CFL looks to further expand video replay

The CFL rules committee is recommending the expanded use of use of video replay, including the addition of a second “eye in the sky” replay official.

The official would be responsible for fixing obvious errors and clarifying judgment calls, such as when offensive and defensive players jump into the neutral zone prior to the snap. He would not, however, be able to call penalties missed by on-field officials.

“Right now in some situations, our fans have access to a better angle on a game broadcast than our officials may have at field level,” said Glen Johnson, the CFL’s senior vice-president of football said in statement. “By putting a knowledgeable official in communication with the officiating crew during the game, we would be able to quickly and seamlessly fix incorrect situations without disrupting the flow of the game.”

The changes were recommended by the rules committee after two days of meetings that ended Thursday night and must still be approved by the league’s Board of Governors.

The committee is also recommending expanding the number of calls that are reviewable by coach’s challenge, including offensive pass interference, illegal contact, no yards and illegal blocks on kick plays as well as roughing the passer.

In an attempt to improve player safety, the committee is proposing a rule prohibiting players from pushing blockers through gaps in the offensive line on single point and field goal attempts as well an the elimination of “peel back” blocks, making it illegal for any offensive player to block an opponent low when he is moving towards his own goal line.

Other changes being proposed:

• Offensive lineman will now be able to gesture to defensive players while outlining blocking assignments pre-snap while in a three-point stance.
• teams that gives up a field goal in the last three minutes of a game will be forced to receive a kickoff instead of being able to take the ball at the 35-yard line.
• a defensive player who gives a ball to a fan after a turnover would no longer be flagged for objectionable conduct.

The rules committee includes several CFL presidents, coaches and general managers as well as representatives of the CFL, CFL Players’ Association and CFL officials association.

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