CFL under fire after controversial replay review in Bombers win over B.C.

The end of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win over the B.C. Lions on Saturday was mired in controversy after the CFL command centre appeared to blow a turnover call with the game in the balance.

With 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bombers protecting a 37-35 lead, Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris was stripped by B.C. defenders Adam Bighill and Jason Arakgi. The ruling on the field was that Harris was down by contact but the play was automatically reviewed by the command centre. The ruling: no fumble.

Social media exploded with criticism of the decision.


Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1397 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

62 Comments on CFL under fire after controversial replay review in Bombers win over B.C.

  1. Andrew Devlin // October 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm //

    I saw that fumble alllll the way from NOrth Carolina, USA.

    instead we got…
    Blah, meh.


  2. If the whistle is blown does that not negate “down by contact”? I think that’s what happened. If so, people need to chill on this. An early whistle (if there had been no fumble) would have preserved the clock for BC and (potentially) have given them more time to change the outcome. That’s not what ended up happening but that’s the ebb and flow of the game and sometimes you wind up on top, sometimes you don’t.

    Was it a fumble? Yep. But if the refs blew the whistle before the ball come out then it doesn’t really matter.

    • Dan, watch the replay of it again. The whistle blew after the ball came out.

      • The trick to this is you could argue that his forward progess was halted and if Andrew harris could have moved he would have – he’s a super runner. JUSt a last desperate bang and snatch, that failed to work, The best team one the day in a final nasty trench warfare.Pat on the back to the refs; IT’S not a fumble.

      • The whistle blew before the ball was recovered. It negates the recovery and the fumble by calling forward progress and the ball dead. That is why they blew the whistle.

        • No, that’s not the official explanation:

          “The replay official ruled there was no indisputable visual evidence to change the call made on the field. It could not be determined from the angles provided if the player had completely lost possession of the ball before the player’s backside had touched the ground.”

          Paulo Senra, director of communications

          • Yes. But the official ruling in the field was forward progress. The explanation provided after presented the contradiction.

            But the initial call by the refs that was announced on the field was dead ball/forward progress

    • Dan seems to be the only one commenting on here that is making a coherent explanation for what hsppened here. The ball did not fall out before the whislte. I pvr’d the game and watched it 3 times. The whistle is being blown while bc was stubling to bring that gorgeous boy in blue down.

      • Yes it did. If it did that would be their official explanation, but it isn’t. The ball was out before the whistle blew.

  3. T Reardon // October 8, 2016 at 8:00 pm //

    So, whoever is in the command centre is either blind, drunk or gambling. All are good reasons to fire him.

  4. Wow! I am seriously at a loss for words. Andrew Harris clearly fumbled the football. Upon review, in what universe is that not a fumble. What was the reasoning for the CFL to review that play, but not the Justin Cox interception during the Riders vs Bombers Labour Day game? Both coaches were out of challenges. The incompetence of the CFL office continues to amaze me.

    • It would have been a cheap BC win two desperate, last minute punches, upon Andrew harris to salvage a win, while Andrew’s forward progess was halted or could be argued as so.No sir please,it’s talent that wins games not last minute desperation.

      • longtimetcfan // October 9, 2016 at 12:29 pm //

        And a blown call by the officials giving Winnipeg the win is not a cheap win???

      • So, John Jennings doesn’t deserve many of his wins or may CFL wins through history are last minute, therefore underserved. Or John Jennings has no talent? Jennings had 422 yard to Nicols 233. I’m not saying the B.C. Lions defence didn’t deserve to lose, but in a shootout Jennings clearly displayed ‘talent’.

      • Buzz boomer // October 10, 2016 at 8:49 pm //

        That’s really dumb logic. You make it sound like ‘last minute desperation’ is not part of a losing team’s strategy.

        And it’s not just talent that wins games; talent & desperation are not logical opposites; and your motivation can be desperation which you execute with talent. Does nobody teach thinking anymore?

