CFL head coaches won’t be throwing as many challenge flags going forward.
Coaches will be able to challenge only one play per game under changes to the video review system approved last night by the Canadian Football League.
“We have a super game. Our elite athletes are treating us this year to incredible plays, close contests and even miracle comebacks. Scoring is up, penalties are down, and games are shorter. The last thing we want to have in place is an artificial impediment to our fans’ enjoyment of it all,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
”Video review, unfortunately, has become just that. It was put in place to fix egregious and indisputable mistakes that could affect the outcome of a game. It’s not being used that way now. Too many challenges and reviews are interrupting the game. Coaches, understandably since they are under pressure to win, have been using it to try to gain an advantage. Fans have been very clear with me that they want a change. We are delivering that change.”
The change is effective immediately.
Prior to this change, each team had two challenges per game, and a third challenge was earned if a coach was successful with their first two challenges. Now they will only get one challenge for the entire game. They will still need to have a timeout to initiate a challenge. And if their challenge is not successful, they will still lose a timeout.
Ambrosie ordered an evaluation of the process after his latest visits to CFL stadiums this past weekend. The resulting proposal, to restrict coaches’ challenges to one a game, was approved last evening in a series of calls with the league’s Competition Committee, team presidents and lead Governors.
“We at the CFL want our players to know we want the focus on the field and on their amazing talents,” Ambrosie said. “We want fans to know we are in the business of doing all we can to provide the very best experience for them.”