CFL issues explanation for controversial replay review call

The CFL has issued an explanation for the replay review at the end of the Bombers win over the B.C. Lions on Saturday.

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.

“The replay official ruled there was no indisputable visual evidence to change the call made on the field,” said Paulo Senra, director of communications. “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.”

That the CFL has moved so quickly to explain the call is unusual. The league generally reviews all controversial decisions the Monday following a weekend of games but the storm surrounding this call has prompted them to respond in a more timely fashion.

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.

52 Comments on CFL issues explanation for controversial replay review call

  1. An interesting comment on a fan forum pointed out that around the league fans are talking about Command Centre incompetence when they should be talking about an exciting back and forth game. Way to shoot yourself in the foot CFL…once again.

    • Calls by the referees are always debatable,it is not a science. If it had been declared a fumble many fans would be irate that it was too close to call and change the outcome of the game.This was a catch 22 for the CFL or rather should we say a ” fumble 22 “. What ever decision the command centre came up with their would have been controversy.On the other hand, there is no doubt that the football players in Canada are playing with great skill making our game extremely exciting.The talent across the CFL has never been better; it is a fast and furious unrelenting battle between many teams.

    • Maybe like chess an opponent should just concede defeat In the last 35 seconds rather than a debacle taking place.Save all the fans a lot of pain.

  2. I guess the Command Centre doesn’t have access to the angles and replays available on TSN? The crew covering the game seemed to be able to tell the ball was out before the runner was down. Looked pretty clear from what I saw on the replays too.

    • Maybe the tsn crew should determine the calls and earn extra money.Their always right?

      • The last thing we need is an excuse for morons like Rod Black to talk even more. God help us.

        • Dan Bombers // October 9, 2016 at 11:23 pm //

          Hahahaha that’s good stuff right there

        • Not a Rod Black fan // October 10, 2016 at 8:14 am //

          Rod Black is the worst commentator in sports today! It’s so obvious who he’s cheering for (not the Bombers). And it’s not only what he says, his voice is even irritating (he brays).

          • Paul Bomber // October 11, 2016 at 4:11 pm //

            My theory is that he stays up the night before the games thinking of clever & “spontaneous” things to say. Then on game day, he says them whether they make sense or not. & yeah… I’ve often wondered why the hate on the Bombers. He is from Wpg., perhaps over-compensating for a true bias? I dunno… but it’s there.

          • Mantis Toboggan // October 12, 2016 at 6:55 am //

            Rod Black is so terrible even his mustache couldn’t take it anymore!

  3. I have always thought that though replay review at times highlights the inadequacy of officiating, I thought it would at least bring attention to the need to support the officials with more money or training. Incompetence by the command centre makes me question the integrity of the CFL.

  4. the cfl is doing all they can for the bombers to get in the grey cup first of all a d back only getting 2 games and now this call if that was any other team they would be fined against the salry cap but not the bombers

    • Lol, yeah the fix is in. Perhaps you’re forgetting how the bombers have been apologized twice by the CFL in the last few years for officials blowing calls that cost the bombers games?! Unfortunately bad officiating is universal in the league, not just to one team. I’m assuming you’re a tin foil wearing Rider fan!? Lol

    • Paul Bomber // October 11, 2016 at 4:22 pm //

      Almost: While it’s true the league did arrange for the Bombers to win, it actually wasn’t done to help the Bombers, rather it was all about annoying Rider fans – so, anyway, I guess that worked well.

  5. With the officials and command center not over turning the call the cfl is becoming a bush league it’s a enbarssiment to the cfl get rid of Glen Johnson he is a horrible command center operator just like when he was a refund pretty sad for the cfl I am very discussed

  6. The refs should be accountable for there mistakes maybe fined or suspended for costing a team for a missed call what if this was the grey cup game how would the league look nfg

  7. It’s unfortunate that so many of the CFL games are mired in controversy because of poor officiating. It’s clear that the league tried to fix this by introducing expanded challenges. But now, it has become clear that those changes have affected the behaviours of the refs, the players and the coaches…strangley enough, the Command Centre doesn’t seem to be able to get it right either! Most of the commentating during games seems to focus on second guessing – whether a call was or wasn’t right….its destroying the game. Flip over to an NFL game and it’s quite refreshing to hear them just present the game – without all the second guessing and controversy. The CFL needs to take a long hard look at fixing this before it loses more fans because of how these changes have impacted a great game.

  8. I thought the Bombers were protecting a 37-33 lead and then conceded a 2 point safety to make it 37-35, non? Anyway I’m glad the call was allowed to stand – Lions had a golden opportunity previous to that and blew it.

    • So Philski, to follow your line of reasoning, the Lions failed to score and so became entitled to a terrible call by officials? The CFL is losing its audience because of an inability to officiate the game. So tired of spending hours watching the athletes only to have officials determine the outcome. I am not saying they are biased, I am saying they are utterly incompetent.

  9. There’s teams that get the calls and teams that don’t…I used to put up a pretty good argument as to why I love and support this league I’m not so sure that argument is worthy anymore . SMH

    • All the proper video angles of a disputed play are probably not sent into the the Command Centre. If they don’t see the proper angles they don’t make the correct decision.

