Officials make (another) critical error in B.C. loss to Ottawa

Another week, another officiating blunder at a crucial moment in the game.

Just a week after the CFL admitted blowing a pass interference call in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats loss to the Toronto Argonauts, on-field officials gifted a first down and 13 yards of field position to the Ottawa Redblacks with under five minutes to play in their come-from-behind win over the B.C. Lions on Saturday.

Leading 30-25 but backed up at their own six-yard line, Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris threw a pass intended for receiver Greg Ellingson. The ball bounced around as Ellingson went to the ground tangled up with B.C. defender Anthony Gaitor, ultimately getting knocked forward where it was recovered by Ottawa’s Brad Sinopoli. The ruling on the field was a catch, followed by a fumble and a recovery by Ottawa for a first down.

But Ellingson clearly never has possession of the football.

B.C. was out of timeouts and had used their only challenge and because the ball didn’t change possession it was not reviewed by the command centre (which, ironically, would have ruled the pass incomplete and given the ball back to Ottawa.) The video review official did not fix the call because it’s still unclear what, exactly, the video review official is supposed to fix.

So instead of facing second-and-10 from their own six-yard-line, the Redblacks were first-and-10 at the 19. The Redblacks gained more than 50 yards and killed in excess of three minutes off the clock before punting back to B.C.

Just as the error in the Ticat-Argo game wasn’t the reason Hamilton lost, B.C. can hardly blame the mistake for blowing a 19-point lead. But it’s just the latest in a season-long series of errors that continues to undermine the confidence in the league’s ability to correct clear mistakes by on-field officials that have a significant impact on the game. Mistakes happen and that’s fine. But replay was supposed to address egregious errors that were clear to the TV audience and could be identified quickly. Right now, that’s not happening.

The reaction from Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell and offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo after the call was classic: they knew they’d been handed a gift.

Over to you, Mr. Ambrosie.

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 (1494 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.

81 Comments on Officials make (another) critical error in B.C. loss to Ottawa

  1. Stephen Fisher // October 8, 2017 at 11:18 am //

    There was a second error on that play that the announcers didn’t pick up on. The ball was batted head, an illegal forward pass. One of these was astutely picked up by the officials in an earlier game this weekend. So even if he made the catch, the ball should’ve been placed where he caught it.

    • Look at it again, Stephen Fisher. The ball is very clearly batted towards BC’s dead-ball line by BC’s Anthony Gaitor. It’s not batted forward by Ottawa, it’s batted backwards by BC. It’s a very important distinction.

      I thought as you did when I first saw it that it should have been ruled an offside pass, but after looking at it again, it’s clear the officials didn’t screw up *THIS PORTION* of the call.

  2. It was actually knocked by the defender hence becoming a lateral not an illegal forward pass

  3. Even without the benefit of video replay , the refs should have got this one right

  4. Keep turning off the fans CFL, If they don’t/can’t fix it there will be less fans in the seats (including myself, a 50 yr plus fan). Gotten to the point of nausea.
    Anybody @ CFL listening?

  5. so tell me, is it me, or are the command centre biased. i mean really, last weeks faux pas, n now this, really both ontario teams. something is amiss in toronto, but that is nothing new for the cfl.

    • Alan – I don’t think the command center is biased – I think they’re drunk! Or perhaps sitting on a bean bag chair in a black lit room full of lava lamps with Purple Haze rockin in the background. Viewing replays on a black and white TV while adjusting the rabbit ears for better reception.

    • James Smith // October 8, 2017 at 5:08 pm //

      Nah Don’t think it’s just you. It’s a case of having to fill seats in BMO no matter how and at what cost to the other 8 teams.

      • I believe the Argos are still the most penalized team in the league. How does that jive with your suggestion?

