Plays #98 & #99: Both short yardage sneaks were deemed short of the goal line on the field and automatically reviewed by the command centre with no clear evidence to show Edmonton broke the goal line. #Esks #BCLions #CFL

Play #85: #BCLions pass completed to #85 Simonise. After the catch Simonise was hit/fumbled. Ruling on the field was recovery by EDM. All turnovers are automatically reviewed. After review BC recovered the football and was down by contact before having the ball pulled away. #CFL

Play #67: Defensive Pass Interference flagged on #Esks DB (#19 Glass). Edmonton challenged believing there was no defensive pass interference. After review the replay official determined there was no clear and obvious evidence to change the call. #CFL

The #BCLions ran 6 offensive plays from scrimmage in the 1st quarter tying their season low (Week 10 vs. Winnipeg). #CFL

The #BCLions have not won a game in Edmonton since Jul 13/13, a span of 7 straight games.

In their last two visits and in four of their last five trips there, BC has built leads of at least 12 points but could not hold onto any of them. #Esks #CFL

Play #11: #BCLions Dl (#11 Willis) flagged for roughing the passer.

The act of passing puts the passer in a vulnerable position to injury, special rules against roughing the passer apply. Once the ball is released, defensive players must avoid all unnecessary contact. #CFL

Play #145: Montreal challenged Winnipeg DB (#14 Sayles) interception believing he did not have possession before the ball came loose from the #Bombers defender. After review Sayles was shown to have control and be down by contact before losing possession. #Bombers #CFL

Play #146: #Bombers RB (#33 Harris) fumbled while being pushed out of bounds. Before leaving the playing field Harris lost possession and the ball hit #MontreALS DB (#20 Lokombo) resulting in Montreal possession. #CFL

#Bombers DE Willie Jefferson entered today leading the #CFL with 12 Knockdowns. No defensive lineman has led the CFL in PKDs since Fred Perry in 2006 (10).

Jefferson has added two more today.

No, similar to receivers in motion the foot can be airborne. #CFL twitter.com/mikewats37/sta…
Thanks for asking Mike. Two years ago the rule was adjusted so that a QB making a legal pass behind the line of scrimmage is now defined as the QB having one of his feet on or behind the line of scrimmage instead of requiring the release point of the ball being behind the line. twitter.com/mikewats37/sta…

#Bombers QB Chris Streveler had 577 rushing yards entering todays game and needed 64 more yards to set a Winnipeg team record for QBs (Buddy Leake 1956: 633 yds).

He has 33 yards rushing at the half. #CFL

#Bombers RB Andrew Harris leads the CFL with 1,095 rushing yards and is trying to do so for the 3rd consecutive season. Here are players who have accomplished that. #CFL https://t.co/hqViZM0gY8

MTL vs. WPG is LIVE!

The #MontreALS had a 24-point comeback on Sep 21/19 at home vs the #Bombers. The largest in franchise history. #CFL #CFLGameday

Calgary #96 (Casher) has been ejected for excessive roughness after the play.

Play 28 – Ruling on the field was a fumble by Calgary REC #4 (Rogers). Upon automatic turnover review by the replay official, there was clear and obvious evidence that the Calgary player was down with contact prior to the ball coming loose. Ruling on the field is overturned.

Toronto #42 (Thomas) has been ejected for punching an opponent.

March 21, 2013

Player safety a focus in rules committee vote

The CFL Rules Committee is expected to vote Friday on a proposal to eliminate open field blocks below the waist in a bid to further improve player health and safety.

CFL.ca Staff

TORONTO — The CFL Rules Committee is expected to vote Friday on a proposal to eliminate open field blocks below the waist in a bid to further improve player health and safety.

“Protecting the well-being of our players within the context of a tough and physically demanding game remains a key focus for our league and our rules committee,” said Tom Higgins, the league’s Director of Officiating.

The proposal is to eliminate all blocks below the waist, or “low blocks”, unless they are executed between the tackles along the line of scrimmage by interior linemen or by other stationary players three yards on other side of the tackles.

It comes on the heels of previous rule changes which eliminated blocks below the waist on special teams and passes beyond the line of scrimmage.
The Rules Committee is made up of head coaches, general managers, team presidents, league officials and a representative of the CFL Players’ Association. It meets here today and tomorrow and its recommendations are subject to approval by the CFL Board of Governors.