        • BUZZ,a disputed smash and grab like grabbing a woman’s purse is not high in the order of talent with 35 seconds to go.

      • Wow, you’re an idiot. A: Harris was still moving forward, and b, how us coming back and winning after being down 24-3 cheap? Last second wins occur in the cfl all the time. It was a fumble, and the only ppl who think it wasn’t are blinded by their gold and blue glasses.

  5. Tom Drwery // October 8, 2016 at 8:34 pm //

    Was clearly a fumble! The Idiot in charge of the command center and the refs has to go!!

  6. Read my earlier posts …cfl ..officiating and everything to do with it is a [email protected]#$ joke. I’ve been ranting about this all year . BTW get rid of PI review you have ruined the game . Too many flags and calls that aren’t even near the play it’s embarrassing what this league has become

    • Bang on… I have only followed the league for about six years. Since the intro. of mass video replay, the game just seems like a joke. I really don’t care to attend games or watch the games live as a result. More often than not, I have been reduced to just watching the replays on TSN.

      I really hope someone in the league reads this and realizes that the right call is important, but killing the game while trying to do that is worse!

    • Dan Bombers // October 8, 2016 at 10:11 pm //

      Then stop watching the games troll

      • koko b.ware // October 9, 2016 at 10:33 am //

        Wow, you must be a partner in a boutique firm with those excellent debating skills. Oh right, it’s the internet, if you can’t read or write, you resort to calling people trolls. Uh, loser.

  7. After 50 years as a Ticats fan I am embarrassed at what the CFL has become… the officiating is a joke, the review system is a joke, the commissioner and his arbitrary dealing with disciplinary actions is a joke… the total lack of support for Toronto Argos in a city with 5 million people within an hours drive is a joke…

    No wonder my NFL loving friends call it the Clown Football League…

    Sad day for all CFL fans…

    Cheers… Snake

    • With time to reflect, Snake I think you will see in this instance, the correct call was made,a just victory for the bombers and a true thriller.

    • Snake, I couldn’t agree more with most of your comments, including this one.
      As a fellow 50+ year Ticats’ fan, the game on the field continues to be very good, the rules are terrific (none of this “fair catch” nonsense, or watching every kickoff roll through the end zone, or FOUR DOWNS, ugh…), BUT, the league itself has to be better run, as do the Argos.
      In case no one has mentioned it, did Larry Tannenbaum just buy the Argos to run them into the ground…. so he can get an NFL team (there’s a joke – how’d the Bills’ experiment work out?), before he finds himself six feet under. Another embarrassment is Argos’ marketing dept.

  8. Todays game was very entertaining but will always be remembered by the crap call from the review booth. No way was the play whistled dead as he was pushing himself ahead as he was wrapped up by the defender and the ball clearly was coming out well before he was down. It is crap calls like this that are turning people off. I know for I would have been watching baseball if the game hadn’t been rained out. CFL better get their act together and fast as the CFL is losing fans hand over fist, tv ratings are down, attendance is down. As a die hard CFL fan I always picked CFL over other sports but this last year only watch my own team away games as I have season tickets and after that baseball is the sport of choice. No baseball then will watch CFL as I can watch the rerun or on internet at later date if I wish. Just can’t stomach the crap officiating and reviews that we have been subjected too.

  9. Another crappy call that drives fans away from this third rate league

    • You obviously were on the wrong channel,or you are a bc fan,but your team did fantastic, why the gloom?The bombers will get even stronger with Gurley – what a rematch!

  10. Just to add fuel to the fire…go back and check out the TSN ‘must see moments’ of Edwards diving catch against the Cats. Go to full screen and freeze it at the 39 second mark. To my eyes the ball is on the ground, behind the elbows of the receiver -as he bounces forward the ball moves up into his hands. If the command center is supposed to review all scores how could they miss this one?