  6. I was watching last night and I remember this play to a tee and we got into a discussion about it an my argument was clearly that it was incomplete and why the command center would not call down to the refs and make the call correct. Let me add that wally threw his only challenge flag on a play that should never have been used and I wondered if later in the game he would need his challenge flag and he did . So that’s 5 admitted blown calls against the cats and now another blown call that favours a team trying to eliminate the cats from playoffs .hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    • Yeah I was at the game Randy and sitting not too far from the play. I was shocked at the call…Gaitor made a nice recovery play and no way Ellingson had possession of the ball. And for a second I thought, wow, this would be atypical of a call that the TC’s would get screwed on…not realizing at the time, as you had just alluded to, the TC’s DID in fact get screwed…again!

      • all the call in the cfl are a plot against the riders all of them we have the greatest team ever assembled and here we are fighting for a playoff spot
        because the cfl is out to get us shamefull

  7. What a joke…
    Obviously they want Toronto for marketing purposes and Ottawa as Grey Cup hosts to succeed…

    If I were Bob Young, I’d find the team… That is, unless he’s in collusion and receives kickbacks for allowing this travesty of justice.

    • ottawarob // October 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm //

      Oh please people, there is no conspiracy going on here. EVERY team has had reason this year to be ticked off at the CFL Command Centre / Officials on numerous occasion. From an Ottawa view point it started with the non fumble ruling late in the first game of the season against Calgary which everyone but the command centre agreed was a fumble.

      I do agree with the view that the CFL must fix this command centre mess. We can all live with the fact that officials will make mistakes on the field due to the speed of the game. But there is NO reason that the command centre should be making mistakes, or that the “eye in the sky” shouldn’t be alerting the on field officials to obvious mistakes.

    • Blue Rules // October 8, 2017 at 12:30 pm //

      @ Nanaman, why fine the team???? The officials make the calls therefore the officials are at fault. If your suggesting officials and team personal are fixing the game this would be akin to the 1919 Black Sox scandal (baseball). If found to be true the CFL would no longer exist.

    • Agree. Tired of watching teams like TC’s continuously being on the wrong side of the blown call ledger and other teams like the Stumps on the side that can do no wrong. If memory serves me right I believe Ellingson was gifted with another favourable call not too long ago so I put the RB’s in the latter as well. Conspiracy? Who knows. Horseshit? Absolutely.

      • ottawarob // October 8, 2017 at 1:07 pm //

        Come on Philski, you are smarter than that….I can name numerous calls that have gone against Ottawa this year, just like you can do the same for Hamilton. And just like all fans, we all remember in great detail the questionable calls that go against our teams…not so much the questionable ones that go in our favour.

        But to suggest that the league has it out for one team over another is ridiculous. The CFL officiating department would have trouble organizing a 1 car parade, much less orchestrating a full blown conspiracy.

        • longtimetcfan // October 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm //

          I agree it’s hard to think there’s a conspiracy against one team but as a TiCat fan, it is hard to swallow and accept the many questionable and egregious calls that have gone against the team over, in particular, the last 3 seasons, admitted to by the League days after the fact. Name any other team that has been the recipient of so many “We admit we made an officiating/CC mistake (or 2 or 3) against team XXX.”. In fact, Ottawa was the lucky recipient a few years ago of 2 wrong calls late in the game on an interception for a go-ahead TD that possibly cost theTiCats 1st place, again admitted to by the League to have been in error. Too little too late.

          • RB Nation Section C // October 8, 2017 at 4:18 pm //

            I don’t think the league has it in for any particular team but it does seem the officials tend to favour the team that’s behind. It’s almost as if they have a mandate to keep games close.

          • Exactly…thank you.

        • Sea of dead // October 8, 2017 at 7:53 pm //

          If the league and/or officials don’t have it out for one or more teams or aren’t favouring particular teams then why hasn’t the league done anything to fix the ongoing problem with calls made, especially by those nitwits in the command center.

          This nonsense remains unchecked and gets worse each year. Anyone in the league office checking to see if their officials are betting in sports pools on CFL games?

          More checks and balances are needed to ensure that the correct calls are ultimately made on the field. The current CFL system is about as good as the new payroll system rolled out by the Feds. It stinks!

        • Nothing to do with one’s intellectual ability Robbie ole boy. A true TC fan knows the absurd history of calls against this team and the refs through the years who’ve earned the title of TC nemesis extraordinaire…Proulx, Perrier, Ireland. You believe what you believe…I believe what I believe.