The committee will also consider proposals to:
 
• Allow coaches to request the video replay official to review and possibly overturn a ruling of a missed field goal or extra point.
• Allow a coach to use both of his time-outs in either half of a game, instead of being restricted to using one in each half.
• Allow a player who loses his helmet in the act of catching a pass or recovering a loose ball to participate in the immediate continuation of his attempt to gain possession of the football without penalty, with the play to be blown dead the instant the ball is in possession of player without a helmet.
• Change the penalty for pass interference from possession at the point of the foul to a specific yardage penalty and an automatic first down.

The committee meets here as teams prepare to evaluate top prospects this weekend at the CFL Combine presented by Reebok in Toronto.

The combine kicks off Friday afternoon with player arrivals, medicals and team interviews. On Saturday, the players’ strength, athleticism and flexibility will be tested from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET at the Park Hyatt Toronto Hotel. The event’s final day takes place Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET on the football field – and features the 40 yard dash and football drills — at Varsity Centre at the University of Toronto.

April 18, 2012

Rule changes approved: Scoring plays to be reviewed

The CFL has approved the rule changes as proposed by the Rules Committee, including all scoring plays be subject to review by the replay official in the Command Centre.

CFL.ca Staff

TORONTO — The Canadian Football League Board of Governors has unanimously approved the rule changes as proposed by the Rules Committee, including that all scoring plays be subject to review by the replay official in the Command Centre. This would include all touchdowns, field goals, converts, singles and safety touches.

The Board of Governors also approved two rules that specifically address the safety concern of players helmets coming off during play:

•    If a ball carrier’s helmet comes off, the play shall be blown dead immediately. The line of scrimmage for the next play will be where the player’s helmet came off.

•    If a non ball carrier’s helmet comes off, that player can no longer participate in the play. If he does, the player will be penalized 10 yards for illegal participation. If a player hits an opposing player who isn’t participating because he lost his helmet, he will be penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.

The Rules Committee is made up of head coaches, general managers, team presidents, league officials and a representative of the CFL Players’ Association.

March 1, 2012

CFL Rules Committee recommendations for 2012

The CFL Rules Committee will recommend to the Board of Governors that all scoring plays be subject to review by the replay official in the Command Centre.

CFL.ca Staff

TORONTO — The Canadian Football League Rules Committee will recommend to the Board of Governors that all scoring plays be subject to review by the replay official in the Command Centre. This would include all touchdowns, field goals, converts, singles and safety touches.

“Entering our seventh season using replay review and fourth season using the command centre,  we feel it’s a logical step to introduce an automatic review of all scoring plays,” said Tom Higgins, CFL director of officiating.

“Scoring plays have a great impact on the outcome of a game and putting in additional measures to ensure those calls are correct is prudent,” said Higgins. “When considering these types of changes, we also must consider the flow of the game and the duration of any challenge. For the vast majority of scoring plays, we believe that the replay official will confirm the scoring plays before the next play without a delay.”

The Rules Committee also proposes to introduce two new rules to specifically address the issue of helmets coming off players during play;

  • If a ball carrier’s helmet comes off, the play shall be blown dead immediately.
  • If a non ball carrier’s helmet comes off, that player can no longer participate in the play. If he does, the player will be penalized 10 yards for illegal participation. If a player hits an opposing player who isn’t participating because he lost his helmet, he will be penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.

“Every year we task our rules committee to discuss ways to improve our already great game,” said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. “The safety of our players is paramount and we continue to challenge ourselves to find new ways within our rule book to make the game safer for our athletes.”

The CFL Rules Committee met yesterday and today as part of CFL Congress in Toronto. The Committee is made up of head coaches, general managers, team presidents, league officials and a representative of the CFL Players’ Association.

The proposed rule changes will be presented to the CFL Board of Governors prior to the start of the season. The Board of Governors is expected to vote on the proposed rule changes in the spring.

April 12, 2011

2011 CFL rule changes approved

The Canadian Football League’s Board of Governors has approved four significant rule changes as recommended by the Rules Committee, the CFL announced today.

CFL.ca Staff

TORONTO — The Canadian Football League’s Board of Governors has approved four significant rule changes as recommended by the Rules Committee, the CFL announced today.

The rule changes include expanding the use of instant replay on game changing plays, eliminating blocking below the waist after a completed pass, punting out of bounds and illegal participation.

