Worst penalty in the history of the CFL?

I've been thinking that the 13th Man penalty is the worst, costliest penalty ever. Here's why.

1) While all penalties are bad, some are incurred while trying to help your team. e.g. pass interference, holding, no yards, intentional grounding. In each case, the offending player was most likely trying to get away with something in the name of improving his team's chances on the play.

Other penalties are selfish or negligent and cannot be argued to be an attempt to help your team, because even if you get away with it the team is no better off. e.g. unsportsmanlike conduct, illegal substitution.

2) While many penalties are costly, it is rare that you can say unequivocally that a particular penalty absolutely made the difference between winning and losing. If it's not on the last play of the game, there is always a theoretical chance for your team to win on the next play.

e.g. You extend the other team's winning drive with a roughing the passer call on a third down incompletion -- costly, but your defence still has a chance to stop them.
e.g. Your holding penalty negates your team's winning TD pass -- they still get another down.

In this year's Grey Cup, without question the game would have ended were it not for the penalty. And the ensuing FG from 33 yards is next to impossible to stop.

3) There's only one Grey Cup each year. No matter what you do in any other game, the stakes can never be as high as in the championship game.

In other words, by my reasoning, to find a penalty as costly as the one in question, you would need to think of another Grey Cup game where a last-second, selfish or negligent penalty unarguably made the difference between winning and losing.

I'm not sure if there has been such an event in league history. But even in the unlikely event that there has been, the 13th Man penalty would still be tied for Worst Ever.

Sask. has won their share of games with questionable calls in the past. Life is funny that way, what goes around comes around.

The rules state that each team has TWELVE players. Montreal had twelve on the field, Sask had Thirteen, so had an unfair advantage on that play....The penalty is justified

The penalty was the right call but does it ring of a hollow victory? Personally I dont think so. It just happened to be poor timing. Why didnt Armstead count while he was in the endzone isnt that part of his job? Secondly. if you go back to the last play of the first half. Sask has the ball on the 2 yard line with one play left. They decide to go for 3 instead of 7. Was that the game swinger. Was it the right call to make. If they score seven Deval doesnt get the chance to win it. Hind sight is 20/20 though. Great game all the way. Gotta love CFL football

I noted that Kavis Reed the coach of the Alouettes special teams, took the blame for the 13th man. He feels fully responsible for it and says the mistake will follow him for life. I can't completely agree with Kavis, I feel that on a play as critical as the one in question, it is every player's responsibility to count the bodies and make sure they are neither below or over 12.
Everyone needs to be tuned in to such a play that can either win or lose the game. It was courageous of Kavis to step forward and take the blame on himself, but I can't help thinking that Sask's special teams got caught up in the moment and saw the Grey Cup within their grasp and forgot about the 13th man or taking a count.
Kudos to Saskatchewan for a great season and for coming within a hair of winning their dream.. Kudos to Montreal, also for
their comback in the second half after virtually choking in the first half and making mistakes which were uncharacteristic of them, likely because of the heat of the moment and the green cloud all around them. Marc Trestman is one heck of a coach who made the necessary half time changes, settled down his players and likely delivered one of his better Knute Rockne speeches at the half. Montreal was full value for a narrow victory.

Sorry, I've been off site for a while. I watched the finals and the Grey Cup from a hospital bed and got home yesterday after 2 weeks inside with a long rehabilitation ahead of me. Its great to be back as I begin my climb to better health.


I think the fact that it's probably the first time a Professional Championship was won or lost on a rule book technicality (that I know of) makes this event so notable. It goes way beyond the pale. Usually a dramatic finish like this ends in who has the ball last. Well, it did in this case also, but the outcome was determined by who followed such a basic rule better. An off-side penalty or something similar during the course of the actual play is easier to get one's head around. But the play on the Rider's side of things was doomed before it even started.