          • longtimetcfan // October 9, 2017 at 8:23 am //

            Perhaps you are too young to remember but you forgot another “favourite” TiCats ref…. Seymour Wilson.

          • Lol! Yeah that’s a little before my time…but I do remember the name from my dad who used to attend the games at the old Civic Stadium. Dad had “fond” memories of Wilson, just like I have of Proulx et al!

  8. Blue Rules // October 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm //

    Another ref downgraded??? This is in no way an answer as to how to fix this issue. Simply put, you don’t need to be a good official to work the Grey Cup just not the worst. Fines or made to attend training and rewrite CFL officiating tests. On your own time and your own dime..will get their attention, after an accumulation of a specific amount of “errormiles” schedule a recertification class. nothing like spending a two day training course with no pay. Let me be clear not ment for the close or difficult missed calls but more so the clear and obvious calls. The eye in the sky would be included.

    • Maybe the way to fix the problem is a two step solution.
      1. give the officials a benefit plan that included glasses.
      2. as already suggested, take the beer fridge out of the commend centre.

  9. It was close but definitely incomplete. No question

  10. Wow, wow, another front page article that in the long run is really about how the ti-cats are getting screwed by the leagues officials. +

  11. teacher_zend // October 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm //

    I do not want to go back to the time of challenge after challenge after challenge. I like the game much better now. Sucks that the call was incorrect, but Wally had already used his challenge. Calls are missed both ways all the time. Forget it and let the game continue. I’ve coached for many years and what I always tell my players is never blame the ref. Play at the top of your game and then the reffing shouldn’t make the difference. BC crapped the bed on this one.

  12. This is a good example of how calls end up working out in the wash. I could easily point to a half dozen questionable calls that went against Ottawa – just as recently as last week vs SSK (the player was “encircled” … uh wut ?) and we had to burn our only review on a clear-as-day touchdown minutes earlier… We got away with one on this one, no doubt tho.

    But like I said, it works out in the wash. For all the outrage from Cats fans this week, I didn’t hear any complaining from them about the Labour day game which was gift-wrapped to them on 2 brutal calls.

    • longtimetcfan // October 8, 2017 at 2:28 pm //

      Nice try but the so-called questionable calls on Labour Day were 50/50 calls that could have gone either way but we’re not the incorrect egregious calls TiCat fans and the team have had to endure over the last number of years, admitted to by the League. I don’t recall any other team being on the end of so many, later admittedly, wrong calls… do you?

      • RB Nation Section C // October 8, 2017 at 4:23 pm //

        The cats seem to be doing all right now. Maybe the officials hate Kent Austin?

      • How you know you’re a huge homer:

        Calls that go against my team ? LEAGUE CONSPIRACY.
        Calls that go for my team ? 50/50 calls that could have gone either way.


        • longtimetcfan // October 11, 2017 at 9:18 pm //

          How do you know you’re correct…

          Within days of the game, the League issues “Oops… we made a mistake and the calls/penalties should not have been made.” Notice no apologies, just admission that errors were made on the field or in the CC, which I guess is better than nothing but still useless re still negatively affecting the team.

  13. They got the call wrong and wrong again! First it was not a catch. Second if it was a catch then is he is already down by contact and therefore cannot fumble the ball! WRONG and WRONG.

  14. The officiating is the same everywhere. There are going to be missed calls. Should the command centre get involved in a situation like this? Probably but can they get involved fast enough and without disrupting the game to much I don’t know. I was at the Texans/Titans game last week and the officiating was no better. Missed pass interference,obvious holding,horrible spotting of the ball etc.

    • I get that calls will be missed, and have stated on this site earlier, I can condone on-field officials getting the odd one wrong. It is a fast game and sometimes you have to watch two places at once (hands for control and feet in bounds for example) and make a call. But two points again:
      1. having said above, command centre should get it right
      2. even the Ottawa HC & OC were grinning on the sidelines cuz from their sight on the sidelines, they could tell it was incomplete.

  15. Challenging the play would have resulted in slowing the game which is more important than getting it right to CFL fans.