  10. Terrible call. The replay challenge ref should be fired immediately.

  11. i think glen johnson must be related to someone in the bombers organiation that is 2 calls they made go in the bombers favor this year that were wrong first the cox intercipation on labor day and now the fumble the cfl is diong all they can for the bombers to make the playoffs

    • And the year before we got screwed on a blown illegal procedure call against Calgary. So take off your green and white tinfoil hat and give it a rest.

      Never mind the fact that BC got the benefit of several marginal PI calls (and I’m being very generous) including one where their receiver tripped and fell on 2nd down and they later scored. So please stow “the Bombers are favoured by the refs” crap!

  12. Lennywasout // October 9, 2016 at 8:51 am //

    So why did the league respond so quickly and we have yet to hear ANYTHING from the league about the bush call on Filer’s 3rd an inches penalty? Another reason to clean house at the top. Commissioner on down!!

  13. Lily Hamilton // October 9, 2016 at 9:15 am //

    It’s been my belief for several years that the officiating in the CFL has been/is biased. One bad call can change the outcome of a close game, so the referees could influence which teams will be in the Grey Cup.

    • Paul Bomber // October 11, 2016 at 4:26 pm //

      ya know… if you talk to serious fans of the NFL, NBA, NHL and you’d hear the same thing. 10 camera angels, super-slow-motion & PVRs… I don’t think the refs are any different than they used to be, just our standards have changed.

  14. From what I saw of the game the referee blew the play dead on forward progress stopped before he went down and fumbled. Good call and I am a Stamps fan.

  15. The most generous view is that the video shows that the ball was loose but not out – but that is a fumble – no? I have always understood that the test is that the player must have possession. If the ball is already loose by the time the player is down – then it is a fumble.

    I think that most fans can accept that officials will miss close calls like this – it was bang-bang a matter of milliseconds … and I think that we can accept that there are times when the officials just could not / did not see the play. Some calls with go for your team and some against. What is hard to accept is missing the call on a video replay – you are taking away the limits of human perception – so now its a question of judgement or policy or bias or competence. And that brings forth the kind of controversy that we see in this case that erodes the fan base.

    Let’s go with a new penalty code policy (1) officials should be awarded for calling fewer penalties not punished for not calling more (2) technical penalties that do not materially affect the play should not be called – and if flagged, the head official should pick up the flag if the infraction did not affect the play (3) there should be a presumption against fumble in the case of close calls – and there should be a quick whistle when a ball carrier’s forward progress is stopped – it should be about tackling … not stripping the ball (4) there should be a presumption against pass interference if the defender is going for the ball – let them play (5) end the waggle – it is bush and gives the offence a decisive advantage – it is turning the game into basketball (6) end the no contact after 5 yards rule – impossible to play – impossible to enforce and (7) end both the coach’s challenge and the video replay.

    In my view a fumble is the least exciting play in football – while the most exciting play is a pass interception. Fumbles are typically random events. A player can be doing everything right and still fumble if there is helmet on ball contact or he is held up and stripped by three defenders. Given its random nature the consequences of a fumble (loss of possession) are too great – if the idea is reward excellence and punish poor performance.

    On the other hand interceptions typically come about because of a team effort to hurry the quarterback and a secondary that makes a great play and sometimes because a corner wins a cat-and-mouse contest with a quarterback that gets sloppy on an out pattern. I would like to see many fewer fumbles and many more interceptions.

    The current state of the game sees 60% of passes completed for 8-9 yards per play – most of the completions are under the coverage because all the defences play bend don’t break. Quarterbacks are all throwing for 300 yards per game but most of the passes are more east-west than north-south.

    I confess to being old school on this – but the I think that it was the 67 Ticat team that did not give up a touchdown in the final six games before winning the Grey Cup. It was something to see. If you wanted to pass against that team you had to go north-south and you had to beat Henley in a fair contest to go deep. In their three playoff games that year they gave up a total of 4 points. Awesome.

  16. Martin Shaff // October 9, 2016 at 9:55 am //

    When I watched the game, I clearly heard 2 whistles way before the ball came out. No mention of that anywhere. That’s why I thought they ruled Harris down. Gotta think the CFL has all replay angles. But in the end there had to be irrefutable evidence to overturn the call on the field. BC had chances..running a jet play on 3rd and 1 ? Really? Bombers were aware of that play quite obviously. In any event, a wild game. Can’t wait for the rematch this Friday.

  17. I just re-watched it from the TSN: Games on Demand feed. There is clear evidence that there was a fumble and there was no whistle. I can understand that the replay official will cover his behind and say “no indisputable visual evidence”. But I can’t understand, accept, or respect how the CFL can agree with that. I would respect the CFL if it issued a statement something like, we regret that decision and will continue to improve to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.

    I think everyone can agree changes need to be made in the CFL office. Ever since Glen Johnson has been in charge, the game has been getting killed. I’m willing to live with bad calls, missed calls, questionable calls, etc. All of us CFL fans have been at the wrong end of these calls at some point. But I can’t live with watching the game be destroyed the way it is with all of the challenges.