I think if I was a member of the Riders, I'd be thinking of all the thousands and thousands of hours that go into the off-season, pre-season, regular season and playoffs (practice, film work, studying, training etc).......and to have it all fall away because of one dumb mental gaffe by someone (whomever that may be) is mind-boggling and would be hard to swallow.

But, all in all, it will just go down into Grey Cup folklore to be discussed and debated for ages to come. And when one looks at it that way, it's not such a bad thing after all. (except if your're a Saskatchewan Roughrider of course) :wink:

So what you are saying is that there should not have been a penalty on the play. The way your logic seems to run, then it would be OK to have 14, 15 or maybe 16 players on the field for one team. The penalty is there for a reason. Give it up people, Saskatchewan screwed up. They lost because of a brain fart by a number of individuals. Game over!


Brox -

I dont read it that way at all. He's not saying the penalty is the worst ever. He's saying TAKING the penatly is the worst ever. Not disputing the rules, just stating that given the sitatution, it was the worst penalty ever committed in the history of the CFL.

And Mikey..its not a rule book techinicality. Its a rule. A law if you will.

Maybe Al McColeman could tell us about the "worst call" ever. :twisted:

Whomever? its whomever now , mikey? You tried to blame Armstead with some moronic scheme of leaving the endzone open.

And yeah, it is such a bad thing. It was a moumental failure to execute no matter if you support the Riders or not.

That's correct mycko75. I'm not questioning the call on such a black & white issue.

Maybe I should have called it the "costliest" penaly ever. Never has so much been lost for such a fruitless infraction.

Was Armstead even suppoed to be on the field? Wouldn't they have had a 12th guy on the line to try and block the kick when it doesn't matter if a single point is scored on the play anyways (as the Riders were up by 2) so they still would have won? If Duval is the only one who can recover the kick (correct me if I'm wrong on this one) wouldn't they have someone on the line faster than him who'd be able to run down there, or if the ball goes out the back of the endzone?

Seems that the guy to blame is Sean Lucas, he was where he wasn't supposed to be!!

[url=http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/12/01/the-man-who-lost-the-grey-cup/]http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/12/01/the- ... -grey-cup/[/url]

Of course it was the single worst penalty ever. It cost Sask the Grey Cup!!! Could it have been any costlier?

An Argo-Cat fan

That was the worst and most costly brain freeze by a coaching staff in the history of Sports period. I don't blame Kavis Reed although he was the only man to stand up and take the heat, I would be blaming the head coach Ken Miller if I was a Rough Rider fan, because Ken should have taken a time out, yes called time out, prior to that play going ahead.

If he had taken a time out, he would have froze the Montreal kicker and given his team an opportunity to get ready for the big kick properly, they could of huddled, had time to count how many players are on the feild, instead in the heat of the moment he let the players rush onto the field to get ready for a kick, that later cost them the game because their coach is an absolute idiot. Well that's why he is the coach of the Rough Riders and Not the Tiger-Cats, I'm very happy to have Marcel as our coach.

Place the blame on the right person not the ref, not a player, not Kavis but on Ken Miller because he cost his team the game!!!

I stand to be corrected, but I think Saskatchewan had already used their time out in the second half. Therefore you can't blame MIller for not doing something that he could not have done anyway.

Riders had used their time out on their previous punt (to use up maximum time on the play clock) so they had no other recourse than someone faking an injury to stop the play.

Not sure if they could have been penalized (delay of game) since it's hard to disprove that a player did not really have a cramp, etc, as coincidental as it may have been :roll:

It was a penalty that was a clear violation and no one can dispute the fact of 13 players.
It would have been more of an issue had it been a judgment call, something like holding on a TD pass, or the GC game where Tony Gabriel and a defender where BOTH called for pass interference on the same play late in the game. The down was replayed but Ottawa lost the GC. I am still trying to figure that one out.

I dont think anyone is...

Cybercat said don't blame the refs, implying that somebody had blamed them, which implies that there is an opinion that the call was incorrect.