball when one of the 2 teams touches it will be a single if it ends there or a TD
  • On a field goal the place kick is considered live ball...therefore it is scoreable in the endzone.

This is something the CFL has stuck to their tradition with and has right if you look where the game came from....the 4 down version is Fd in this manner...but hey, so are their FGs where you need to break the deadball plane not the scoring plane..stupid.

technically the ratio does not work the way you are saying...the rule is 3 QBs are non-counters (meaning ratio counts towards 23 spots, not 24), leaving 41 players....21 of those must be national. There is not technically a rule that says you have to start 7 Canadians...what it says is that there are 4 DIs who can only replace an international, meaning that there are up to 16 internationals who can start. Basically...if you have a Canadian go down you can not put a DI in that can put a Canadian in or you can rotate a different Import in there that was starting elsewhere and then bring a Canadian into another spot. The only place you have to actually state 7 is how you are splitting that between O and D and that can not change through the course of a are really stating "these 4 players shall be deemed non-starting imports." I know it seems like it is the same thing at a glance, but it really is not...the ratio is more of a protection to depth Canadians than it is to starters...because if you only have 7 good starting Canadians you are going to be in trouble at some point. It is an interesting rule and one that other leagues around the world have used as a foundation to their own model for a reason.

I always thought they were actually fairly good at the 3rd point...not always but fairly. You see them signal over to the sideline quick on fairly obvious ones and see it waived, announce it quick and move along. I agree with your sentiment on it...just thought they did a relatively good job of it already.

I will tack 'ridiculous' holding onto that. If someone grabs a player away from the play it will generally slide...if they do a 'cmon man' grab...not so much. That said...there are many holding calls that should not be thrown...just like they miss many (which are generally easier to see at games as opposed to on TV)

In theory an excellent rule change but defining what exactly is not in the line of play to the endzone could be difficult. That being said, judgement calls are part of sports, in baseball for example a runner sliding into the 2nd baseman or SS trying to break up a double play slides off to one side, it's a judgement call if he was too far wide.

Rule should be change. If you have give on-field officials first opportunity to override - then go to eye-in-the-sky official (which unfortunately a green or too old official with poor analytical skills under time pressure)

As for line of play - a guy who gets blitzed from behind or concussed to the earhole but is obviously behind the play is REALLY NEVER OUT OF THE PLAY UNTIL BALL CROSSES THE GOAL LINE - this type of player could have pursued, albeit 10 or 20 yds behind the flow, a hit on the runner causes a fumble and the ball starts moving the other way, where this fellow can become a blocker, etc.

But when they're obviously tailing the play by a grotesque margin the penalty should never negate the return. It should however, by dealt with. The 15 or 20 yd penalty should be tacked into the kickoff. . . . the player should also receive a fine according to league standards - AND the player should be carded - so that if he gets another penalty he's suspended for the balance of the game - and if the infraction occurs in the 4th quarter or later - he's suspended for his next game (with no pay)

Two things in my thinking:

  1. Don't ruin big plays by penalties which occur way behind the play

  2. That said, drop the flag, impose fines & sanctions (as per above) that are actually more serious than just calling back the TD.

depopulationINC: great explanation of how the 7 Canadian starters rule really works. I didn't realize it was all tied to the DIs like that.

You obviously know your stuff - which is why I`m that much more confused about you saying that no yards could apply on a kick-off???

Yeah I messed that up...was trying to think of situations where the point would not be awarded on a dead ball in the scoring area on a kickoff and my mind went to no yards...but obviously everyone is onside on a kickoff so it is fair game after 10 bad....I have taken that out of that post to avoid confusion. I was obviously trying too hard to find something and crossed punt rules lol oops

yeah...the ratio thing doesn't seem to be general is much easier to say 'you need to start 7 or more nationals' which for the most part is a satisfactory explanation for most people...because at the end of the day the rule essentially gets you there and it is simply easier for general comprehension. If you look back to when the rosters increased from 42+2 to 44+2 I am sure it would have coincided with a bump in the DI limits from 3 to 4 as well...gameday rosters added one import and one national and if one was to look I am confident that the DI went from 3 to 4 as well (would need to look it up to verify, but I am pretty confident in that assumption).

The DI thing is where having extra Canadians starting is huge...because you can sub in a non-DI import there then. So say you have a Canadian OT and you are starting 8 Canadians. That is have that Canadian on the OL...probably an expensive roster spot. If he goes down you can then put in a less expensive import. Flips side (and this is where it is big)...if you only start 7 Canadians and that national OT goes down what do you do?? You can not put an import there from the bench because you are already starting 16, so the only ones not playing are DIs...and they can't sub out for a national.

  • bring a guy over from D to play OT/OL...if he is not Canadian then you have to pull another import from O to get up to your number. So, now you are playing a D guy out of position (seen it happen due to injuries...usually see it once a year or so) and you are also losing one of your starting imports because you need to have another Canadian in there. Better hope you have a solid Canadian RB/FB or extra WR that can step in in place of that import who will be seeing more pine.
  • you can shuffle your best backup OLman in there and hope like heck they learn to play OT at a pro level fast....this is why so many say that the 6th OLman is the most critical...he may have to shuffle anywhere depending on how you can realign your starters
  • You can shuffle your best OLman playing (likely blind side OG) and then bring in a depth guy to play his previous spot. Now you have messed with that all important OL chemistry by making TWO changes.

This (along with $$ savings) is why you will sometimes see that when a team has a starting Canadian MLB or OT or something like that they really strive to have 8 Canadians starting so that they don't have to have a direct national they will carry an import as a backup who is NOT a DI...this allows them to drop from 8 ratio spots to 7 without disrupting other spots by shuffling. For something like OT you will sometimes see an import backup beat out a better OT and wonder is because they are a little weaker but they can play either LT or RT and thus back up both spots. Don't get me wrong...shuffling is always an option, but sometimes it stings....and what do you do next week if it is serious.

It is a whole other chess game.

Je comprends la frustration engendrée par l'application de ce règlement, mais il y a d'autres considérations qui entrent en jeu.

Dans l'élaboration de règles sportives comme le football, ce sont les gestes interdits qui sont punis, non leur impact sur le jeu. Si on pousse le raisonnement à la base de cette suggestion plus loin, comment justifierait-on de ne pas sanctionner cette punition mais de le faire pour avoir saisi un protecteur facial dans les mêmes circonstances? Quelle devient la distinction entre les deux?

Il faut d'abord réaliser que la règle contre les blocs dans le dos existe d'abord pour la santé des joueurs. Ce sont des gestes susceptibles de blesser sérieusement des joueurs, et s'il devient possible de les faire sans retenue, vous pouvez être certains de voir une hécatombe de blessures survenir sur les bottés. Les entraîneurs ne demanderont pas à leurs joueurs de ne pas s'y adonner à fond. Je préfère que cette règle soit appliquée, avec toutes les frustrations que cela peut amener, que de voir une équipe décimée de ses joueurs parce qu'on les sert en pâture.