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Monday, July 17, 2017

OUT OF THE TUNNEL

(Photo courtesy @SSKRoughriders)









By: RodPedersen.com Staff

Going through the stream of CFL notes for this week’s edition of “Out of the Tunnel” we were reminded it was quite a week:

- Montreal knocking off Calgary at home riding a solid running game.
- Jerome Messam getting ejected from that game after a tussle with Chip Cox.
- Travis Lulay’s 436 yards passing off the bench leading B.C. to a 41-26 road victory in Hamilton.
- B.C. winning three straight road games through the East Division.
- Bryan Burnham’s catch.
- Edmonton remaining undefeated with yet another gutsy victory.

But all the talk was from Winnipeg’s 33-25 home victory over Toronto. Not the win itself, but the play that had all the social media abuzz.

CFL fans know the story. Argonaut receiver Llevi Noel received an incredibly questionable illegal block call on Bomber fullback Mike Miller. That negated what would have been a kickoff return touchdown for Toronto.

It would have been the second kickoff return touchdown (Winnipeg’s Ryan Lankford took it to the house on the opening kickoff) of the game and in turn put $1-million into the pocket of Winnipeg’s Karen Kuldys.

First, to Karen: yes, it sucks that you are out a $50,000/year annuity over the next 20 years (it would have been taxed as a part of her annual income). But Karen is going to make out alright. She already won a $25,000 home theatre package and after the fervor of missing out on the big prize, the CFL and their sponsors stepped up in a big way to make sure she is well-compensated.

Now to the bigger question at hand: The officiating and more specifically, the replay process.

This call was incredibly frustrating for a myriad of reasons (especially for the Argos, who had to settle for a field goal in a tight game) and not being able to ask for a video review, from a fan standpoint, is the most frustrating.

Right now, that play is not eligible. And yet a team is able to challenge illegal contact on a receiver 50 yards away from an incomplete pass.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CFL officials have pointed out to me the "Karen Play" is challengeable, and is one of eight infractions eligible to be challenged by Head Coaches (Page 69 of the 2017 CFL Rule Book). The onus in this case was on the Argos to challenge the play, but they did not. RP

The video replay process is a positive part of the game, but it needs so much more tweaking to make it work better.

Another officiating/rules issue that should be up for review is "Targeting".

Player safety is still top-of-mind across all levels of football. The CFL has done a decent job protecting their quarterbacks. In other areas, not so much.

Rewind to Week 3 and the third quarter at Mosaic Stadium when Saskatchewan’s Naaman Roosevelt was drilled by Hamilton defensive back Courtney Stephen. The hit was penalized, but unintentional or not, Stephen led with his helmet and that should have meant the end of his night.

The CFL does have a rule in place that prohibits the use of the helmet as a weapon (spearing, headbutt and so on) with a 15-yard penalty and possible accompanying fines. In summary, what is deemed “acceptable” and “unacceptable” in the eyes of the official.

The NCAA has been tinkering with this over the past few seasons albeit with mixed results. A “targeting” penalty can result in being ejected and if it happens in the second half of a game, the offending player would miss the first half of the upcoming game. This is done through an on and off-field (video) review process.

So many articles and blog posts have been written about CFL officiating. It’s low-hanging fruit and easy talk-radio fodder. And let's face it, as long as there are sports and officials, there will be complaining about officiating.

Comment away on what you think needs to be done to amend many of the officiating issues.
Now to some notes:

-       When the CFL schedule came out in late February, if anyone had what would be called a "good" schedule, it would be the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Their only quirk is two games in six days at the end of September.

Ottawa, got the short end of the stick. They were in Edmonton this past Friday, and will host Montreal on Wednesday night. Their three game in eleven day stretch ends next Monday in Toronto. For an already struggling football team, this cannot sit well with REDBLACKS fans.

-       The B.C. Lions have set themselves up nicely for a run at the top of the CFL West Division standings. Winning three straight road games in as many weeks through the East is incredible. While some teams in the CFL are looking for their next quarterback to lead them the next few seasons, the Lions have two. Having Travis Lulay backup Jonathan Jennings is a luxury only one other team in the CFL has (Edmonton with Mike Reilly and James Franklin).

-       How shocking is the brisk fall of the Hamilton Ti-Cats? They were in back-to-back Grey Cups in 2013 and 2014 and were a questionable illegal block call (that took away a late Brandon Banks punt return touchdown) from winning in 2014. Now they will be hard pressed to win more than four games this season.

-       A big congrats to head coach Sheldon Gray and Team Sask for their silver medal at the 2017 Football Canada Cup. The little football engine that could lost in the final to Team Quebec 10-7 on a last-minute touchdown. It’s the second year in a row that Team Sask lost in the final to Quebec.

A Canadian to watch in the NCAA in 2017

Jonathan Kongbo – DE
University of Tennessee
6’6” 264lbs.
Hometown – Surrey, B.C.
Class – RS-Jr.

Kongbo began his college career at Arizona Western College in 2015. He was named first team All-Conference in Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and Western States Football League.

He racked up 55 tackles with 16 tackles for loss, including 11 sacks and with this performance, he was the number one rated JUCO prospect before transferring to Tennessee.

Kongbo saw spot duty last season playing in all 12 Volunteer games, starting one. He is pegged as the starter at defensive end for 2017, replacing NFL first round pick, Derek Barnett.

What to do between games this week:
Read “Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football and an American Town” by S.L. Price.
This book focuses on how important football is to the Pennsylvania town of Aliquippa. And how the steel industry, sports and life intermingle with each other.