“Each off-season the Rules Committee is tasked to look for ways to make our game more exciting, more competitive and safer,” said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon, who is also the Chair of the CFL’s Rules Committee. “We feel these four rule changes help address all of those areas and improve an already great game.”

Here is how the use of instant replay will be expanded for the 2011 season:

  • When a quarterback drops back to pass, is hit and the ball comes out, and the play is ruled an incomplete pass, the defensive team can challenge the call. The new rule allows the Command Centre be allowed to overturn the call on the field, declare the play a fumble, and award possession to the defensive team if the ball had been recovered immediately. In prior seasons, the Command Centre could only review whether the play constituted an incomplete pass or a fumble, but it could not award possession.
  • When an on-field official rules an incomplete pass, the offensive team can challenge the ruling, hoping to have the Command Centre rule it a completed pass. Under the new explanded use of instant replay, a defensive team that believes the ball was caught, and then fumbled, can also challenge the on-field ruling. And the Command Centre could award the defensive team possession of the ball if it decides it was indeed caught, then fumbled, and then recovered immediately. In prior seasons, the Command Centre could only rule if the pass was complete or incomplete; it could not award possession.

In both of these instances, the defensive team would be awarded the ball where it is recovered. The Command Centre could not award return yards after the recovery.

Here is a look at the three other rules that will be changed for the upcoming season:

Eliminating Blocking Below the Waist after a Completed Pass:

To promote player safety, only blocking above the defender’s waist will be allowed following a completed pass across the line of scrimmage.  Blocking below the waist on such a play would result in a 10 yard penalty. Blocking below the waist had previously been eliminated on kick returns, interception returns, and fumble returns. It would still be allowed on running plays and passes completed behind the line of scrimmage.

Punting Out of Bounds:

When a punt goes out of bounds in flight in between the 20 yard lines, the receiving team should have the option of taking the ball where it went out of bounds plus a ten yard penalty against the kicking team, or requiring the kicking team to re-kick ten yards back from the original line of scrimmage. Currently, the receiving team can either take the ball where it went out of bounds or require a re-kick ten yards back.

Illegal Participation:

If a player is pushed out of bounds by an opponent, he can return to the field of play and make a play. If he goes out of bounds on his own, or is bumped out of bounds by a teammate, he cannot legally participate in the play. This clarifies the previous version of the rule, which does not specify bodily contact from an opponent.

The CFL Rules Committee is made up of head coaches, general managers, team presidents, league officials and a representative of the CFL Players’ Association.

The above rule changes were recommended by the CFL’s Rules Committee who meets each off-season to discuss the rules of the games. This year they met in Toronto prior to the Evaluation Camp presented by Reebok on March 4. The 2011 CFL Draft is scheduled for May 8 at 12:30 ET.

The 2011 CFL season opens with RONA Canada Day Kickoff Weekend when the Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes host the B.C. Lions on Thursday, June 30 at 7:00pm ET on TSN / RDS. Opening weekend continues on Canada Day with a double header as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium at 6:00pm ET (TSN) followed by the Calgary Stampeders hosting the Toronto Argonauts at 9:00pm ET. RONA Canada Day Kickoff Weekend wraps-up with the Edmonton Eskimos playing the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium on Sunday, July 3 at 7:00pm ET (TSN).

March 4, 2011

CFL Rules Committee makes recommendations

Recommended rule changes could have a big impact on game changing plays as the CFL Rules Committee looks to expand the use of instant replay.

CFL.ca Staff

TORONTO — The Command Centre will have a bigger say on some potentially big plays if the Canadian Football League’s Rules Committee gets its way.

“Some of the toughest calls for on-field officials are what the media sometimes calls ‘bang-bang’ plays, when a decision has to be made on a potential change of possession in what can seem like the blink of an eye,” said Tom Higgins, the league’s Director of Officiating.

“The rules committee is looking to give the use of instant replay more say in two of the most prominent examples: when the ball comes loose as a quarterback is hit in the pocket, and when officials have to decide if a pass was caught, not caught, or caught and then fumbled.” 

Here is what will change if the recommendations made today by the Rules Committee are approved later this Spring by the CFL Board of Governors:

– When a quarterback drops back to pass, is hit and the ball comes out, and the play is ruled an incomplete pass, the defensive team can challenge the call. The committee is suggesting the Command Centre be allowed to overturn the call on the field, declare the play a fumble, and award possession to the defensive team if the ball had been recovered immediately. Currently, the Command Centre can only review whether the play constituted an incomplete pass or a fumble, but it cannot award possession.

