Eliminating challenges for illegal contact highlights proposed rule changes

The CFL rules committee is proposing that illegal contact on a receiver no longer be subject to coaches’ challenges.

It’s just one of a number of changes the league announced on Wednesday, subject to approval by the Board of Governors.

Last August the CFL made changes to the video review policy, reducing the number of challenges available to coaches. One of the motivating factors was coaches “fishing” for illegal contact away from the play in hopes of gaining an advantage.

The other proposals include:

• Make it illegal for any player to deliver a forcible block on an opponent while moving back towards his own goal line, sometimes referred to as “blindside” blocks.

• Outlaw low blocks that occur outside of the “tackle box”, an area that extends from tight end to tight end and from the quarterback or kicker to two yards beyond the line of scrimmage

• Widen the definition of spearing to include any situation where a player delivers a blow with his helmet as the initial or primary point of contact. This does not apply to a low running ball carrier.

• Eliminate a loophole in the “sleeper” play rule by making it illegal for a player who enters the game and remains outside the numbers to receive the ball in any manner including a kick or lateral.

• Simplify the rule on what constitutes a quarterback making a legal pass behind the line of scrimmage by defining it as the passer having at least one of his feet on or behind the line of scrimmage instead of requiring that the release point of the ball be behind the line of scrimmage.

• Eliminate the “force out” rule by requiring a receiver catching a ball to place at least one foot inbounds regardless of whether he was contacted in mid-air.

• Increase the penalty for “pyramiding” – the practice of using another player to elevate one’s self in an effort to block a kick — from five yards to ten yards to deter the behavior.