    You know, the article should have been about Buono demonstrating why the Lions are going downhill. He wasted his challenge that wasn’t even questionable. As Buono obviously doesn’t do “tech”, this just show that his coaching staff is less competent than the referees if the Lions thought the play was a non-completion.

  16. Mickey mouse leauge Mickey mouse refferes this leauge never gets it right it will happen in the playoffs and cost someone the game really stinks incompetent high school refs

  17. IMO the pass appeared complete and the ball placed where Ellingson was down. The defender batted the ball out of Ellingson’s hands AFTER he was already down by contact.

    • If merely touching the ball for one nanosecond is a completion, then I agree.
      In that case, the pass Williams dropped in the end zone should have been a completion and a TD cuz it slid right thru his hands and was contacted for a good 3-4 nanoseconds.

  18. Bob McKnight // October 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm //

    Advantage Ottawa or Toronto everytime. Something smells at Command Center and it ain’t Jake Ireland’s Chili dog.

    • Toronto – the most penalized team in the league. Interesting theory you’re working with.

  19. The concept of video replay official seems to be the answer to the problem…..but when have they ever stepped in to overrule a call?? After the ticat /Argo cc call, Jake Ireland should be limited in his involvement with cc. Sad to say…i think Jake carries a bit of bias. He has a wealth of experience….how do you miss that slomo replay call? Biased?

  20. Problem is u use your challenge on a call that’s so obviously wrong because the refferes miss it then late in the game they make another bad obvious call and u can’t do anything about it

  21. Well its obviously everyone sees things at a different perspective.We are stuck with these refs for the rest of the season and griping about every missed call is getting blown out of proportions….Live with the bad officiating folks nothing can be done!!!

  22. Poor officiating is one reason the CFL stands for: “CHUMP FOOTBALL LEAGUE” and is inferior to the NFL.

    • ottawarob // October 8, 2017 at 6:38 pm //

      Have you watched an NFL game lately???

      Take your head out of your posterior and open your eyes.

      I’ll take the CFL brand of football over the NFL any day!!

      • Only in the CFL do you need one foot in the field of play to score a TD. The field is a part of the game and you SHOULD have both feet in bounds to score; but not in the CFL.
        Also, in the CFL, if you jump up to catch the ball and you land on the ground and loose control the play is considered a catch. In the NFL a player has to survive contact with the ground. If a player does not have complete control of the ball after hitting the ground the reception is deemed incomplete.
        These are only two examples where the NFL has better rules (not to mention BETTER OFFICIATING, which was the original point that I was making in my comment)…so YOU are the one that should get your head out of your ASS!!!!

        • I disagree with your assessment. Respectfully too. In many sports, the athleticism of the athlete allows for plays to be made beyond the boundaries of the playing surface. Tennis, badminton, table tennis, NBA basketball when preventing a ball from being out of bounds, baseball catches over the fence or in the stands. I don’t think it makes the NFL better. I like the catches wherein they are able to keep one foot in while on the run to make a catch.

        • longtimetcfan // October 9, 2017 at 1:12 pm //

          Let’s talk other “great” NFL rules…
          Fair catch on punts or letting the ball roll while 200+lb men stand around watching the ball before downing it.
          Some rules the ref need 5 minutes to explain (overly complex).
          Being able to walk off the field with almost 2 minutes remaining in the game if the losing defensive team has no more timeouts. Talk about a waste of time!!!
          If anything, the NFL has become more like the CFL over the last number of years. Much more passing (at one time 20 passes per team per game was considered a lot; now passes often/usually go beyond 30 passes per team in a a game; also leaning towards more passing rather than a balanced run/pass playbook vs NFL of the past). Many more punt returns now rather than mostly fair catches (see above). Smaller field and end zones and they still require 4 downs for a first.
          Just enjoy football of any kind rather than spout condescension and cheap shots at the CFL.

        • longtimetcfan // October 9, 2017 at 1:23 pm //

          I forgot at least 1 other assinine NFL rule. Allowing a QB to simply throw the ball at the ground in order to stop the LONG play clock. Why is it not intentional grounding considering the ball doesn’t go over the line of scrimmage while he is between the tackles and the “pass” not near an eligible receiver, actually closest to ineligible receivers (O-linemen)?