– When an on-field official rules an incomplete pass, the offensive team can challenge the ruling, hoping to have the Command Centre rule it a completed pass. Under the change recommended today by the Committee, a defensive team that believes the ball was caught, and then fumbled, can also challenge the on-field ruling. And the Command Centre could award the defensive team possession of the ball if it decides it was indeed caught, then fumbled, and then recovered immediately. Currently, the Command Centre can only rule if the pass was complete or incomplete; it cannot award possession.

In both of these instances, the defensive team would be awarded the ball where it is recovered. The Command Centre could not award return yards after the recovery.

The committee is looking to make significant changes to three other rules that affect blocking, punting and illegal participation:

– To promote player safety, the committee is suggesting only blocking above the defender’s waist be allowed following a completed pass across the line of scrimmage.  Blocking below the waist on such a play would result in a 10 yard penalty. Blocking below the waist had previously been eliminated on kick returns, interception returns, and fumble returns. It would still be allowed on running plays and passes completed behind the line of scrimmage.

– When a punt goes out of bounds in flight in between the 20 yard lines, the committee is suggesting the receiving team should have the option of taking the ball where it went out of bounds plus a ten yard penalty against the kicking team, or requiring the kicking team to re-kick ten yards back from the original line of scrimmage. Currently, the receiving team can either take the ball where it went out of bounds or require a re-kick ten yards back.

– The committee is suggesting that if a player is pushed out of bounds by an opponent, he can return to the field of play and make a play. If he goes out of bounds on his own, or is bumped out of bounds by a teammate, he cannot legally participate in the play. This would clarify the current version of the rule, which does not specify bodily contact from an opponent.

The CFL Rules Committee is made up of head coaches, general managers, team presidents, league officials and a representative of the CFL Players’ Association.

It met today in Toronto on the eve of the CFL’s Evaluation Camp presented by Reebok. Tomorrow and Sunday, CFL teams have the opportunity to evaluate more than 50 top prospects for the CFL Canadian Draft, scheduled for May 8th.

April 13, 2010

Overtime rule changes get final approval

The CFL’s Board of Governors has approved a rules change that will see teams that score a touchdown in overtime be required to go for a two-point convert instead of kicking for a single point.

OVERTIME RULE CHANGES GET FINAL APPROVAL
Board of Governors approves two-point converts proposed by rules committee and fans

TORONTO, Ont. — This year, a thrilling touchdown in overtime might just be the prelude to even bigger drama.

The Canadian Football League’s Board of Governors has approved a rule change that will see teams that score a touchdown in overtime be required to go for a two-point convert by running or passing the ball into the end zone instead of kicking for a single point.

The proposal was brought forward by the league’s Rules Committee last March, after the change was among those suggested for overtime by fans from across Canada.

“It’s now official,” said Tom Higgins, the CFL’s Director of Officiating.

“The Governors have agreed with our committee, and our fans, that the two point convert will make an exciting approach to overtime even more exciting, with a pass or run with the game potentially on the line replacing a kick that has become relatively routine.”

In 2009, CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon took the unprecedented step of asking fans for their input on proposed rules changes, a step that led to a change in field position following a safety.

This year, Cohon issued the call to fans on behalf of the league again, but this time he asked them to pay particular attention to whether the league’s overtime format could be improved.

Fans sent in more than 2,000 rules suggestions, with about 1,500 of them focused on overtime.

The vast majority said they preferred keeping the league’s overtime format, which has teams take turns scrimmaging from their opponent’s 35-yard-line, instead of changing to a different format, such as two five-minute halves or some other sort of “mini-game”. But many suggested various tweaks to the format.

In the end, the rules committee agreed the format should not be changed and decided that the best “tweak” is requiring two-point converts in overtime.

Under the current rules, if the score is tied at the end of a game, each team gets an opportunity to scrimmage from its opponent’s 35-yard-line, until it makes a score or loses possession.

If the score remains tied, the procedure is repeated at the opposite end of the stadium.

If the score is still tied after each team has had two attempts, the game is declared a tie during the regular season. If the game is a playoff or championship game, the same procedure continues until a winner is decided.