  11. Dan Bombers // October 8, 2016 at 11:05 pm //

    Oh well bout time the bombers got a break those calls never went our way for years how bout that moe legget big win and that’s all that matters in the standings

  12. How about the ‘pass interfence phantom call that gave the Lions a TD I believe early in the 4th. There were missed calls both ways in that game if this fumble (haven’t seen replay yet) was missed.
    Would be nice to see it all 100% but the NFL is just as bad for misses as the CFL and they’re a what $10B league? You’d think they would be near 100% but nope.

    • Christopher // October 9, 2016 at 12:11 am //

      You like that Phantom PI call on the first play of the game where Adam Bighill intercepted Matt Nichols??? Calls go both ways… I understand that… but this game was ridiculous.

      • Couldn’t of said it better myself. Sick and tired of all these NFL lovers thinking their officiating is any better or worse. Seen lots of mistakes over the years in the NFL as well. Also seen lots in Baseball as well and every other league. But it’s easy to criticize the CFL at every junction.

    • Christopher // October 9, 2016 at 12:11 am //

      You mean like that Phantom PI call on the first play of the game where Adam Bighill intercepted Matt Nichols??? Calls go both ways… I understand that… but this game was ridiculous.

  13. Christopher // October 9, 2016 at 12:25 am //

    There is no response for the idiocy of CFL Command Centre… Jake Ireland, its time to retire AGAIN… Glen Johnson.. you have a lot of explaining to do….

  14. The correct call is that his forward progress was halted and should have been blown dead by the referee.THe command centre fuly corrected all failures in judgemennt. Fiirst it was clear that it was not a fumble. SECOND, it was more than obvious that this should not change the outcome of the game.Third,IT was a game so thrilling fans needed more oxygen all over the country.The command centre on the otherhand, simply did its job and got it right.

    • Had no dog in this fight, could have cared less who wins the game but it was one botched call by the command center. Not sure what play you were watching Catsclaw but his forward progress was not halted and the whistle went after the ball was coming out. Harris was still pushing forward as they were trying to rip the ball out. Why did the ruling from command center say he was down by contact and not that forward progress was halted. Big differance in the two statements. Down by contact eans that a part of the body other than hand or foot touched the ground, forward progress halted means the ball carrier is wrapped up and cannot proceed forward. Replay clearly shows he was still making an effort to advance the ball, hence he was not down.

  15. The call on the field was going to stand no matter what, it was that close. I really don’t see the ball definitively out until his butt’s on the turf.

    • Christopher // October 9, 2016 at 4:04 pm //

      It was not that close… only a blind idiot would say that that was not a fumble…

  16. TecnoGenius // October 9, 2016 at 1:25 am //

    1. Shame on the biased replay animation at the top… cutting off Harris’ rear when that’s the crux of the issue!

    2. The ref on the field had to make a 50/50 judgment on an event that took about 1/30 of a second (about 1 frame on TV) to occur; and he thought Harris was down. This is reasonable. Command said they didn’t have enough evidence. This is also true and reasonable because it’s so close. Watch it on your PVR frame by frame. It *was* a fumble but only by about 1/30s, which is not enough to be “indisputable”.

    Bottom line: refs made a 50/50 call live, command made the right call to uphold. And who says BC would have gotten in anyhow after their last faux pas…

    • longtimetcfan // October 9, 2016 at 8:34 am //

      Whether 1/30 or 1/100 of a second, if it was a fumble (and it was, even you admit it), then it’s a fumble and should have been called as such. Timing doesn’t matter… a fumble is a fumble as proven by the replay. Otherwise, what’s the point of replay review, something many have questioned considered some of the ridiculous calls on review coming from the Command Centre.

      And BC didn’t have to “get it in” trailing by only 2 points. They could have taken a few short losses to better position a field goal to win the game (yes even a field goal isn’t gauranteed but it would have a high percentage of success).

      • Nope a TD would have been needed. The score was 37-33 at that time. The final 2 points came on the safety given up on Winnipeg’s 3rd down

        • longtimetcfan // October 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm //

          Thanks. I stand corrected as I wasn’t able to watch the game.

