CFL Moves Forward on Replay Assisted Calls

An article Feb. 24 on CFL.ca confirmed that the CFL will implement fully Instant Replay, or Replay Assisted Calls as I like to call it since instant replay has other connotations, for the 2006 CFL season. This is certainly tied to the previous announcement that the full 2006 CFL regular season schedule will be televised.

The first fully televised CFL schedule since 1989 (when it was done by televising part of the schedule using its own network, CFN) certainly reflects the health of the league. Hopefully this success won’t result in a quickly implemented replay system. Although the tone of the article is positive about doing it right, it also seems that the scale factor is being completely ignored. For instance, the article stated 5-12 cameras will be trained on the field for each game. This seems like a large discrepancy, and if the cameras are needed for challenges in 5 camera games but not 12 camera games and this affects a ruling, the league will be open to criticism. I also question the decision to expand the number of timeouts to two per team per half. Many games often run longer than the allotted 3 hours, which affects fans and networks alike. Additional timeouts given just so a team won’t burn there only one per half on a challenge will only extend games, as those extra timeouts will be used in many games when no challenges are made, as should be expected.

A better proposal I believe is to provide each team with one challenge per game. Coaches must determine if the play is critical enough at that time of the game to make their challenge. The CFL doesn’t need the possibility of challenges being made just in case the play could be overturned, which could happen early in games when two first half timeouts are provided. If this experiment is to be made, it needs to be implemented as unobtrusively as possible, not to cater to the coaches wants. Making rule changes for the coaches only ruins leagues (see the NHL).

No, I don’t think changing what has been a fundament of the CFL game for over 30 years is the smart thing to do right now. Any path to move the game closer to the NFL and become a feeder system or junior league to the NFL may bring more respect in the US and money to the owners, but it will kill the leagues roots in Canada, and it will be unable to survive without them.

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OC Jottings

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  • May 23, 2007
    Argos Make $4 Million Donation to SickKids → $4 million over 5 years. To my knowledge. no similar contribution from any Canadian team in more prosperous leagues has ever been made. CFL owners really are a different breed. While the corporations running other teams in other leagues look to maximise ticket prices, here’s some owners giving back to the community. Sure, the press release doesn’t reveal the real accounting around this donation, but $800,000 a year, even after tax benefits, is pretty good for a team that can only be breaking even at best according to the Toronto media. #
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