Command centre’s replay decision reversed… by command centre

So this is new: the CFL command centre can now apparently change its mind.

In the third quarter of Saturday’s game between Ottawa and Edmonton, Eskimo linebacker J.C. Sherritt scooped up a loose ball after an apparent fumble by Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris and rumbled all the way to the end zone.

All turnovers and scoring plays are automatically review by the command centre and after just under a minute, referee Andre Proulx declared: “The touchdown as been confirmed, the touchdown has been confirmed, touchdown on the play.”

Got it, Andre, touchdown.

Meanwhile, the video crew at TD Bank stadium – a notoriously saucy bunch – put up a freeze frame of the replay that appeared to show that Harris’ knee was down before the ball was out. TSN cut to a shot of Harris’ mom and his wife reacting indignantly to the call and Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell pointing at the screen.

Forty seconds later Proulx was back: “The play is under further review from the command centre.”

Then we get a great shot of Edmonton coach Jason Maas with a “Are you kidding me” grin on his face as the equipment staff frantically tried to nail down all loose objects within his immediate reach.

More Proulx: “After further review from the command centre, they said the ball carrier, the quarterback was down with the football in his hand and it will be Ottawa’s ball.”

So, a couple of thoughts.

First, the command centre got this right and that’s undoubtedly the most important thing. There have been a few examples in the not-so-distant past when the command centre was less than reliable and that hurts the credibility of the game more than a reversal like this.

That said… it’s not a good look to rule one and then another, especially when it looks to TV viewers like lobbying by fans and the scoreboard operators may have played a role.

Thankfully, we have the CFL Football Operations Twitter account to explain what, exactly, happened and reassure everybody that the game is in good hands. Let’s check what they have to say.


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