Realty One

Titan Auto

Friday, March 11, 2016


TORONTO - The CFL's Rules Committee is recommending the addition of another video official this season.

The official would be in the league's command centre and able to fix obvious errors that aren't challengeable by replay. He'd have access to a feed from a special camera that would capture all 24 players on the field.

The recommendation highlights proposed changes made Thursday by the committee, which must be approved by the CFL's board of governors April 7 to be implemented.

"This video official is going to be helping the guys in the moment so he's only going to be able to weigh in on things that were called,'' said Glen Johnson, the CFL's senior vice-president, football. "We had nearly 170 penalties called last year that shouldn't have been called so he'll have an opportunity to look at the penalty types that are not challengeable by a coach and have a quick opportunity to help those guys determine if it was or wasn't the right thing to call.

"So it could help reduce the number of incorrect flags that were thrown.''

And also help the on-field officials near the end of a quarter and half, Johnson said.

"So near the end of a half or quarter he could see if there's a second left or not and whether there should be another play,'' Johnson said. "He'll have the timing in front of him and be able to see everything and help the guys with those kinds of things.''

The additional replay official would also help clarify incidents where two fouls occur on the same play. An example would be when both offence and defence jump into the neutral zone before the snap.

"He'll have a really good opportunity to have a quick video review of it so instead of the guys getting together and having a big huddle and debate,'' Johnson said. "We can eliminate those by the video official saying, 'Guys, I've looked at it, it's clearly defensive offside, let's move on.' ''

Two years ago, the CFL became the first league to subject judgement calls to video review when it allowed coaches to challenge defensive pass interference.

The committee now is recommending offensive pass interference, illegal contact and illegal interference on pass plays also be reviewable. It also suggests expanding the list of reviewable penalties to include: no yards, illegal blocks on kick plays, contacting/roughing the kicker or passer, and illegal interference at the point of reception on kickoffs. Again, the additional replay official could assist the command centre in those instances.

"He's going to assist the current replay official and kind of be his assistant and provide another set of eyes,'' Johnson said. "Again, that just gives us an opportunity to get more of those right.

"We didn't get many reviews wrong last year but still, we'd like to try and get down to zero and make sure they're all correct. It's just about protecting the integrity of the game and the outcomes.''

The committee is also proposing unsuccessful two-point converts be automatically reviewed by the replay official.

Other recommendations include:

- Prohibiting players from pushing blockers through gaps in the offensive line on one-point convert and field-goal tries.

- Making it illegal for an offensive player to block an opponent low anywhere on the field when he's moving towards his own goal-line, not just those who start the play in the tackle box.

- Modifying illegal procedure to now allow line players to move slightly, point, or signal blocking assignments while in a three-point stance before coming to a set position prior to the snap.

- The concept of offsetting penalties be created when the defence is offside and the offence holds the offside player, which would result in no yardage difference and the replay of the down.

- A team allowing a field goal in the last three minutes of a game no longer getting to choose to scrimmage the ball instead of receiving a kickoff.

- A player giving an opponent's offensive ball to a fan after a turnover no longer be flagged for objectionable conduct, which had allowed offences to use their own footballs.

(Canadian Press)