Wednesday 14 April 2010

CFL Rule Changes

The CFL announced today that they have made four rule changes for the 2010 season:
  • Two-point converts on all scores in overtime
  • Allowing a team to scrimmage from the 35-yard line after field goals
  • No pass interference on throws deemed "uncatchable"
  • Balls hitting the ground on punts and touched by the kicking team will be penalized only 5 yards instead of 15
Let's look at these one by one, shall we?

The two-point convert rule, to me, does nothing. I outlined previously what I thought the league should do to change overtime so that ties would no longer exist. That may not have been the stated goal of changing the OT procedures, but if it wasn't, I ask, why make any change? If the CFL really wanted to be proactive they would've gone one step further and found a way to stop ties. The league didn't do that, so this rule, to me, means very little. I won't go into detail about this, but if you want to read my thoughts on OT changes you can click the link.

The rule that allows for teams to scrimmage at the 35-yard line after a field goal is just a reversion back to an old rule, which, I believe, was changed only in the last season or two. I'm neither here nor there on this change, but I think I'm more against the rule than I am for it. Growing up playing and watching football it was always preached to me that there were three aspects to the game: offense, defense, special teams. Taking out one aspect, as this rule does, takes away a part of the game. One of the areas I always thought the CFL had up on the NFL was kick returns. The larger field giving players more room to move allowed for some exciting plays. Rocket Ismail, Henry "Gizmo" Williams and Bashir Levingston (just to name a few) were dynamic and exciting kick returners. They added to the game, and depriving fans of one of the most exciting aspects of the game doesn't sit well with me.

No pass interference on uncatchable balls is a good change. This probably wouldn't have stopped guys like Bo Smith from being turned into a human turnstile, but at least the change will stop unnecessary PA penalties from being called. The only downside to this change is that it adds another layer of judgment for the referees. Refs have it tough at the best of times; now they'll get the endless barrage of critique on whether a pass was catchable or not.

The final rule instituted is the one for punts. All I'll say about this is: ABOUT DAMN TIME. I like the 5-yard rule to allow for punt returns, but I hated that an awkward kick could penalize a team so drastically. Now, if the league would only change it so that teams could recover kicks that hit an opposing player regardless of the 5-yard zone, then we'll have a close-to-perfect rule.

All in all I'd say the rules changes don't change much. None of them are too negative or positive, and for the most part I doubt many fans will notice. The one thing I have liked about the recent changes is the league's consultation process with the fans. Even if we don't have a say, it's nice to know that we have a forum that allows us to express our pleasure or displeasure with the product the CFL puts out.

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