  23. If it was a catch, which it is not, he was down by contact his knee is on the ground when Gaitor makes contact with him. So there could not have been a fumble.

  24. DoubleBlue1873 // October 8, 2017 at 10:51 pm //

    Ottawarob said it best, several times. Every team has been scr*wed at one point or another by blown calls. Stop the conspiracy-theory nonsense. Everyone agrees the command centre needs to be fixed; many of us probably agree that Commissioner Ambrosie is the man to get it done.

    And shame on “Lionsfan4life” (are you, really?) for his disparaging remarks. Incidentally, I’ve seen plenty of blown calls in the NFL and NCAA. Stop slagging the CFL, especially on a CFL fan site.

    • Agreed double Blue. CFL is a better game. Sure the americans have ten times the population and put more $$ into their development at a young age so yes, as a result, there will be MORE talented PLAYERS but when you speak of the GAME, our game is more wide open and exciting to watch

  25. No conspiracy ! But only the ti-cats ‘earn’ apologies !! And three years in a row! Fix command centre for sure or conspiracy theories will pop up again and again.

  26. the flammer // October 8, 2017 at 11:05 pm //

    as I have said before, go to a video review of a questionable call, like they do in the us college ball. they do a quick review and most of the time they get the call right and it doesn,t add that much of a delay to the game. after all isn,t the main thing is to get the call right.

    • We all wish it were that easy. The problem lies more with the Command Centre rulings than it does with the on-field officials.

  27. Another blown call that screws the cats, shocker! I dont believe the fix is in against them but enough is enough already. You’re staining the reputation of the league, and tarnishing the on field product. Overhaul the CC and reviewable calls. If you win a challenge you keep your challenge. Its about eliminating mistakes and restoring the integrity of our game. As a source of national pride correct this matter ASAP.

  28. The whineing in here is sickening. Please Drew stop blameing the refs with every story you write. Its very unprofessional and really growing old. Yes the officials make mistakes, but they do in every league eventually against every team. It’s easy for fans when you have replays in HD and slo-mo, try in real speed to get every single call right.

    I’m embarrassed for you Drew, do you really need to write this story?

    • Does it NEED to be written? I supposed no one will get sick and die if it isn’t but that’s the case for every story on every site. Does it need to be written? Yes, especially when it affects the outcome of a game. Yes calls are blown. Is that how things are done at your place of employment, take an “Oh Well” attitude. Shit happens right. Who cares if it affects the outcome. These things even out right. I just hope if that is your attitude, I never have to deal with your company and it’s carefree attitude.
      Yeah, I know what you’re thinking and I’ve heard the before too, “It’s just a game.” Tell that to those who might lose jobs over the outcome, to this bellyaching that Wally should retire yada yada yada.

    • Yes Jimbo, it NEEDS to be written…because it’s the same BS that is happening over and over…especially to certain teams. It muddies up the game and turns people off the game…and they stop coming, and quite frankly who can blame them? I went to the RB game and I can tell you that I saw that the pass was incomplete even without wearing my specs…never mind slow-mo, hi-mo, side-mo or whatever. Lions got screwed, and that call potentially affected the outcome of the game. Keep it coming Drew…time to flush it all out and fix the damn thing because it’s become an embarrassment…and is one of the reasons why fans stop coming.

  29. So they blew the call. Who knows what would have happened the next play if it was ruled incomplete?
    The RBs would have come back anyway, that play may not have affected the outcome at all.
    Plse move on and don’t give Ticat fans more reasons to moan and complain.