    I beg the board of governors and the rules committee to take a step back, and stop allowing coaches to challenge penalties.

  18. David Carswell // October 9, 2016 at 10:51 am //

    The issue here is not the fact that a call gets overturned or not, but the inconsistency of the calls – a call a couple of weeks ago that came down to “frame-by-frame” replay to determine that the player was down (which took a fumble recovery and touchdown off the board) to this one where they couldn’t determine indisputable visual evidence (even though the TSN angles could). I have no problem with video replays if they are going to be consistent and to my mind, if they have have to slow it down to 1/30th of a second (frame-by-frame) then the call on the field should stand – I know that some calls would still be complained about, but let’s just remember the days before video replays when the call on the field was the call – we have the technology to fix calls that are borderline, but if you slow every play down to 1/30th of second you will find issues on EVERY single play……..

  19. John Broadhead // October 9, 2016 at 10:58 am //

    Zugerfan. A very well thought out and well written post. I agree with all except ending video replay. As far as any official “fixes”, that’s just crazy talk. What’s the total bet on any given CFL game? It is almost certainly in the mere thousands of dollars. And the “reward” for getting into the Grey Cup? Almost negligible. Again, maybe in the tens of thousands.

    I am a fan BECAUSE the CFL borders on bush league. Not despite it.

  20. Let’s get back to reality – no not the famous Tony Gabriel double PI – a PI rule that takes away this incidental contact – expand the contact zone back to 10 yards as a simple first step – these guys are football players not auditioning for the ballet.
    Secondly lets make the referee role a career opportunity and pay them on a par with the median player salary and hold them accountable.
    Thirdly rethink the # of chaalenges to one per half and the only command challenge is to confirm a touchdown and 2-point conversion.
    Also while we are at it, dump the waggle. It’s school yard pitch and catch.

  21. CFL needs to get rid of Johnson & all those working in the command centre. Rules that Johnson has implemented are ruining our game. And the inconsistency coming from the command centre is not fair to those who play the game. BC was definitely jobbed last nite.

    • It is the board of govenor’s who approved these rules…not Johnson. He is only executing these new rules.

      • And did you hear Chris Jones on the sidelines of the Rider & RedBlack try to get the same call during the game? He saw the same thing and tried to get the call, but wait…what did they do this time. Stop the play and then re-position the ball. They showed a shot of Jones right after (mic cut out) and he was clearly upset that the call wasn’t made

  22. Mike- Regina // October 9, 2016 at 12:39 pm //

    The call was wrong, it was a fumble. For the CFL Officials to get it wrong on replay review just goes to prove what we all know already, the “Command Center’s” constant refusal to overturn tough calls by claiming lack of sufficient evidence. It almost seems they do not overturn these calls because that would open the door to criticizing the officiating even more.
    I agree with most of the others that the Coach’s challenges are slowing down the game far too much and are affecting the fans enjoyment on watching the games. When you can clearly see the Coaches on the sidelines with their tablets “fishing” for any slight bump on the field for PI, regardless of whether it actually affected the play or not you then have to admit there is an issue speaking of PI, does anyone on the field actually know what it is anymore, that includes Refs, Players and Coaches? It seems to depend entirely too much on the decision and not hard and fast rules. One play PI is called and later in the game the same infraction is late go, no clarity and it is really hurting the game

  23. Fasteddie // October 9, 2016 at 12:48 pm //

    Still no explanation for the bad “moving the ball” call.

    I guess we have proof that only certain teams get explanations.

    • And did you hear Chris Jones on the sidelines of the Rider & RedBlack try to get the same call during the game? He saw the same thing and tried to get the call, but wait…what did they do this time. Stop the play and then re-position the ball. They showed a shot of Jones right after (mic cut out) and he was clearly upset that the call wasn’t made

  24. Jake Ireland is the command center official.

    It was mentioned a few times on TSN.

    Incredible power to decide games in the hands of one person.

    He was very unpopular in Hamilton when he was a referee.

  25. Quote -“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.”

    Read your own rule book — lost control of the ball not possssession

    It was a fumble plan and clear to all who watched including every sports caster on every station

  26. T Reardon // October 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm //

    Whoever made that call from the replay booth is either blind, drunk or on drugs. All three are valid reasons for dismissal.

  27. Are you sure his name is not JOKE Ireland?

  28. Wish CFL journalists spent more time analyzing game and game strategy and less on the easy but not very interesting whining about close officiating calls.

    • If the coverage helps effect change, then I think it’s a good thing.

      That said, I think they should write about both aspects of the game… provide the depth and highlight the drama.

  29. Hang your head in shame CFL! you’re one man command center circus show is embarrassing.
    Lost fan

  30. Its time the CFL COMISH LOOKS IN THE MIRROR AND WAKES UP! All the questionable replay calls are losing tons of fans.Better to have the Refs make all the calls like it used to be.Then they are the only ones the fans will blame. NO MORE COACHES CHALLANGES And if anything just the challanges from up stairs.if they would ask the fans they would make huge changes.

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