The Board also approved three other rules committee recommendations that:

  • Will allow a team that gives up a field goal (during regulation time) the option of scrimmaging from its 35-yard line instead of receiving a kick-off.
  • Will ensure there is no penalty for pass interference applied if a forward pass is deemed uncatchable.
  • Will, when a ball is punted, hits the ground and hits a player from the covering team, result in a penalty of five instead of fifteen yards. 

John Butler, Chair of the CFL Board of Governors, thanked the rules committee for its work.

“And on behalf of the Board, and Commissioner Mark Cohon, I want to thank our fans for their input,” Butler added.

“It’s another sign of their tremendous passion for our game and our league, and that passion is one of the things that make the CFL so special.”

March 5, 2010

A twist on the CFL’s overtime rules

The league’s rules committee is recommending that teams that score a touchdown in overtime be required to go for a two-point convert instead of kicking for a single point.

A NEW TWIST ON THE CFL’S OVERTIME RULES
Rules committee recommends two-point converts after fans call for “tweaks” to overtime

ENOCH, Alta. — The Canadian Football League may be about to inject even more suspense into its popular “shootout” overtime format.

The league’s rules committee is recommending that teams that score a touchdown in overtime be required to go for a two-point convert by running or passing the ball into the end zone instead of kicking for a single point.

The proposal goes to the league’s Board of Governors, which has the final say, later this Spring.

“The rules committee decided that the two point convert will make an exciting approach to overtime even more exciting, with a pass or run with the game potentially on the line replacing a kick that has become relatively routine,” said Tom Higgins, the CFL’s Director of Officiating.

“What’s also exciting is the committee has again listened to our fans, and heeded their advice.”

One year ago, CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon took the unprecedented step of asking fans for their proposed rules changes, something that led to a change in field position following a safety.

This year, Cohon issued the call to fans on behalf of the league again, but he asked them to pay particular attention to whether the league’s overtime format could be improved.

Fans sent in more than 2,000 rules suggestions with three-quarters of them focused on overtime.

The vast majority said they preferred keeping the league’s overtime format, which has teams take turns scrimmaging from their opponent’s 35-yard-line, instead of changing to a different format, such as two five-minute halves or some other sort of “mini-game”. But many suggested various tweaks to the format.

In the end, the rules committee agreed the format should not be changed and decided that the best “tweak” is requiring two-point converts in overtime.

Under the current rules, if the score is tied at the end of a game, each team gets an opportunity to scrimmage from its opponent’s 35-yard-line, until it makes a score or loses possession.

If the score remains tied, the procedure is repeated at the opposite end of the stadium.

If the score is still tied after each team has had two attempts, the game is declared a tie, if it’s a regular season game. If the game is a playoff or championship game, the same procedure continues until a winner is finally decided.

The rules committee met here, just outside Edmonton, as part of CFL Congress, an annual meeting of league and team personnel that wraps up tomorrow with the Coach of the Year luncheon.

It is recommending another change which would allow a team that gives up a field goal (during regulation time) the option of scrimmaging from its 35-yard line instead of receiving a kick-off.

The committee decided to suggest changing the current rule, which requires a kick-off after a made field goal.

The rules committee is also recommending no penalty for pass interference be applied if a forward pass is deemed uncatchable.

It is also proposing that, when a ball is punted, hits the ground and hits a player from the covering team, the resulting penalty be reduced from fifteen to five yards. 

“I want to thank our fans for their passion and ideas, and our rules committee for taking their input into consideration,” Cohon said.

“While our Board has the final say, it speaks to the bond between our league and our supporters that our fans have an important say.”

May 11, 2009

CFL approves rule changes suggested by fans

The Canadian Football League is running with some rule changes first suggested by its’ fans. The CFL Board of Governors has approved changes to safety touch and field goals, potential third ...

CFL APPROVES RULES CHANGES SUGGESTED BY FANS
Board of Governors approves changes to safety touch and field goals, potential third challenge, and use of “wildcat” formations

Toronto, Ontario (May 11, 2009) — The Canadian Football League is running with some rule changes first suggested by its’ fans.

Today the CFL Board of Governors approved:
 
•    Moving back the kickoff following a safety touch, to reduce the number of times a team chooses to take a knee in its own end zone;

•    Giving coaches the green light to use so called “wildcat” formations that would move the quarterback around, instead of requiring him to stand behind or  under centre;

•    Requiring a team that  kicks a successful field goal to then kick off to its’ opponents, increasing the number of kick returns;

•    Awarding a team a third instant replay challenge if its’ first two challenges are successful.