  30. frank emil sabados // October 9, 2017 at 9:57 am //

    CFL needs a reward system for the refs , the refs that don t mistakes will get more games , for the refs that make mistakes bad news they lose a game and are get fined , the CFL needs to hold ref s accountable when they keep making mistakes , they lose games

  31. Blue Rules // October 9, 2017 at 10:30 am //

    @Lions – on your point of one foot in bounds is wrong, counter point how many knees do you need down on the field of play before they blow the whistle to end the play, one??..two?? Maybe a knee and an elbow?? Once you touch the field with your foot,knee or butt your in bounds. On your second point, you don’t know what your speaking about. In the CFL you must survive contact with the ground otherwise its incomplete. They are two different leagues with different rules. Doesn’t always mean one set of rules are better just different. On a personal note I think the “Canadian Football League” or knowen as the CFL (something you also struggled with in a previous post) has rules that make the game more exciting. Hence reference to NFL as the “No Fun League”

    • Exactly. Perfect example, the fair catch rule. How much talent does it take to put your arm in the air and watch the ball sail over your head?

  32. CFL…Our Blunders are Bigger.

  33. One can only hope that the new Commissioner in the offseason.
    FIRES Glen Johnson…as he continues to be totally incompetent in his position.
    Tom Higgins should be asked to return.
    Tom has been only ONLY person to actually outright FIRE an Official for incompetent
    work during a game.
    There was 2 that were fired when Tom was in charge…
    All these other misfits, including Johnson have really done nothing…
    Downgrading an Official is not good enough…make a statement and fire their
    asses…bottom line.

  34. Wally Buono should have saved his challenge for this instead of that pathetic flag he threw in the second quarter nobody’s fault but his own what is with the onslaught on the officiating lately give it a rest already!

  35. oceanvista // October 10, 2017 at 4:09 pm //

    @Clayton, so on the one hand you’re saying Wally should have saved his challenge flag (which I agree with BTW; it was a complete waste), but then he should have thrown it on the Ellingson non-catch, which presumably means that you agree it was a major blunder at crucial part of the game.

    So why then shouldn’t officiating, eye in the sky, and the command centre be called into question? Yes, the officials have a tough job and are doing their best, but this type of egregious error should not happen!

    I’ll admit the Lions have no one to blame but themselves for the collapse. Would they have still lost the game? Quite possibly. But the league is not helping a market in which there were maybe 18,000 fans in the stands with many basically having given up on the CFL (no faith in the officiating).

    • @oceanvista You can’t have the eye in the sky (command center) review every play to make sure the officials didn’t miss a call. The only reason this call came to light was because it was slowed down after the fact. Fans want the game sped up not slowed down. The play wasn’t automatically reviewed because there was no change in possession. There will always be subjective calls made in a game of in the neighborhood of 160 plays.

  36. Had the calls been made correctly in Ham/TOR and BC/OTT, Ticats would have beaten the Argos, and BC would have beat OTT, meaning 2 very important things. Hamilton would only be trailing Ottawa by 1 point and Argos by 2

    Tor would be 6-9
    OTT 5-10-1
    HAM 5-9

    And all that for Ham with 2 games in hand against OTT, and 1 game in hand against Argos

    BC would be 7-7 with much better chance to make playoffs in West

    NOT to mention Ticats should be 6-0 since June Jones took over

    • @ Big Time How can you say who would have won the game based on a change of one play. How do you know what would have happened on second down. As for the Toronto game, same situation you can not assume that a changed call on that play would give the Ti-Cats the game. As for June Jones being 6-0, no way they lost to the Riders or is there a play in that game you would change to get the win, oh yeah the coach screwed up on the play call on the last play of the game. Sure wish Ti-Cat fans would quit being the biggest whiners in the CFL.

  37. Officiating has seem to be terrible in both CFL/NFL leagues in 2017 in every game. The losses in B.C. should rest solely on the shoulders of Jennings with his consistent interception passes & poor decisions during the game. I knew the media’s over hype of him before the season was undeserved. At least he’s still better than the Durant/Willy duo in Montreal.

  38. Here comes another patented league apology for THEIR sloppy play.

    Followed some days later with the another patented league punishment, the offenders will not be scheduled for a playoff game. And yes, let’s not forget that devastating and dire move, the markdown.

    If these incompetents played on a team, they would have been cut long ago.

    Instead, these clowns will be allowed yet another chance to ruin my team’s post season future.

    How much longer does the CFL expect fans to pay for this farce??

  39. Brutal refereeing again? What a shock. Ambrosie needs to fix this.

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