Thursday, 1 March 2012

Reviewing Scoring Plays Among Suggested Rule Changes

While they still need approval, three new rules should be in place for the start of the 2012 season; two regarding helmets coming off during play and one in which all scoring plays will be reviewed.

If you watched games last season, especially in the first half of the year, you saw helmets pop off at an alarming rate. It seemed that not a quarter would go by without a helmet flying off. The league has decided that enough is enough and have put forth two rules that will hopefully curb lost helmets. The play will now be whistled dead should the ball carrier lose his helmet. In addition to that, any non-ball carrier that loses their lid will be ineligible for the remainder of that play. Should they continue to play, their team will be penalized 10 yards for illegal participation. If they are hit by an opposing player after losing their helmet, the opposing team will be penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.

It is a good rule, and one that I hope will help eliminate helmets flying off. The only issue is that there is some leeway – meaning judgment – on helmets that pop off while players are blocking or being blocked. I don't like when rules can be interpreted differently by different referee crews; from one game to the next the calls could vary drastically. Rules need to be pretty straightforward with little room for interpretation so that the chance of a blown call is kept to a minimum.

The other change is one that I have been calling for since mid-October, so to say I am happy to hear that the league will be adopting the NFL-style automatic reviews on all scoring plays is an understatement. Scoring plays decide games, and getting those right is the most important thing the league can do. I do hope that the league will expand the rule to include all plays in the end zone, but if they do not, that is not a big deal. I noticed that NFL referees were much more inclined to rule a play a touchdown and let replay handle it than they were to call it otherwise which would not allow for a replay. I would expect the same to happen in the CFL.

You have to hand it to the CFL, they are not afraid to alter or change the rules of the game to ensure a better product. These potential changes are all a step in the right direction.

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