          But it was still a legitimate fumble and BC should have had a chance with the ball.

  17. agaia the bombers get a lucky call first the cox incepition on labor day now this fumble the cfl is doing all they can to have the bluebombers make the playoffs there dback only gets 2 games for breaking the rules the cfl should fine the bombers towards the salry cap buy that will never happen

  18. Jake Ireland…
    He is in charge at the Command Centre.
    This is on him…
    Will they fire him or replace him ?
    And some people wonder why Kent Austin “blew a gasket” 2 weeks ago.
    Almost makes a person wonder…”whom is placing bets” on these games.
    Not in Canada you say???
    That kind of crap goes on everywhere..

  19. Even if it was a fumble, there were over a hundred plays and if BC has to point to the fumble to say that’s why they lost, think again

  20. You can argue your opinions all week long, but next weekend the cfl will have less fans watching and attending because of this.

  21. oceanvista // October 9, 2016 at 12:51 pm //

    While I can forgive the on-field crew for missing that fumble (it’s split second timing after all), it is completely inexcusable that the “Command Centre” could have the time to review that play on high def screens at different speeds and from multiple angles and determine Harris to be ‘down by contact.’


    Players work too hard and there’s too much at stake for mistakes like this to happen. If you love the CFL, then you have to speak out, or egregious errors like this are just going to continue with no accountability.

  22. Jake Ireland is STILL in charge of CFL replay command centre!!!
    You’ve got to be kidding me! The guy’s 70 years old….no disrespect to 70 year old guys (we’re all getting up there), but geez, can’t we find someone younger with perhaps better eyes and no baggage?
    This isn’t the CBC is it? Not the government? Its a for-profit organization, and therefore should be hiring the best folks available.
    This can’t be good for TSN either. As the CFL turns away potential new fans, TSN will suffer. What’s it got left beside the CFL and Curling?

  23. Throughout this whole season there have been bad calls and us the fans have commented on them. What’s upsetting as it continues and nothing has or will be done about it. Sad for the CFL.

  24. I have seen some bad calls by referees, that can be excusable. From an instant reply there is no excuse to blow a call in the last 3 minutes of a game. All calls are reviewable. The coach in this instance should have a right to defend his team. If not what is he needed for? And why do we need a command center? Let’s just throw the book out the window.

  25. It’s funny when wpg got burned last year and lost due to ref error it was too bad wpg get over it but now it’s tje tje other way oh we have to open an investigation it’s karma get over it bc to bad

  26. I have been watching CFL games since the 60’s and that was one of the most poorly officiated games I have ever seen. Where is the accountability? Jake Ireland was a lousy excuse for a ref in his on-field days and carries that forward now

  27. Confirms that the weekend Command Centre forwards their calls to a call centre in New Delhi.

  28. Lindsay Wilcox // October 9, 2016 at 6:22 pm //

    Give the on-field officials a “pass” on missing the fumble. It’s at best “questionable” at live speed and the view of the refs may have been hindered by the bodies and action. Certainly the Lions’ D calling it a fumble doesn’t help anybody’s interpretation. BUT at review speed (“slo-mo”) it is obviously a fumble. The Command Centre blew this one and deserve the bad press/comments.

  29. In real time live I heard the whistle blow before the ball was stripped out. Every sports league has questionable calls even after reviews! If you think that is a reason to hate the game then stop watching it! I love CFL Football flaws and all!

    • Agree Claude. There is no reason for the ref to whistle a play dead before it has finished (which certainly came before the ball was recovered) unless they are calling forward progress.

      It was the command center that botched this one by creating confusion over the call. They should have let the refs run with their initial call (which they told O’Shea and announced over the loud speaker at the game as Forward Progress, not a fumble) and alot of this fuss could have been avoided.

  30. Just as Bad as The bad call in Ottawa.
    The Ottawa Player going for The Interception
    is tacked. Should be a penalty to Saskatchewan
    but there is no flag.

  31. I will not watch the remaining games!

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