What is a Rouge?

Single vs. Rouge - Is there a Difference?

As a traditionalist, I cringe a little every time I hear someone use the term “Rouge” as a generic term.

A quick look through the CFL Rule Book shows that the terms Single and Rouge are interchangeable. In fact this has been the case for at least 40 or 50 years now. It wasn’t always this way. If you go back in time far enough it becomes apparent that a Rouge was just one way to score a Single point.

Here is a look at the different ways a Single point could be scored:

  1. Deadline Kick - A deadline kick is when the ball is kicked into and through the end zone, crossing the dead ball line at the back of the end zone. For the most part, it doesn’t matter whether the kicked ball lands in the end zone first or if sails through the end zone in the air. I say for the most part because in the WCRFU [A] from 1935 to 1945, a deadline kick had to land in the field of play first for a Single point to be credited.
  2. Kick into Touch - This applies to a ball that is kicked into the end zone and then goes out of bounds along the sidelines.
  3. Run into Touch - This is when the kick returner fields the ball and then runs out of bounds in the end zone (could be the end line or sidelines).
  4. Touch in Goal (Conceded Single) - A touch in goal is scored when the kick returner fields a kicked ball in the end zone and then gives himself up by touching the ball to the ground. Today, the returner simply has to drop to a knee.
  5. Fumble into the End zone - When the offensive team fumbled the ball into the opposition’s end zone and the ball was either recovered by the defence or the ball went straight out of bounds, a Single point was credited to the team that fumbled the ball. This rule was amended in 1977.
  6. Blocked Punt in End Zone - When the kicking team has a punt blocked into the end zone or in the end zone and the ball becomes dead either in possession of the kicking team or goes out of bounds in the end zone, a Single point was scored by the non-kicking team. This rule was also amended in 1977.
    7. The Rouge

What is a Rouge?
Rouge (n.) - is a Single point scored when the ball is kicked into the end zone, and the receiving team attempts to get the ball out of the end zone, but the returner is tackled before reaching the goal line.

Rouge (v.) - is the act of making a tackle in the end zone which results in a score. In the past it was quite common to see scoring summaries which stated “Rouge - Player A Rouged by Player B on kick by Player C”.

8. Forced to Rouge - When the returner is forced out of bounds in the end zone.

Scoring Note
In the WCRFU, a Rouge was credited to the player making the tackle and not the kicker. This was changed to match CRU scoring rules in 1946. Prior to 1946, when a Western team played in a Grey Cup game, the rules of the CRU applied.[b]

Was a Rouge always worth one point?
[/b]The simple answer is no. As mentioned earlier, to Rouge (v.) someone meant to tackle the ball carrier in the end zone for a score. A Safety Touch can be scored when the ball is scrimmaged by the offensive team and a player is tackled (Rouged) in his own end zone. In fact there are a handful of references to a Safety Touch as a “Forced Rouge”.

The next time you hear someone say that there was Rouge on the play, ask yourself - Was it really a Rouge? If there was no tackle on the play then it was just a Single. The next time someone says that a kicker kicked a Rouge, it’s a wrong statement. You don’t kick a Rouge - a Rouge is scored when a player is tackled in the end zone on a kicking play. The next time someone says that a Rouge is just another name for a Single, you will know the real story.

[A] The WCRFU (Western Canada Rugby Football Union) was the governing body that oversaw all Western leagues including the four Provincial Unions as well as the WIFU (Western interprovincial Football Union).
The CRU(Canadian Rugby Union) was the governing body for Rugby Football in Canada. [b][b][b][b]

Thank you for reading my little rant.[/b][/b][/b][/b]

Excellent Post!


Interesting history lesson. I never knew that that was the original meaning of the rouge.

But as you say, by today’s rules, the rouge is equivalent to the single point. It is now defined as any kicked ball that becomes dead while in possession of a team in its own goal area, or goes out of bounds or over the dead ball line.

So a kicker can score a rouge now by kicking the ball through the goal area, as no other player is involved. As for whether he scores the rouge when the returner is tackled, concedes, or steps out of bounds on his own, that’s a question for the stats junkies out there. :wink:

Language and terminology evolve over time. There are very few languages that rarely if ever change, and even fewer that never change. English and French aren’t among them.
I appreciate the original meaning of “rouge”, but I also accept the modern meaning without question. Most fans of the CFL know what you mean when you use that term in its modern sense.

Excellent history lesson! Thanks for that.

Cool info, thanks for sharing!

Now that I know the rouge type that many complain about is actually a “deadline kick,” I want to keep it even more!

We should email Chris Cuthbert with these and challenge him to use the old-school terminology.

Anyone know why out of bounds is actually called “into touch”? Why “touch”?

The sidelines in soccer (and maybe rugby) are called the touchlines, and a ball kicked over the touchline is into touch. I was unaware that they still used this term in gridiron football of any kind

Great post Stats Junkie Thanks