One of the players mentioned heavily in the book is Calgary Stampeder defensive back and Aliquippa native, Tommie Campbell.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boy Rod, you came up with a mouthful when you said;

"A team is able to challenge illegal contact on a receiver 50 yards away from an incomplete pass."

Who are the clowns that come up with this kind of regulations? It's scary to think that those non-visionaries are in charge of anything let alone the CFL.

SWC

Rod Pedersen said...

Thanks, but I didn't write the column.

Anonymous said...

As soon as Johnson took over officiating in 2014 from Tom Higgins, the number of flags sky rocketed. Officials under Johnson are instructed to look for what is "technically" a penalty rather than let the players decide and determine afterwards if there was an infraction that impacted the play. The result is a large number of ticky tacky flags that are taking away big plays.

What an opportunity it would have been for the league for Karen to win that million dollars, or for a Grey Cup to pretty much be won on a punt return for a TD like in 2014. Now it's all for not.

There are just too many flags. Why so many objectionable conduct flags? Are the players on a football field? or are they in a library or church? Ease up on all the flags.

Leadership in CFL officiating is the issue in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Yeah smartypants! The column was written by RodPedersen.com staff. He is an entity that employs thousands if not one.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Karen,

Yes, it would've been 20 years of 50K, but no, It would not have been taxed. Contest Winnings are never taxed.

Anonymous said...

Okay smart ones...play starts and a receiver is contacted and is now out of the play because of it so the throw goes 50 yards the other way, is it still a penalty?...you darn rights it is, you gave the qb one less receiver option to throw to. It's simple, don't contact the receiver and you won't have to worry about it. So in your eyes if a qb throws a pass and 5 seconds later he gets hit is it still roughing the passer even though the play isn't around him no more...same kind of an idea. Brains are quite sharp early on Monday lol

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod, you need to nudge your staff your to brush up on their writing skills. The first half is a bunch single sentence paragraphs that could easily be grouped together into one or two paragraphs that would be much easier to read. It's a blog so the writing standard doesn't need to be very high but this doesn't meet that. Makes a couple interesting points but not as good as MMG.

Anonymous said...

Rules committee have their heads somewhere that the sun doesn't shine! There are far too many penalties over infractions away from the play. Also there are to many review request that "fishing". Allow more things to be challenged BUT If the challenge is denied, give out a 10 yd penalty. If the challenge is denied by they head office and they made a serious mistake after reviewing, give them a demerit point and after 3 demerit points, suspend them. If future mistakes are made, FIRE THEM. They have all the replays in front of them including slmo so there is no reason for a mistake in the reviews.

Anonymous said...

"you need to nudge your staff your to brush up on their writing skills."?? Really?? How about you work on your writing skills pal!

Anonymous said...

FACT;
Mike Reilly is the best qb in the CFL, no comparisons. Nobody matches up with Reilly, that's a fact.

Rod Pedersen said...

Every reader has different tastes. I believe this entry is excellent.

RP

Anonymous said...

Mr nudge your staff had to have written that as an oxymoron. It's the only explanation. Either that, or he wrote it from is farmhouse some where south of Milestone Sask.

Rudyman said...

It was always my hope that video review would allow the booth to address blatantly wrong calls and call the ref to correct them. This supports the officiating team on the field and makes them better. Nothing wrong with them saying oops we made a mistake, and here it is corrected immediately during the game. If in 20-30 seconds between plays, they can't see anything wrong, it wasn't blatant enough to overturn anyways. Bloody guys are watching the whole game anyways in the booth!

To me PR wise this is the better choice than to listen to the radio/TV shows across canada tearing the league up for the mistake.

Having the coaches pick and choose is what slows down the play.

I also find it frustrating you can only correct poor officiating twice in a game. I can't understand how if the ref misses a blatant pass interference call, I lose my flag and possibly a timeout even if I am successful.

Anonymous said...

CFL Refs are terrible! Not an easy job, but this year has been very frustrating, and to make it worse the replay official can't even get it right sometimes. What's the point of a replay review. Good thing the games have been entertaining or it's enough to put fans off. Something needs to be done about the "illegal contact on a receiver". Unless it was the receiver the ball was thrown to the penalty should be reversed at all times. Sad that a team gets to continue a drive on a penalty that was 30 - 50 yards away from play.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand how Tommie Campbell can be arrested for dealing drugs and get off on a technicality. Then he is welcomed back to the CFL with open arms. Yet Justin Cox was found innocent and he is banned from the league.

Anonymous said...

Rod, are you still writing editorials? I for one am missing the opinions of the 'voice of the Riders'.

Rod Pedersen said...

As it stands now, no.

Anonymous said...

This was Justin Cox' third "incident". I think the Riders and the CFL have come to the conclusion that they just stay clear of this situation. Cox probably shouldn't have been signed previously, especially with the heightened awareness of domestic violence and that society needs to start taking it seriously.

Anonymous said...

How come?

EasternFootballisajoke said...

How to fix officiating. every fifth blown call an official makes results in them having to either read the rule book once a day for a week or be banned from officiating any level of organized football. How to fix the problems with to many challenges, every challenge a coach loses results in, a 5000 dollar fine, a 15 yard penalty and ejection from the game one of that teams staring players.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I like the editorials!

Hmmm, right after the Vegas Draft Rods busy! HAHA! Somebody needs to stir things up even if its just fake news :)

Anonymous said...

When I visit someones blog, I expect material from that such person. Did Jones gag order you? No more mmg or rodversations no more clicks from me

I'll bet Hamilton gets more wins then ssk this season. $20 any takers?

Anonymous said...

PLEASE SIGN "FIRE GLEN JOHNSON" PETITION;

1 - Digby & Dockby Granger
Spearfish SD

2 - ????