All four ideas were approved in March by the league’s rules committee, and were among those brought forward by CFL fans this past off-season after Commissioner Mark Cohon asked for their input.

“It’s exciting to know that some of our fans will see their ideas in action when our season kicks off on Canada Day, July 1st,” Cohon said today.

“Our Board of Governors values our fans from coast to coast, and was very supportive of including them in our process. That support was evident in their vote today.”

This year marked the first time CFL fans were invited to submit their ideas for rules changes. More than 2,000 submissions were received, most of them detailed and all of them passionate about the game and how it’s played.

Several fans wanted some sort of change made to the safety touch, citing coaches’ tendency to surrender two points in their own end zone to preserve field position, instead of punting the ball away to their opponents, which could set up a kick return or offensive drive with a high chance of scoring.

The Board has approved moving the kickoff following a safety back, from the 35 yard line to the 25 yard line, which could encourage more coaches to kick the ball away rather than take a knee in the end zone.

Other fans called for the introduction of the so-called “wildcat formation,” which would require a change to the CFL rule that required the quarterback to always line up under or behind the centre of the offensive line.

The Board has approved allowing the quarterback to move to other spots in a formation, including at wide receiver, before the ball is snapped.

Fans generally wanted to see more kick returns, citing a return that goes for a touchdown as one of the most exciting plays in Canadian football.
 
The Board has approved requiring a kick off after every made field goal, instead of giving the receiving the team the option of scrimmaging from their 35-yard-line.
 
It also approved awarding a team with a third challenge of an official’s call using replay if its’ first two challenges are successful.

CFL training camps open June 7th, with pre-season games scheduled for June 17th and June 23rd. The 2009 regular season kicks off on Canada Day, Wednesday July 1st, with the Toronto Argonauts visiting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at 7:00 p.m. ET, and the Montreal Alouettes visiting the Calgary Stampeders at 10:00 p.m. ET, in a rematch of the 2008 Grey Cup game. All regular season and playoff games, as well as the Grey Cup, are broadcast on TSN.

February 18, 2009

CFL Invites Canadians to Provide input to Our Rules Committee

Hundreds of proposed rules changes are pouring in from CFL fans across the country. They started arriving within minutes of our league putting out a request to Canadians, asking them to share ...

Our fast-paced, wide-open, three-down game is a great game, and that was never clearer than last season, when scoring was up, games were close, and exciting finishes were the order of the day.

But everything can be improved.

That’s the spirit in which our rules committee gathers each year during CFL Congress.

A collection of team presidents, general managers, coaches and officials, along with a representative of the players’ association, it meets to discuss which rules might be replaced, changed or tweaked slightly to make our game even better.

Hundreds of proposed rules changes are pouring in from CFL fans across the country.

They started arriving within minutes of our league putting out a request today to Canadians, asking them to share their ideas with the CFL’s rules committee.

And they just keep coming in, demonstrating CFL fans’ passion for our league, and knowledge of our game.
 
Some of your suggestions so far include:

  • Change the safety to dissuade teams from taking a knee in the end zone.
  • Change the scoring rules around the single point on a kick.
  • Change how instant replay works, with some fans wanting more coaches’ challenges and others wanting fewer challenges.
  • Change how teams can score a convert after a touchdown.
  • Don’t change a thing.
  • Change or eliminate the playoff crossover rule.

We’re asking you to provide input to the committee. We want your ideas and suggestions. We can’t promise the committee will accept them all. But we will make sure your ideas are shared with its members.

Simply send your suggestions for rule changes by clicking here  or by emailing — rules@cfl.ca — by Friday, February 27. That will give us time to share them with the committee before it meets as part of CFL Congress, this year in Hamilton on  March 3rd and 4th.

Why are we doing this, for the very first time? Well, when we say This is Our League, we don’t mean it’s ours to run, and yours simply to watch. We mean the CFL truly belongs to all of us who care about it and support it. So we want to tap into your passion, your knowledge and your ideas.

Thanks for your help and hang in there: with Congress around the corner, CFL training camps can’t be that far off.

Mark Cohon
Commissioner of the Canadian Football League

June 28, 2007

New rules take effect with the new season

By Murray McCormick, Regina Leader-Post The Saskatchewan Roughriders will be dealing with more than a new season Friday when they take to field against the Montreal Alouettes. There are also a ...

By Murray McCormick,
Regina Leader-Post

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will be dealing with more than a new season Friday when they take to field against the Montreal Alouettes.

There are also a number of new rules that have been added to the CFL’s rule book for the 2007 season. The rules deal with more protection for players to improving the quality of the on-field product.

The changes will be particularly noticeable on special teams. The rule regarding blocking on kick returns has been clarified.

Blockers are once again allowed to block would-be-tacklers from the side. Last season, they were only allowed to block from the front, which resulted in a reduction of kickoffs returned for touchdowns. Only three kicks were returned for TDs in 2006 compared with 18 returned for majors in 2005. The blocking rule essentially returns to the one that was followed in 2005.

Alex Smith, the Riders special teams coach, knows he has to live with the blocking rule despite some reservations about players’ safety.

“In preseason, there have been a lot more dangerous blocks because of the four-sided approach,” Smith said Wednesday after the Riders completed their final practice before travelling today to Montreal.

“It’s hard when you’re running down the field at full speed and keeping an eye out for guys coming at you from the side. Someone can get earholed and that’s my major concern, but the rule is what it is and we have to deal with it.”

Punters also have to adjust their games while the league attempts to add more excitement to punt returns.

There are now penalties for punts sailing out of bounds between the 20-yard lines. The receiving team has the option of taking possession where the ball goes out of bounds or having a 10-yard penalty applied against the kicking team at the point of the last scrimmage with the down repeated. Balls bouncing out-of-bounds will not be penalized.

The rule forces teams to land punts in the field of play and increases the opportunities for punt returns.

“If I’m aiming my punts and kicking properly, it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Riders punter Jamie Boreham.

“More times than not, you’re not necessarily trying to kick the ball out of bounds between the 20s. Within the 20s, you can still go for the coffin corner. That’s good. They are just trying to get something going because there was a big drop-off last year.”

Some of the coaches instructed punters to kick the ball out-of-bounds to keep the football away from the league’s dangerous returners. The pressure is now on the special teams to keep the returners in check.

“Our guys are pretty fired up because they like going down the field and covering,” Boreham said.

“If I can kick the ball in the right spot, it’s easy for them to cover and they’re going to make the play.”

The league’s quarterbacks picked up some additional protection during the offseason. There is a ban on hits below or at the knees of a quarterback. Players are also banned from leading with their helmets while tackling quarterbacks. Both infractions carry a 15-yard major penalty and an automatic first down.

“It’s good to protect us back there,” said Riders quarterback Kerry Joseph.

“We’re vulnerable and we aren’t worried about protecting ourselves when we’re passing the ball. When you step into a throw, a guy can take your knee out. It’s good to have that rule in place and make a guy a little more cautious about that but we realize there is contact in football. I hope that it doesn’t take away from the game.”

Scott Schultz, the Riders veteran defensive tackle, said the new rules protecting the quarterback won’t force him to change his game. He’s going to keep rushing up the field as hard as he can to reach the quarterback.

“It’s a bunch of mumbo-jumbo that the league has put in place,” said Schultz. “We hear about these rules and we’re supposed to know what they are. But when you’re running full speed you don’t have time to change. You have to do what you do and that’s get to the quarterback.

“When you’re going after the quarterback, the object is to get him down. I’m looking to do that anyway I can and pay for the consequences afterwards.”

Some of the other notable rule changes are banning a snap down into a two- or three-point stance by an offensive lineman to eliminate a tactic to draw the defence offside; penalties for hitting players already on the ground and in a vulnerable position; and, penalties for making horse collar tackles by grabbing an opponent’s shoulder pads.

Kent Austin, the Riders head coach, was a member of the CFL’s rule committee that approved the changes.

“I’m always for protecting the quarterback,” said Austin, a former CFL quarterback. “During the season, there aren’t a lot of hits that are questionable. We’re just trying to police the ones that do happen.”

NOTES: WR Yo Murphy injured a finger on his left hand while attempting a reception on Wednesday. Yet Austin said the veteran may be left off the roster because Murphy may have re-injured a calf injury that has plagued him throughout the preseason … RB Wes Cates, who was acquired from the Calgary Stampeders on the weekend, isn’t expected to play Friday. Austin said Cates wasn’t ready … DB Lance Frazier, who suffered a deep thigh bruise on Monday after a collision with LB Kitwana Jones on Monday, was back on the field Wednesday. A decision on Frazier’s status is to be made before Friday’s kickoff ( 5:30 p.m., TSN).

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